Dirac Announces Strategic Audio Technology Distribution Agreement with Pioneer
Swedish audio technology provider Dirac Research announced an agreement with Pioneer Corp. to distribute its suite of digital technologies to the OEM audio market in Japan. Pioneer will distribute Dirac's suite of audio optimization technologies to Japanese manufacturers of sound systems and additionally, will leverage the solutions within its consumer, commercial, and OEM audio applications.  Read More

Dynaudio Introduces LYD Personal Reference Monitor Series
Dynaudio's Professional Audio division attended the Musikmesse 2016 show in Frankfurt, Germany, as a clear sign to the market about the future evolution of the brand in the pro audio segment. With an attractive and well-designed booth, Dynaudio introduced its new Personal Reference Monitor series - LYD - "a complete redefinition of our own products," as the company stated.  Read More

Beyma Expands Product Catalog with High-Efficiency Options at Prolight+Sound 2016
Beyma introduced several new products this year at the Prolight+Sound show in Frankfurt. Additions to the company's catalog include new compression drivers in neodymium and ferrite versions, low-frequency speakers with new optimized pressed steel frame designs for diverse applications and a new high-quality pleated diaphragm tweeter. The new shallow mid-frequency range was another highlight at Beyma's booth in Frankfurt.  Read More

Media Networking Alliance Promotes Biggest AES67 Live Demo at NAB 2016 
At the 2016 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas, NV, the Media Networking Alliance (MNA) - the professional AV industry alliance, charged with promoting awareness and adoption of AES67 - hosted an expanded live AES67 demonstration between networked components operating with RAVENNA, Dante and Livewire Audio over IP (AoIP) transports. This was the largest demonstration of AoIP interoperability so far, following first public demonstrations at the 2015 Audio Engineering Show (AES) NY convention and the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2016 exhibition.  Read More

1MORE Disrupts the Market with $99 Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones
Now entering the competitive North American market after establishing the brand in China, 1MORE announced the launch of a new low-priced triple driver in-ear headphones, featuring a patent-pending design that combines two balanced armatures dedicated to highs and a dynamic driver dedicated to mid and low frequencies. Careful design and packaging, combines with attractive direct-sales promotions to challenge existing brands.  Read More

More Audio Creativity Now Available in Linear Audio Volume 11
Linear Audio Volume 11 is now available and includes excellent tutorials by Gary Galo, Hans Polak, Giovanni Stochino, Michael Kiwanuka, Guido Tent, and Burkhard Vogel; articles on Circuit Design by Dimitri Danyuk and Douglas Self; articles on Room Acoustics by Hannes Allmaier and Bill Waslo; book reviews; and much more.  Read More

RME Celebrates 20 Years at Musikmesse 2016 and Introduces First Thunderbolt Audio Interface
German digital audio interface specialist RME celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Frankfurt Musikmesse 2016 show and launched several new products, including the Fireface UFX+, the company's first Thunderbolt interface and its new flagship recording solution. As RME highlighted, this Thunderbolt interface allows real PCI Express audio performance under Mac and Windows, with the lowest latency, lowest system overhead and lowest CPU load.  Read More

Hafler-Dynaco to Make Global Launch at the High-End Show in Munich
Sixty years later, legacy brands Hafler and Dynaco, two of the most prestigious brands of all-time, have come together under the umbrella of Radial Engineering, Ltd., Hafler's former Canadian distributor - turned manufacturer. Since acquiring the brands in early 2014, Radial Engineering has been working on new Hafler designs and will reveal its first Dynaco products at the High-End Show in Munich.  Read More

Oliver A. Masciarotte

Guest Editorial

High Resolution Audio: Be Better Informed

Is it really High Resolution Audio?
According to a September 2013 press release from the Consumer Technology Association (then CEA), the "Consumer Electronics Association... joins consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers, retailers, music labels, and artists in offering expanded support for and promotion of high-resolution audio (HRA). CEA is exploring initiatives to corral support among consumers and retailers, and plans to leverage opportunities to promote HRA at the 2014 International CES."
The press release also states that, "Adoption of HRA offers benefits for consumers as well as new market opportunities for the CE and music industries. HRA offers the highest digital sound quality while retaining the benefits of digital audio, such as portability and personalization. HRA music files provide greater clarity and detail than MP3s and other compressed digital audio formats, resulting in a listening experience that more closely represents the original recording."

