Eighteen Sound Confirms Acquisition of Ciare Brand
Eighteen Sound of Reggio Emilia, Italy, has revealed the acquisition of the Ciare brand, of Senigallia, Italy. The announcement follows a previous strategic agreement with Ciare, announced in June 2015, which allowed Eighteen Sound to control worldwide sales of Ciare's catalog. The confirmed acquisition broadens the scope of Eighteen Sound's product line offering, as well as expanding the two brand's access to new global markets.   Read More

New Futuresource Report Finds Significant Room for Growth in Wireless Speakers
Futuresource has announced the release of its latest report exploring multi-regional trends in the audio shopper's journey when purchasing Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speakers and headphones across China, France, Germany, the UK, and the US. The report finds significant room for growth in the market. Read More

ABI Research Anticipates Wireless and Multiroom Speaker Market to Surpass 90 Million Unit Shipments by 2020 
The wireless and multiroom speaker market continues to make waves in the consumer world, with market growth fueled by the pervasiveness of mobile devices, rapid spread of high-speed mobile broadband services, and a rising penchant for streaming music services. In its latest report, ABI Research, anticipates the wireless and multiroom speaker market to surpass 90 million unit shipments by 2020, with an 11.5% CAGR from 2015 to 2020.  Read More

Devialet Phantom Now Available In Apple Stores
Apple is now showcasing the revolutionary Devialet Phantom wireless speaker in Apple stores throughout the US. For those who have never heard a Devialet Phantom, now there's an opportunity to listen and admire the Phantom or the Silver Phantom. This is the best wireless speaker ever designed and Apple agrees it deserves to be featured in Apple stores.  Read More

Sample Magic Updates Magic AB Referencing Software Tool
Here's a software tool that we think will be quite interesting to most of our readers. Developer Sample Magic has announced a major update to its industry-standard instant referencing Magic AB plug-in. This utility plug-in enables users to perform instant AB references in a variety of audio formats, including new unique free latch or synced referencing modes and even save four cue/loop points per track with zoom.  Read More

Texas Instruments Introduces New TAS2555 Smart Amp with Integrated Speaker Protection
Texas Instruments (TI) introduced a low-power smart amplifier that enables designers to develop next-generation smartphones, tablets, portable audio docks, or Bluetooth speakers with industry-leading audio quality at peak volumes while maximizing battery efficiency. The TAS2555 audio amplifier with integrated speaker protection uses back electromotive force and low power of 5.7 W to produce bigger sound from small devices.  Read More

New Concept for Prolight+Sound 2016 Promises Successful Future for Frankfurt Show
Prolight+Sound - April 5-8 2016 at the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre - introduces a completely new concept. The trade show will take place on the east side of the fair and will start a few days before the Musikmesse. Messe Frankfurt promoted a press conference to provide updates on the rollout of the new concept, as well as initial information about the positive response so far received from exhibitors.  Read More

Stigmount Redefines Portable Speakers with Universal Speaker Mount
While the wireless audio industry is heading in a more durable and waterproof direction, Connor Moelmann believes the next big step in speakers should focus on improved portability so the company created Stigmount, currently campaigning on Kickstarter. The Chicago, IL-based company wants people to be able to carry their portable Bluetooth speakers everywhere, using a quick-mounting system that works on any surface from backpacks to surfboards.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Synchronize Your Marketing and Product Cycle

