The New SB Acoustics Satori Drivers for 2016
As audioXpress anticipated, SB Acoustics (a brand of Sinar Baja Electric) introduced several new products for 2016, including the brand's flagship TW29BN high-end beryllium dome tweeter, part of the Satori top-performing driver range. The new range, all designed in Denmark and manufactured in Indonesia, also includes new midrange and midwoofer drivers using new proprietary cones made with Egyptian papyrus fibers, available in 5" to 9.5" sizes.  Read More

MAGIX Acquires Sony Creative Software Products and Gets Hold of Sound Forge and ACID
German software house MAGIX Software GmbH announced it is acquiring a majority of the Sony Creative Software (SCS) products, including the popular audio editing and music production applications Sound Forge Pro and ACID Pro. Sony Creative Software was created from the acquisition of Sonic Foundry, in 2003, and has remained a separate division within Sony Professional.  Read More

NTi Audio Announces New PTB Certificate for XL2-TA Sound Level Meter
NTi Audio received certification from the national metrology institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, PTB (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt) for legally-binding measurements standards with its XL2-TA Sound Level Meter with firmware V3.11. This update also introduces several new features. NTi Audio also confirmed that the current firmware of its FX100 Audio Analyzer allows playback of audio files through the analog or digital generator output ports.  Read More

Wilson Audio New Alexx Speakers Playing at T.H.E. Show 
Anyone attending The Home Entertainment (T.H.E.) Show Newport at the Hotel Irvine, Irvine, CA (June 3-5) will not want to miss the opportunity to listen to the fourth all-new loudspeaker from Wilson Audio in as many years. Alexx combines a new modular MTM driver arrangement, adjustable on the time domain, with all-new 10.5" and 12.5" woofers, following Wilson's design philosophy and form factor. US MSRP price is $109,000 for the pair.  Read More

Sonica High-Resolution Wi-Fi Speaker from OPPO Digital Now Shipping
Sonica, from OPPO Digital is an elegant and powerful Wi-Fi speaker designed with state-of-the-art technology. It streams music from any smartphone, tablet, or online music service via Wi-Fi, Airplay, or Bluetooth and plays files of many formats from USB drives or network computers up to 24-bit/192 kHz. Sonica features DIRAC room optimization, supports multi-room modes, and can even be paired as stereo pair. And, it's now shipping.  Read More

Feniks Essence High-Quality Computer Speaker System Successfully Funded on Kickstarter
Another week and another speaker project gets successfully funded on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Swiss company Feniks promoted its high-end speaker concept, the Essence active sound system, and received a positive response, which enables it to start building and delivering directly to consumers. The Essence is a fully integrated design, featuring a high-quality DAC, custom designed full-range driver and a cutting-edge low-resonance aluminum alloy cabinet.  Read More

The Return of the Legendary Dynaco ST70 Tube Amplifier
At the 2016 High End show in Munich, and as advertised, visitors could experience the relaunch of the Dynaco ST70 Series 3, stereo tube amplifier, together with the prototype of a new integrated Dynaco ST-1 amplifier. The return of the Hafler and Dynaco brands was signaled in Munich with the return of what is, without question, the most successful tube amplifier of all time. And the new advanced design was sounding great already.  Read More

Acoustic Sciences Corp. Unveils New IsoThermal Tube Trap at T.H.E. Show Newport
Oregon-based Acoustic Sciences Corp. (ASC) is heading to T.H.E. Show Newport in Irvine, CA (June 3-5) to unveil its new IsoThermal Tube Trap solution. The new TubeTrap model is an isothermal class RC time constant bass trap, combined with the adjustable treble diffusion of ASC's Standard TubeTrap. It delivers twice the deep bass absorbing power as its predecessor.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Clap Your Hands, You Should Be Feeling Lucky!

I received a press release announcing: "Google Selects Harman as Audio Technology Partner." In the release, Harman International Industries and Google confirm a new "audio partnership." I was about to use it as part of our regular industry news website updates when I realized it was so short and vague I needed to investigate more. After reading through it, I couldn't help feeling amused by the title "Google selects Harman..."
Google Home. Would you want the same device that you ask "Play Turn Off The Light" (the song) to actually control your lights or your kitchen oven?

As part of the projects unveiled at Google's I/O 2016 event, Harman effectively will supply audio technology for Google's Project Ara, a sort of Lego smartphone, a concept not much distant from what LG announced at MWC 2016 in Barcelona, which in turn means that Harman will be able to license Google's technology for one or several of its portable speakers - and I immediately thought of the voice recognition technology and the Amazon Echo speaker. In this case, the company specifically mentioned "Project Soli" without much detail.
Google's I/O event is the annual gathering where Google reveals all the things it intends to do, which almost always never materialize. And even when they do, they tend to do nothing with it, since the PR effect was more than enough to increase the value of its stock and it has already jumped on the next "trend." This year, there were less hot air balloons providing Wi-Fi coverage around the world or drones doing deliveries. Google discussed more "incremental innovations" such as messaging apps, a Skype/Facetime emulation, the Google assistant interface, and (again) a Google Home voice-activated assistant. Oh yes, and it is still into Virtual Reality (translation: strange goggles on your head) and all the other things Android is supposed to offer.

