MQA and Universal Music Group to Collaborate on Advancing Hi-Res On-Demand Streaming
Music technology company MQA and music-entertainment giant Universal Music Group (UMG) announced that the companies have entered into a multi-year agreement that will encode UMG's extensive catalog of master recordings using Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology, promising to make some of the world's most celebrated recordings available for the first time in High-Resolution Audio (HRA) streaming. A historical development for all the high-resolution music enthusiasts.   Read More

Architettura Sonora - A New Territory for Speakers
Among the many audio exhibitors at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2017, there were several interesting proposals in terms of speaker design for the commercial and residential integration market. One of the highlights was the presentation of a new company and brand. Architettura Sonora (AS) is part of the B&C Speakers Group, one of the most prestigious professional transducer manufacturers in the world. Now targeting new horizons in installation sound, combining architectural materials with cutting-edge designs.   Read More

QSC Promotes Demonstration of Q-SYS Software Running on Standard Dell Server Hardware
QSC called its demonstration at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show, "a glimpse into the future of Audio, Video and Control Processing." The demonstration was an industry-first preview, running existing Q-SYS software on standard Dell server hardware, highlighting the shift from stand-alone single-purpose proprietary DSP hardware to a highly scalable, standards-based IT platform and architecture. During ISE 2017, QSC also introduced a new Q-SYS processor and peripherals.   Read More

Cirrus Logic MasterHIFI Audio DAC Brings High Resolution Audio to Mobile and Pro Audio Devices
With demand growing worldwide for high-fidelity music content and playback through mobile devices, Cirrus Logic has introduced the low power CS43130 MasterHIFI digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with a headphone amplifier. The new CS43130 DAC operates at 4x lower power consumption, supports DSD formats, includes a NOS Filter and 512 single-bit elements to eliminate unwanted noise from the signal and for best filter response. The new IC minimizes board space requirements while enabling performance and features to drive design differentiation.    Read More
beyerdynamic Introduces Dante-Enabled TG 1000 Wireless System at ISE 2017
Audinate's Dante audio networking technology is becoming a requirement in AV and commercial installation, as proven by the many Dante-related product releases at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show in Amsterdam. German brand beyerdynamic is the latest microphone manufacturer to respond to this trend, presenting a new version of its TG 1000 24-bit digital wireless system at ISE 2017.   Read More

Stealth Acoustics Unveils LRx83 Improved Invisible Speaker for Premium Applications at ISE 2017
The pioneers of invisible speaker technology, Stealth Acoustics, unveiled its new LineaResponse LRx83 speaker at ISE 2017. Targeted at installers in the residential and commercial integration sectors, this much improved 8" three-way flat-panel speaker was one of the highlights of the show. Previous products in the company's LineaResponse range were already impressive, but this is the highest quality invisible speaker ever created by Stealth.  Read More

Audinate Dante Technology Now Integrated in More Than 1,000 Commercially Available Products
Audinate confirmed key product and licensee adoption milestones for its industry-leading Dante media networking technology at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2017. Dante is now integrated in more than 1,000 commercially available products, and licensed to more than 350 manufacturers, an increase of 75 since this time last year. Recent licensees span a broad spectrum of markets, including installed sound, live sound, broadcast, transportation, and CEDIA, and include notable brands such as beyerdynamic, Clear-Com, JBL, Lawo, Panasonic, Riedel, Sony, and more.   Read More

Hafler Announces the CI Series of Multi-Channel Amplifiers
Following several show previews, including the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show 2017 and Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2017, Hafler (a division of Radial Engineering) confirmed it will be launching the Hafler CI series in spring 2017. The CI series range of multi-channel amplifiers was designed for the custom installation market, featuring true Class-AB circuitry, with individual level controls on each channel, Fault-Safe protection, energy saving auto shut-off and turn on, and OmniPort expansion modules, including a Dante digital network card.  Read More


Editor's Desk

Systems Integration Industry on the March!

It was serious business at the 2017 Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show, last week in Amsterdam (Feb. 7-10). For those not familiarized with ISE, this is the show jointly promoted by InfoComm and CEDIA, which quickly has outgrown the scope and traditional focus of those two key industry associations, reflecting the commercial and the residential installation sectors, respectively. In fact, since two years ago, ISE has become larger than the two North American shows combined, first in terms of exhibitors and size and lately also in terms of visitors.

