Listen Promotes SoundCheck Training in Chicago, May 17-18, 2016
Boston audio and electroacoustic test and measurement specialist, Listen, Inc., is promoting another edition of its popular two-day SoundCheck training class on May 17-18, 2016, in Elgin, IL (just outside Chicago). This will be a not-to-miss opportunity until the company holds its California SoundCheck and Electroacoustics Training, later in October, in Santa Clara, CA.  Read More

New Low Cost Wi-Fi Audio Streaming Module Solutions Featuring High-Resolution Audio and "Easy MRA" Multiroom Audio from Libre Wireless
Libre Wireless Technologies announced its next generation LS5B and LS6B Wi-Fi-based music-streaming modules. Libre's new turnkey LibreSync Wi-Fi module solutions feature full 24 bit, 96 kHz/192 kHz high-resolution audio together with Libre's DDMS synchronized indoor/outdoor direct multinode streaming technology, enabling entry level/mainstream wireless speaker and audio products.  Read More

Jensen Introduces the JIK-DB1 Iso-Kit for Audio Engineering Students
Following its first presentation at the 139th Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York, Jensen Transformers announced the Jensen JIK-DB1 Iso-Kit, a Jensen transformer equipped direct box that comes in an easy-to-assemble kit form, developed specifically for recording schools and other higher education facilities that teach professional audio as part of their curriculum.  Read More

Renesas Delivers New USB Controller and Power Supply IC Supporting USB Power Delivery 3.0 
Renesas Electronics announced a new Universal Serial Bus (USB) Power Delivery (PD) controller that supports USB Power Delivery 3.0. The new controller features DC power supply with safe and secure power delivery technology that implements power supply and data communications over a single USB cable. Renesas also introduced the first power supply IC supporting the power rules requirements in USB 2.0 and 3.0 Power Delivery.  Read More

Logitech to Acquire Jaybird, Expanding Into the Fast-Growing Wireless Audio Wearables Market
Logitech International, also the owner of Ultimate Ears, announced it will acquire Jaybird, the wireless and active lifestyle consumer electronics specialists. With this strategic acquisition, Logitech will leverage its worldwide distribution network to bring Jaybird range of premium Bluetooth headphones and earbuds, sport wearables and wireless software solutions to the global market.  Read More

MQA Hardware and Software Players Become Available Via Upgrades
Following the recent announcement by Meridian Audio of a firmware update enabling MQA playback in its own range of products, Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) is now also directly playable on the Pioneer XDP-100R and Onkyo DP-X1 portable devices. MQA-encoded music content is finally available for first adopters to download and hear on their own devices.  Read More

AKG Debuts New Closed-Back K872 Reference Headphones at Prolight+Sound 2016
Just when you thought the AKG professional headphone catalog was extensive enough, the Austrian company surprised us with the announcement of a new flagship reference model, which the company says embodies its "70 years of expertise" and sets a "new benchmark for performance and comfort." The new K872 master reference headphones feature the largest transducer AKG has ever built.

Genelec Expands New Generation of Smart Active Monitoring Systems at Prolight+Sound 2016
Among the product introductions at Prolight+Sound 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany, the Finish monitoring specialists managed to grab the headlines with the largest number of products launched simultaneously. Genelec not only expanded its range of new generation Smart Active Monitoring (SAM) systems with five additions to the series, but also celebrated 10 years of the technology.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Frankfurt Mess!

