Steinberg Releases Cubase Pro 8.5 and Cubase Artist 8.5
Precisely a year since the last major update, Steinberg Media Technologies announced availability of its new Cubase Pro 8.5 and Cubase Artist 8.5 music production systems. The updates to these popular software packages introduce new creative tools and workflow enhancements while taking online collaboration within Cubase to the next level with VST Transit.   Read More

New AKG K182 Professional Monitor Headphones Are Reliable, Comfortable, and Built-to-Last
AKG announced its new K182 Professional Monitor Headphones, showing an extremely well accomplished design - in line with other recent products being introduced by Harman's Austrian arm, both in their professional and consumer families. The K182 is described by AKG as "simple and honest professional closed-back monitor headphones" available at an affordable price point. Read More

MUTEC MC-3+ Smart Clock USB Combines USB Interface with an Audio Re-Clocker 
MUTEC from Berlin has started shipping its new MC-3+ Smart Clock USB. The MC-3+USB uniquely combines an audiophile USB interface with an audio re-clocker designed for the demands of high-end consumer audio. The MC-3+ USB enables computer audio via USB, optimizes jitter-affected digital sources, improves any D/A converter, serves as a digital audio switching matrix, a format converter, a master clock, and exports and converts native DSD signals from the computer.  Read More

Sonos Previews Apple Music Streaming Integration
Starting December 15, 2015, Apple and Sonos will be making Apple Music streaming available for the popular whole-home audio solution as a Public Beta. This will be an early preview of the service, and an opportunity for Sonos' users to try listening to Apple Music on Sonos in their homes. It makes sense, since Sonos now also offers its new Trueplay acoustic calibration tool, using the Sonos app on any iPhone or iPad.  Read More

Brel & Kjr Acquires Engineering Services Provider Sound Answers
After 10 years of doing business as its own long-term, strategic partner, Brel & Kjr Sound & Vibration Measurement A/S acquired Sound Answers, Inc. According to the Danish company, Sound Answers, which is based in Canton, MI, will be consolidated as a solution and engineering services provider and its entire staff will now be part of the Brel & Kjr engineering services team.  Read More

Lawo JADE VSC Software Makes Any Windows PC AES67 Capable
Lawo's new virtual sound card application, JADE VSC, is now available. The software enables Windows-based audio applications to fully integrate with audio-over-IP (AoIP) networks without any external hardware interfaces. JADE VSC provides 64 channels of bi-directional RAVENNA and true AES67 streaming, features integrated sample rate conversion, and a VST plug-in interface allowing combining effects.  Read More

Pass Labs HPA-1 Class A Headphone Amplifier Now Available
Following its first presentation at CES 2015, Pass Labs has confirmed availability of its highly anticipated new headphone amplifier. The HPA-1 is able to drive headphones presenting loads from 15 to 600 Ohms. It features a custom shielded toroidal power transformer feeding a discreet low noise regulated power supply, junction field effect transistor (JFET) input stages, and Class A-biased direct-coupled MOSFET output stages.  Read More

Primacoustic Offers Free Room Acoustics Analysis Service
Primacoustic (a division of Radial Engineering) is now offering a comprehensive room acoustics analysis service that can be accessed through the company's website. The new free room acoustics calculator walks the user through the process of entering the required measurements and information. Once completed, the service provides a room analysis along with suggested materials and estimated budget for the installation.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Sound Advice for the Next-Generation of Greatest Audio Products

