Meridian Reference DAC Unveiled at T.H.E. Show 2016
Meridian Audio announced its new Ultra Digital to Analog Converter (DAC), with considerable connectivity options, user features, and format support. The Meridian Ultra is a 384 kHz/24-bit dedicated DAC capable of playing virtually any recording format including DXD, DSD64, DSD128 (DoP), and MQA. It incorporates dual mono DAC cards, DSP filter options, upsampling, and apodizing. The world's first public showing of the Meridian Ultra DAC will take place at the 2016 T.H.E. Show Newport, June 3-5.  Read More

Amphenol Expands Analog Equipment Connectivity Options for Dante Audio Networks
New Amphe-Dante adapters from Amphenol will debut at InfoComm 2016, breaking ground with the industry's first cable dongle housing design for Dante-enabled audio networking products. The unique solution, available in single-channel or two-channel configurations, allows the integration of analog devices to a Dante-enabled network. The compact design permits installation directly behind speakers or other equipment ensuring a seamless interface to any networked audio system.  Read More

Audio Precision Introduces APx 1701 Transducer Test Interface
Audio Precision announced its new APx1701 Transducer Test Interface. The system integrates instrument-grade amplifiers and microphone power supplies for designers and production test engineers seeking clear insight into the behavior of their electro-acoustic devices. The new APx1701 raises the performance bar for electro-acoustic tests, introduces low-noise, low-distortion and flat-response accessory for loudspeaker, headphone, and microphone measurements.  Read More

Salk Sound Introduces Song3 Affordable Three-Way Speakers 
Salk Signature Sound has introduced a very affordable system with high-quality sound. Jim Salk's new $2,895 per pair Song3 vented three-way floor stander speakers sports a RAAL 64-10 ribbon on top, a 4" bamboo cone mid, and a Satori 7.5" Egyptian papyrus woofer. Two years in design, the newest addition to Salk's product line was auditioned for the first time at the AXPONA 2016 show in Chicago and is now shipping.  Read More

"Ask the Acoustics Experts" Program Launched by PCB Piezotronics
PCB Piezotronics announced the launch of the "Ask the Acoustic Experts" program. This program connects people with acoustic measurement and acoustic sensor questions to PCB's worldwide team of technical experts. "Ask the Acoustic Experts" is designed to assist both those who are new to acoustics as well as seasoned acoustic engineers. Questions can be submitted online or emailed.  Read More

L-Acoustics Launches Ultra-compact Kiva II Line Array
L-Acoustics announced the launch of the Kiva II, its most recent ultra-compact modular line source, adding 6 dB of maximum SPL vs. its predecessor, maximized amplifier density with 16 Ω impedance and a new rugged enclosure material. The first showing of this high quality sound reinforcement solution will take place during Infocomm 2016, June 8-10, in Las Vegas, NV.  Read More

Aerial Acoustics Model 5T Makes First Public Appearance at T.H.E. Show Newport
Aerial Acoustics, T+A, Audioquest, Sunny Components, and HRS will team up during T.H.E. Show Newport 2016, June 3-5, in Room 1217, to create the first public audition of the next-generation bookshelf from renowned designer Michael Kelly. The new compact Aerial Acoustics 5T shares the same curved cabinet construction, high gloss finish, and the same 1" tweeter of the floorstanding Model 6T and Model 7T designs. Custom-made for the 5T is a new 6.7" long-stroke papyrus-blend driver.  Read More

QSC Introduces Pendant Loudspeakers, New Amplifiers and Q-SYS USB-to-AV Bridging at InfoComm 2016
Two new models in the QSC installed loudspeaker portfolio will debut at InfoComm 2016, June 8-10. The new Acoustic Design Series Pendant Loudspeakers will be demonstrated at the show together with QSC's new Q-SYS USB-to-AV Bridging solution, now featuring PTZ-IP Cameras and peripherals for corporate AV applications. The Costa Mesa, AZ-based company will also introduce two new SPA Series amplifiers suited for meeting room applications.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Do You Think It Was Apple's Decision to Drop the 3.5 mm Jack? Think Again!

Did you read/hear one of the many rumor stories about the removal of the 3.5 mm audio "due to Apple's fixation on making devices slimmer?" Well, we all did, and the rumor has a reason. It's true! The only minor detail is: It wasn't just Apple on that one. To the surprise of many in the audio industry, the decision was taken in consensus among the powerful companies that decide about consumer technologies these days: the big semiconductor and IT companies and the smartphone makers, of course.

Yes, USB Type-C connectors can be found in devices like this Google Nexus 6P but it doesn't mean is supports USB 3.1 Gen. 2 of even close.
Apple did contribute the technology of its Lightning connector to the USB Implementers Forum (USB IF) and was responsible in great part for the final USB-C connector and specification - which would still be under discussion today if it wasn't for the fact that Cupertino assigned an expanded team of 27 engineers to speed up the process.

Thanks to that, the publication of the USB 3.1 Gen. 2 SuperSpeed 10 Gbps standard was complemented in August 2014 with a new small reversible-plug connector, called USB Type-C, which effectively also replaced the original Thunderbolt connector in the new Thunderbolt 3 specification, the result of a collaborative effort between Intel and Apple.

