Bowers & Wilkins Gets the Wanted Muscle Thanks to EVA Automation
The official release was a simple letter from EVA Automation's founder Gideon Yu, confirming the acquisition of Bowers & Wilkins. The operation, announced on EVA's website, was introduced as "EVA Automation joining forces with Bowers & Wilkins" and effectively concludes a process which was long envisaged by the famous British brand, looking for the financial muscle it needed to pursue further product development and market expansion.  Read More

ONEaudio Promotes New Wireless DECT Speaker Concept on Kickstarter
ONEaudio just announced a Kickstarter campaign to help fund its DECT wireless speaker concept. After five years of development work, ONEaudio says it is almost ready to start producing the ONEclassic speakers, which the company says will be able to rival wired high-end speakers costing much more. The ONEclassic project introduces an interesting transparent speaker design, highlighting the company's fully integrated and simple to use approach.  Read More

Comply Foam Partners with Sennheiser to Develop Custom Tips
Hearing Components, the manufacturer of Comply Foam Tip products, has announced a partnership with Sennheiser to develop a custom tip to fit specifically on the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear (MIE2), CX 3.00, and CX 5.00 earphone models. This custom Comply Premium Foam tip is now available exclusively on the US Sennheiser website, with a one-pair and a three-pair pack option for $6.99 and $15.99, respectively.  Read More

Harman and Lufthansa Provide Airline Passengers with AKG N60 NC Headphones 
Harman International Industries announced that it has entered into a long-term collaboration with Lufthansa, one of the world's largest airlines, to equip passengers with an aviation-certified adaptation of AKG N60 NC (noise cancelling) headphones. Beginning in January 2017, all business class seats on Lufthansa flights will be outfitted with the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) award-winning active noise-cancelling headphones from AKG.  Read More

Ayre Acoustics Adopts ESS SABRE ES9038PRO DAC on New QX-5 Twenty Digital Hub
ESS Technology announced that its flagship SABRE ES9038PRO Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) will be featured in the Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty digital hub being introduced at the Munich High End show. This new cutting-edge digital hub leverages the unmatched performance and sound quality of the ES9038PRO to extend Ayre's decades-long record of groundbreaking innovation in audio systems design.  Read More

Dirac Research Certifies StreamUnlimited's StreamSDK
StreamUnlimited, the established provider of software solutions and modules for connected audio products, announced Dirac Research has certified StreamSDK, the streaming and multiroom audio integration solution from StreamUnlimited, as an approved product module for companies that want to incorporate Dirac technologies, such as room correction and speaker optimization, into their products.  Read More

Merging Previews Roon-Enabled NADAC at 2016 High End Show
Merging Technologies announced that the result of a new partnership with Roon Labs will be on display at its booth and in the Special Sound Demonstration in Konferenzraum K1B at the High End Show in Munich. Merging will demonstrate the new concept of Roon's ground-breaking player software integrated for the first time in a complete turnkey and networked solution offering multichannel capability up to DSD256 and DXD.  Read More

New Sonica Wireless Speaker from OPPO Digital Features Dirac Room Calibration
Sonica is an elegant and powerful Wi-Fi speaker designed with state-of-the-art technology delivering high sound quality for such a compact package. The most recent project from OPPO Digital, Sonica, comes equipped with Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth, while the companion smartphone and tablet app makes it easy to manage multiple speakers on the same network. It also features Dirac Room Calibration, including a new and easy-to-use room correction software tailored for mobile devices.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Consumer Trends and Market Contradictions

In the past week, I read a lot of comments on Apple's "disastrous" quarter results and watched in dismay how its stock tumbled, while other companies "surprised" the analysts positively and their stock skyrocketed. Markets' reactions such as this don't normally make much sense, but I follow these things for the fun of it and try to profile company behaviors. Since everyone seems to agree this was Apple's worst quarter in years, I thought it would be entertaining to compare it with three other rival companies.

