INDUSTRY & PRODUCT NEWS

Vesper VM1010 MEMS Microphones Save 10x More Battery for Voice-Activated Systems
Vesper has launched VM1010, the first wake-on-sound MEMS microphone that consumes nearly zero power - enabling consumers to voice-activate battery-powered smart speakers, smart earbuds and TV remotes without draining the battery. The inaugural member of Vesper's ZeroPower Listening MEMS microphone product line, VM1010 is a tiny, ultra-rugged piezoelectric MEMS microphone that enables product designers to offer touchless user interfaces to consumers, without any power-consumption penalty.  Read More


Live Concerts Now Available in MQA through Nugs.net Music Delivery and Webcast Platform
Now that all major recording companies are officially supporting MQA delivery on download and streaming services, comes the news that Nugs.net, the official home of live music for some of the largest touring artists in the world, is adopting MQA's technology to bring fans exclusive live concert recordings in master quality sound. Initially, concerts from GRAMMY award-winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Metallica and Bruce Springsteen, are available to download in MQA.   Read More

Mytek Digital Introduces Mytek Brooklyn AMP and Clef Mobile Hi-Res Audio Headphone Amplifier and DAC
The New York digital audio specialists from Mytek Digital showcased two new products at High End Munich 2017, starting with the highly portable Clef mobile headphone amplifier USB/DAC with MQA, which the company previewed earlier at the High-Resolution Audio Pavilion at CES 2017. The other news is the launch of a new Class-D design for its newest amplifier, aptly called the Brooklyn AMP, following the same form factor of the Brooklyn DAC.   Read More


MarkAudio-SOTA to Debut Cesti MB Wide-Range Single Driver Loudspeaker at the LA Audio Show
MarkAudio-SOTA is to premiere the new single-driver, full-spectrum, Cesti MB speaker, in addition to demonstrating its well-regarded Cesti B, Cesti T and Viotti One loudspeakers at the LA Audio Show (LAAS) June 2-4, 2017 (Room 408.) The showcase is the US market launch celebration of the company's new Cesti MB monitor speakers, offering the rich midrange that is typical of a wide-range, single speaker design, plus the high-impact dynamics typical of multi-way speakers.    Read More
 

Focal Introduces Utopia III Evo Speakers at High-End Munich 2017
French high-end audio manufacturer Focal promoted one of the most well-attended press events at the High End show in Munich this year, where it introduced two new speakers from its Utopia III family. The two new Evo models (Evo stands for evolution) expand on the company's technological heritage, integrating its most recent innovations in the new Scala and Maestro models, with more to come. The new Utopia III Evo models will be available from August 2017Read More


Audeze Introduces LCD-i4 In-Ears Based on the LCD-4
Audeze has launched the LCD-i4 - an all-out assault on making the absolute best in-ear phones, scaling down the renowned LCD-4 headphones, and creating what it believes can be "an "End Game" in-ear headphone for music lovers desiring many of the performance qualities of the LCD-4 for both in-home use or while traveling." The new flagship in-ears were the highlight for Audeze at the 2017 High End show in Munich, Germany.  Read More



Weiss and PSI Audio Reveal LiveBox Crosstalk Cancellation-Based Speaker at High End Munich 2017
This is a dream project that's been in the works for some time, and is now close to becoming a commercial reality. Combining all the possibilities of modern digital processing technology and electroacoustic design, Swiss companies Weiss and PSI Audio are promoting a working demonstration of the LiveBox fully-integrated Crosstalk Cancellation speaker, which allows both convincing stereo and binaural experiences from a single source, designed to be like "a piece of furniture."   Read More


miniDSP Introduces UMA-8 USB Microphone Array for Voice-Activated Applications
The new miniDSP UMA-8 is a high-performance, yet low-cost multichannel USB microphone array built around XMOS multicore technology, designed for voice-recognition application development. Seven high-performance MEMS microphones are configured in a circular arrangement to provide high-quality voice capture for a wide range of applications. Leveraging the onboard DSP processing, the UMA-8 supports voice algorithms including beamforming, noise reduction, acoustic echo cancellation, and de-reverb.   Read More






João
Martins
Editor-in-Chief




Editor's Desk


Two Major Highlights from High End 2017

Having returned from another exciting journey into the world of high-quality audio experiences at High End 2017, in Munich, immediately followed by two days among some of the world best audio science and engineering minds, attending the Audio Engineering Society (AES) 142nd International Convention, at the Maritim Hotel in Berlin, there was hardly any time to absorb all the intense experiences. It was certainly a great opportunity to exchange ideas with lots of companies, and speak with some of the world's top professionals, inspiring me for lots of follow-up articles and research.