In 2014, the CEA codified "high resolution audio" terminology and what constitutes "master quality." In June of the following year, Our Intrepid Editor published a synopsis piece. The CEA is now the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and that pronouncement failed to produce any discernible traction with the popular media. To make matters worse, audio-centric consumers are bombarded with claims of high resolution at every turn.
Don't get confused with all the Hi-res Logos.
Let's recap the CTA's classifications and descriptors for Master Quality Recording categories:
MQ-A - From an analog master source
MQ-C - From a CD master source (44.1-kHz/16-bit)
MQ-D - From a DSD/DSF master source
MQ-P - From a PCM master source 48 kHz/20 bit or higher
In an attempt at inclusivity, some of the CTA's basic assumptions are questionable, including the implied endorsement of Red Book audio as "high resolution." Compact discs (CDs) are capable of surprisingly good sound quality when carefully created, but I don't think anyone would consider them "high resolution." They certainly are higher quality than audio processed through a lossy codec, but that's where the comparison should end. How about analog? When considering signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs), intermodulation distortion, print through, and time-base stability, analog tape isn't a high-resolution champion either. At least we all agree that, in many instances, an analog tape is usually the only master extant. DSD1 or baseband DSD, with its aggressive noise-shaped dither affecting the top octave and difficulty in post-production, has its own detractors. But, we can all agree that it provides better than Red Book sound quality. Lastly, we are given MQ-P, the category where modern, truly high-resolution recordings live. Born-digital recordings based on an 88.2 or higher conversion, not MQ-A analog transfers, begin to display the subtleties that real HRA can convey. See this interview with Bob Ludwig.
Download true hi-res audio files from one of the many available websites. There are even free test files to try out.
I have yet to see companies effectively use the CTA categories in their marketing but, if they do, it'll be one more layer of murk obscuring the benefits of higher resolution audio. Between the clueless but trendy Internet pundits lambasting HRA, and the audiophiles extolling its virtues when played back on their $250,000 systems, the average consumer either doesn't care or has no easy way of experiencing the benefits of HRA for themselves. Drop into the mix more confusion about MQA, the new high-resolution technology originally from Meridian, and it's no wonder nobody knows or cares about the difference between MQA and MQ-A.
The Recording Academy, the CTA, and the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) all need to convey a clearer, unified message about the features and the benefits of file-based and streaming high-resolution playback. For those brick-and-mortar top-shelf retailers still out there, use social media to promote your own "High Rez Daze," open houses giving Millennials the opportunity to sit down and compare the beauty of DXD or 176.4 pop music to a down-sampled 44.1/16 version for themselves. If you haven't already, avail yourself of the several free and paid SRC apps out there to create your own MQ-P to MQ-C comparison. You'll be better informed and may have some fun doing it!


From the Vault
A Great First Amplifier Project
By Rick Spencer
Here is an excellent beginner's project for those just getting started with this hobby. This "little" amplifier is easy to construct and has only about 25 parts in each channel. The system transformers are inexpensive, and the total cost involved for a complete stereo version should be minimal! Most of the parts used in this project are available from Antique Electronic Supply. The tubes involved are the least costly of most name brands that I could find and yet they will still deliver the sound for which vacuum tubes are noted. This article was originally published in audioXpress, December 2001. Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test-Bench
Tang Band T1-1942SB Turnkey Full-Range Stereo Microsystem 
By Vance Dickason
This Voice Coil Test Bench characterizes Tang Band's T1-1942SB full-range stereo microsystem, which is offered as a turnkey solution, combining the T1-1942SB rear-firing round passive radiator modules in a cylindrical enclosure, with the addition of its own Bluetooth amplifier. Features for the T1-1942SB include a 38-mm diameter dome and surround, a 28-mm voice coil diameter, a polypropylene composite dome with an articulated elastomer covering, a composite polypropylene enclosure, and a 38-mm diameter passive radiator and surround with a 28-mm flat cone. A complete stereo system, which can be configured in various enclosure shapes. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, May 2015. Read The Full Article Online

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