Audionamix Releases Version 3 Upgrade for ADX TRAX Pro, ADX TRAX, and ADX Vocal Volume Control Plug-in
Audionamix officially released the highly anticipated version 3 upgrade to the full ADX audio source separation product line. ADX TRAX Pro 3 and ADX TRAX 3 boast faster separation processing speeds, new STEMS file format export, consonants annotation tool, and zoom-to-fit options; all of which enable users to work smarter when separating and isolating melodic content within a mono or stereo mastered mix. Read More

Waves Audio Launches Nx Head Tracker via Kickstarter Campaign
Earlier in 2016, Waves Audio announced its Nx software technology that applies panoramic audio imaging to stereo headphones, opening the door to applications in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D mixing, and much more. Waves Nx lets users hear the same natural depth, natural reflections, and panoramic imaging heard from speakers in a physical room, but on headphones. Now, Waves has decided to launch a new Kickstarter campaign, allowing the audio community to get a stake in this innovative technology.  Read More

PKparis Releases K'asq Wireless Earbuds with 5 Hours of Continuous Play
Another company has launched a new attempt to break the full-wireless earbuds challenge. This time, French start-up PKparis launched the K'asq Bluetooth 4.1 stereo wireless earbuds, featuring the industry's longest battery life: 5-hours on-the-go to listen to music or calls. The PKparis earbuds also combine high-quality sound with up to -40% noise reduction, an anti-fall system, IP55 waterproof, and a clever USB 2.0 chargebox providing 8 hours extra charge.  Read More

Microchip Announces Next-Generation Bluetooth 4.2 Solutions with Easy-to-Use Interface and Embedded Scripting Capability 
Microchip Technology announced two next-generation Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) solutions with an easy-to-use ASCII-style command interface that makes the devices easy to configure and eliminates any complicated code compiling. The RN4870 and RN4871 support the latest Bluetooth 4.2 specification and have a Bluetooth stack on board with a scripting engine to enable standalone operation and eliminate microcontroller (MCU) use for simple applications.  Read More

COMSOL Announces Latest Release of COMSOL Multiphysics and COMSOL Server Simulation Software Environment
COMSOL announced the latest release of its COMSOL Multiphysics and COMSOL Server simulation software environment. Hundreds of user-driven features and enhancements to COMSOL Multiphysics, COMSOL Server, and add-on products have been implemented with an emphasis on accuracy, usability, and productivity. From new solvers and methods, to application design and deployment tools, COMSOL software version 5.2a expands the electrical, mechanical, fluid, and chemical design and optimization capabilities.  Read More

Focal Introduces Three New High-End Headphones Including Utopia Reference Beryllium Driver Model
Leading French speaker and headphone manufacturer Focal unveiled its newest line of three premium headphones; Utopia, Elear, and Listen. The result of more than 35 years of development and manufacturing of loudspeakers, Focal's new high-end headphones include the Utopia Reference open-back headphones, using the first beryllium driver especially designed for such applications. Other models include the Elear open-back headphones and Listen over-the-ear for the on-the-go user.  Read More

Decibullz Introduces First-Ever DIY Custom-Molded Wireless Earphones
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Decibullz Custom Audio introduced its industry-first retail-version, do-it-yourself custom-molded wireless earphones, providing balanced sound combined with exceptional noise isolation. Decibullz uses unique thermoplastic custom-fit earpieces made for mobility, complementing its earphones machined out of a solid block of aluminum, and takes advantage of aptX high-quality Bluetooth streaming.  Read More

Dynaco SCA80Q Gets Improved Power Amplifier Section Upgrade Kit
The Dynaco SCA-80Q was an integrated amplifier that combined a preamp based on the PAT-4 with a power amp based on the Stereo 80. The combination was dubbed the SCA-80 Integrated Amplifier. At some point, the Dynaco Quadaptor function was built in, and the result was the SCA-80Q. Now, Dynaco fans have a reason to rejoice. Updatemydynaco announced a kit to replace and upgrade the power amplifier section of the SCA80Q. Building the kit is much easier than trying to repair the original modules, and the result is much improved sound.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Bluetooth 5. This is Huge!

Will Bluetooth devices work on a 400 meter (1312 ft) range and reach 3 Mbps sustained data rates?
As I mentioned on The Audio Voice last week, as expected, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced an exciting Bluetooth update
The next Bluetooth release will be called simply Bluetooth 5, and it was predicted to be able to double in range and quadruple the speed of the previous Bluetooth Low Energy (4.2), while also providing significant new functionality for connectionless services such as location-relevant information and navigation, propelling "the adoption and deployment of beacons and location-based services."

As confirmed in the official release published last week, in reality Bluetooth will quadruple range (not double), double in speed (not quadruple), and increase data broadcasting capacity by 800% (key for beacon and location-aware applications). As stated in the announcement, the new specification will be mainly focused on Internet of Things (IoT) emerging technologies. That means allowing for "connectionless" IoT (no need for pairing), advancing beacon and location-based capabilities in home, enterprise, and industrial applications. Still, as I wrote, Bluetooth 5 could have huge implications for audio streaming and wearable applications.
Independently of the focus of these improvements being IoT - in fact, the same focus since Bluetooth Smart and Low Energy implementations in Bluetooth 4.x - we need to remember that Bluetooth was developed from the start thinking about limited voice and data applications. However, that didn't prevented the industry from applying it to every other conceivable application, including personal networks, audio streaming, and even video in CE devices, albeit the current effective peak data rate being typically 3 Mbps in ideal conditions and close proximity range (where personal applications and wearables make sense anyway).

