Fairlight Announces Decision to Sell its Professional Audio Business and Focus on Licensing
Fairlight.AU, the Australian technology development company best known for its professional audio products that are used by many broadcasters and producers around the world, has announced that it is actively seeking a buyer for its Professional Audio technology and focus on licensing its existing user-interface technologies. Fairlight's OEM licensing business includes patented human-machine interface solutions, Picture Key button labelling technology, and tactile interfaces.  Read More

Knowles Launches Advanced Audio Solution for Hearables and Premium Earphones
Advanced micro-acoustic, audio processing, and specialty component solutions specialists, Knowles Corp., announced the launch of Versant advanced voice technology, an advanced audio solution for hearables and premium earphones that optimizes the user's voice in noisy environments, such as wind or crowds. A first implementation example includes Munich-based, Bragi, which has recently introduced a software upgrade to its The Dash earbuds featuring Knowles Versant technology.  Read More

DTS Announces New DTS:X Encoder and DTS:X MediaPlayer for Blu-ray Disc, Ultra HD Blu-ray or Streaming Media Creation
DTS, Inc. has announced its highly-anticipated DTS:X tools for digital media content professionals, available worldwide the first week of August on the company's website and through authorized distribution partners, Jargon Technologies and Scenarist. The software-based tools enable professionals to create and QC DTS:X immersive audio streams for Blu-ray Disc, Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming media. The DTS:X Encoder Suite includes the DTS:X Encoder and DTS:X MediaPlayer together, with an MSRP of $1,495. The DTS:X MediaPlayer is also available as a stand-alone product and will have an MSRP of $495.  Read More

miniDSP Introduces World's Smallest Dirac Live Hardware Processor 
miniDSP introduced the DDRC-24, a USB DAC+DSP Digital Room Correction processor powered by Dirac Live, featuring Toslink, analog inputs and up to four processed outputs for 2.0, 2.1, or two-way active speaker configurations. With the smallest Dirac Live hardware processor, miniDSP is making room correction even easier and more affordable, perfect for tuning hi-fi listening rooms, subwoofer integration, tuning mobile applications, and adjusting monitors in recording studios.  Read More

Danley Sound Labs Now Shipping Go-2 Affordable Loudspeaker and Re-Introduces TH-50 Subwoofer
Following a very successful InfoComm 2016 with multiple product introductions and packed demo sessions, Danley Sound Labs is now shipping its new Go-2, an extremely affordable and compact loudspeaker for small-scale applications. The concept was originally introduced at the InfoComm 2015 show in Orlando, FL, and leverages Tom Danley's patented Synergy Horn technology in clever ways, demanding extensive development and testing. Another recent announcement from Danley was the return of the TH-50 subwoofer, originally introduced in 2007, now again in production.  Read More

d&b audiotechnik Joins AVnu Alliance
German loudspeaker systems manufacturer, d&b audiotechnik, has announced it has joined the AVnu Alliance, the industry consortium that fosters the adoption of Audio Video Bridging/Time Sensitive Networking (AVB/TSN) protocols and an open ecosystem of certified products. The announcement comes in the wake of strong momentum for AVB/TSN IEEE 802.1 standards at the recent InfoComm 2016 showRead More

RaspTouch Open Source Audio Player Combines Raspberry Pi 3 and ESS Sabre DAC
There are all sorts of projects on Kickstarter, including those for electronics and DIY audio enthusiasts. French company Audiophonics has successfully funded a combination of both, leveraging the Raspberry Pi 3 and ESS Sabre DACs in its RaspTouch Open Source high-end audio player and DAC with touchscreen. Those interested still have a few hours left to pledge for one of the available options on Kickstarter, from the simple aluminum chassis to a complete kit and top ES9018K2M output DAC.  Read More

3D Sound Labs Launches Challenge for 3-D Spatial Audio Application Development
3D Sound Labs, the French startup and pioneer in 3D sound, is announcing a contest for mobile developers and calls on creative minds to shape the 3-D sound smartphone apps of tomorrow. The 3D Dev Challenge summons participants to develop an innovative app (iOS or Android) using 3-D audio. Contestants can send their projects until late September 2016. Winners will be awarded a total price of 10,000 euros (approximately $11,000).  Read More

by Tom Perazella

First Look

2016 Midwest Audiofest
Speaker Design Competition

Under $200 winner "DCT-1 by AcoustaKip," by Shawn Kipka
What do 45 home-built speaker entries and more than 80 enthusiastic DIYers equate to? A fantastic two days at the Midwest Audiofest Speaker Design Competition. Sponsored by Parts Express and held in Springboro, OH, at a venue around the corner from its offices, this year's competition spanned two days, starting the evening of July 8 and continuing into July 9. This will be only a taste of that event with an in-depth report to come at a later date.