A truly impressive display of cutting-edge AV technologies and systems integration solutions at ISE 2017.

Why the huge success? In reality, not even the promoters are certain. But my feeling is that it results from the fact that ISE has filed a void in the market, in a true convergence of trends. First, because Europe didn't have a systems integration show, even though commercial installation is one of the most dynamic applications segments in the region. Second, because ISE was founded on a unique convergence of market trends, far from the AV installation focus of the founding associations, expanding into digital signage, building automation, communications and collaboration, AV/IT convergence and many other growing segments, such has the smart home and education. And of course... audio, since ISE already combines more audio-focused exhibitors than any other show in Europe.
And while the original InfoComm and CEDIA shows in the US remain largely focused on the domestic markets and follow the traditional model of the installation/integration industry in the North American region, largely focused on technology, ISE quickly expanded into a truly business-focused forum, attracting system integration companies from all over the world (important to remember that the ISE format was also experimented with in Asia without much success) and consequently also attracting exhibitors in new product segments, such as architectural lighting, security, and networks.
ISE 2017 was truly a culmination of all those forces, creating a very powerful trade show. In fact, it was surprising to see the amount of product introductions, including from US companies; the impressive crowds gathered before the door opened during three days; and the amount of business suits walking the show floor, in contrast with the more relaxed "shorts and T-shirt" AV crews attending InfoComm or CEDIA.
Exhibitor growth in the last five years. More expected in 2018.

As Integrated Systems Events, the promoters of the show, highlighted, ISE 2017 was truly a "catalyst for growth and innovation" and "the international destination of choice for AV and systems integration professionals." With 1,192 exhibitors at ISE 2017, many with large booths, promoters were forced to build temporary expansion structures on the already large RAI Amsterdam complex to accommodate 200 first-time exhibiting companies. And, even with cold, rain, and snow during the entire show, the atmosphere inside the 14 halls was decidedly upbeat.
According to the official statistics, registered visitor attendees to ISE 2017 were at an all-time high, at 73,413. This represents an 11.7% increase over the 2016 edition. Attendees came from 150 different countries, reflecting the show's global reach and influence, while almost 600 registered attendees were from the press and media.
Integrated Systems Events Managing Director Mike Blackman commented on the event's continued success: "We listen to the industry and we listen to our exhibitors. We invest in the show and, importantly, we have the people in place to produce the type of exhibition that they tell us they need. It's a real collaborative effort and I'd like to thank everyone that's been involved." ISE 2018 will take place at the RAI Amsterdam from February 6-9. It will feature one additional hall to accommodate new business.

LG Electronics stole the show in terms of quality and diversity of displays.

The Dante show
In terms of products, technology, and trends of note, ISE 2017 was truly an immersive 4K experience (now at 60 fps and HDR!). One could walk the show singing: "We are living in a 4K world." The screens were truly impressive, with LG completely stealing the show by introducing new generation ultra-thin OLED displays, and flexible, double-sized, or "any-shape you want" displays. The best image quality ever seen. No wonder digital signage continues to expand worldwide.
The other impressive segment was conference systems and collaboration tools, with an impressive number of product introductions and an important evolution in the all-IP and all-networked world. For those who remember the Shure Microflex Advance Dante IP microphones introduced last year, the strategy seemed to work, since those have become the standard that this year everyone was targeting in conferencing applications. Even though Audio-Technica was the first microphone company to introduce Dante-enabled audio networking microphones, it seems the concept is here to stay.

Dante-enabled microphones for conference applications. Audio-Technica was first. Shure is getting the gains.

Specifically on the audio front, ISE 2017 was truly the "Dante Show." Audinate probably didn't even anticipate how truly ubiquitous its media networking protocol would become in this specific application segment but it was hard to find a booth that didn't display the already familiar "Dante Spoken Here" sign. And even though Audinate confirmed that Dante is now integrated in more than 1,000 commercially available products, and licensed to more than 350 manufacturers, the reality is, that number probably expanded even before Audinate could paint the "1000" mark on their booth.
There was even a company, Visionary Solutions, showing a complete range of solutions to combine 4K UHD video with Dante systems over Gigabit Ethernet. They call it "video for audio professionals" and the system even enables routing video signals using Audinate's Dante Controller. There was also an interesting case of a company already proposing a full range of Dante-based "IP Speakers," from SoundTube (MSE Audio). You can read about that and other Dante highlights here.
Some audio companies in the pro audio space even introduced new products that would be more fitting for the NAMM show (and they were exhibiting in Anaheim, CA) or that could have been saved for Prolight+Sound, since the target application was more entertainment and live shows than actually installations.

