Origin Acoustics and Bang & Olufsen Partnership Announced at CEDIA 2016
During CEDIA 2016, Bang & Olufsen and Origin Acoustics announced a partnership to extend the famous Danish brand's product portfolio with best-in-class passive in-wall and in-ceiling speaker solutions. As revealed by Jeremy Burkhardt - one of the founders of Origin Acoustics, its current CEO, and main engineering visionary - the initial joint effort was launched with the new Celestial in-ceiling range and Palatial in-wall range. "Origin Acoustics is a perfect match to Bang & Olufsen's proud tradition of audio engineering and aesthetics," Bang & Olufsen says.  Read More

ETAL to Introduce Credit-Card-Sized Class D Amplifier at 141st AES Convention
ETAL Group is launching a new high-end Class D amplifier module with a footprint less than a credit card at 141st Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in Los Angeles, CA. During the 2016 AES International Convention (September 29-October 1) the Swedish company will preview its new compact design together with premium Anaview AMS and popular high-end ALC Class D power amplifier modules, which will also be featured at the event.  Read More

B&C Speakers New MBX Mid-Bass Woofers Now Shipping
B&C Speakers is now shipping its new MBX Series. The new MBX series of mid-bass woofers is available in 6.5", 8", and 10" frame sizes. Designed as a solution for two-way systems and multi-driver applications, the new series offers 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, a ventilated voice coil gap, weatherproof hydrophobic paper cones, and an aluminum demodulation ring.  Read More

Michail Barabasz to Speak at The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show 2016 
The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show, now in its second year, will be held October 7, 8 and 9, 2016 at the Nansha Grand Hotel in Guangzhou, China. This year's Loudspeaker Sourcing Show provides a platform for forum talks and presentations from industry leaders and exhibiting companies. The first announced speaker is Michail Barabasz of Lorantz Audio Services. Regarded as one of the best speaker designers in our industry, Barabasz will be speaking about his 40 years of experience in high-end loudspeaker design in Australia.  Read More

Powersoft to Demonstrate Its M-Force System in Los Angeles - September 28 and 29
Powersoft continues its Xperience the Power roadshow series with two Los Angeles-based events demonstrating its M-Force linear motor technology, along with several of its other power amplification technologies. The events, which coincide with the 141st AES Convention taking place at the end of this month, are open to industry professionals on a first-come, first-served basis.  Read More

Sales of Waterproof Bluetooth Streaming Speakers Grow to 30% of Category Sales
Is the Bluetooth speaker market saturated? It all depends of the sales pitch apparently. Simply being portable is no longer enough. Consumers are now looking for specific functionalities that differentiate between models... and the time of year also helps. From June through August 2016, waterproof Bluetooth streaming speaker sales in the US increased 137% vs. the same period a year ago, according to a recent NPD market survey. Next up... Bluetooth speakers with built-in lights for the winter?  Read More

Auro-3D New StormAudio Division Reenergizes Immersive Audio at CEDIA 2016
Belgium-based StormAudio made its worldwide launch at CEDIA 2016 where the company unveiled its line of high-end immersive audio home theater processors and amplifiers. The Home Entertainment and Luxury Audio Division of Auro Technologies wants to push the boundaries of performance in audio electronics, introducing innovations in 3-D audio processing and immersive sound, offering support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D immersive audio formats.  Read More

Sony Unveils First 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player for Custom Installers and Expands ES Family of Audio-Video Receivers
At CEDIA 2016, Sony Electronics announced the addition of four new audio-video receivers to join its current ES flagship model, the STR-ZA5000ES. Designed specifically to meet the needs of custom installers, the STR-ZA3100ES, the STR-ZA2100ES, the STR-ZA1100ES, and the new entry-level STR-ZA810ES support 4K HDR capability and incorporate both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio. Sony also unveiled its ES Series 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player for custom installers, combining 4K video and high-resolution audio.  Read More

Oliver A. Masciarotte

Guest Editorial

High-Quality Audio Streaming Is Possible

We will soon enter a golden age of audio streaming, where high-quality, uncompressed audio is available from a reasonable range of providers for a variety of hardware and platforms. Pipe dream, you say? A trio of market forces is converging on a sort of streaming stasis, and consumers can only benefit...
#1 Mobility
The first factor is new mobile data network standards. Lossless audio streaming via mobile data with current 4G service is possible but not desirable, as most data plans aren't all you can eat. 5G is in the wings, almost ready to supplant our current cellular data service over time. In a June 2016 report, mobile communication specialist Ericsson predicted that, a year after launching four years from now, 5G subscription uptake is expected to be even faster than it was for 4G. Driven by a wide range of use cases for the IoT, audio streaming will benefit from the greater capacity baked into 5G, while "...lower energy requirements will extend device battery lives more than 10 times what we see today."

