INDUSTRY & PRODUCT NEWS

Linkplay Experiences Rapid Adoption of Its Turnkey WiFi Audio Speaker Solution Approved With Amazon Alexa Voice Service
Linkplay Technology, a WiFi audio solution provider, and one of the first audio platforms approved for integration with Alexa Voice Service (AVS), hosted 300 attendees from global speaker brands, OEMs, and ODMs for an Amazon Alexa technology summit. The one-day conference held in Shenzhen, China provided an opportunity to educate customers interested in designing and building Powered by Linkplay products with AVS.   Read More


ADAM Audio Returns with New S Series Range of Studio Monitors
Following the 2015 announcement that ADAM Audio was re-launching its business worldwide and the appointment of David Angress to lead the company's efforts worldwide, the company has been generating high expectations. NAMM 2017 provided the first chance to see what the company has in the works, with the preview of its completely reengineered S Series of studio monitors, which are being finalized at the company's headquarters in Berlin, Germany.   Read More

OPPO Digital Announces Sonica DAC and Network Streamer with ES9038PRO 32-bit HyperStream Converter
OPPO Digital announced that the new Sonica DAC is ready for release. Sonica DAC can be used as an asynchronous USB DAC with any computer, as a high-resolution media player, or even as a network streamer playing content from DLNA servers and via AirPlay and Bluetooth. It features an ES9038PRO 32-bit HyperStream DAC, the audio circuitry is powered by a massive toroidal power transformer, and the audio output path is fully balanced.   Read More


QuietOn Promotes Simple Active Noise Cancelling Earplugs
Reduce noise, sleep better, and improve work ergonomics are benefits promoted by QuietOn, a new company based in Oulu, Finland, and one of the companies we met at the CES 2017 Eureka Park, in Las Vegas, NV. QuietOn earplugs are small and have no wires, combining active noise cancellation and acoustic noise attenuation to reduce low frequency "bass" noises, which are not addressed by normal earplugs.    Read More
 
Kii Audio Announces Kii THREE Pro and Kii CONTROL for Studio Applications
Kii Audio has announced the arrival of its first "mini main monitor system," which basically adapts the advanced concept of the original Kii THREE speakers for professional environments. Designed to deal with the real acoustic challenges of the modern studio, the new Kii THREE Pro studio monitors take advantage of all the controlled dispersion technology and linear reproduction, adding the new Kii CONTROL hardware remote, which transforms the Kii THREE into a complete studio system.   Read More


MISCO Advances R&D Initiatives with New Hire
MISCO announced that, as of January 1, 2017, Tom James has joined its engineering group to serve in the newly created role of Senior Engineer of Applications and Design. James is well known and highly respected among speaker designers. Earning his BSEET with Audio Elective degree from Western Kentucky University in 1985, James' practical experience includes more than 30 years in positions conducting loudspeaker development.  Read More


Primacoustic Adds New Honeycomb Panels to Popular Broadway Line
Primacoustic Broadway is a range of high-performance fabric-covered acoustic panels designed for use in applications where superior acoustic performance is desired and safety is of utmost concern. Made from high density 6 lb/ft3 (96 kg/m³) glass wool, Broadway panels have greater density than typical foam panels for balanced absorption throughout the audio listening range. Primacoustic Broadway panels now include a hexagonal option called the "Honeycomb."   Read More


Powersoft Takes Its Deva Division to the Next Level with Appointment of Karl Kahlau
Powersoft announced escalated efforts for the division responsible for its innovative Deva family of automated audio messaging and video devices. Demonstrating the Italian company has more to offer than amplification, Karl Kahlau, one of the company's most senior and experienced managers, relinquished his post as Regional Sales Account Manager (EMEA and India) to head the new initiative as Executive Director, Deva.  Read More






João
Martins
Editor-in-Chief




Editor's Desk


A Decisive Moment for the NAMM Show

The 2017 edition of the Winter National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show in Anaheim will be remembered for both the pouring rain that affected all of California during three of the four show days, while also confirming the reasons why it is one of the best and most vibrant events on the audio industry calendar.
 
More exhibitors, more visitors, and a vibrant show floor at NAMM 2017.

Held January 19-22, 2017, the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of the music products industry was on display among the 7,000 brands and record 1,779 exhibiting companies - a 3% increase in exhibiting companies. Even though we noticed less visitors during Saturday and Sunday (because of the bad weather), the NAMM association claimed that overall show registration increased by 5% to 106,928 from 2016. Certainly, the energy was there and the international presence could be felt - 17,964 visitors from 125 countries - a 13% increase over 2016. Even Yamaha, traditionally isolated in the Marriott hotel facilities said it had "its best NAMM show ever." Among the many sessions and educational events, the TEC Tracks offered a robust schedule of great interest to the audio community in general, contributing highly to the show's vibrant mood.
 