As you can see from the table, Apple's "disastrous" quarter still involves the highest revenue, the highest net income, and the highest gross margins of any company in existence. Better in all indicators than Google (Alphabet), Microsoft, and Facebook combined. If this is a "bad quarter"...
It makes more sense to actually look at the companies strategy, what they are planning, which products they are investing in, and how much of those "market symptoms" will affect their strategies. In Apple's defense, I don't think it actually cares. The company is simply planning way ahead. So much ahead in fact that it forgot to properly explain what it is doing today, where it is heading, and regrettably, it doesn't seem to care much as well about its clients' sentiment, while its product rollup seems the slowest in the company's history. No announcements on Beats, iTunes continues to look like a slow spreadsheet and the company doesn't do anything about it, critical services on the cloud are unpredictable even though users are increasingly forced to depend on them, its Maps app continues to be subpar, and its Mac lineup is starting to look abandoned, to put it euphemistically. And that's why sometimes I feel a company might deserve the bashing, because it is as if it doesn't see it coming.
On the other hand - and this doesn't mean I sympathize at all with the company's direction - all its rivals do much worse in comparison and that's why Apple's users don't switch to anything else or abandon the platform in droves as these negative reactions seem to imply.
The reason why I think nothing on the stock market front makes much sense has to do with the direction technology is heading. As I've noted before, an example of a company that seems to have a clear vision of where it is headed is Harman International Industries, the largest in revenue in the audio industry. And again, after reporting its recent quarter results, which were "below analysts' estimates," its stock dipped dramatically, while the company reported its net sales were up 11% to $1.6 billion, operating income increased 48% and even analysts conceded that "The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures." (Source As Dinesh C. Paliwal, the Company's Chairman, President, and CEO, highlighted, "For the 12th consecutive quarter, Harman has delivered top and bottom line growth, and in the quarter, we grew EBITDA 26% year-over-year. Our Connected Car and Lifestyle Audio divisions, which represent approximately 75% of our revenue, continue to deliver strong results."
Do these look familiar? Of course they do! Hint, none are from Apple, only some are from China, they have been lauded by some as "innovative."
Similarly, in its quarter report, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO said: "We are very happy with the continued strong growth in revenue from Services, thanks to the incredible strength of the Apple ecosystem and our growing base of over one billion active devices." Enough to say, that Apple's Services category alone represents a much higher revenue and twice the profitability of Facebook's total business.
Both Apple and Harman have had stellar results in the slowest quarters of the year, reported significant growth, and are among the most innovative in the current market. I also read in many of those negative reports that "the smartphone market is saturated" (Really? Saturated with useless iPhone clones, maybe), the Apple Watch is a failure (not for anyone who owns one, like me), and things like that, clearly failing to see what's important: It's not about the iPhone, the iPad, or the Watch. It's about how all those things are already connected together. Including in the car, as Harman has been clearly recognizing.
I liked a recent article on NPD Group's blog, entitled "Hearables Take Headphones Well Beyond Music," by Ben Arnold. As the market research company executive director writes, "...just as new features are making headphone use more convenient, a new crop of products are looking to add another dimension to personal listening. Enter the hearable." And he describes, "Just as sensors, apps, and constant Internet connectivity have transformed the way we use mobile phones, the same could occur in audio listening devices."
Today, many of those wearables (or hearables) depend upon a companion smartphone or watch app for settings and control. Very soon, those devices will be integrated and will interact wirelessly. The indicators of where things are heading are clear, in the Internet of Things (IoT), home automation, location-based services, personal monitoring and tracking, and remote access control. In a recent survey about Bluetooth technology, conducted by Lux Insights, respondents reported "the highest interest in location awareness applications (solutions that aid first responders in emergency situations or aid navigation in public spaces and buildings), home automation (controlling lighting, locks, temperature from inside and outside of the home), and personal monitoring (secure monitoring and sending sensitive health and wellness data).
Another recent study from the Consumer 
Here is a product of Doppler Labs, founded in 2013 to create wearable tech and focused on building "hearable" that optimize the way we hear. It is getting there after three years.
Technology Association (CTA) reinforces those findings. 
"Household ownership of wireless audio, wearables, and connected devices saw the largest household ownership gains from 2015 to 2016," the study highlights. "Today's fastest growing tech products in American homes show a clear and unifying theme - devices that are connected," says Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA.
Both reports that I mentioned were published simultaneously to the "disappointing" first quarter results. Both Apple and Harman, each in its own way, are clearly leading the charge on the reported trends, technology- and product-wise. Apple is way ahead of everyone on platforms and developer's frameworks. Companies such as Facebook, Google, and (unfortunately) Microsoft - all with very strong competencies - are still struggling to see where they
can fit in, outside of their core businesses. 
What is there to question?


From the Vault
The Hideaway TL Sub Revisited
By Bjørn Johannesen
Following the publication of the original Hideaway TL Sub project in audioXpress July 2006, Bjørn Johannesen submitted a follow-up of his "invisible" subwoofer project, using a new updated driver - a Peerless 10˝ SLS 830668 woofer - and a slimmer profile to fit under his new couch, with only 15 cm of free space. "This called for changing the geometry of the first Hideaway. Because I would place the sub in a corner, I needed to watch out for peaks and the risk of boomy one-tone bass caused by room gain," Johannesen writes. The article provides all the details for the construction of this improved version of the Hideaway Transmission Line Subwoofer. The article was originally published in audioXpress, October 2007.  Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
B&C Speakers DE550-8 Compression Driver 
By Vance Dickason
This Test Bench sample is the DE550, a new 1" polymer diaphragm compression driver from Italian OEM pro sound manufacturer B&C Speakers. B&C Speakers' new polymer diaphragm neodymium DE550-8 compression driver is coupled with B&C Speakers' ME20 90° × 60° horn. (This horn was previously featured along with B&C Speakers' DE14TN in the April 2014 issue of Voice Coil). The DE550-8 has a 25 mm (1") throat diameter. It is coupled to a polymer diaphragm with a 51-mm (2") diameter voice coil wound with aluminum wire, making the DE550 the largest diameter voice coil in B&C Speakers' 1" throat series. Other features include a neodymium ring magnet motor structure, nominal 70-W rated power handling (140 W continuous), an injection-molded aluminum black heat sink, and solderable terminals. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, June 2015Read The Full Article Online

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