So, as always, Apple is pushing the envelope - just look at the fact that six months past CES 2016 and despite all the promises from Microsoft and Intel, we are all still waiting for the next generation Thunderbolt 3 computers to be released. As usual, the whole industry waits for Apple to go first...
On the smartphone and tablet front, Apple controls its hardware, software, and even connectors such as Lightning, and that's what makes it possible to have the analog audio jack replaced in iPhones, iPads, and maybe even iPods. In fact, the transition has already started - as we can see from existing headphones (e.g., Audeze's EL8) with Lightning connector.

For all the manufacturers of mobile devices that adopted USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors, their implementation efforts depended on the specifications produced by the USB-IF consortium workgroups - which took longer but are now ready. The problem now, is getting everyone involved to agree on how hardware and software will get in sync, which is a problem Apple doesn't have.

Audeze already sells headphones with fully integrated Apple Lightning cable, featuring 24-bit audio for music and voice.
During CES 2016 - where everything was about USB-C - all this was explained to audioXpress in a briefing with USB-IF executives, Brad Saunders, Architect Strategist, at Intel Corp. (USB-IF chairman), and Rahman Ismail (CTO) also from Intel, currently leading also the audio aspects of the USB Device Working Group.

Since we are approaching that moment of the year when we can expect some Apple revelations about the iPhone 7 and the alleged "3.5 mm jack conspiracy plot", I thought I should share some part of that USB-IF briefing, where we were looking at some existing USB-C prototypes.

As Brad Saunders explained: "Here we are on a phone and we've got this connector (USB-C) and the one connector still remaining is this guy (the 3.5 mm jack). It's too big! And it's analog! I always highlight the fact that, even though it looks narrow as a connector, it's actually fairly wide, because it's an analog design and you have to isolate things from each other. This is really a monster when it comes to volume! And it is the one thing that it's still controlling the form factor, significantly. At least in the depth direction and its placement.

"So, we have been looking at alternatives to that. We always had USB audio. Unfortunately, the latest and greatest version of USB audio is a 10 year old definition! And... the major OS in the world doesn't even support that one! So, essentially what we did was to look at 'what would you do for digital audio with Type-C?' We looked at all solutions! What Apple does on their phone, what other people do on PCs... all of these things. In the end, we decided we should just focus on making USB audio the best that it can be. It turned out that, if properly implemented, you could have a low enough power solution on USB audio using USB 2, to compete with an analog jack - for playback time between a device in sleep, playing back a stream to an audio device plugged into your ears. Why hadn't we done that in the past? Well, the past was PCs and Skype... you know? That's why.

No, this is not the iPhone 7... It was in fact a Nokia N1 tablet, unveiled in 2014 and launched in 2015, and only supported USB 2.0.
"Now, there are sophisticated users, and you can do a lot of cool stuff with USB audio. But most of the people only used Skype with USB. So, essentially what we did is we agreed - and when we say we, I mean all the people on the USB Type-C spec team, including the Apple's and Google's and Microsoft's of the world - that we should get together and work with Qualcomm and others on making this a better solution.

"Right now, Rahman is co-chairing the activity to bring the USB spec up to what we call 2.1, and we're making it contemporary. We are updating all the tables with the latest sampling rates and the latest needs, we're looking at all the solutions..."
Interesting things on the horizon for audio USB, but it looks like this might take some more time. audioXpress will include the full USB-IF interview plus many more details about USB 3.1 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 3, and what this all means for audio in a future Standards Review article. A good reason to make sure you have a subscription of audioXpress is so you can read it first hand!


You Can DIY!
Arduino-Based Tube Power Amplifier Controller
By Mark Driedger
In a nod to the Maker Movement, this project uses a common open-source microcontroller module, the Arduino, to build an automatic power controller for a tube power amplifier. The resulting controller is very simple - a $25 Arduino module, a couple of dual op-amps, a few other components, and a 5-VDC power supply plus some opto-isolated switches. The controller detects an audio signal's presence and automatically powers on the amplifier, stepping through a timed sequencing of filament, driver, and output stage power supplies. It turns off the amplifier several minutes after the audio signal is lost, helping to increase the tube life and preventing unnecessary power cycling. The controller has an override switch to manually turn the amplifier off or on, independent of the audio signal. This article was originally published in audioXpress, February 2015 Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Morel TiCW 1058Ft 10" Ultimate Titanium Series Woofer 
By Vance Dickason
This Test Bench features the TiCW 1058Ft, a 10" woofer from Morel's Ultimate Titanium product line. The TiCW 1058Ft has an impressive feature set that includes a cast 12-spoke (six "double" spokes) cast-aluminum frame that is completely vented (except for the spokes) below the spider-mounting shelf for cooling across the top plate. The 10" Accucenter (Morel's proprietary cone assembly centering system) self-centering cone assembly includes a one piece stiff composite cellular fiber formulation cone with a 120 mm (4.75") diameter cellular fiber dust cap driven by a 130 mm (5.1") diameter two-layer voice coil wound with Hexatech aluminum wire on a vented titanium former. Compliance is provided by a nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) high excursion surround, and a 7" diameter flat cloth spider, both part of Morel's Progressive Field Symmetry system. All this is powered by a rather unique motor dual motor structure that uses two stacked 22 mm thick by 135 mm diameter ferrite magnets on the back side of the front plate with a large copper-sleeved neodymium ring magnet on the front side of the front plate, both located on the inside of the voice coil former. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, September 2015Read The Full Article Online

AX June 2016: Digital Login
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VC June 2016: Digital Login
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