As I've previously stated, the NAMM Show - one of the oldest and best established trade shows in the world - is a unique event as an intersection of the music creation and entertainment worlds with the recording, performance, and sound reinforcement market segments. Add to this the opportunity for brands to reinforce their connections to the music community, enhancing marketing efforts in their lifestyle aspects, and we get a powerful combination that can greatly benefit companies and brands that understand how to leverage this unique convergence.
 
See what Marshall did? A Rock legend converted into a lifestyle brand with headphones, Bluetooth speakers and more...
Undoubtedly, aligned with the markets in general, the Winter NAMM Show is facing tremendous challenges given the disruption of the musical instruments (MI) distribution channels, the very core on which NAMM was founded. Fortunately, in recent years the NAMM Show also reflected the growth dynamics originated by the home studio revolution, while the music industry transitions to completely new models, increasingly focused on live performances and creating a natural stage for a convergence with the professional audio industry.
 
All this is reflected in the way the trade show has been changing, creating significant challenges for the promoters. The ever-changing visitor profile, once centered almost exclusively on the retail channels and "trade buyers," evolved toward direct-access to musicians and the end-client, as the surviving "music merchants" and the manufacturers themselves are increasingly motivated to engage directly with the public, while the distribution activities retract to exclusive trade-only rooms. This results in a crowded (and increasingly noisier) show floor, with an increasing number of stands occupied by small companies and creators attracted by the strong direct-business opportunities, and the upper floors and restrict-access rooms occupied by the larger corporations (e.g., Fender, Gibson, Peavey, Roland, etc.) Not easy to reconcile, especially given that the show continues to grow and is larger than ever.
 
Fortunately, NAMM 2017 was another energetic and successful show, with lots of new products, vibrant business, more education and special events, and a positive feeling of community, innovation, and opportunity. As the NAMM association recognizes, where once guitars and drums filled the halls now the business of professional audio is becoming part of NAMM's DNA. There is no show in the US that better serves to promote professional audio technology to the live sound and entertainment industries. The NAMM Show could evolve in that direction, given the unique expansion opportunities scheduled for 2018, with the opening of the Anaheim Convention Center new North Hall, with two floors, larger than any of the existing halls, and enough rooms to lodge the equivalent number of conference sessions of an Audio Engineering Society (AES) or InfoComm convention, if NAMM so wishes.
 
As usual, audioXpress.com will continue to highlight all the product introductions and relevant stories. From NAMM 2017, I will retain the reinforced message by Avid's Chairman and CEO, Louis Hernandez, Jr., at the first press conference of the show. He said that the most important challenge for its business in this digital, cloud-based, "streaming age," consists of making sure that musicians and creators get paid fairly for their work. It makes sense. Even if Avid continues to push forward with the most advanced cloud-collaboration platforms, and to evolve its industry-standard Pro Tools systems, including promoting education initiatives, and open, tightly integrated and efficient media platforms, their business will be endangered if the creators are not at the core of the industry's economy.

Avid wants to help artists be Heard, Hired, and Paid! Otherwise, no one will be able to afford more Pro Tools!
 
As for show highlights, I will briefly mention some of the positive surprises on the studio monitor front - with smart, innovative, and affordable designs, as it is appropriate for a NAMM Show. Curious that most of the products worth mentioning are products first unveiled at last year's NAMM, now ready for market, or almost. I would first mention the new ADAM Audio S Series, which promises to shake things up in the product segment this year. I would also mention the new KH 80 DSP, Neumann's first studio monitor with digital signal processing in a compact nearfield format that might finally allow the brand some well-deserved attention. A new iteration of a previous design is the new JBL Professional 7 Series Powered Master Reference Monitors, a compact self-powered version of the existing JBL 7 Series line, with the same patented driver and waveguide technologies developed for the flagship JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor. The new 705P 5" and 708P 8" monitors feature a dual 250 W amplification system, onboard DSP-based room equalization, analog and AES/EBU digital inputs, with internal sample rate converters up to 192 kHz, developed with the modern control room in mind.
 
