FaitalPRO Powers Flare Audio's Sound Reinforcement Solutions
In this testimony, British company Flare Audio explains its unique approach to loudspeaker design based on the theory of Waveform Integrity, combining driver alignment and a patented enclosure structure and porting technology. All Flare Audio's sound reinforcement solutions use FaitalPRO drivers.   Read More

Ultrasone Presents New More Comfortable Version of PRO 900i Closed Headphones
The Bavarian headphone specialist Ultrasone announced a new generation of its highly acclaimed closed top model from the PRO series, the PRO 900i. These headphones for professional users and discerning music lovers feature the company's S-Logic Plus technology and are now even more comfortable to wear thanks to a new expanded headband design. Read More

Sennheiser Introduces New and Improved HD 800 S Headphones 
The Sennheiser HD 800 over-ear circumaural headphones are cherished by music lovers throughout the world for its brilliant sound image and impressive spatiality. With the HD 800 S, the German brand now presents a new version, which surpasses the listening experience of its predecessor. The HD 800 S features the same proven large dynamic transducer technology, now with an optimized medium and low-frequency response.  Read More

New 15" High-Performance Low-Frequency Ferrite Driver from LaVoce
LaVoce continues to extend its product catalog now introducing a new 15" high performance low-frequency ferrite driver WAF154.00, entirely designed in Italy with Finite Elements Modeling and Analysis methods. Featuring 1,500 W AES power handling and high mechanical excursion, the transducer delivers 97 dB sensitivity with really limited harmonic distortion.  Read More

Texas Instruments Introduces Highest-Performance Next-Generation OPA1612 Audio Operational Amplifier
Texas Instruments (TI) introduced the newest addition to the company's Burr-Brown Audio line, a next generation of the widely adopted OPA1612 audio operational amplifier (op-amp). The new OPA1622 delivers lowest distortion and noise, high linear output current, and low power, enabling the highest performance for professional and portable audio applications.  Read More

VAVA Voom Is Engineered to Be a Better, Affordable Bluetooth Speaker
VAVA Voom is an affordable mobile Bluetooth 4.0 speaker with innovative features and the sound quality of much larger speaker systems. The first product for the VAVA brand, VAVA Voom was carefully engineered and designed in collaboration with Wai-Loong Lim, founder and CEO of Y Studios, whose list of clients include Sonos, Activision, TiVo, and Intel.  Read More

High End 2016 Exhibition Returns To Munich May 5-8 2016
Following an extremely successful edition in 2015, Munich will once again be the meeting place for all those interested in getting up to speed on the latest in high-quality consumer electronics, May 5-8, 2016. Visitors will find approximately 500 exhibitors presenting more than 900 brands and thousands of new products.  Read More

Master & Dynamic Partners with Alcantara for new MH40 Over-Ear and MH30 On-Ear Headphones
New York lifestyle audio brand, Master & Dynamic, has partnered with Italian company Alcantara to introduce new versions of its popular MH40 Over-Ear and MH30 On-Ear Headphones. Alcantara is a unique eco-friendly and highly durable luxury material with great possibilities for replacing leather, suede, and velvet, allowing for a combination of sensory, aesthetic, and functional values.  Read More

State of Employment in the Audio Industry Survey
Please take a minute of your time to help us evaluate the state of employment in the audio industry. We all know times are changing. Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics (ALMA) International and audioXpress/Voice Coil are trying to evaluate how people in the audio industry feel about their jobs, how they found them, what their experience of the audio industry has been, and where there is room for improvement. This will form the basis of some new initiatives at ALMA that you will hear more about at the ALMA International Symposium & Expo (AISE) on January 3 and 4, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.
Please be assured that all answers are anonymous. We don't require your name or company name - just some answers and some demographic information to help us analyze the responses.
We are trying to get as many responses as possible, so please forward the link to your colleagues and friends in the industry. Click here to go to survey


