INDUSTRY & PRODUCT NEWS

Arrow Electronics and Conexant Systems Collaborate on Development of Amazon Alexa-Enabled Smart Home Products
Arrow Electronics has entered into a preferred global agreement regarding Conexant Systems' audio and voice technology solutions. Arrow is not only distributing, but also sourcing components and providing technical design support for Conexant's AudioSmart 2-Mic Development Kit for Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS). The AVS-approved development kit features the Conexant AudioSmart CX20921 high-performance hands-free Voice Input Processor and "Alexa" wake word technology.   Read More


The NAMM Foundation Announces Eight 2017 TECnology Hall of Fame Inductees
The NAMM Foundation has announced eight culturally significant musical inventions and revolutionary products that will be inducted into its TECnology Hall of Fame, Saturday, January 21, 2017, at The NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. Some of the inductees include the Wah-Wah Pedal (1966), the Decca Tree spaced microphone array (1954), Neumann's U67 tube microphone (1960), API Audio's Lunchbox 500-series module housing (1985), and the Neutrik Speakon connector (1987).   Read More


DSP Concepts Announces Multicore Support for Audio Weaver DSP Programming Software
DSP Concepts, a developer of embedded audio DSP solutions, has announced multicore support for its Audio Weaver modular programming software. Audio Weaver can now operate in heterogeneous System on a Chip (SoC) devices that employ multiple cores of different types. The new capability extends Audio Weaver's user-friendly programming environment into more applications, including complex signal processing chains in automotive environmentsRead More


OPPO Releases UDP-203 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player with High Resolution Audio Support
OPPO Digital announced that the highly expected new UDP-203 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player is ready for release. A successor to the award-winning BDP-103 series universal Blu-ray Disc player, the UDP-203 is the latest product released by the renowned manufacturer of high-performance audio video products, and it does exactly what everyone was expecting from such a player, including High Resolution Audio (HRA) support.    Read More
 

AudioControl Adds DTS:X and DTS Neural Surround Capability to Its Home Theater Receivers and Flagship Preamp/Processor
AudioControl has announced the availability of DTS:X and DTS Neural Surround for its Concert AVR-7 and AVR-9 home theater receivers as well as its Maestro M9 theater processor. According to the Seattle, WA, -based company, these multi-dimensional immersive formats enhance performance for consumers in this class-leading home theater lineup and can be added to models already in the field via a simple firmware update.   Read More


Dirac Research Achieves Major Breakthrough in 3D Audio with Dynamic HRTF Technology for AR/VR Applications
At CES 2017, Dirac will introduce the world to its Dynamic 3D Audio solution, featuring patent-pending Dynamic HRTFs (head-related transfer functions) that crack the code of the industry's foremost challenges. The Swedish company, one of the world's leading digital audio processing and sound enhancement specialists, says its Dynamic 3D Audio platform removes a major barrier to a truly convincing immersive AR/VR experience.  Read More

MISCO Acquires and Breathes New Life into Oaktron Speakers
MISCO announced the company has completed its acquisition of the Oaktron division of Mitek. Oaktron will relocate from Monroe, WI, to Minneapolis and will operate as a wholly owned division of MISCO. Oaktron Senior Development and Manufacturing engineer, Nick Leiendecker, will continue with MISCO-Oaktron under the new ownership. Leiendecker's 30 years of experience and dedication to Oaktron will provide continuity of product support and manufacturing for MISCO-Oaktron's customers and products.   Read More


PK Sound Launches Gravity 30 Subwoofer Featuring Powersoft M-Force Transducer
PK Sound has launched the Gravity 30 - a high-power 30" subwoofer. Specializing in large-scale electronic dance music (EDM) events, the Canadian company understands low frequencies and the need to control those extensions in high power systems. Following extensive tests in live applications, PK combined a Powersoft 15,000 W M-Driver amplifier and 30" M-Force driver in a high output compact cabinet, able to replace three dual 18" subs!  Read More





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Guest Editorial


Five-Year Growth of Analog Synthesizers
Analog synth market sees nearly 20% growth in total retail sales since 2010

Following three decades of digital interfaces and sampler dominance, a new generation of musicians desiring a return to warm, pure sounds are fuelling a resurgence in analog synthesizer retail sales. In the past five years alone, Moog Inc., Korg USA Inc., WMD, and other brands that will present their synths and electronic products at the 2017 global music products NAMM Show have helped drive the analog synth market to a 19.9% growth in total retail sales.
 
The data, provided by 2016 NAMM Global Report, underscores a re-emergence of players captivated by the tactile playing experience of analog control surfaces as musicians favor working knobs, faders and other features in lieu of digital displays and computer interfaces.
 
Moog Music at NAMM 2016. Analog synthesizers attracting crowds once again!
"Players are realizing that an analog synth is much more of a real, honest-to-goodness musical instrument," says Dave Smith, founder of San Francisco-based Dave Smith Instruments. Nate Tschetter, Manager of Music Product Marketing at Yamaha adds, "Many are choosing analog because it's immediate, and while analog is definitely 'in,' it's more about the ability to create unique sound and having it sound good."
 
Tatsuya Takahashi, Korg Synthesis Chief Engineer and designer of the company's minilogue synth, understands the importance of unparalleled usability and musicality. "Whenever I design a synth, I try to break down barriers between man and machine - the musician needs to be inspired physically and emotionally to create their own music. It's evident that this thinking has resonated with current trends that turn away from difficult and complicated systems, often inside of computers, in favor of dedicated hardware that often do less functionally, but are great at what they do in a musical way."
 
