Autonomic Control has added Murfie integration, providing another source of high-resolution audio content for the Mirage Music Players with access to cloud-based storage, apart from the most popular streaming music services. Murfie stores and converts physical media such as CDs and LPs for lossless and high-resolution streaming.


Genelec Now Shipping 7040A Ultra-Compact Subwoofer

Genelec is now shipping the new 7040A, its latest ultra-compact subwoofer. Designed to complement Genelec's 8010, 8020, and M030 active monitors, the 7040A delivers accurate sound reproduction and precise monitoring of low-frequency content in a compact form factor Read More


Bel Digital To Launch First Dante Monitor at IBC 2015
Monitoring specialist Bel Digital will be launching a new Dante audio monitoring and audio matrix solution at IBC 2015. The compact 1U unit provides individual channel monitoring, 16-channel to stereo mixes, and visual indication of signal strength on all 64 selected Dante channels, among other functions.   Read More



Dolby Promotes Dolby AC-4 Solution for Broadcast and Streaming Services
With the transition to immersive object-based audio formats, Dolby is promoting its new AC-4 audio coding system to bridge both conventional channel-based audio and new immersive formats on next-generation broadcast and streaming services. The solution is now available for product development and is targeted for consumer availability starting in 2017.   Read More



New Speaker Drivers for 2015 from B&C Speakers

Italian loudspeaker specialist B&C Speakers has introduced several new drivers and improved solutions since the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show 2015 and the 2015 ProLight+Sound show in Frankfurt, Germany. In addition to the new MBX woofer series, B&C Speakers has released three new titanium diaphragm compression drivers, two large diameter subwoofers, two midbass drivers, and three sealed-back midrange devices.  Read More


PCB Piezotronics Introduces Water and Dust Resistant Test and Measurement Microphone
PCB Piezotronics introduced a new 0.5" (12 mm) microphone and preamplifier system, for use in applications where moisture, oil splash, and contamination are a concern. The new model 130A24 is a free-field, pre-polarized array microphone and preamplifier system, ideal for general purpose acoustic tests in harsh applications and environments.   Read More



Oberton Introduces New High Frequency, Midbass and Coaxial Loudspeaker Drivers

Oberton recently introduced new neodymium and ferrite compression drivers, two impressive 12" and 15" neodymium mid bass units for multi-way PA speakers, and the new 15HCX coaxial transducer, designed for use in compact reflex enclosures and stage monitors. These are a great set of new options at reasonable prices, manufactured in Bulgaria.  Read More


Joćo Martins

Editor's Desk

What We Hear and What We Like


Whether you are a professional who depends on your hearing to make a living or simply a music lover or a hi-fi enthusiast, this is the right time of the year for a hearing test. After enjoying at least a week away from the daily routine, preferably after relaxing holidays (and hopefully with some time away from your headphones to actually hear the wind or the ocean), this is a good moment to evaluate what you hear.


I would strongly recommend anyone depending on his or her hearing abilities to regularly visit a hearing care professional. Still, if you want a simple way to just check your own hearing, before you consider a doctor visit, there are really simple ways to do it. In fact, with smartphones and apps, it's never been easier. No other special equipment is required. Just download one of the many available apps - search for Hearing Test, Audiology or Audiogram in your app store - and use your favorite headsets or earbuds to perform the step-by-step tests.


Whatever platform you have, it's easy to find free or affordable apps to do simple listening tests and determine if your hearing is within normal range, or if you have a hearing loss. Audiologists in universities have actually approved some of those audiology apps for smartphones and tablets.

For the iPhone/iPad, I have tried Hearing Test Pro Free (by Up With Apps), Siemens Hearing Test (by Sivantos), Hearing Test Pro (by Cateater), EarMeter (By Elisa Valeria Distefano), and uHear (By Unitron Hearing). Some of those and other apps are also available for Android.

There are online tests as well. I recommend and there's a very useful general online resource for audiograms, quick tests, and calibration:


But there are other good reasons to do such tests. Much in the same way as we like to permanently evaluate new audio equipment and new options for our music enjoyment activities, we should also evaluate and understand our own listening abilities. Doing so will help us understand how far can we actually go in judging an audio setup, a pair of speakers, or headphones.


Using those online tools or mobile apps, we can actually do very simple experiments that will help us understand what differences those systems can actually make to our own listening abilities. By following simple frequency and intelligibility tests at multiple levels, we can actually obtain results in a graph (an Audiogram) determining how much we can actually hear. Those tests are also great to determine our hearing sensitivity - the quietest sounds we can hear - and our ability to hear sounds in the presence of noise, which should give us an indicator of how much we are trained to hear, if we are getting hear fatigue, or affected by overexposure to loud levels as part of our work and we should consider using more protection.


An audiogram is actually a great way to compare the results of our own subjective impressions when listening to new speakers and headphones, with some actual measurements of what we hear and how much loudness we should need to accurately get an impression of an audio system or even a music mix. I personally have used this method when evaluating headphones with surprising results. By performing audiogram tests using a sequence of different headphone models I was able to attest to their frequency linearity, definition, dynamics, and sensitivity, as judged by my own unique (and imperfect) hearing abilities.


What Do We Like?

I would like to recommend the study "Musical Preferences are Linked to Cognitive Styles" by David M. Greenberg, Simon Baron-Cohen, David J. Stillwell, Michal Kosinski and Peter J. Rentfrow, just published in the online journal PLOS ONE. Click here to read it.


This team of psychology researchers has tried to understand what determines our taste in music and how our "cognitive style" influences our musical choices and the affective components of our musical preferences. This is measured by looking at whether an individual scores highly on "empathy" (our ability to recognize and react to the thoughts and feelings of others) or on "systemizing" (our interest in understanding the rules underpinning systems such as the weather, music, or car engines) - or whether we have a balance of both. A fascinating read. Highly recommended. 


From the Vault

Benchmark DAC2 DX
Stereo D/A Converter

By Gary Galo


The DAC2 series are the latest digital-to-analog converters from Benchmark Media Systems, the American audio manufacturer based in Syracuse, NY. The model reviewed here is the DAC2 DX, which has been tailored for users who don't have analog sources or who use a separate analog preamp. In this exclusive online review, Gary Galo shares his impressions after testing the DAC2 DX for about three weeks. "For most of that time, I was also using Benchmark's AHB2 power amp. I used the DAC2 DX with its balanced outputs in variable mode connected directly to the AHB2. More recently, I purchased a unit from Benchmark," he explains.   Read the article online


Voice Coil Spotlight

Headphone Testing (Part 2): Digital Headphones (USB & Bluetooth) and Noise-Canceling Headphones 

By Brian Fallon, Listen, Inc.


"Headphone Testing (Part 1)" published in the December 2011 issue of Voice Coil, covered the basics of analog headphone testing. Headphones with built-in electronics, such as digital headphones (including Bluetooth and USB), and noise-canceling headphones are harder to test because the electronics and transducers need to be tested together as a complete system. In the second part of this article, test considerations for such headphone systems and the practicalities of testing them are discussed. Article originally published in Voice Coil, April 2012.  Read the Full Article


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