There's no way around it, CES Show 2016 (January 6-9, Las Vegas, NV) is fast approaching and audioXpress predicts a strong focus on audio streaming technology and wireless audio products (in the wake of last week's text, I will not even mention High Resolution Audio...).
The show's motto this year is "Technology Changing the World" and highlights the fact that the Consumer Technology Association's (CTA, formerly CEA) annual gathering serves as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies. Apart from dedicated audio exhibits, mostly at The Venetian (The Audio Marketplace included in the Tech West exhibits), CES 2016 will also feature innovation areas dedicated to HDMI, wireless devices, wireless services, "i" devices, wearables, the Internet of things (IoT), smart home, and other trending technologies. And yes, next-generation audio products greatly benefit from IoT and all embedded systems developments!
And of course Intel will use the occasion to make a splash with the introduction of numerous products featuring Thunderbolt 3 technology, now supporting USB 3.1 and leveraging the universal USB-C connector (soon in thousands of new products). No audio product designer should ignore the huge impact this new interface is going to bring to the market. Where in the past companies have simply considered "USB," they should now be thinking Thunderbolt 3 for any present and future developments. And again: Don't keep thinking, "USB 2.0 is good enough," unless you're designing a new "MP3 player."
But focusing on audio streaming and wireless audio, no audio company should ignore how those two technologies are converging in consumers' minds. If you have any doubt, look at what is happening with televisions, in particular products such as Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and others. They are all powerful streaming media "portals," and they are familiarizing consumers with on-demand access and... they also stream audio.
Meanwhile the statistics are clear. Apart from TV sets, which were at the top of the list during the Black Friday sales, this year's Thanksgiving shopping season is being dominated - again - by smartphones, tablets, and more computers. As early market reports indicate, even though American consumers are increasingly looking at headphones and "Bluetooth" speakers as the top audio category products, mobile or desktop devices, which are obviously going to be used as media players and audio sources, top their technology wish lists. Yes, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are today's media sources for 95% of consumers who have not and will not invest in dedicated media servers/players.
According to Futuresource Consulting's latest WW Quarterly Audio Report, wireless technology is really fueling the demand for home audio equipment and headphones. "This is driven by mass market smartphones adoption, and further complemented by the mass market consumption of streaming music services. Bluetooth really does simplify the user experience both in the home playback environment as well as the personal on-the-go experience. The lack of wires offers more freedom and space to the user."
"Wireless Bluetooth technology is driving growth and mitigating market decline across a dramatically changing worldwide audio market. The real growth and mitigated decline of the WW audio market has been driven by consumer demand for design, simplicity and portability when purchasing speakers and headphone devices," adds Futuresource.
A year ago, in our Standards Review column, audioXpress embarked on a series of articles dedicated to wireless audio technology and the different platforms and solutions available, from dedicated RF solutions, to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and new-generation uncompressed implementations. We received great feedback from R&D departments but also from readers looking for advice on how to convert their existing living room or bookshelf speakers into wireless networked systems. They were right. If you have invested in a high-quality hi-fi system and you have some great speakers at home, why would you have to replace them with wireless speakers? No doubt about it, "bridge" products will continue to be a great opportunity.
So, here's our advice for audio designers of analog or digital, high-end or affordable products. Focus on the user experience. Focus on taking the technology further. Think uncompressed or lossless, think networking, think wireless, and think software as intelligence to connectivity (embedded) as part of the design.

From the Vault
Glass Audio: The Remaking of a Champ
By Kirk Elliott
Introduced in 1948, the Fender Champ single-ended 5 W guitar amplifier was produced by the thousands until 1981 (and then again later as a vintage reissue). This is "the" classic tube practice amplifier and it has been remade a few times over. In 1992, Kirk Elliott shared his take on the design, transforming the stock Champ into a quieter, safer, and more reliable studio amplifier. He explains how to add a third gain stage and greatly improve the power supplies and grounding.
This article was originally published in Glass Audio Volume 4, Number 2, 1992 (In 2001, Glass Audio magazine, published by Audio Amateur Publications was merged with Speaker Builder and Audio Electronics magazines, creating audioXpress).
  Read the Complete Article Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Celestion CF1840JD 18" Subwoofer 
By Vance Dickason
This Test Bench analysis discusses Celestion CF1840JD pro sound 18" woofer. The CF1840JD is a fairly high power-handling woofer rated at 1,000 WRMS (AES standard). It features a proprietary seven-spoke cast-aluminum frame, using a series of eight 9-mm diameter peripheral vents located on the top of the back plate in conjunction with a 40-mm diameter pole vent. Celestion's CF1840JD has a substantial ferrite finite element analysis (FEA) optimized motor assembly and the cone assembly consists of an 18" Kevlar-loaded paper cone and a large 5.5" diameter paper dust cap. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, December 2014.  Read The Full Analysis Online

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