Genelec had its most impressive booth ever at ISE 2017, showing four of its 8430 AES67 compatible speakers, each one receiving audio from a Dante, Ravenna, LiveWire and Q-LAN source.

On another associated note, AES67 is also on the rise and even within the full-Dante companies, we could see references to the audio-networking interoperability standard. I attended a panel session on "How AES67 Can Serve You and Your Networked System Designs," with executives from QSC, ALC NetworX, The Telos Alliance, Bosch, and Yamaha, all member companies in the AES67 promoter Media Networking Alliance (MNA). Interestingly, Andy Cooper, from Yamaha - a strong Dante implementer - discussed openly the limitations on Audinate's proprietary approach, warning participants that not all Dante devices are AES67 compatible (it depends on the Audinate module used, or even the manufacturer's preference). According to Andy Cooper, adoption of AES67 should reach 60% of existing Dante solutions this year. The Yamaha engineer also gave specific advice on how to configure systems for AES67 support, including QoS and "forced" settings. 

One of the most interesting comments from Yamaha also acknowledged that Audinate is already feeling the effect of Dante's tremendous success. Any evolution of its technology will be restricted by its compromise to not disrupt compatibility with earlier implementations, and introduction of new functionalities might be hindered by the slower pace of innovation, resulting in longer update cycles and less ability to respond to specific wish-lists from both users and manufacturers. A situation that MNA-member companies believe could open opportunities to expand the scope and capabilities of existing open audio/media networking standards such as AES67 and AES70 (OCA Alliance).
A very interesting perspective.
And yes, there were many new innovative speaker designs at the ISE 2017 show and audioXpress will be addressing those in our continuous news coverage online, as usual. Read some more highlights now.

You Can DIY!
The 2A3 Tube Amplifier - A Tribute to Simplicity and Warm Sound
By Costas Sarris
"There is nothing quite like a quality tube amplifier," states the author Costa Sarris in the introduction to this directly heated triode amplifier project. The idea for the amplifier started from the author's discovery of the Loftin-White circuit while looking for a simple single-ended tube (SET) design of a high-quality valve amplifier based on a 2A3 direct-heated triode (DHT) vacuum power tube. This circuit's roots date back to 1929. The first information concerning the Loftin-White circuit was published by E. H. Loftin and S. Y. White in the American magazine Radio News. Loftin and White wrote of an amplifier design, with a direct-coupled circuit. There was no capacitor or coupling transformer between the driver and the power stages. As Sarris explains "I chose the 2A3 directly heated triode power tube to implement the Loftin-White circuit. The 2A3 vacuum tube is a power triode capable of outputting 3.5 W in a single-ended Class A configuration. In this project, the 2A3 power tube runs at a 60-mA plate current with no signal applied and has a 410-V plate voltage." This article was originally published in audioXpress, August 2013.   Read the Full Article Available Here

Voice  Coil Spotlight
CLIO Pocket User Report 
By Vance Dickason
Audiomatica, the creator of the CLIO analyzer, has a long, rich history in the loudspeaker industry. CLIO was officially first presented at the 1991 Audio Engineering Society (AES) 91st Convention, and the rest is history. Over the years, Audiomatica has sold more than 10,000 CLIO analyzers to users in 65 different countries, which in terms of analyzer sales is rather impressive. Recently, the company has released the CLIO Pocket analyzer, a new and cost-effective version of CLIO ($599.99 from Parts Express, which provided the analyzer for this report). Rather than go into detail regarding all the measurement routines available in CLIO Pocket - Joe D' Appolito provided a thorough review of CLIO Pocket in the October 2015 issue of audioXpress - Vance Dickason gives practical examples using measurements for a couple of drivers in the same way he does for his monthly column, Test Bench. This way it becomes possible to compare the data with the normal Test Bench measurement protocol using LMS and SoundCheck. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, March 2016.   Read the Full Article Online

AX March 2017: Digital Login
Audio Product Design | DIY Audio Projects | Audio Electronics | Audio Show Reports | Interviews | And More 

Don't Have a Subscription?
VC February 2017: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More