Whatever the effective data throughput gains will be with Bluetooth 5, it will be a welcome improvement over existing standard audio profile limits. With the audio industry clearly committed to Bluetooth for personal audio applications, doubling of effective data rates would allow ample margin for current compressed codecs, such as CSR's (now Qualcomm) aptX technology, which currently allows transmitting 16-bit, 44.1 kHz audio at 352 kbps with a 4:1 compression ratio (stereo 24-bit, 48 kHz at 576 kbps for aptX Enhanced), or even for Sony's LDAC technology, which is limited to 990 kbps but supports 24 bit/96 kHz streaming (660 kbps for 16-bit, 44.1 kHz).

If we could effectively evolve to something closer to 2 Mbps, or even 3 Mbps effective sustained data rates, at a reasonable range for home applications, this would allow evolving to uncompressed 16/44.1 transmission or even high-resolution 24/96k with lossless compression codecs - and make Bluetooth speaker applications really takeoff.

Audio Technica AT-SR5 BT headphones. There's no doubt that Bluetooth audio applications have captured the consumer's imagination like no other technology.
But let's not forget the "low power" focus. As the industry has been consistently announcing the race is on for the future of truly "hearable" battery-operated devices, which will feature increasingly sophisticated sensors and microcontrollers to match. So, balancing data rate with range and low power is truly critical.
Another interesting aspect of the new Bluetooth SIG core specification announcement is the fact that the technology will be consistently gaining ground in areas where faster Wi-Fi technologies ruled until now, while simultaneously distancing from low power wireless technology alternatives (ZigBee, ULE, LoRa, and others). This is essential for IoT and could allow ample space for improving the reliability of full-home applications.
Unfortunately, the announcement also leaves us with lots of unanswered questions, such as if the convergence with 802.11 will continue, or how far will the new standard evolve towards IPv6 over low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN) implementation, and what improvements could we actually see on latency. All those could have huge implications in future implementations in complementing music streaming services access, currently only possible over Wi-Fi.
What we've learned is that the Bluetooth SIG (now encompassing 30,000 member companies) intention is "to significantly expand the quality of current popular applications, overcoming much of the well-know limitations of current standards." Things like extending the range "far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices." As they state, "there are 8.2 billion Bluetooth products in use" today, and the hope is that "Bluetooth 5 and planned future Bluetooth technical advancements mean that Bluetooth will be in more than one-third of all installed IoT devices by 2020."
Sony's Xperia Ear is an example of a new generation of wearable Bluetooth concepts.
Compared to any other technology - and on par only with Wi-Fi - consumer awareness of Bluetooth wireless technology is at 92% globally. No other technology, independently of its shortcomings, has captured the imagination of the consumer in wireless applications in consumer technologies in such a way - with home automation and personal monitoring, apart from audio applications, being the bright-spots in the short term.
The remaining question will be, apart from waiting until "late 2016/early 2017" for the publication of the Bluetooth 5 specifications, how long it will take for the industry to supply the development tools from that moment, considering that Bluetooth v4.2 was released in December 2014 and we are only now seeing general availability of platforms being announcedI know audio is clearly a very small part of this equation, but I would certainly hope the chip companies are smart enough to understand that this would be their most impactful opportunity in the short term.
Also, considering the announcements made recently by a certain company in the area of wearables and home automation, I wouldn't be surprised if there was - once again - a significant favorable push from the sides of Cupertino.

Fresh from the Bench
KAB Electro Acoustics RSX-1 Remote Analog Switch
By Gary Galo
Running out of inputs on a preamplifier or integrated amplifier can be a problem. Collectors who play all types of disc records often have two turntables - one for LPs and 45s and another for 78s - but only one phono preamplifier. Others may have two different turntable/arm/cartridge setups just for LPs. A few high-end turntables enable the mounting of more than one tone arm. However, switching audio signals at phono cartridge-levels can be fraught with problems if it's not correctly done. High-quality switches and connectors are essential, but the length of the output leads between the switchbox and the phono preamplifier input is a potential source of trouble. A switchbox needs to be within easy reach, which often means a half-meter or more of output cable. This increases the total capacitance of your tone arm cabling, and can lead to hum and noise problems.
In this article from audioXpress' Fresh from the Bench, Gary Galo reviews the RSX-1 Remote Analog Switch from KAB Electro-Acoustics. This is an effective solution to run multiple different sound sources connected to a single-input preamp or integrated amplifier. Solving a well-known problem, the RSX-1 allows connecting two turntables or different line level sources without compromising our connections. This article was originally published in audioXpress, July 2014
Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Spotlight
Eminence D-fend SA300 
By Vance Dickason
In 2013, Eminence Speaker introduced the D-fend SA300, a fully programmable stand-alone unit designed to protect passive loudspeakers from excessive power conditions. With patent-pending technology, D-fend enables maximum driver performance while ensuring damage-free operation. D-fend eliminates worries about blown speakers, high-frequency drivers, or crossovers; or even worse, fire caused by excessive heat, keeping systems safe as well as the venue and audience. The user simply sets the thresholds and D-fend monitors and limits the amount of input power it passes through to the loudspeaker. It's USB compatible and can be programmed to specifications from a desktop or laptop. Operating from a standard speaker-level signal, the D-fend SA300 requires no auxiliary power unless it is used in low-power applications. D-fend loudspeaker protection is ideal for system installers, PA gear rental companies, OEM manufacturers, and end-users that own passive loudspeakers. This article was published in Voice Coil, October 2013Read the Full Article Online

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