Forgive me for being a little skeptic about Google, but this is a search engine turned into a weird company, (the Google search and maps are great and the only thing I use, really) evolving into the creepiest organization on the planet, now threatening to dominate the world with Artificial Intelligence (the new trend for the quarter), which in fact is just another research on natural language interfaces - that is, human-machine interaction via voice and speech recognition and, of course, contextual search on big data.
Apparently, the big news to come out of the annual event is the announcement that Google Now voice recognition service will also be an API available to others. Something that Amazon is not considering for its Alexa and that Apple - only Tim Cook will know why - could also do with Siri or its tvOS and didn't (yet). Oh... and there's also Microsoft Cortana... But who knows?
Project Ara is a modular smartphone concept developed originally by Motorola (Remember that company Google acquired and sold to Lenovo?), apparently still alive. But lets focus on the audio part of the Harman/Google announcement. According to the press release, "This extended collaboration between Harman and Google will include modules for Google's new modular mobile device, Ara. This device will give customers complete choice over the features they value, including the highest quality audio from a Harman-designed module."
Harman and Google mysterious speaker prototype, project Soli.
"In addition, Harman and Google's Advanced Technology and Projects Group (ATAP) are also working closely together on Project Soli. Soli uses radar to enable new types of touchless interactions, one where the human hand becomes a natural, intuitive interface for devices. The Soli sensor can track sub-millimeter motions at high speed and accuracy to enable precise and effortless hand gestures." Hand gestures? No voice? No "OK Thing, Sing me a Song"? No, "Sorry honey, I was talking to the speaker"?
In fact, a gesture-controlled speaker could be a good idea (until the moment your dog stops the music by waiving its tail too close to it). In fact, a development platform is already available from Microchip and we will see it in many consumer electronics products very soon. The whole Harman/Google release sounds like another one of those PR pumping Wall Street-oriented strategies, even though it could be something that Harman could easily build.
I'm getting tired of companies who have more easy money than anyone could have dreamed of, making all sorts of "futuristic" announcements and make every other serious engineering efforts look like they don't matter. Like they exist in a parallel dimension... and the rest of the world exists in slow motion. It's telling that this announcement involves Harman, a company who actually "makes" things and consistently delivers nice products (to be smacked by Wall Street when it actually makes money), while the world around us dreams of AI, VR, and machines we have to scream at.
This Wi-Fi speaker was apparently a failed experiment, designed in Samsung's state-of-the-art audio lab in California. Then, Amazon Echo happened.
In this sort of environment, audio companies who spend serious years of R&D efforts perfecting electronics and designing the best possible pair of speakers or headphones that actually sound great, risk facing consumer's indifference because their products don't respond to voice commands or don't include sensors to measure the heartbeat while we listen to "Ludricous" or some other ridiculously named rapper.
Just recently, I happened to make a quick visit to a large electronics retailer and I noticed a large display of Samsung products. Among the dozen tablets, smartphones, digital cameras, fridges, and washing machines of every conceivable color - and a pedestal with VR goggles - I noticed a dusty and sad-looking Wireless 360 speaker, developed in Samsung's state-of-the-art audio lab in Valencia, CA, lying there in a corner. I remember those being announced at CES 2015 and being introduced a year ago... And now, there it was, disconnected and completely ignored, probably broken already. Apparently, because it doesn't speak... and it's not compatible with the VR Gear. I needed to remember that. So, I whispered a note to my Apple Watch: "Siri, note this: "Samsung speaker on the shelf catching dust."

You Can DIY!
Reamplification Revisited
By Scott Dorsey
In 2014, audioXpress invited Scott Dorsey to update his popular reamping project that modeled the source impedances of a couple typical guitar pickups. He wrote the original article more than a decade ago for Recording magazine. In "Reamplification Revisited," Scott brought us an updated version of his Kludge reamplifier box with added detail. Reamplification continues to be a popular procedure for audio production, allowing recording a direct instrument signal from the guitar or bass during tracking, and later playing that signal back through an instrument amplifier, which provides additional flexibility for later. For this reamp design, Scott made his Kludge reamp box using lumped-sum elements to simulate the source impedance of the pickups. This works well, doesn't infringe on the patent, and is very similar in actual practice. This article was published in audioXpress, January 2015 Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
B&C Speakers DE980TN-8 Compression Driver 
By Vance Dickason
B&C Speakers provided the DE980TN-8 - a high-performance titanium diaphragm neodymium compression driver - coupled with a ME90 horn for this Test Bench. The DE980TN is the latest version of B&C Speakers' 75mm (3.0 in) voice coil, neodymium high frequency driver. The diaphragm in this model has been completely redesigned to incorporate a bent edge voice coil former, new dome and surround geometry and an optimized phase plug. These modifications combine to better control diaphragm displacement and deformations, resulting in lower distortion and a smoother higher frequency response above 10 kHz. The B&C Speakers DE980TN-8's throat diameter is 36 mm (1.4") coupled to a 75-mm (3") diameter voice coil wound with copper-clad aluminum DE980TN-8 has a 1.4" throat diameter, 80° horizontal × 60° vertical, constant-directivity cast-aluminum horn with a solid 900-Hz cut-off frequency. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, September 2013Read The Full Article Online

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