Among the other interesting products that we intend to explore in-depth in future articles, there were lots of great sounding monitors, including Pioneer's active RM-07 and RM-05, featuring TAD-designed coaxially aligned 1.5", aluminum tweeter and Aramid fiber woofers, with an acoustic tube inside the cabinet and bass reflex port. Another intriguing design was the Applied Research & Technology (ART) RM5 Active Studio Reference Monitors, featuring a new design for high performance near field use. With an aluminum "unibody" construction, high-resolution dual opposing passive ring radiators and unique center plug waveguide tweeter, these DSP-processed, 300 W studio monitors deliver an extremely wide "'sweet-spot" in a monitor system. They even feature Bluetooth connectivity and removable heavy duty monitor bases. Intriguing.

Keith R. Klawitter and his new KD Elite Series Reference Monitors.
A major NAMM 2017 highlight was the unveiling of Keith R. Klawitter's new KD Elite Series Reference Monitors. Following last year's unveiling of the new Klawitter Designs' range of studio monitors, the man behind the extraordinarily successful KRK Systems monitors, presented a mature concept for the new generation of studios with the KD Elite Series. I didn't necessarily like the green and gold finishes of the displayed models, but from what we could hear on the noisy show floor, these will be serious contenders in the market. Active speakers designed to be as transparent as possible, with newly designed custom Kevlar drivers, high-power integrated amplifiers, and onboard high-resolution DSP (including an all-digital crossover), the monitors are available in 6.5" and 8" models, along with a complementary 12" subwoofer. The aim is to improve monitor performance in terms of linear frequency response, precise time-alignment with exact phase coherence, and ultra-low distortion. But perhaps as important for the market segment, the KD Elite Series features support for high-resolution audio sources with optional Dante/AES67 network card, and computer control.
 
In another NAMM-related product segment, I would highlight Harman's presentation of the Connected PA concept, introducing the same level of intelligence and personalization that we are seeing in home automation technologies, now directly targeted at musicians on stage, setting up live shows, and consistently getting a better sound. The Harman Connected PA enables users to establish and 
...and the Anaheim Convention Center new North Hall is getting ready for NAMM 2018!
automatically carry their signature sound with them at all times, connecting products from AKG, dbx, JBL, and Soundcraft with a new central app and cloud technology.
 
In 2018, The NAMM Show, to be held January 25-28, will provide an enhanced show experience for all. As the NAMM states, "It's clear that the future of The NAMM Show really is about becoming the crossroads of many communities, all meeting in California to celebrate the business of music and sound." I fully agree.
www.namm.org/thenammshow/2017.

From the Vault
Update a Pair of MTX 5i 5.25" Bookshelf Loudspeakers
By Ron Tipton
 
I recently purchased a pair of MTX Audio Monitor 5i 5.25" bookshelf speakers because I needed small monitors for a new computer. I do some audio restoration so I wanted good sound quality when I wasn't using headphones. I bought these speakers even though several online reviewers mentioned that their midrange frequencies were rather weak. My tests determined that the reviewers were right about the MTX 5i's weakness in the midrange frequencies. I wasn't content to just examine the overall frequency response, so I decided to dig deeper. I measured the response and it was not especially flat, and this - along with the first-order crossover network and the absence of a reasonably flat woofer - convinced me to update the drivers. I wanted to keep the boxes because of their size and appearance. I turned to the Parts Express catalog and I chose Dayton Audio's DC130A-8, a 5.25" woofer, which is a drop-in replacement for the original, and Dayton Audio's ND28F-6 neodymium dome tweeter. The tweeter is a 1.125" unit and is not a direct replacement, but it is close and it is easy to drill new mounting holes. This article was originally published in audioXpress, June 2013.   Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
SB Acoustics Satori TW29RN High-End Tweeter 
By Vance Dickason
 
This Test Bench article focuses on SB Acoustics' Satori high-end line of drivers, the Satori TW29RN. This neodymium 29-mm ring dome features a surround coated cloth ring-type diaphragm, a non-reflective cast-aluminum rear cavity, a two-part aluminum faceplate with integrated mechanical decoupling, dual balanced compression chambers, high saturation neodymium ring type motor magnet with a T-shaped pole and dual copper shorting rings (Faraday shields), a copper-clad aluminum wire (CCAW) wound voice coil, a foam mounting gasket, and gold-plated terminals. Unlike the ring domes from Vifa and Scan-Speak, the SB Satori version does not use an external phase plug. It simply has an indent where the center of the dome is attached to an interior post. Part of the reason for this is that the only thing that was patented on the first Vifa XT ring dome was the phase plug. However, I don't think this patent was ever too rigorously enforced as I have seen several China-made versions. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, February 2016.   Read the Full Article Online

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VC February 2017: Digital Login
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