HEAD acoustics Launches VoCAS Speech Recognition Evaluation Software
German company HEAD acoustics launched Voice Control Analysis System (VoCAS), an efficient software analysis solution for evaluating speech recognition systems. From voice control in vehicles to the use of speech commands for smartphones, tablets, or telephone hotlines, VoCAS allows quick and objective quality evaluation under realistic and repeatable test conditions of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems found in an increasing number of applications.   Read More

Cirrus Logic Introduces Cost-Effective CS47L15 SmartHIFI Audio IC with Advanced Audio Features
Cirrus Logic's newest smart codec - CS47L15 SmartHIFI Audio IC - expands advanced audio features to a wider range of smartphones, including "always on" voice activation and virtual stereo for high-fidelity music playback experiences. The new low-power smart codec allows delivering better audio quality and many of the same advanced audio features found in its premium audio and voice ICs to smartphones beyond flagship models.   Read More

NTi Announces New General Manager and Corporate Transition with Acquisition of NTI Americas Inc.
NTi Audio AG and NTI Americas Inc. announced that effective January 2017 the operations at NTI Americas Inc. will be converted to NTi Audio Inc., a new wholly-owned subsidiary of NTi Audio AG of Liechtenstein. This also reflects the purchase of NTI Americas Inc. and the retirement from NTi of Thomas E. Mintner, the founder and president of NTI Americas Inc. Brian MacMillan has been appointed General Manager of the new entityRead More

Devialet Raises $106 Million From New Investors to Accelerate Growth
Acclaimed French audio manufacturer Devialet, announced $106 million in capital has been raised through a co-investment led by Ginko Ventures with participation from international industrial and institutional investors including Foxconn, Groupe Renault, Sharp Corp., Playground Global, Naver, Roc Nation, Future French Champions, CM-CIC Investissement, and Bpifrance. Devialet has raised $160 million to-date.    Read More

James Loudspeaker Introduces Modular Freestanding Indoor/Outdoor Home-Theater Structure
James Loudspeaker introduced the Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater structure, a dramatically innovative approach to delivering all available surround formats to any environment in a high-performance, fully custom free-standing form factor. The Modular Indoor/Outdoor Theater is a built-to-size aluminum structure to be assembled onsite, housing all of the required loudspeaker components for any surround format. The system is compatible with an array of subwoofer options depending on the décor and acoustic requirements.   Read More

Lautsprechershop to Distribute Anaview Amplifiers following ETAL Agreement
ETAL Group has strengthened its distribution channel in Europe with the appointment of Lautsprechershop to support the Anaview range of Class-D amplifier modules. Lautsprechershop is well known in the audio industry as a supplier of loudspeaker kits and associated equipment including its own range of amplifiers, and already offers a range of plate amplifiers based on Anaview modules.  Read More

ZYLIA Portable Recording Microphone Array Enables Innovative Sound-Source Separation Technology
Directly from Poland comes the world's first spherical microphone that records and separates each instrument and vocals into a separate track. ZYLIA is an innovative and patented recording sound-source separation technology, a complete Portable Recording Studio for multi-track in one integrated solution. It isolates every instrument playing around it and records the results via dedicated software and cloud processing. After some time in the works, ZYLIA is finally available for pre-order.   Read More

IsoAcoustics Launches GAIA and Aperta 300 Speaker Isolation Products
IsoAcoustics's new Aperta 300 speaker isolation stands expand the acclaimed Aperta series, designed to support center channel speakers or studio monitors in horizontal configuration, providing a wider base and supporting up to 60 lbs (27.2 kg). Also new from the Canadian company are the new GAIA speaker isolation feet, designed using IsoAcoustics patented isolation principles, replacing existing ball-casters, cones and spikes in high-end speakers.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Audio Innovation Never Stops