Inside Hall 3.1, Prolight+Sound was great.
 If you didn't get out...
I have hardly had time to recover from another edition of Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound 2016 and catch up on all the announcements and what we have seen there - and it was plenty. So, was it worth? Indeed. But I couldn't help returning from Frankfurt with an uncomfortable feeling and the clear perception that this was the worst Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound ever. I will elaborate because there are lessons to be learned.
Something wrong with the business? Things slowing down? Nope. As we seen from recent shows, the audio industry and the entertainment technology markets, in general, are doing pretty well and showing lots of resilience considering the global economic volatility. It's true some larger European markets are stalling and there are many countries going through a slow recovery, but as we have seen from recent trade shows, there's plenty of global activity and these type of events are the ideal platforms for expansion, which is the reason why visitor and exhibitor numbers have grown. In Frankfurt - one of the largest and traditional trade shows in the audio industry - it was a mixed bag.
Hall 4.1. No words needed.
As we wrote prior to the show, this year's edition was all about change. The Frankfurt concurrent events - Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound - have needed restructuring for quite some time, for reasons which are more or less obvious to regular visitors - and not caused by the market evolution but by the lack of response from the promoters to a changing environment. Unfortunately, the changes (?) implemented didn't achieve any of the desired goals as walking the long empty walkways of the Frankfurt Messe clearly demonstrated.
And yet, Prolight+Sound 2016 was indeed another successful show, at least for those companies exhibiting in Hall 3.1 - the most modern, ample, and comfortable pavilion in the 11-building Frankfurt Messe complex. The pro audio industry is expanding, and that hall was naturally upbeat with great exhibits, new product introductions, and a nice flow of visitors during two of the four days. Unfortunately, Hall 3.1 was just one part of Prolight+Sound. Hall 3.0, just below, should have accommodated the remaining audio exhibitors but instead that's where the large lightning and stage companies were located. Those lighting companies require high-ceilings and a dark environment for their displays. The beautiful large hall with lots of natural light required blinders on all glass windows to create the dark conditions. Big mistake. There was no flow of visitors between those two halls, and worse, between the remaining distant halls.
Looking at the building from the amazing outside plaza, it was as if that hall was closed and nothing was going on - it was even difficult to find the actual entrances to the place. Across the plaza there was another hall dedicated to lighting and effects (Hall 5.0) and between those there was Hall 4.1, again for audio exhibits - where most microphone and smaller electronics companies were located. It was a complete disaster in both cases with lots of empty spaces between booths and a depressing environment in general. While companies in Hall 3 were upbeat and reported good business, most companies we talked to in Hall 5 and 4.1 were regretting the location and complaining about low visitor traffic.
Third day at Prolight+Sound 2016. Is there a show going on?
The Frankfurt Messe complex is one of the largest in the world and also one of the best equipped, so it is hard to understand the choice of locations and separation between the halls, with long empty walkways in between, when many of the buildings with several floors could accommodate the whole show. Why such a separation between halls if there was no traffic and there was so much empty space?
But the worst was Musikmesse. The whole concept of "changing" one of the most traditional international trade shows in Europe was already risky, but the result was a combination of all the worst possible choices. First, the promoters fell into the traditional trap of forgetting the essential: this is a trade show and people go there for business. Musikmesse is not another music festival or cultural event. When the new concept was promoted - four days open to the public and the introduction of outside concert areas and food courts (it rained during the first two days); the creation of exhibits themed after music-genres; and the promotion of more live music events during the weekend, including concerts at more than 30 city locations, concurrently with Musikmesse - it triggered an immediate reaction from many traditional exhibitors. Companies simply postponed the decision to participate this year because they didn't understand where their business goals would fit with the new concept.
Then, there was the complete separation between Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound, only overlapping during two days in the middle of the week but effectively separated by the distance between the halls and the poor traffic between areas. The decision from Fender, Gibson, and Behringer (the whole Music Group) not to attend Musikmesse 2016, was probably motivated for their own reasons, but the uncertainty over the new concept simply motivated a domino effect, leading to most of the major guitar and drum companies deciding not to attend as well. The entire thing was a recipe for disaster.
In Hall 9.1 of the Musikmesse, we could find some audio companies - a strange mix of studio recording brands, music software (very few), and synthesizer companies - that opted not to be at Prolight+Sound and assumed the higher traffic of musicians and end-users would be better for their business. They ended up surrounded by noisy DJ companies and the Music4Kidz playground. Somehow, someone actually thought that mixing studio equipment with DJ gear and small children would be a good idea!
Business to Business is there. Really? You got it all wrong guys...
But the worst was the dispersion of the few companies across the remaining distant halls, causing a depressive environment everywhere - something never seen at Musikmesse. There was even an anecdotic B2B area (Hall 11.1) where some companies were hiding and making sure they would not see any visitors. We have seen private booths at other trade shows and many times had meetings in hotel suites in the vicinity (something that is traditional in Frankfurt with the adjacent Maritim hotel and congress center), but we have never seen such a waste of space. Worse, Hall 11 is another modern building in the Frankfurt complex (almost large enough to hold the entire thing) and the Messe decided to promote the visitors' entrance from the new Portalhaus (where the Yamaha exhibits were located), apart from all the remaining entrances. This worsened the previously mentioned lack of traffic flow during the two overlapping days with Prolight+Sound and made the dispersion between halls even more painful. In fact, even though Musikmesse was open to the public and visitors could have access to any of the Prolight+Sound halls, there was no additional traffic noticed. In fact, there were almost no visitors on Friday afternoon, during the last hours of Prolight+Sound - hard to explain. This year's concept was indeed a mess!
When did Frankfurt Messe, promoters of 132 trade fairs across more than 40 locations around the globe, lose track of what a trade show should be? Yes, other shows such as the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show have live concerts outside, and food trucks, and sometimes too much party-crowds and autograph signings - but that's the music business. It might sound like fun, but they exist because, as in every other industry, you need a trading platform for professionals. And yes - as the NAMM Show proves - music, pro audio, show lighting, and staging hardware can coexist in the same environment.
I am afraid Musikmesse will not survive with this concept. The two shows need to be coordinated and the focus needs to be on the business side. Prolight+Sound and Musikmesse need each other, much like a Frankfurter Würstchen goes with Bier!



Standards Review
Audio Network Development: Developing Products Based on RAVENNA
By Joćo Martins
In our regular column Standards Review, audioXpress has been addressing the specifics of audio networking, available protocols and development solutions. In the first two articles in the series, we touched upon the evolution of audio network connectivity, available technologies and platforms, and provided an update on existing technologies. In the third article, we addressed how to implement products over Dante - a technology directly developed and supported by Audinate. In this article, we continue to explore the options for audio networking development and implementation in new audio products with a look at RAVENNA and what differentiates this powerful media network technology, which is also at the forefront of AES67 interoperability efforts. We are sharing the fourth part of this series with everyone in the hope this will encourage more readers and subscribers to sign up for audioXpress and gain access to our full content. Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test-Bench
Dayton Audio LS10-44 and LS12-44 Shallow-Mount Subwoofers 
By Vance Dickason
Dayton Audio sent a pair of new shallow-mount home/car audio subwoofers, the 10" LS10-44 and the 12" LS12-44 for Test Bench analysis. Both subwoofers are less than 4" deep. Since these are 10" and 12" versions of the same concept, Vance Dickason decided to analyze the Dayton Audio LS10/12 together rather than separately. As he explains, "One of the harder problems to solve is how to make subwoofers "disappear." While there have been a lot of different solutions to in-wall subwoofers, getting large diameter woofers to fit in a 4" deep space has been a challenge for transducer engineers. However, the market has produced a variety of clever methods to achieve this goal. Shallow mounting is also very desirable in car audio, so these woofers appeal to both markets." This article was originally published in Voice Coil, May 2015. Read The Full Article Online

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