ESS Technology Introduces the SABRE PRO Series of DACs with Unprecedented 140 dB Dynamic Range
ESS Technology announced its new flagship ES9038PRO SABRE DAC at CES 2016, generating immediate attention from audio manufacturers looking to raise the standard on new generation high-resolution audio products. The new ESS PRO SABRE 32-bit, 8-channel DAC chip goes the extra mile by offering the industry's highest dynamic range (DNR) of 140 dB with an impressive THD+N at -122 dB.  Read More

Qualcomm Introduces aptX HD High Resolution Audio Codec over Bluetooth
Following the conclusion of its CSR acquisition in August 2015, Qualcomm had much more technology to show at CES 2016, including the launch of the new Qualcomm aptX HD-enhanced codec. The new technology builds on the existing aptX audio codec platform, now supporting 24-bit music quality over a Bluetooth wireless connection. Qualcomm states the enhanced audio codec will help manufacturers make wireless high-resolution audio a reality.  Read More

Audeze Launches First Headphones With Fully Integrated Apple Lightning Cable 
The industry has decided to ditch the standard analog 3.5 mm jack, replacing it with USB-C connectors or, in Apple's devices, the Lightning cables. Audeze decided to anticipate the benefits of having direct 24-bit audio and introduced its new EL-8 Titanium headphones with support for music and voice.  Read More

QSC Founder Pat Quilter Receives 2016 Beryllium Lifetime Achievement Award from ALMA International
During the 2016 ALMA International Symposium and Expo, QSC co-founder Patrick Quilter received the Beryllium Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the loudspeaker industry. Pat Quilter joins a prestigious list of past recipients including Ed Dell, Don Keele, Andy Kotsatos, Floyd Toole, Laurie Fincham, Matthew Polk, Edgar Villchur, Paul Klipsch, Vance Dickason, Amar G. Bose, and Richard Small.  Read More

Klipsch Introduces First Powered Monitors at International CES 2016
Klipsch continues to expand its portfolio of wired and wireless audio solutions, adapting new speaker designs to different technologies, from high-resolution wireless with WiSA to Bluetooth. For the most affordable approach, Klipsch announced the Reference Premiere R-15PM powered monitors, with integrated phono pre-amp, Bluetooth, digital optical, analog RCA, and USB audio inputs.  Read More

Technics Unveils Grand Class SL-1200G Turntable at CES 2016
As promised, Technics announced the return of its direct-drive turntable based on a newly designed direct-drive motor. The Technics 50th anniversary limited-edition Grand Class SL-1200GAE and non-limited Grand Class SL-1200G have been developed for a new generation looking to rediscover and experience the sound quality of analog vinyl discs.  Read More

Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) Launches Major Partnerships and New Development Platforms at CES 2016 
Bob Stuart's MQA initiative is undoubtedly one of the most important audio technologies unveiled at CES 2016. Just prior to the opening of the show (Jan 6-9, Las Vegas, NV), MQA confirmed major new partnerships with both content and hardware companies, as well as new development platforms for manufacturers who want to support the format Read More