With professional-grade analog synths ranging from the low-hundreds to several thousands of dollars, Korg and several other makers of electronic instruments are also continuing to meet the demand by releasing new and redesigned synths at price points that are accessible to a variety of musicians of wide-ranging backgrounds. "The power-to-affordability ratio is also phenomenally-favorable to the synth enthusiast," says James Sajeva, director of technology brands at Korg's Melville, NY headquarters. "In the case of a reissue [synth] you can get 'the' sound and workflow for a fraction of what an original - in even remotely good condition - would fetch."
 
For synth pioneer Moog, Inc., the boom in sales at retail is no surprise. The company's list of legendary synth music-makers have included The Beatles, Keith Emerson, and Led Zeppelin, who utilized Moog's music machines designed for a "particular sound and feel that hasn't been duplicated and is musically-desirable." In a departure from the typical trade show approach, Moog Music will use its booth space at NAMM 2017 to honor the staggering number of guiding lights the synth community has lost in 2016. Through a unique digital interactive experience, Moog will encourage reflection and celebration of artists like Pauline Oliveros, Keith Emerson, Bernie Worrell, Jean Jacques Perrey, Isao Tomita, and Don Buchla.

Dave Smith, the founder of Sequential Circuits, developed a new collaboration with Tom Oberheim, and the success was immediate. Pictured is the new OB-6 analog synth during NAMM 2016.

On the whole, electronic music products were one of the strongest performing music product segments in 2015, posting near double-digit retail growth in 2015 at 9.9%. The electronic music products category, comprised of keyboard synthesizers, controller keyboards, electronic pianos, rhythm machines, and electronic drums touted a retail value of $238.3 million in 2015, and this year, the category has already reached more than $155 million through the third quarter. Additionally, digital pianos are enjoying a renaissance and are up 24.38% in retail sales and 13.1% in units sold over the past 10 years.
 
The NAMM 2016 Global Report is designed to offer the music products industry discerning industry trends and opportunities for businesses to shape their vision, business strategies, and seek out new markets. The report is compiled from independent data sources from around the world including The Music Trades magazine and the US Census Bureau. This year's Global Report compiled data from 24 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
 
Dave Smith Instruments, Yamaha, Roland, Korg USA, Inc. Moog Inc., Verbos Electronics, Make Noise, and other multiline product manufacturers will be among the more than 75 exhibitors presenting 260 different synthesizers and related equipment at The NAMM Show, being held in Anaheim, CA, January 19-22, 2017.
 
The NAMM Show gathers 100,000 members of the music product industry from around the world to preview new products from every category of music making. Register for badges to experience more than 6,000 music product, instrument and technology brands, special events, and live entertainment. Free badge deadline is January 4, 2017.

Audio Praxis
The Brave New World of Loudness Control
By Jon Schorah (NUGEN Audio)
 
For our readers interested in loudness standards, Jon Schorah provides a great article about Loudness Meters and Measurements. If someone can discuss this topic with extensive experience both in understanding the norms and cutting-edge implementation of corresponding loudness tools it is Jon Schorah. Schorah is the creative director and co-founder of NUGEN Audio, one of the world's leading manufacturers of loudness products. Schorah has a background in mastering and engineering and has considerable experience in wider aspects of the industry. While developing his company's extensive range of loudness metering and correction tools, his work focuses on product design with a particular interest in the usability and workflow aspects of audio software. In this article written for audioXpress, Schorah states: "Establishing a post-production workflow that integrates loudness normalization leads to improved audio quality, with compliance becoming an integrated and natural part of the creative process. The practice of loudness compliance leads to better audio consistency and enables a greater dynamic range with the introduction of more headroom resulting in the opportunity for more creative expression. Thanks to loudness normalization, there are fewer complaints from consumers, which means that the changes are headed in the right direction so far. Now it's time to start refining solutions for loudness control and build on the solid foundation already established." This article was originally published in audioXpress, February 2014.   Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
Eminence Maverick Guitar Speaker 
By Vance Dickason
 
This Test Bench article focuses on a new and extremely clever variable Bl 12" diameter guitar speaker from Eminence - the 12" Maverick, from the Eminence Patriot series, which uses the new Flux Density Modulation (FDM) technology. Readers may not be aware of certain techniques artists use to get some of the unique sounds out of a guitar amplifier and speaker. Basically, you need to understand that tube guitar amplifiers sound different at different volume levels. When a guitar tube amplifier is turned up to 10 on the volume control (11 for Spinal Tap), and tubes are at maximum output (with the plates starting to glow), you get some really desirable distortion characteristics that have become the signature of blues and rock guitar playing. The problem comes into play when you just want to practice in your living room, or when you are in the studio. Playing that loud isn't necessarily comfortable in those situations, so guitarists needed a way to stress the tubes in a guitar amp, but not be loud. A power attenuator, which has been on the market for many years, is electrically connected between the tube amplifier and the speaker to attenuate the high voltage output of a tube amp and decrease the volume of the speaker. That said, the new Eminence FDM technology is essentially a tricked-out guitar speaker that accomplishes the same task, turning down the volume of the speaker when the amp is turned up loud. Disregarding the FDM control knob, the Eminence Maverick is a typical guitar speaker constructed on a stamped frame. The cone assembly consists of an uncoated and ribbed paper cone with an integrated M-shaped paper surround, and a 3.5" diameter Zurette porous cloth dust cap. Remaining compliance is provided by an elevated cloth spider. The cone assembly is driven by a 1.75"voice coil using round copper wire wound on a non-conducting polyimide former. Powering all this is a 38 oz. 130 mm × 19 mm ferrite magnet, sandwiched between the black coated plates. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, January 2011.   Read the Full Article Online

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