Editor's Desk

Smart Home and Smarter Audio

The new Pioneer XDP-100R Digital
Audio Player is the industry's first portable player to offer MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) support but 
it's also ugly and awkward.
With the evolution in the Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Home, and wearable technologies, there is a brand new way for audio companies to leverage those developing platforms to create innovative audio solutions - as some headphone companies already understand. But many other categories need attention. In the high-end audio market, I see a lot of examples of companies combining everything there is to create expensive and awkward-to-use apparatus, which don't fit with any specific user profile.
It's a personal opinion but most high-end hardware media servers are in that category of "Frankenstein" products, which should be avoided given how fast they become obsolete. It's extremely tempting for designers to confuse the "convenience" of building fully integrated systems that combine amplification and DAC stages with limited connectivity, storage, and dedicated controls such as custom touch screens. Audio companies should not compromise on things like proprietary interfaces and technologies that clearly they do not control, just because they want to build "computer audio" products.
The same can be said with some expensive "portable" high-resolution music players and headphone preamp/DACs that are currently being introduced. In the age of smartphones and wearables, audio companies should avoid creating "portable bricks." It doesn't matter if it plays DSD, DXD, or 192 kHz PCM files and even has the best tube preamp built-in. If it is based on obsolete connectivity and software that will no longer be supported in one year or less, it's only a brick.
The Sengled Pulse bulb has a JBL multi-channel stereo wireless
 speaker hidden within.
Among all the pre-CES announcements we received so far, the number of Smart Home-related products and technologies outpaces other categories. This includes new solutions for audio distribution to connected devices all the way to simple ideas such as playing music around the house from Wi-Fi bulbs like the AwoX StriimLIGHT WiFi or the Sengled JBL-equipped Pulse productsIt's a smart concept to actually adapt standard lamp bases for connected devices (the power is there already) but I cannot avoid thinking that those lamp bases have better uses, when we have power outlets to connect better sounding wireless speakers.
Sometimes, innovation comes simply from selling an existing product concept in a different way. Such as Grace Digital Audio did recently with its Voice-Enhanced TV Speaker. In one way, it's just another Bluetooth speaker with aptX, but the "smart" concept is actually selling it as a Bluetooth TV speaker engineered to optimize TV audio and dialog. The new Grace GDI-BTTV100 speaker can be simply connected to the wireless Bluetooth transmitter on the TV and placed closer to the seating position to wirelessly enhance TV sound listening, with the flexibility that it can be placed in the location most convenient for the room and the listeners - it even has a large easy-to-access volume knob! 
Grace GDI-BTTV100
 Voice-Enhanced TV Speaker.
Otherwise, it does what any Bluetooth speaker does, such as receiving wireless music from a smartphone or even wired audio sources.

Another example worth mentioning is the evolution in sound optimization technologies and digital processing providing incredible benefits even with small transducers, as Dirac is showing. Again, the audio industry in general is benefiting from the technologies developed primarily for mobile devices and communication, with clear benefits in whole home audio and home-theater room acoustics optimization. Those same technologies are enabling an important evolution in all "audio wearables," starting with headphones and ear-phones.

From the Vault
Sources 101: Audio Current Regulator Tests for High Performance
By Walt Jung
In April and May 2007, audioXpress published a two-part article by Walter G. (Walt) Jung, noted designer and author of the IC Op Amp Cookbook and IC Op Amp Applications book series. In this article - still being referenced to date - the author discusses audio current regulator circuits and their performance with regard to power-supply-related noise. It also details a test methodology to characterize these audio current regulation elements and circuits for sensitivity to applied voltage and demonstrate how measurement tests can help reveal which configuration is best for your power supply application.  Read the Complete Article (Two Parts and Addendum) Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
SB Acoustics SB65WBAC25-4 2.5" Full-Range Driver 
By Vance Dickason
Unquestionably, the 2" to 2.5" diameter full-range drivers are one of the most used transducers in consumer electronics. They are finding broad use in soundbars, pedestal soundbars (soundbars that contain down firing subwoofers that double as TV stands), docking stations (these are starting to go away), and desktop speakers such as the Sonos products, and portable Bluetooth speakers (e.g., Jambox, Beats, Samsung, Bose, and a million others). Indonesian-based SB Acoustics sent its entry, the new SB65WBAC25-4, into this crowded field of play.This article was originally published in Voice Coil, January 2015.  Read The Full Analysis Online

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