ON Semiconductor Acquires Fairchild Semiconductor
It's hard to keep track how semiconductor companies evolve given the pace of mergers, spin-offs and acquisitions. ON Semiconductor, a relatively young player in the industry but increasingly crucial for the audio industry, announced it will acquire one of the most iconic companies, Fairchild Semiconductor, for $2.4 billion. The acquisition creates the global leader in the power semiconductor market, the company says.   Read More

139th International AES Convention and Successful AES67 Interoperability Demonstration
With an all-time record high of nearly 20,000 visitors, the 139th Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in New York City was a huge success, according to the AES final report. For the first time in public, the Media Networking Alliance (MNA) promoted a live demonstration of audio networking based on the new AES67 interoperability standard, which was a major highlight at the show and attracted a lot of attention.  Read More

Consumer Technology Association Study Shows Strong Interest in Hi-Res Audio 
A new study from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) finds the audio category is constantly evolving with new features and products entering the market, including high-resolution equipment. More than half of recent audio technology consumers are interested in high-resolution audio (HRA) and three-quarters researched audio products in physical stores.  Read More

Radial Gets Wired or Wireless Audio from A to B
Among several innovative and interesting products introduced at the 139th Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York, Radial Engineering introduced its new Catapult 4 channel audio snake to send analog and AES digital audio signals over standard Cat-5 shielded twisted pair cable. And for situations where wireless is preferred, there's also the new Radial BT-Pro Bluetooth direct box.  Read More

COMSOL Releases COMSOL Multiphysics 5.2 Including Major New Features to the Acoustics Module
COMSOL announced the release of Multiphysics version 5.2. With this update COMSOL adds several new features within the acoustics module, including Octave Band Plots, ability to simulate dissipated power density for all fluid models, new boundary conditions when modeling sources in acoustics, and several other updates. To demonstrate the power of the Application Builder, new acoustics apps have been added to the extensive Application Libraries showcase.  Read More

The Consumer Technology Association Inducts Eight Innovators into the 2015 CE Hall of Fame
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), formerly the Consumer Electronics Association, inducted eight industry leaders into its 16th annual CE Hall of Fame. CTA created the Hall of Fame in 2000 to honor industry visionaries. Harman's Dr. Floyd Toole, pioneering psychoacoustic engineer and Noel Lee, Monster's founder, president & CEO, were among the honorees.  Read More

Harman Raises the Game on Wireless Headphones with new JBL Everest Featuring NXTGen Active Noise Cancelling Technology
Even though Harman International holds AKG, one of the most prestigious global names in headphones, and Harman-Kardon, among its brands, the company expanded its consumer audio portfolio with JBL-branded products, targeted at the more affordable segment of the market. The new JBL Everest Bluetooth-enabled headphones combine NXTGen Active Noise Cancelling technology with the strong reputation of JBL in the audio industry.  Read More

Back to the Future: Audioengine HD6 Powered Speaker System
Audioengine introduced its new HD6 Premium Powered Speaker System. More than just a powered speaker, the HD6 is a complete audio system with all the connections users will need to listen to today's music. These retro-looking speakers feature analog and digital inputs, wireless, including AAC and aptX Bluetooth, and a 24-bit digital optical (SPDIF) input.  Read More