Editor's Desk

CES 2016 Shows We Can Truly Have Better Audio

The High-Resolution Audio Forum at the ALMA 2016 Symposium, with Sean Olive,
Bob Stuart, Steve Temme, and Mark Waldrep, moderated by Peter Andrews, ALMA Vice-President.
Happy 2016 and welcome again to The Audio Voice! We're back from Vegas and what a week it was!
First, we started with two very intensive days of ALMA International Symposium & Expo, which we will discuss in our editorial in audioXpress and Voice Coil magazines.
Excellent presentations on new generation audio drivers, speaker component testing and quality control, DSP tools, listeners' preferences, and even great product presentations made this event truly worthwhile. It's just a shame that attendance was not at the level deserved by the quality content - and the reason why the ALMA board of directors is discussing expanding its initiatives to more events on the industry calendar, including to Europe and Asia.
As expected, the ALMA meeting was right on target on the main trends and topics for anyone working in the audio industry, starting with the main theme for 2016, "Hi Res Audio: A Bridge To Build Or A Bridge Too Far?", which was debated in all possible perspectives in an insightful and constructive manner by key technology experts.
Bob Stuart made a convincing case to explain the merits of MQA technology
 and audio format.
As the CES 2016 show demonstrated (just two days after the ALMA Symposium), high-resolution audio is going mainstream and all the major consumer electronic (CE) companies are betting on its marketing potential to propel the audio industry, much in the same way as HDTV and now Ultra-HD is doing on the image side. And similarly, audio experts agree that, much in the same way as we always had an "ultra-high-definition" medium on film, audio has a great foundation of analog masters and high-end audio equipment, which is finally able to be translated to digital in high-resolution.
The much debated and controversial part is the acknowledgment from the audio engineering community that we need better test and measurement tools and a better understanding of audio recording and reproduction to truly leverage that additional level of information in the digital domain. That was the take-away from many of the ALMA Symposium expert-speakers. While Mark Waldrep addressed the true value of high-quality recordings and high-resolution audio from the production and distribution side, addressing the crude reality of the record industry practices in his keynote address, Steve Temme (founder and President of Listen, Inc.) provided an overview of the challenges faced by the equipment manufacturers in his interventions covering "Correlation of Hearing and Measurement at Very High Frequencies" and "Challenges of High Resolution Measurements".
Immersing in the craziness of CES.
 Yours truly trying the impressive
 Royole Audio and Video Immersive Headset.
The diverse industry perspectives in the ALMA Symposium also served to demonstrate the relativity of the notion of high-definition and high-quality, as explained by Marc Marroquin, from HEAD acoustics, in his overview of communication systems, which are finally able to be "wideband capable" supporting voice communication from 150 Hz to 6,800 Hz. "A really big deal" for telecoms and the reason why they call it HD Voice, something any consumer is able to recognize as a clear improvement.
The most inspiring moment of the ALMA Symposium was, as we anticipated, the last minute addition to the program of Bob Stuart's presentation discussing the hearing mechanism and neural processing of sound, psychoacoustics, perception, the evolution of audio recording methods, digital audio and sampling, compression codecs, high resolution audio, and the new Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology. In a two-hour seminar, Bob Stuart captured the attention of the attendees and contributed to an enlightening perspective during the Hi-Res Audio Forum. Full video recordings of all presentations will be soon available on ALMA's website.
During the following five days, we immersed ourselves in the craziness of another gigantic CES show, learning about the latest technology trends and how new product announcements will shape the industry for the years to come. CES 2016 was a truly great show where we attended the official presentation of the UHD Alliance Final Specification for Ultra HD Premium, learned about the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) plans for USB 3.1, the revolution enabled by the
Sony was all about high-resolution audio at CES 2016 with carefully designed displays and presentations.
new USB Type-C connector, and the plans for USB Audio Class 2. We saw the latest Wi-Fi 802.11ad Multi-Gigabit Tri-band devices and the potential of new Wi-Fi HaLow (802.11ah) technology in frequency bands below one gigahertz, and Wi-Fi Aware functionality. We learned even more about connected car technologies and saw great smart home demos. We also saw great Thunderbolt 3 presentations and products and learned even more about the future of media storage and cloud connected solutions. We were even introduced to even better audio D/A converters, effective DSP and audio spatialization technologies, better and more efficient codecs, and great immersive audio speakers and soundbars.
All this will be reflected in our continuous coverage of CES 2016 online and will gradually be featured in audioXpress and Voice Coil articles. One of those articles will be dedicated to MQA technology, which we can now officially declare to be our Audio Technology of The Year. Congratulations to Bob Stuart and the whole MQA team.

From the Vault
EB-604/410 All-JFET Line Amp Starter Kit
By Erno Borbely
Throughout the years, Erno Borbely has published several project and design articles in Audio Amateur publications (Audio Electronics, Glass Audio, Speaker Builder, and audioXpress), always focusing on the lowest possible noise, best inherent linearity, and DC coupling. The basic circuits on which Borbely based most of his projects are described in "JFETs: The New Frontiers, Part I and Part II, and "All-FET Line Amp," published in audioXpress May 2002. Frequently referring to these articles, the author admits, these were the "building blocks" on which many - if not all - of his amplifiers are based. This article continues his JFETs series and introduces one of his starter kits with an all-JFET line amp. It was originally published in audioXpress March 2005.  Read the Complete Article Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Scan-Speak 10F/8414G10 Small 3.5" Full-Range Woofer 
By Vance Dickason
Currently, some of the most popular transducers in consumer electronics are the 2"-3.5" diameter full-range drivers. These mini woofers are being 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. Scan-Speak set out to make the one of the best 3.5" full-range drivers on the market with the 10F/8414G10. The 10F/8414G10 is built on a proprietary cast-aluminum frame, the cone assembly consists of a black patented NRSC fiberglass cone, suspended with a SBR surround and a black-cloth flat spider. This article was originally published in Voice Coil December 2013.  Read The Full Analysis Online

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