Jünger Audio Provides Level Magic Selective Loudness Processing For MPEG-H TV Audio System
German loudness control and broadcast audio processing specialist Jünger Audio introduced a new intelligent monitoring loudness processor for the new MPEG-H TV audio system. The new solution developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer IIS was introduced as part of an ATSC 3.0 audio demonstration eventRead More


Ultrasone Releases Edition M Portable Reference Headphones

Following the success of the Edition 8 series - one of the most popular crossover headphone models in the high-end segment - Ultrasone is now releasing its Edition M dynamic closed-back headphones, designed to provide an high-end hi-fi experience for those on the move Read More



New Report on Transparency and Fairness in the Music Industry
The Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship issued a report on fairness and transparency in the music industry, highlighting the evolution of music in the digital age. The study explores the underlying challenges within the current compensation structure while proposing solutions to improve licensing, revenue transparency, and cash flow for musicians.   Read More


Jensen Transformers Announces Four New ISO-MAX Direct Boxes
Jensen Transformers announced four new direct boxes that will target live stage, house of worship, and multi-media applications. They include the Concert-1 and Concert-2 for instruments and the Media-1 and Media-2 for laptops and other consumer audio sources.   Read More



ATSC 3.0 Leads the Way for Broadcasting with Immersive Audio

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is steadily confirming all scheduled stages for the development and implementation of the most complete terrestrial transmission standard, effectively upgrading broadcasting to Mobile, Handheld and 4K Ultra HDTV with immersive, personalized audio.  Read More


João Martins

Editor's Desk

The Big CE Supermarket


For the consumer electronics (CE) industry, the next big event on the annual calendar will be the International Funkausstellung (or The International Consumer Electronics Show) in Berlin, Germany, which will be in time for the most important season of the year for sales. If the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV, is the place for future trends and innovation, the IFA Berlin show is where many of those products and brands make it or break it. IFA is also the most important event for European manufacturers and many worldwide brands to grab some headlines away from the CES - which, being the mammoth of all shows, sometimes eclipses many deserving products.


Anticipating the moment and the IFA potential sales effects, companies such as Bosch, Gibson Innovations (the new name for Gibson Brands), Grundig, Microsoft, Philips, Samsung, Siemens, and ZTE already briefed journalists from around the world about what they will be introducing this year, maximizing media impact when the show opens. Of course, in Berlin, appliances and white goods have a much better chance that at any other show, so the announcements sometimes are much more about the kitchen and the "home" concept, than anywhere else. IFA is also trying to focus on home automation and "smart technologies," an area highly disputed by other shows such as the Mobile World Congress or even other electronic-engineering oriented shows. However, IFA Berlin is not so much about development platforms and new technologies, but instead where the results of those technological innovations are converted in commercial releases, as Philips has successfully demonstrated in the past decade or so.


Philips has already announced it would split into two separate divisions: Philips Lighting Solutions and Royal Philips. The IFA 2015 in Berlin will be the place where those changes will be promoted. Gibson Brands has been renamed Gibson Innovations. The company now includes the former Lifestyle Entertainment Division of Royal Philips and confirms the ambition to become the world's number one music lifestyle company - multi-brand strategy that will also represent a multi-year effort.


The mobile space, mobile Internet devices, and mobility in general are a big part of the show, but since IFA is in Germany, automotive technologies will remain at the center of many announcements since Europe remains a growth driver. Other technology trends at IFA 2015 will include naturally Ultra-HD screens with even more impressive colors, spectacular contrast and 3-D sound.


Audio at IFA is mainly focused on personal/mobile devices and the more accessible and lifestyle-oriented products. Wireless audio networks and immersive experiences will be another big topic. This will be the first event for DTS to introduce its DTS:X alternative for Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D, while Dolby will no doubt continue to push its technology, which has already been adopted in cinema auditoriums, in home cinema receivers and the living room. Another big topic for Dolby will be promoting it's new audio format, Dolby AC-4, which addresses the current and future needs of next-generation video and audio entertainment services including broadcast and Internet streaming.


IFA 2015 will be also an important moment for the audio industry because there will be a big push towards 3-D sound on headphones - either using the existing DTS Headphone:X, Dolby Headphone, or even traditional binaural approaches. In Berlin, the Fraunhofer Institute IIS in Erlangen will be promoting its 3-D solution for use on headphones in the Innovation Hall at IFA TecWatch.


Music heard wirelessly using standard or dedicated W-LAN technologies and Bluetooth are the focus of many current developments, both from big semiconductor companies and audio manufacturers and consortiums of consumer electronic companies (e.g., the Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association). But wireless audio is evolving not only within the home and the multi-zone applications but also for listening on the move. The IFA Berlin will provide a great chance to see all the latest offerings in terms of wireless headphones, before some more disruptive proposals reach the market - and there's certainly lots of great opportunities there, both for Apple (which acquired Beats, creating huge expectations in that area) and start-ups, which increasingly are getting to market thanks to crowdfunding campaigns.


One thing is clear, the big consumer electronic companies are moving too slowly and they continue to flood the market with Bluetooth 3.0 "me-too" products, frustrating the consumer in audio quality, reliability, and convenience (4 to 6 hours of battery time is not enough). We don't expect that to radically change at the IFA show in Berlin, but it will certainly be important for many companies that are planning to introduce their new solutions in this space to compare specs before CES 2016.


And with the rise of streaming services and in particular the promotional efforts towards high-resolution audio (HRA), there are considerable opportunities for new portable players. There is certainly a market for new-generation HRA iPod-like players, while the consumer transition to Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal-type services has created an opportunity for a new class of dedicated devices, both for the living-room and for mobile.


Other highlights at IFA 2015 will include headphones that no longer obtain sound via the traditional headphone socket but instead directly from the digital Lightning connector of iPhones and iPads. They have their own digital-analog converter and amplifier in the earphones, which enables the manufacturers to apply some subtle fine-tuning, which is also an ideal solution for listening to digital music in higher resolutions to CD quality. Other platforms will follow this trend since smartphones from other manufacturers are expected to adopt the new USB-C type connector.


The finest sound quality will have an important part to play at IFA 2015, with an increasing number of brands pushing the High-Resolution Audio label to appeal to more demanding consumers. But selling true high-quality experiences in the big CE supermarket, when the focus is on mobile and music streaming services, is not going to be easy...


From the Vault

High-Quality Tube Type Control Unit

By Joseph Norwood Still


This design by Joseph Norwood Still is a control unit that the author described as offering "lifelike concert-hall performance for a modest cost." It is a great tube-based amplifier for phono and line sources, featuring a very subtle bass enhancement control using negative feedback to enhance only selected frequencies, below 400 Hz. As the author described, it is a great design for discriminating audiophiles. This project was originally published in audioXpress October 2004.

Read the article online


Voice Coil Spotlight

Headphone Testing

(Part 1): The Basics 

By Steve Temme, Listen, Inc.


In this article, Steve Temme discusses the issues that are common to testing all types of headphones. As more and more loudspeaker engineers find themselves employed in the fast-growing headphone market, it is important that the unique challenges of testing headphone packages are fully understood. Article originally published in Voice Coil, December 2011.  Read the Full Article


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