B&C Speakers Introduces New MBX Woofer Series
B&C Speakers has just introduced its new MBX series of mid-bass woofers, available in 6", 8", and 10" frame sizes. Designed as a solution for two-way systems and multi-driver applications, according to the Italian manufacturer, the new MBX woofers offer a balance between low and mid frequency reproduction, with high sensitivity for reduced amplifier current requirements. All woofers feature a neodymium ring magnet, copper-clad aluminum voice coil wire, ventilated voice coil gap, and an aluminum demodulation ring.  Read More

inMusic Brands Set to Acquire Renowned Audio Manufacturer Rane Corp.
Highly regarded maker of innovative audio products and solutions for the professional audio and DJ markets, Rane Corp. is to join inMusic's lineup of companies. According to the announcement released by Jack O'Donnell's group of companies, Rane co-founders Linda Arink and Dennis Bohn have agreed to sell Rane Corporation to inMusic, LLC. inMusic Brands announced that the transaction is set to be completed this summer. After the sale, Arink and Bohn plan to step down and retire.  Read More

Worldwide Home Audio Market is Growing Thanks to Bluetooth Speakers
Futuresource Consulting has just completed its latest research into the worldwide home audio market. The key findings indicate worldwide demand for home audio products continues to grow. New entrants Amazon and Google are creating innovation challenges to which the audio industry is responding, creating increasing consumer awareness for wireless speakers and connected applications. The report also confirms that, in 2015, Harman/JBL held the position of top home audio brand with an 11% unit share, while Bose was the leader in terms of revenue with an 18% share.  Read More

DPA Microphones Announces Kalle Hvidt Nielsen as New CEO Beginning September 1, 2016 
DPA Microphones announced that Kalle Hvidt Nielsen will become the company's new chief executive officer starting September 1, 2016. Nielsen will succeed interim CEO, Thorsten Reuber, who has managed the company since January 25, 2016. Nielsen comes to DPA Microphones from Topsil Semiconductor Materials A/S, where he has held the CEO position since 2011. Previously, Nielsen occupied CEO positions at Bang & Olufsen A/S and Brel & Kjr Sound & Vibration Measurement A/S.  Read More

Sennheiser Introduces PXC 550 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones with Up to 30 Hours Battery Life
Sennheiser just upped the ante on the wireless headphone market with its new PXC 550 wireless noise-cancelling model with Bluetooth 4.2. Designed for travelers seeking the ultimate way to travel, the new Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless combines Sennheiser's renowned high-quality sound and up to 30 hours of battery performance in a sleek wireless design. The German company also combined personalized listening experiences on the move using Sennheiser's companion app, CapTune.  Read More

Doppler Labs Takes Hearables a Step Further with Here One Wireless Earbuds
As we said previously, the race is on for the winner of the full-wireless earbuds challenge. Doppler Labs is the latest contender with its Here One hearables, promising "The Future of In-Ear Computing." The difference is this is not your typical crowdfunding project, but a company working for the past three years to perfect the Here One concept, exploring the full potential of personalized wireless earbudsRead More

Fulcrum Acoustic Unveils New CS118 Subcardioid Subwoofer
Fulcrum Acoustic consistently delivers high-performance professional loudspeaker technologies and InfoComm 2016 was another opportunity for the company to demonstrate new designs. This time, David Gunness and team have introduced the CS118 Subcardioid Subwoofer module. The C118 incorporates Fulcrum's patent-pending Passive Cardioid Technology to effectively reduce excessive rear low-frequency radiation without requiring additional amplifier channels or additional transducers to control low frequencies.  Read More

Cirrus Logic Announces Reference Platform for Lightning-Based Audio Development
With the market preparing for a major transition to digital audio connections using USB-C and Apple Lightning interfaces, audio companies are faced with a dilemma. Either they wait until the USB Implementers Forum finishes and publishes its final USB class audio specification for USB 3.1, or they start developing for Lightning-based systems, knowing that they will have an head start and products on the market (at least for Apple's platforms). With this in mind, Cirrus Logic just announced a new MFi Headset Development Kit that simplifies design of Lightning-based audio accessories.  Read More


Editor's Desk

It's Always Good to Know!