Ninety percent of subscriptions in Western Europe and 95% in North America will be for LTE/5G by 2021
(Source: June 2016 Ericsson Mobility Report)

#2 New Hardware & Platforms
The explosive growth of dedicated, audiophile network-attached "streamers" and renderers has been nothing short of amazing. From ultra-low cost, Linux on single board, RISC microcontroller-based solutions to costly versions of that same circuitry in fancy casework, you can't move at an audio show without hitting one. Unfortunately, most of them sound as though they were cobbled together without a sincere regard for fidelity.
Not just desktop solutions are in play. In an effort to differentiate their wares from the masses, savvy vendors HTC, Meizu, Samsung, Vivo, and ZTE have released "hi-fi" phones. Most rely on ESS or AKM monolithic DACs, sometimes with additional "audiophile" circuitry and features. These models claim to have higher fidelity sound than the poor excuses for audio most of us have in our pockets. Though I haven't had a chance to judge any directly, some folks I trust have told me these have audible performance improvements.
Audio traffic is increasingly one of the dominant categories in mobile networks. (Source: June 2016 Ericsson Mobility Report)
#3 Streaming Providers
Streaming service providers,,,, and currently stream higher resolution audio. TIDAL has announced Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) streaming at some point, though when they'll throw the switch is none too clear. My guess is they're batch processing 24/7. Another Euro streaming service available only for Sonos is France's Deezer. Back in 2014, they announced Deezer Elite, worldwide lossless FLAC streaming. I'm still waiting on that one...
All of these will create a small but significant pull from the consumer side and, hopefully, the market leaders in each segment will take notice... or not. Apple's Mastered for iTunes program has suggested high-resolution audio (HRA) masters for quite some time. Their guidelines call for "...the highest resolution master file possible," ideally 24 bit, 96 kHz resolution.
During the June 2016 High-Resolution Symposium held at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA, Marc Finer, Digital Entertainment Group's senior director, noted that a number of surveys over the past few years seem to run counter to the prevailing wisdom that consumers don't care about quality. According to Finer, a study conducted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) a few years ago showed that, "Ninety percent of consumers said sound quality is the most important factor; it affects how they
Pioneer's XDP-100R and Onkyo's DP-X1 portable digital audio players both support MQA playback.
listen, when they listen. Sixty percent of those listeners said they would be willing to pay more if they could experience better sound. A lot of people were shocked by this; I know I was."
Subsequent surveys by the CTA and MusicWatch identified two groups prepared to pay for premium quality music. "Besides the tastemakers, the audiophiles, there's another group - the passion fans, largely millennials. They buy music because they care about the artist."
Though I'm far removed from millennials in years, I share their ardor for compelling content. TIDAL, for me, is an exciting and endless rabbit hole of artists new to me, and I can't wait for you all to experience HRA streaming as well.

R&D Stories
Powersoft M-System, From Switched-Mode Amps to a Novel Transducer
By Joćo Martins
audioXpress September 2016 - Speaker Focus Edition - featured an extensive article discussing the surprising Powersoft M-System, which combines the M-Force motor transducer and the M-Drive switching-mode amp module, taking advantage of Differential Pressure Control (DPC) technology among several other innovations from this Italian company. The M-Force/M-Drive project is the result of the company's continued search for new technologies and ideas from innovative concepts, evolving from lightweight, high power, energy efficient, switched-mode technology Class-D amplifiers into a milestone in loudspeaker engineering. This R&D Story explains how Powersoft developed a new transducer technology, currently fully available to the OEM market and being applied to novel subwoofer designs in sound reinforcement applications, and tested in several other application areas. In this article, audioXpress followed the effort - from a Eureka moment to a well-devised solution, which is now available in new cutting-edge solutions from multiple brands. This article was originally published in audioXpress, September 2015.  Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
Wavecor SW146WA01/02 5.75" Subwoofers 
By Vance Dickason
This month I examined two new 5.75" subwoofers from Wavecor. Since Wavecor sent me both the 4-Ω SW146WA01 and the 8-Ω SW146WA02, I will include the 8-Ω SW146WA02 as well. The SW146WA subwoofers are part of Wavecor's rather extensive line of subwoofers, ranging in size from 2.75" to 12". Accompanying this lineup of subwoofers is a broad range of passive radiators with sizes from 6.25" to 12". Wavecor's SW146WA, in both the 8-Ω and 4-Ω versions, have a well-conceived feature set that includes a proprietary four-spoke stamped steel frame that incorporates an eight-spoke/eight-window configuration below the spider mounting shelf. This open eight-spoke region, along with a 13-mm diameter pole vent, provides substantial cooling for the SW146WA. Other features include a stiff flat black coated paper cone, 1.38" (35 mm) diameter convex black coated paper dust cap. Suspension is provided by a low loss (high Qm) nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) surround plus a 3.25" diameter black flat Conex spider (damper). All this is driven by a 32-mm diameter (1.25") voice coil wound with round wire on a black fiberglass non-conducting former. The motor system powering the cone assembly utilizes a single 22-mm × 90-mm ferrite magnet sandwiched between a black plated 4-mm thick front plate and a black plated shaped T-yoke. The SW146WA also uses an aluminum shorting ring (Faraday shield) that reduces distortion caused by eddy currents. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, July 2015.  Read the Full Article Online

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