The Midwest Audiofest Speaker Design Competition has been held for 12 years. To sum up the 2016 event, when I first saw the entries I was completely blown away with the range of sizes, design philosophies, and finishes. To make things interesting there were four categories in the competition, total cost of drivers for a pair under $200, total cost of drivers for a pair over $200, all drivers sourced from Dayton Audio (the house brand of Parts Express), and unlimited.

Open Unlimited winner "Stink Eyes," by Nick Santorineos
Entries were judged on performance in five categories; craftsmanship, originality/design, tonal balance, clarity, and imaging. Rankings ran from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Each of the judges submitted 1-minute music segments that they thought would be good for testing. Those were reviewed and four sets of three segments were selected to match the expected capabilities of each category. All speakers in each category were auditioned using the three selected segments for that category in the same order. Before each entry was auditioned, a pink noise track was used to set the same output level, offsetting any sensitivity differences assuring an even playing field.

The evening of July 8 was reserved for a Meet and Greet where the contestants mingled and swapped stories and got to know the judges. There were three judges-Jerry Mcnutt from Eminence Speaker, Tom Danley from Danley Sound Labs, and myself, Tom Perazella from audioXpress. All three of us have extensive experience in speaker design and testing. Following that, competition began with the unlimited group.

Dipole speaker with push-pull dipole bass
As soon as the first entry began playing, it was very clear that we had something special here. Additional entries generally confirmed those first impressions. After attending many shows and hearing some commercial speakers that promised much but sometimes did not deliver, it was very refreshing to hear so many of these speakers perform so well. I just kept saying to myself this is phenomenal.

The next day the anticipation was high to see if the level of quality carried over to the other groups. I won't keep you waiting, it did. Although in some cases, performance was limited, especially in the under $200 category which is understandable, I was impressed at the level of performance in each category. Especially considering the Draconian restrictions that can occur when dealing with a less than $200 total driver price limit for a pair of speakers. It was hard to believe how high the performance was in that category.

In summary, DIY is alive and well! All of the contestants can hold their heads high and revel in the knowledge that they really get it when it comes to building great speakers.
Congratulations to all of the Midwest Audiofest Winners!

Here are the winners of the 2016 Midwest Audiofest Speaker Design Competition
Under $200
1st Shawn Kipka
2nd Paul Kittinger
3rd John Hollander
Over $200
1st Dan Neubecker
2nd James Putti
3rd Dan Poinsett
Dayton Audio
1st Thomas Zarbo
2nd Kevin Kendrick
3rd John Hollander
Open Unlimited
1st Nick Santorineos
2nd Ron Erickson
3rd Dean Arno.

Show Report
The Exciting Sounds of Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) 2016
By Oliver A. Masciarotte
In this show report for audioXpress, Oliver Masciarotte highlights some of new and notable products, from headphones and DACs to amplifiers and (some) speakers that caught his attention. "A placid six-hour drive brought my trusty hybrid and its passengers from the Twin Cities to the suburbs of Chicago for another spring exploration of the new and novel in high-end consumer audio. Held April 15-17, AXPONA 2016 was hopping, with attendance up 16% this year. The count settled at 5,934 attendees through the doors to see 400 exhibitors in Rosemont's Westin O'Hare." This article was originally published in audioxpress, July 2016.  Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Spotlight
Acoustic Simulation of Audio Devices with Actran Software 
By Diego Copiello
(Technical Marketing Manager, Free Field Technologies)
Loudspeaker design is not a trivial exercise, and as a result, high-performance acoustic simulation software is essential to get accurate predictions that help an engineer develop superior products. Demand for simulations at early design stages are increasing because cost and timing constraints make it impossible to prototype and test every design idea and much can be learned from simulation results, which cannot be obtained in the test chamber. Acoustic simulation software enables audio system manufacturers and integrators to determine the acoustic performance easily, accurately, and early by providing detailed information about what to expect before hardware is built, and more importantly, why because simulation illuminates the physics involved in each design. Second, a simulation enables designers to rapidly evaluate several different configurations at initial stages of product development and enables the assessment of complete system performance to ensure superior audio quality. Actran, MSC Software Company's acoustic simulation solution is based on Finite Element Analysis (FEA) technology. It provides predictive simulation capabilities to assess the vibro-acoustic performance of audio devices, which include speakers and microphones. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, October 2015Read the Full Article Online

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