This 24-bit/96 kHz logo was created in 1995!
 It was used by high-resolution audio pioneers Data Conversion Systems (DCS)
It just made me feel sad to recently read a post in an audio engineering forum questioning "is it worth recording anything more than 16-bit @ 44.1 kHz?" "Because people say there is no audible difference in high-resolution audio," the post added.
I started dealing with audio in the 1980s and I confess it took me a few years to buy my first CD player, in the early 1990s. So, I was still "educated" with analog, facing the challenges of recording four tracks in a cassette tape and dubbing to quarter-inch reels. Later on, I was lucky enough to learn more about high-quality analog recording in studios and I was already in business when digital recording started to replace analog reel to reel. Analog was a challenge and the problems were known: hum, tape noise, hiss, wow, and flutter... But I never forgot the experience with my first CD player.
At the time I was already familiar with DAT recording and I thought it was a great improvement, especially for source recording. But when listening to my first CDs at home - connected to my modest amplifier (analog inputs only) and speakers - I couldn't help feeling disappointed. The music sounded harsh, cold. Much of the emotion was not there. That led me to exchange the CD player, buy another amplifier with digital inputs, change speakers, etc. There was no doubt, the "sound of digital" was clean but there was something wrong.
Fortunately, because I was already working in the audio industry, I witnessed the discussions about better A/D and D/A converters introduced at Audio Engineering Society (AES) conventions. Gradually we were all exposed to better conversion devices, evolving to 18-bit, 20-bit and finally 24-bit, dither, noise-shaping, UV22, etc. I could also compare all the evolving digital recording formats, from DASH to the first hard-disk recorders, DCC and Mini-Disc introducing compression, ADAT, the very first Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs), and new playback formats, Super Audio CD (SACD), DVD-Audio, and so forth.
In 1995, Studer released the D827 48 Track DASH recorder, which was also able to record 24 tracks in 24-bit at 48 kHz.
Along the way, pulse code modulation (PCM) evolved from 16-bit to 24-bit recording and higher sampling frequencies were introduced, with 24/96k becoming the standard in location recording, DAW's, and mixing and post-production "in the box." Quality in the studio was finally up there, even if now and then an analog side-chain was introduced. Even in home studios, we gradually evolved to nice sounding solutions where we could finally feel the effect of superior dynamic range, allowed by the higher resolution recording and the freedom to mix, process and bounce at will, thanks to higher sample rates.
I eventually bought a CD player with reasonable converters and shortly after that I bought a Sony SACD player. For the first time, I was able to listen to recordings at home - in CD or SACD - which translated all the same sense of space, clarity and... the quality I had felt in the studio or heard in presentations, so many times. Not all music was the same, of course. Many of the problems of early digital 16-bit recordings were... in the recordings, not my playback system.
I also learned how many of the electronic music instruments were sampled at very low resolutions and that in so many famous popular albums the use of excessive dynamic processing and low-quality digital effects ("lo-fi" is still an ongoing trend among musicians, believe it or not) was creating the exact opposite of what should be considered high-fidelity.
Because I also worked in broadcast and I was familiar with codecs used for transmission, I was not surprised when the first flash-based audio playback devices with limited storage had to use heavy compression and suddenly the whole "perceptual encoding" effort took the audio industry by storm. For years, many professional recordings were made using highly compressed Mini-Discs and other compressed formats because of limited storage capacity. Of course, no one expected MP3 to become widespread and that Napster would happen... But that's a different story.
With Super Audio CD (SACD) and Direct Stream Digital (DSD), we could finally talk about high-resolution audio at home - and boy what a difference!
What I didn't expect was that life would take me, 20 years later from the early days of 24-bit, directly to an industry debate about "high-resolution audio" in the consumer space and about hearing music "the way the artists intended" or "as it was heard in the studio." I can't help feeling amused when those sentences are used in high-end shows... when in fact we know so little (or nothing) on how those recordings where made and what exactly we are playing.
I know this type of discussion - like the discussions around vinyl or analog vs. digital - will never go away, because people will continue to compare apples and oranges. That's why I think the AES made the right call when it decided to send out a press release highlighting a new study published in the June issue of the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society (JAES) by Dr. Joshua Reiss of the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
As Dr. Reiss says: "One motivation for this research was that people in the audio community endlessly discuss whether the use of high-resolution formats and equipment really makes a difference."
In this extensive study, which can be freely downloaded here, Reiss painstakingly analyzes data from 18 studies involving 450 participants listening to samples of music in different formats. In total, the studies involved more than 12,000 different trials where participants were asked to discriminate between formats. The conclusions state, without any doubt, that "listeners can hear a difference between standard audio and better-than-CD quality, known as high-resolution audio," least sixty percent of the time.
Read the complete story.
It's good to know.


From the Vault
You can DIY! The F5 Power Amplifier
By Nelson Pass
In 2008, Nelson Pass submitted an article about the new F5 power amplifier design to audioXpress. At the time, he wrote: "I feel that it's important to support audioXpress, a magazine with which I have a 35 year history, and which also serves as a mainstay for the DIY community. Lately they have kindly printed projects that I had already posted on the web, but I decided that they deserve a little better than that." Effectively, the article and the F5 project had a huge impact on the global DIY community and certainly contributed to the fact that audioXpress is still around today. Following thousands of forum pages discussing the F5, the publication of a diyAudio F-5 Class A Power Amplifier Build Guide, and many subsequent updates, this First Watt amplifier is still going strong. Nelson Pass described it as "a push-pull Class A amplifier, utilizing JFETs and MOSFETs in a simple two-stage complementary circuit - a little bit like a complementary version of the Aleph J. But like all the other First Watt amps so far - this one is different." We hope you enjoy reading, re-reading, or discovering this article, originally published in audioXpress, May 2008.  Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Scan-Speak 5F/8422T01 2" Full-Range Driver 
By Vance Dickason
Scan-Speak's 5F/8422T01, ideal for TV, multimedia, and lifestyle speakers, is part of the brand's Discovery series which offers traditional design combined with a solid construction in a wide range of variants at a reasonable low price point. The Scan-Speak 5F/8422T01 is a 2" diameter full-range driver built on a proprietary injection-molded polymer frame that is fully vented below the spider mounting shelf for enhanced cooling. The cone assembly consists of a one piece cone/dustcap suspended with a foam surround and a black cloth flat spider (damper). For a 2" driver, the 5F/8422T01 has a rather large 26-mm diameter voice coil wound with round copper wire on a titanium former, terminated to opposite mounted solderable terminals. Driving the cone assembly is a neodymium motor with a neodymium ring magnet rather than a slug and a polished milled return cup. A large 15-mm diameter pole vent provides additional cooling. In the 5F/8422T01 literature, Scan-Speak notes that the frame is made in Denmark and all its soft parts are European. As Vance Dickason notes, "Scan-Speak set out to make the best 2" full range on the market, and I think it did quite well with its new 5F/8422T01." This article was originally published in Voice Coil, October 2013Read the Full Article Online

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