In my previous editorial for The Audio Voice, I highlighted key audio technologies and innovations to watch for in 2017. Of course, it was difficult to just select a few cases and basically I tried to stay away from innovations that are effectively tied to new products or designs. This week, I thought I could highlight a few projects and one company I left out from my previous text, also the result of great suggestions from members of our team.
The first one I was unaware of until our colleague Gary Galo told me about it. I then discovered that the company had already run a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, raising more than half a million dollars. I'm talking about The First Levitating Turntable! From MAG-LEV Audio If ever there was a product to inspire the use of levitation, it is the turntable platter. We've seen turntables that employ every possible method to counter Earth's gravity and even use incredibly sophisticated pendulum mechanisms to ensure the most precise rotation and absolute stability. This is not the intention here. In fact, as Galo commented, "what surprises me is the price - a very reasonable $1,050 US." Effectively, what MAG-LEV Audio tried to do here is to "visually enhance the experience of listening to vinyl records by levitating the platter." The clever but simple design uses magnets to suspend the platter in the air. After all, what's better than air to avoid friction? 

Yes, the platter is floating on air! It's the MAG-LEV Audio Levitating Turntable.

They are still perfecting the mechanism in order to achieve better stability but, as their video shows, the concept is working and the design is impressive. It even includes an internal battery for uninterrupted power supply to protect records and the player in the event of a power outage.  As Galo also recalls, "Stanton once made a turntable with magnetic suspension (Gyropoise), but there was still a shaft that made horizontal contact with the sleeve." MAG-LEV says its magnetic levitation drive design is now patented, enabling the company to explore the concept further. This is certainly a project that only Kickstarter would make possible to happen. Now, they really have to pull it off. The plan is to start shipping the turntables in August 2017. Personally, I would like to have one. I really admire the audacity of the whole idea. As they say, "Music defies gravity!"
The second product/design comes from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and is still in the research stages. The concept has a lot in common with several other ongoing projects in the industry, where multiple companies and research institutions are working on 3D Audio, binaural audio from speakers using head-related transfer function (HRTF), and crosstalk cancellation systems. This is also related to what I have discussed before on my Spatial Age Speakers text in September 2016, when I mentioned Fraunhofer's 3D Soundbar reference design for MPEG-H audio, able to replace a fully featured immersive audio installation.

3-D audio scientists from the University of Southampton's Institute for Sound and Vibration Research have perfected a solution that will enable listeners to experience sounds coming from any direction within the home from a single soundbar. They call the system, the Sound Virtualiser Our friend Sean Olive from Harman, highlighted this research project in a Facebook post, and I thought this would be a good example to promote here. The idea is to enhance the sound experience when watching television with a new generation soundbar design with multiple drivers, DSP and, in this case, exploring Adaptive Transaural Reproduction.
The Sound Virtualiser system uses binaural recorded material and binaural reproduction with crosstalk cancellation from a multidriver soundbar with digital signal processing. But they also added a camera tracking system to optimize the experience for the viewer's position and explore sound cancellation to deliver a perfect 3-D sound experience anywhere in the room. This makes the entire experience much more comfortable, since you are no longer required to sit in a sweet spot to feel the full effect.

Associate Professor Filippo Fazi and Research Fellow Marcos Simón working on the Sound Virtualiser system at the University of Southampton.

The researchers have developed two prototypes, the first utilizing 30 speakers across a 1.6 m frame, and the second offering a more compact solution of 16 speakers across a 1 m frame. The prototypes will be demonstrated in the Future Worlds stand at the forthcoming CES 2017 Show, in Las Vegas, NV. They are currently looking for investors interested in launching it as a commercial product. As Olive commented: "using adaptive beam forming to deliver binaural 3D audio. Not a new idea but the quality is in the details."

