ATC Announces Availability of SCM12 Pro High-Performance, Passive Nearfield Monitors
British loudspeaker specialist and system manufacturer ATC confirmed the availability of its new SCM12 Pro high-performance, two-way compact passive nearfield monitor, as of October 3,2016. As an all-new design, the SCM12 Pro offers ATC's acclaimed performance at a lower price point without compromising component quality and achieves this in a more compact, installation-friendly footprint ideally suited to nearfield monitoring as well as multichannel music and post-production applications.  Read More

OPPO Introduces HA-2SE Portable Headphone Amplifier and DAC
OPPO Digital introduced an updated version of its HA-2 portable headphone amplifier and DAC, the HA-2SE. The digital-to-analog converter (DAC) chip was upgraded to the ES9028Q2M, the top-of-the-line from ESS Technology's SABRE32 Reference series for portable designs. The headphone amplifier has been further optimized for sensitive In-Ear Monitors, with a lower noise floor and higher signal-to-noise ratio over the HA-2.  Read More

Amphion Loudspeakers Creates One12 Studio Monitor Mobile Bundle
Finnish manufacturer Amphion Loudspeakers is announcing a new product bundle that enables producers and sound engineers to take the Amphion sound with them everywhere they go. The compact One12 studio monitor is now available in a bundle with a pair of Amp100 mono amplifiers and speaker cables, all housed in a padded sturdy wooden travel case to ensure easy and safe transportation. The travel set will be presented at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in Los Angeles, CA.  Read More

Solid State Logic Launches Nucleus2 Featuring Dante at AES 2016
Project studios of the world, rejoice. At the 141st Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in Los Angeles, CA, Solid State Logic (SSL) will introduce the Nucleus2, a new version of its successful professional DAW controller, audio interface, and studio monitoring hub. With this new version, apart from a new cool white look, SSL has updated the popular controller with some key features requested by users, and reaffirms the company's commitment to AoIP, with the introduction of Dante network connectivity.  Read More

USB-IF Announces USB Audio Device Class 3.0 Specification for Digital Audio Applications
USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, finally announced the USB Audio Device Class 3.0 specification to establish USB Audio over USB Type-C as the primary solution for all digital audio applications, including headsets, mobile devices, docking stations, gaming set-ups and VR solutions.  Read More

Tessera Technologies to Acquire DTS
Imaging and semiconductor packaging and bonding technologies company Tessera Technologies has announced its intention to acquire DTS, Inc., effectively resulting in the merger of the two companies. The surprising announcement states that the established audio solutions provider has entered into a definitive agreement under which Tessera will acquire DTS for $42.50 per share. The all-cash transaction is valued at approximately $850 million.  Read More

Bluetooth SIG Introduces Updated Line of Developer Toolkits
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) released several updates to its developer toolkit line-up, introducing news tools for Bluetooth beacons, home automation, and wearables. The latest Bluetooth toolkits empower developers to build faster and smarter when creating things such as mobile apps and low-cost beacons, as well as gateways that control IoT sensors, with security and interoperability in mind.  Read More

Audinate Updates Dante Via to 1.1 Adding Multichannel and ASIO Support
Audinate, the company responsible for the Dante audio networking technology, has announced the immediate worldwide availability of Dante Via version 1.1, a major update to its audio networking software. With the update, Audinate increased audio networking application support to 16x16 channels, and added ASIO device support, adjustable source mixes and new Device Lock protection.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Too Late for That "Replacing the Universal 3.5mm Jack" Discussion.