Editor's Desk

A New High-Resolution _____ Logo

The new
High-Resolution MUSIC logo
This week the topic of high-resolution audio (HRA) is back in force - better said, High Resolution Music. This is because the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), in cooperation with The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) and The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing announced they would be adopting a new logo to promote the adoption of high-resolution music.
The RIAA announcement was supported by a number of high-res music retailers - including Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez, Blue Coast Music, HDtracks, IsoMike Recordings, ClassicsOnline HD*LL (operated by the Naxos Group of Companies), PonoMusic, and ProStudioMasters - which agreed to adopt the Hi-Res MUSIC logo licensing agreement and have begun integrating the logo into their websites and branding materials.
According to David Hughes, Chief Technology Officer, RIAA, "Our ultimate goal is to ensure that music enthusiasts can more easily identify their highest quality preferences, and this is a key step in that process. We thank those that have adopted the Hi-Res MUSIC logo, and encourage others in this space to follow suit, in order to help consumers enjoy the highest-quality digital recordings possible."
This new Hi-Res MUSIC logo was developed by 2B Communications at the request of Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, and was designed to help music fans identify those high resolution recordings that are available from digital music retailers in the US, Canada, and Europe for commercial downloads or streaming. High Resolution Music is officially defined as "lossless audio capable of reproducing the full spectrum of sound from recordings which have been mastered from better than CD quality (48 kHz/20-bit or higher) music sources that represent what the artists, producers and engineers originally intended."
According to the RIAA, "The definition ensures consumers receive music delivered in a digital format that retains the highest sound quality available during the creative or transferring process. The Hi-Res MUSIC logo must be accompanied by the name and resolution of the digital format, in order to provide consumers with as much information about the recording as possible."
"The logo is a critical step in clarifying what qualifies as 'Hi-Res Audio'," said Marc Sheforgen, Chief Operating Officer, Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez. "The proof is in the sound, of course, but having a visual signpost to alert someone to the opportunity for this enhanced experience should simplify consumer decision-making. There's now a means of visually shopping the highest-end digital format."
The High-Resolution AUDIO logo
This is a positive move from the music industry and I see no reason to criticize a legitimate marketing effort. My only remark would be that we already have another logo in use. This announcement clearly says the new logo is to be used by "digital music retailers and record labels." So, this is different from the original High-Resolution Audio logo announced back in June 2014, by The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), in cooperation with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and The Recording Academy, also in partnership with Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music. We now have the HRA logo to be used just for the hardware and the Hi-Res Music logo for the software? It doesn't seem to be the best strategy.
From the "hardware" side, according to the Consumer Technology Association (former CEA), more than half of recent audio technology consumers are interested in HRA and three-quarters researched audio products in physical stores. This is according to a recent new study from the CTA, "Consumers Journey to Purchase: Audio."
According to the study, interest in HRA is notably strong, with more than half (53%) of consumers who purchased an audio product online or in-store in the past year interested in HRA. "Music enthusiasts and audiophiles - two subgroups of audio consumers looking for a "better" audio experience - are among the primary consumer targets for HRA. The study finds, however, that consumer interest in HRA can falter when equipment and software upgrades are needed. "To combat this, manufacturers should consider marketing on a personal level and offering in-store demonstrations and promotions of high-resolution products," they say.
The CTA study also says "Our study finds that 'connectivity' is a key area in which retailers can better educate their customers. Even as consumers more frequently use streaming services and apps at home (86 percent) and in-vehicle (69 percent), they struggle to conceptualize the benefits of connectivity further than sharing playlists or streaming via Bluetooth."
The Quality / Convenience Trade-Off
That is precisely why I believe the Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) new digital audio encoding technology is so important. It makes lossless HRA streaming practical, it combines high-quality encoding of the master recordings and, most importantly, it combines an encapsulated format with metadata to ensure that consumers can identify the quality of the encoded content, while, at the same time, allowing decoding of the content by non-MQA compatible systems, when not available.
In my opinion, this is the perfect embodiment of a solution that both protects and respects consumers. Because offering quality audio - as close to the master recording as possible - is mainly a consumer's right. But MQA essentially offers convenience. Convenience, much more than marketing or logos will be the most effective way of promoting higher-quality audio.
And that's why I think that along with the evolution on wireless audio streaming technologies (think - WiSA), MQA will be undoubtedly one of the most exciting topics to follow at the forthcoming CES 2016 show.

You Can DIY!
High End 120W MOSFET
IC Driven Amp
By Jack Walton
A great solid-state project where National Semiconductor's (since 2011, part of Texas Instruments) LM4702 meets up with Renesas lateral MOSFETs, this article by Jack Walton was originally published in audioXpress July 2007 (unfortunately still in black & white...) and it is still cited as a reference today. As the author explains, this is an ideal project for the DIY enthusiasts: "All you need to do is design a suitable bias system and output stage." He also adds, "You can probably assemble the amplifier for $150, with the bulk of the expense going toward a suitable power transformer and chassis in which to house the device."  Read the Complete Article Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Tymphany Peerless SLS-85S25CP-04-04 3.5" Woofer 
By Vance Dickason
The Tymphany SLS-85S25CP-04-04 mini-woofer is extensively used in TV soundbars, pedestal soundbars (soundbars that contain down firing subwoofers that double as a TV stand), docking stations/Bluetooth powered speakers, and desktop speakers (e.g., the Sonos products, Jambox, Beats, Samsung, Bose and many others). For two-way applications in these categories, this LS-85S25CP-04-04 is a good example of what works. This article was originally published in Voice Coil August 2104.  Read The Full Analysis Online

AX December 2015: Digital Login
Audio Product Design | DIY Audio Projects | Audio Electronics | Audio Show Reports | Interviews | And More 

Don't Have a Subscription?
VC November 2015: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More