Waves Audio Announces the DTS Neural Surround Collection
Waves Audio and DTS have collaborated to create the DTS Neural Surround Collection, a software bundle including three real-time audio processing plug-ins - DTS Neural Surround DownMix, DTS Neural Surround UpMix, and DTS Neural Mono2Stereo. Together, these plug-ins are able to replace legacy hardware components and provide a discrete-sounding, end-to-end surround delivery system for any live broadcast or post-production situation.  Read More

A Completely New Rega Planar 3 Turntable
The UK-based Rega team of designers, directed by Rega's original founder Roy Gandy, devoted two years of intensive development to perfect the Planar 3 turntable. This was the most intensive redesign of the iconic "three" model ever, looking for new ways to extract greater performance. To complement the Planar 3 is the new RB330 tonearm. Engineered alongside the Planar 3, the RB330 is the culmination of 35 years of tonearm design experience.  Read More

Spectrum Launches Educational Tools to Teach Signal Generation, Acquisition, and Analysis
German test instrumentation specialist Spectrum has made several academic tools available that can be used to learn the basics of waveform generation, acquisition, and analysis. The tools are freely available for download on the Spectrum website and are designed to be used by teachers and educators. The academic tools can also help first time digitizer and Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) users wanting to learn the basics of these instruments.  Read More

Powersoft Promotes Training Sessions During InfoComm 2016 
During the next edition of the InfoComm show in Las Vegas, NV, the Italian audio manufacturer will promote valuable training sessions, providing knowledge to maximize the potential of Powersoft amplifiers in Dante-based environments, fixed installations, and voice alarm applications. The first training series takes place during the Dante Networking World event on Tuesday June 7.  Read More

Oscium Releases WiPry 5x Cross-Platform Dual-Band Spectrum Analyzer
Oscium announced the WiPry 5x, a dual-band spectrum analyzer solution that visualizes all spectral activity on both 2.4 and 5 GHz on iOS and Android devices. Oscium's WiPry 5x is a hardware plug-in accessory that makes it possible to identify and avoid interferences and optimize wireless connectivity, directly from a smartphone or tablet. A portable tool perfect for field techs, wireless professionals, and home audio enthusiasts setting up wireless audio networks.  Read More

Nagra Introduces Integrated Classic Amp and Expanded Classic Range
Following its first presentation at the CES 2016 in Las Vegas, NV, Nagra Audio Technology Switzerland introduced the new Classic INT at the High End 2016 show in Munich. The Classic INT is a new integrated version of Nagra's Classic Amp, now in production. The Munich presentations also included the Nagra HD Amp Statement power amplifier, and a preview of an expanded Classic line of components, including a Classic Tube Preamp and the new Nagra Classic DAC USB converter with DSD 2X and DXD support. Read More

MAG Audio Introduces 15" and 18" High-Power Neodymium Woofers for Compact Applications
Displayed for the first time at the Prolight+Sound 2016 show in Frankfurt, MAG Audio has announced the release of its highly efficient neodymium 15" and 18" woofers for modern lightweight high-power subwoofer units. Designed and manufactured in the company's headquarters in Ukraine, the new transducers have already been tested in new professional audio speaker series presented by MAG Audio, and received favorable reviews from industry experts.  Read More

Prism Sound Introduces Callia DAC and Headphone Amplifier
Prism Sound launched Callia, a PCM and DSD-capable DAC, digital preamplifier and headphone amp, leveraging the company's know-how with top sound quality solutions for professional recording environments, now in a format adapted for the home. Offering the very best in digital music reproduction, the compact Callia is a state-of-the-art unit designed with exceptional attention to detail for music lovers and audio enthusiasts.  Read More

Oliver A. Masciarotte

Guest Editorial

Listening Impressions on MQA

A fellow member of the PonoMusic community forum wrote, "I just read on The Absolute Sound website "AXPONA 2016 Show Report" that you've had the chance to listen to MQA recordings. We all know now what Steven Stone is thinking... what is your personal impression about MQA?"
It took me a moment to gather my thoughts, and here's what I replied: "I agree w/Steve... I came home from the show with a Brooklyn, Mytek's brilliant new DAC. MQA decoding is only one of a host of several kewl features. Thank you, Michal & Chebon!
I've been so busy I haven't had time to devote to listening critically to MQA for any extended period. I got the Brooklyn's firmware updated, confirmed that decoding is functional, and have gone back to writing my show report, getting other work done and actually having a life."