This week, we are at the 141st Audio Engineering Society (AES) Los Angeles International Convention and this is a great chance for anyone interested in meeting us - and our team - at Booth #833. Personally, I'll be walking the show and attending sessions most of the time, but I'll try to stop by the booth as much as possible.
This week I thought I would say a few quick words about the discussion that I see is still dominating in the past two weeks: the demise of the 3.5 mm analog mini-jack.
Some companies are still defending the merits and the future of standard 3.5mm (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) jacks and plugs and are now promoting the new TRRRS, 5-pole standard.
This is something I would never thought I would see discussed by so many people and such important names in the industry... at this moment in time. Especially, because some are saying all the wrong things, like blaming Apple for the "courage." Honestly? After all that's been written about this, some key industry executives and responsible people still think this was an Apple decision
And do you really want to defend the "merits" of the shrinked version of the 1/4" jack?
Most surprisingly, I recently learned that, back in July this year, the ITU-T standardization committee approved a new "recommendation P.382," specifying "critical physical and electrical-acoustical characteristics for the universal headset interface with more than four terminals." This means that the same forum where the decision to kill the analog jack from mobile devices was originated (yes, that's correct) is now updating proposals to promote an "enhanced" version of the 3.5mm audio  jack with five (or more) poles, now specified as the TRRRS 5 pole jack - fortunately, it is compatible with legacy three- and four-pole jacks. This would enable two analog microphones and two transducers to be simultaneously connected to a mobile device, enabling Active Noise Cancelling applications and balanced audio to and from that mobile device.
Some companies are even saying they will bring this effort to the Audio Engineering Society Standards Committee. This will be certain to generate much discussion and will cause some excitement in a few niche audio circles, but certainly not in the mobile industry, where the entire focus of the discussion is now the Lightning and USB-C transition challenges.
Clearly, this is not a discussion about one technology replacing the other. In dedicated audio devices, there is no reason to claim that analog connections are a physical problem. In fact, the professional audio industry would like to kill the mini-jack in favor of other existing larger connectors - and for good reason. The mini-jack is terrible in all user scenarios and the professional audio community hates it. The audio enthusiasts also hate it, for different reasons... And anyway, we are now quickly evolving towards audio networks and IP connectivity, where those large 1/4" jacks and XLR connectors will remain for decades as the analog I/O for IP audio networks. The 3.5 mm mini-jack? I don't believe so: The IT, telecom and mobile industries that promoted it for the last two decades, have already decided to bury it, the CE industry is committed to complete the transition to digital and the audio industry in general doesn't agree on anything as complex as this.

I like this image of the new Apogee Element Thunderbolt interfaces, depicting a typical studio situation these days. Do you see mini-jacks anywhere?

It's funny that I don't see the IT and CE industries discussing another much more pressing question, which is: Why is it taking so long for the industry to push ahead with USB Type-C, leaving a margin for Apple to further expand its superior Lightning connector - on which the USB-C spec was based, and now with several billions of devices already in the market, making it a de facto standard. This, while Apple itself is not very keen on pushing ahead with Lightning or creating a "Lightning vs. USB-C" dispute, since it has already shown that in two years mobile devices will only use magnetic-induction solutions and will promote wireless audio anyway, meaning it will eventually kill the Lightning connector as well.
In fact, just think about what Apple will do with its Mac computers. Apple has already introduced models using only one USB Type-C connector - which is a stupid limitation, forcing users to use external bridges and hubs for everything. In the future MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro models will no doubt provide several Type-C connectors, some of which (or all) will be Thunderbolt 3 ports. This will not be an easy transition for consumers - and there is enough material in that conundrum to write several articles. But one key question remains: Where do I connect my iPhone 7 Apple Lightning earbuds to a 2017 MacBook computer? Will Apple keep the analog jack, forcing us to use the provided dongle? Will Apple introduce Lightning connectors (typical of mobile devices) also on Macs? Will Apple provide an extra USB Type-C connector for audio, forcing us to use small Lightning/USB Type-C adaptors? Does any of this make sense?
The Apple Lightning to USB Type-C conversion cable. It seems simple... but it's not, because this one is used for charging devices.
On the question of why is the industry dragging its feet with the introduction of more USB 3.1 and USB Type-C products. First, because it is always waiting to see what Apple will do. Second, because there are still many unsolved issues for developers and the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) consortium is working on solutions. For instance, the promised USB Audio Device Class 3.0 Specification or USB Audio over USB Type-C was only just finalized. This will enable the establishment of USB Audio over USB Type-C as the primary solution for all digital audio applications, including headsets, mobile devices, docking stations, gaming setups, and virtual reality solutions. But, this also means that we will have to wait another year for products to reach the market in considerable volumes. Until then, there will be lots of sub-standard solutions introduced in the market, confusing consumers.
In my opinion, this idea of using a single connector for many different applications in multiple types of devices will also generate a lot of unnecessary confusion in consumers. Far more than the benefits believed to come out of the "universal" design. This will become clear, when we will see new headphone models shipping with a USB Type-C connector - as Apple did with the Lightning. Eventually, someone will plug those headphones into a charger, because they can.
There are clearly many different calendars in today's technology sector, depending on many different industry forums, and with the engineering community (standards associations) dragging their feet following the lead of the mobile, telecom and IT industries, which in turn are using increasingly the Consumer Electronics channels as a marketing test bed. Sometimes with decisions being taken away from the forums with the proper level of technical knowledge for it - as is the case for the audio engineering community, who are increasingly surprised by decisions that affect them, too late.