The third and final highlight is a totally different example of innovation. Not a research or a crowdfunded idea, but a real company with an innovative new service that I believe is much needed in the industry: turning linear media into a curated on-demand service. says it wants to "organize the world's audio information," and the service/website (currently in beta stage) allows anyone to browse a selection of short clips of stand-out radio. These "Bursts" (as the company calls them) are moments of radio worth sharing - and users can do just that by clicking on the social buttons or emailing them to a friend. "There are over 15,000 radio stations in America. Every single day they broadcast more than 370,000 hours of controversial, heartwarming, mind-blowing, laugh-out-loud, serious and provocative radio. It would take over 42 years to listen to all of that," they explain.'s beta services transcribes talk-radio and makes it available to search, share on social media, and embed on websites.
Using a combination of real-time voice recognition and machine learning to process the data,Audioburst's technology transcribes and understands the meaning of auditory content, enabling a new level of service to Internet users, radio broadcasters, publishers, and app developers. In fact, its current beta service that makes talk-radio segments searchable and shareable on social networks, as interesting as it might be, basically serves to showcase what the company is able to do. The technology can be used by broadcasters to automatically transform their content into digital assets and make it accessible on digital devices, anytime, also making it available for search engines to index it - so we could get actual broadcast clips in search results, not just text or manually created metadata.
AudioBurst developed state-of-the art live speech-to-text analysis, combined parallel computing to achieve it, and developed unique Text Segmentation algorithms to combine both text and audio analysis along with machine learning to segment spoken audio. This allows AudioBurst to track keywords and voice identification to identify valuable content. The company has already developed an API to allow integration of this technology in new services, and it is working to create its own extensions on Voice Personal Assistants (e.g., Alexa and Siri), making it very promising. I would also recommend following AudioBurst's social media on Twitter and Facebook - full of the best information on voice recognition and VPAs.  As they say, "Our vision is to unleash that auditory content, making it more easily accessible and creating a meaningful tool for a better future."
I just hope this company doesn't get bought too quickly!

Fresh From the Bench
XiVero MusicScope
By Oliver Masciarotte
In this article, audioXpress discusses a new company that certainly deserves attention from our readers. Oliver Masciarotte reviews the affordable but extremely useful MusicScope software, from a relative newcomer to the pro and consumer electronics software space, XiVero, from Germany. As Masciarotte details, "As file-based music libraries have grown in step with the plummeting price of storage, audio enthusiasts are increasingly faced with the questionable provenance of new and existing assets. Since the introduction of computer-based digital workflows, audio pros have also had to contend with myriad issues related to asset management. MusicScope is a cross-platform desktop application that addresses the need to know more-more about your music files. It plays digital audio in 10 different formats - from common to esoteric - and offers measurement and analysis functions tailored to professionals and modern audiophiles." We have no doubt this useful tool with features not often found even in more professionally oriented software will become a recognized market reference. Masciarotte was fascinated by the amount of things he discovered and which he intends to explore further in future articles. In fact, since its release, Xivero's MusicScope has already been featured in multiple audioXpress articles and we expect it will continue to do so, since it really is a valuable audio analysis tool. This article was originally published in audioXpress, October 2016.   Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice  Coil Book Review
Current-Driving of Loudspeakers 
By Joseph DeMarinis
Since its publication in 2010, Current-Driving of Loudspeakers by Esa Meriläinen, was received with both enthusiasm and skepticism. Advertising for this book was even refused by the Journal of Audio Engineering Society, generating the opposite effect and creating lots of discussions in audio forums. Responding to some of the critics in one of those Forums, Bruno Putzeys (pioneer of Class-D amplification and designer of the famous Grimm Audio LS1 speaker - and more recently founder of Kii Audio) said: "The author is making a somewhat one-sided point, but some aspects of loudspeaker performance do improve (sometimes dramatically) with current drive. I'm using a mixture in the LS1." Effectively, Meriläinen anticipated the criticism when writing in his book preface: "The subtitle of the book may at first sound too much promising or inflated, which it, however, is not at all; for as will show up especially in Chapter 4, the issue is indeed about a fundamental fallacy in sound reproduction technology. The book you have opened is the result of many years of investigation and work and probably the first volume ever to delve into loudspeaker current-drive." The author maintains a valuable website promoting his work at In this article, originally published in Voice Coil, July 2010, Joseph DeMarinis not only reviews the book but also runs tests of the theory, making this text interesting to share online.   Read the Full Article Online

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