Following Axpona 2016, the High End show in Munich was a decisive moment for Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). Click the photo to read all about it.

I have been listening to the DAC every day, while I work, to better understand it's sonic signature or lack thereof. Since I have only a small collection of MQA-encoded content, around two-dozen pop, jazz, and classical tracks, it's been largely LPCM keeping me company.
I went on to add; "My initial impression is very positive." To that I'll add this: With a truly hi-fi system playing a recording that embodies high production values, MQA adds a delicate clarity. I then went on to qualify that statement, writing, "...MQA is only relevant to those who have a highly resolving system and/or are already able to discern the difference between an HRA file and a Red Book version of the same higher fidelity master. Otherwise, it's just another format that requires re-purchasing titles you already own. It's not, 'Dios mio, where has this been all my life?' It's more, 'Ummm, very nice. I'm liking this.' MQA's true potential will be realized with more born-digital music that has been created from start to finish with MQA in both recording and post. Not all the tools are in place for that to happen yet but I, for one, am hopeful."
In our June 2016 issue of
audioXpress, we feature a complete article on "Master Quality Authenticated (MQA): Redefining the Source for Music."
2L is one of the very few labels who have been either converting or creating content in the new format. Conversion is not ideal, as the temporal correction aspect of the process can only be estimated and/or applied after the recording has been made. As I mentioned earlier, some tools now in development will allow a wide range of genres and production styles, from musical theatre to pop, rock, country, and most classical and jazz, to take part 100% in MQA's benefits. I say that because virtually all music these days is created with a heavy amount of post-production, even jazz and classical. Very few titles are created in the audiophile vein of live recording with no dynamics processing and EQ during recording, and no editing and EQ in post. Most all of the new music out there is a chimera, created by the engineer and producer after initial tracking.
As I mentioned in my PonoMusic posting, I'll be writing something for audioXpress specifically on the subject of MQA, please stay tuned for that. Until then, remember: it's about the artists, their music, and performances, not the technology. MQA or any other technology cannot make a delicate quail from a terrible turkey. Too many modern artists need to actually learn to play their instruments and not rely on engineering to fix them in the mix.


From the Vault
Testing Headphones and Earphones - The G.R.A.S. 43BB Low-Noise Ear Simulator
By Mike Klasco
audioXpress March 2016 focused on Test and Measurement and featured an exclusive review of a new and very important device for the audio industry. In this article, Mike Klasco discusses the new G.R.A.S. 43BB Low-Noise Ear Simulator, which enables users to test headphones, earphones, and hearing aid devices with an extended bandwidth, up to 20 kHz. This is an industry first and the new G.R.A.S. 43BB solution will be of great interest globally. The article also discusses the new G.R.A.S. KB5000 right pinna with anthropometric concha and ear canal for the KEMAR Head-and-Torso Simulator (HATS), which is made of soft silicone and now closely mimics the properties of a real human ear. Finally, the article details the new generation KEMAR, a critical solution for these applications. This article was originally published in audioXpress, March 2016 Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Dayton Audio PM220-8 Wideband Neodymium 8" Woofer 
By Vance Dickason
The transducer submitted for this Test Bench review came from Dayton Audio and is the PM220-8, which is a wideband (full-range) neodymium 8" woofer. This driver is similar to the PS220 full-range 8" featured in Voice Coil October 2011. However, unlike the PS220, which is intended for use in a single-driver speaker, the PM220-8 is a wide bandwidth version intended for use as a midbass or midrange driver in a multi-way speaker system. The PM220-8's features are similar to the PS220. Starting with the frame, the PM220-8 utilizes a cast aluminum frame incorporating six 5-mm diameter, round vent holes in the area below the spider-mounting shelf for enhanced voice coil cooling as well as providing a heatsink for the neodymium motor. The cone assembly consists of a lightweight Kevlar-coated curvilinear paper cone along with a porous screen-type dust cap intended to decouple the high frequency that emanates at the cone's center. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, September 2013Read The Full Article Online

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