The SilentSwitcher - a Kickstarter Project from our Technical Editor Jan Didden
Jan Didden has made a name for himself with the Superregulator, a high-performance linear regulator originally conceived by Walt Jung. Jan and Walt refined the design again and again and now it is a de facto standard for extremely high-performance regulators.
Not content to leave well enough alone, Jan developed a switching version, called the SilentSwitcher. While it may not match the Superregulator in all aspects, it has one very important advantage: No transformer humming along with the music, no high-current pulse rectifiers spraying RF into your circuit, and no large electrolytics. You can supply a SilentSwitcher through a USB charger but, for total mains-freedom, from a battery or a PowerBank.

What Does It Do For Me?
Almost any small signal audio project will benefit from a SilentSwitcher. A RIAA phono preamp, a line preamp with or without tone controls, an active filter, buffers, cross-overs. Electronic volume controls, headphone amps - anything that has op-amps in it. Op-amp and discrete audio circuits almost always run at ±15 V, and even if the are designed for say ±12 V or ±16 V, they will almost always run fine at ±15 V. At 150 mA (or more, see below at powering options), it's enough for all but the most power hungry circuits.
The 6/5/3.3 V output would be ideal for a DAC or streamer with a dedicated controller. The 0.5 A current (up to 1 A with extra power option, see below) goes a long way to power a dedicated unit with a display, some relays, LEDs, and so forth. SilentSwitcher is a very high-performance turnkey power supply for such mixed systems.
The "digital" (6/5/3.3 V) output regulator has less than 0.5 mV noise at 450 mA. The output voltage drop resulting from a load current increase from 300 mA to 450 mA is just 3m V.
From the Vault
Cartridge Alignment for DIYers
By Tom Yeago
Sometimes a protractor or setup table just won't cut it. Setup tables are OK, and alignment protractors have their place. But there comes a time when a vinyl hound can't quite abide them anymore. Maybe you're working on a 1980s-era direct-drive table and find the factory setup is suspect or even way off. Maybe you're an archivist setting up a spare unit for 45 s or 78 s. Maybe you actually build your own arms and want to be completely satisfied that you've got it right. Such satisfaction seldom derives from the odd protractors and other gizmos said to do the job. The fundamentals are easy, or rather, they are once you look at them from the proper perspective. This article was originally published in audioXpress, April 2011.  Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice Coil Test Bench
B&C Speakers DE110-8 Compression Driver 
By Vance Dickason
This Test Bench focuses on a new 1" polymer diaphragm compression driver from Italian OEM pro sound manufacturer B&C Speakers. B&C Speakers' DE110-8 is a new high-temperature polymer diaphragm compression driver coupled with B&C Speakers' ME10 90° × 60° hyperbolic cosine flare horn. The ultra compact DE110-8 joins B&C Speakers' extensive series of 1" throat compression drivers, both in ferrite and neodymium motors. The DE110-8's throat diameter is 25 mm (1") and is coupled to a HT polymer diaphragm with a 36 mm (1.4") diameter voice coil wound with copper-clad aluminum wire (CCAW), with a diameter of only 60 mm. This is an extremely compact 1" throat compression driver, and is 2 mm smaller than B&C Speakers' 0.5" and 0.75" throat compression drivers. Other features include a neodymium ring magnet motor structure; nominal 25-W rated power handling (80 W continuous), an injection-molded aluminum black heatsink, and solderable terminals. B&C Speakers' also supplied its 1" throat 90 H × 60 V hyperbolic cosine flare injection-molded ABS ME10 horn with a 1.5-Hz cut-off frequency. (The new DE110-8 has a close-spaced two-hole mounting pattern that does not match any of the 1" horns in B&C Speakers' horn line.) This article was originally published in Voice Coil, July 2015.  Read the Full Article Online

AX October 2016: Digital Login
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VC October 2016: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More