Kickstarter founders Charles Adler, Perry Chen, 
and Yancey Strickler.
In the last two years, I've being following multiple audio product projects on Kickstarter - we even highlighted a few examples, in our newsletter a few weeks ago. I'm always fascinated when I find examples in which the entrepreneurs, the visionaries, and the product designers behind such creations have somehow managed to go where no other established company as gone before.
While browsing through those fascinating ideas and projects - some are pure inventions, others are innovations and many are basically improvements on something already available - I couldn't resist "backing" a few of the projects, usually motivated by the simple reason that it was something I needed, wanted, or would like to try.  Usually it's something that I never saw in the market - the "why didn't anyone think of this before?" products.
After pledging my support to a project (meaning product I want to buy...), which requires a simple click on the best available pledge option, the experience has been somewhat frustrating. The first and oldest project that I committed to was successfully funded a year ago. Until now, thousands of "pledgers" like me were kept waiting and the last I heard they should be shipping in Summer 2016. The product was nothing revolutionary. It was basically a simple, well-designed, portable concept. So nice in fact that I ordered two units in different colors. But waiting for a year and a half is simply a frustrating experience.
I should have noticed that what the company was promising in its Kickstarter campaign was exactly that... just a concept. After it was successfully funded, they confessed to actually needing to "engineer" the product, get a manufacturer, and start planning how to get it for the targeted price with all the promised specifications and features... The company actually sends frequent updates and it shares full details of the development process, creating the expectation that the end result might even be better than the original concept.
Other companies are not so "open" on what is actually going on, and they make the mistake of engaging with their frustrated "backers" in the wrong way. Just recently, I visited a social media page of one such company, which has been making promises for quite some time... (some examples of recent exchanges shown...)
Now, this is unfortunately happening far too often with crowdfunding projects but not exclusively. The "strategy" seems to even be inspiring companies who don't even need to follow the crowdfunding route. Meaning, completely inverting the product cycle by first promoting the materialization of something which clearly captures the public's imagination and inspires people - think Marty McFly's hover board.
We just have to go back one year to the CES 2015 Innovation Award honorees and check exactly how many of those products are now shipping, one year later. Remember Bragi's "The Dash"?. The "world's first completely wireless smart headphones," with a market launch "planned for Q1 2015" is now promising to ship "end of 2015." Remember, The Dash was successfully crowdfunded in 2013!
As we all know too well, this is not new. The consumer electronics industry, in particular, has a long history of smoke and mirrors and largely unfulfilled promises, but for the audio industry this is simply disrupting in a negative way for many established brands. In our age of social media and "fake media," it's no longer about "what happened in Vegas" but about confused consumers who assume something they saw on Twitter and YouTube last year must be "last year's model."
With CES 2016 fast approaching, the time is right to evaluate the correct product launch strategy and what marketing promises should be brought forward in Vegas. Crowdfunding is a positive thing but should be used at the correct stages, following product development, and a solid validation by engineering achievements, not engineering promises. Similarly, CES presentations demand a planned approach following the prototype stage, so that great ideas don't "stay in Vegas."

From the Vault
Current Source Amps and Sensitive/Full-Range Drivers
By Nelson Pass
In this fascinating article, published in audioXpress, October 2004, Nelson Pass investigates loudspeaker performance when driven by a current source amp. This extensive research shows what Pass and Kent English found with a variety of full-range sensitive loudspeaker drivers when they drove them with an active current source and played with parallel networks to shape the response to their liking. In between, we can learn a lot about "Power Transconductance Amplifiers," "a fancy name for a power current source," as Pass puts it.  Read the Complete Article Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Dayton Audio ES180Ti-8 7" High-End Midbass Woofer 
By Vance Dickason
In this test, Vance Dickason characterizes a 7" midwoofer from Dayton Audio's Esoteric Series of home-audio oriented drivers. The ES180TI-8 is a good-looking driver with a nicely configured six-spoke cast-aluminum frame and well thought out motor design, incorporating dual copper shorting rings and a neodymium ring magnet. FEA designed, the neodymium magnet motor uses a 3" (76 mm) diameter voice coil wound with rectangular copper-coated aluminum wire (CCAW) on a titanium former. Motor parts include a polished chrome return cup for the neodymium ring magnet that incorporates a 35-mm diameter rear vent (with an open-cell foam dust cover) for additional cooling. Last, the voice coil is terminated to a pair of gold-plated terminals. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, December 2014.  Read The Full Analysis Online

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