Given the short time since returning from Germany, I have decided to share with our community two important highlights.

Aki Mäkivirta, Genelec's R&D Director, during the press conference at High End 2017.

I don't need to reinstate why the High End show in Munich, promoted by the High End Society , is one of the world's best audio shows you can attend, putting every other trade show to shame in terms of organizational quality and professionalism. It does help that the annual Munich gathering is evolving into a unique show, with the convergence of new consumer audio companies, all sharing the same ideals of high-quality audio experiences, with all the enthusiasm that results from the recent evolution toward audio streaming, wireless, and personal audio, together with a significant push in fundamental audio technologies, from amplification to transducers, new electroacoustic designs to new acoustic control solutions.
 
In our website, you will find an extensive wrap-up report of High End 2017 with the essential statistics. I will only add that, given the growth in exhibitors, visitors, and trade press, it is becoming very important that companies start leveraging the first show day, exclusive for trade and the press, by promoting more press conferences and actually handing out vital information about new product launches, including making those available in the shelfs of the excellent press room facility. I couldn't help noticing how dispersed the audio press was this year, running from room to room, creating a sense of despair for not being able to follow all that was happening simultaneously. But worse is finding out that companies that did some major introductions didn't even make press releases available until now. So, to the attention of all audio manufacturers attending the Munich show, please get your marketing departments up to the challenge or hire one of the many excellent existing agencies. But do something. No, that text on your obscure blog, the spec sheet on your website, or pictures on your Facebook page is not enough!
 
During the 142nd AES Convention in Berlin, Aki Mäkivirta explains how Genelec perfected every single aspect to design the world's most compact three-way coaxial studio monitors.
Genelec's "The Ones"
I'll jump straight to the THE highlight of both the High End 2017 show and the 142nd International AES Convention in Berlin, which was the world premiere of the new Genelec coaxial monitor series: "The Ones." After the exclusive unveiling in a London studio, the Finish active monitor specialist did the first public demonstrations of The Ones in Munich and Berlin, and that by itself was the main headline for both events.

The essential reading about The Ones can be found here and we do recommend the R&D Stories feature that audioXpress published about the original 8351 three-way coaxial development effort, which kick started the series. And let me just say that the Genelec 8351, 8341, and 8331 monitors (The Ones) are effectively the new market reference against everything else out there. It was significant that Genelec decided to show them at the High End show, making clear that its latest active monitors are ready to challenge any of the best studio monitors and the most sophisticated, esoteric, and expensive speakers in the world.
 
On both occasions, I had the opportunity to listen to the three models - with more time and in a better room during the AES in Berlin - and I can say that the coherence between the three different sizes is simply remarkable and attests to the extreme precision and attention to detail in the series development. Above all, this is the first coaxially aligned studio monitor family to reach such levels of quality and consistency. Designing the original three-way 8351 monitor was already remarkable, but creating the more compact versions is a tremendous validation of Genelec's leadership in speaker design. The 8341 and the 8331 are precision machines for accurate listening, offering an extraordinarily detailed response in the complete frequency range, with convincing lows for its size and extreme coherence in the horizontal and vertical axis - as well demonstrated by Thomas Lund, now Senior Technologist at Genelec - from very close distances to a midfield position. And they can still play reliably at high volumes, working flawlessly in vertical or horizontal positions. Truly remarkable.
 
Genelec's The Ones are effectively the Ultimate Point Source monitors and all three models sound extremely coherent.
Now, these are precision instruments, they were not designed to make music "sound pleasing," like every other speaker design presented at a show like the High End. Yet, I have listened to some of my reference material and I can attest that The Ones make music sound incredibly pleasant in the way they reveal exactly what was recorded and how the mix was staged. And that for me is the "holy grail."
 
As Aki Mäkivirta, Genelec's R&D Director, tirelessly tried to convey to the different audiences in Munich and Berlin, The Ones are the result of all the company's experience in designing active monitoring loudspeaker technology. They are the world's first compact three-way coaxial loudspeakers and truly the "Ultimate Point Source," as the company sells it. Every single aspect of those monitors was extensively perfected, starting with the computer-simulated design of the unique Minimum Diffraction Coaxial (MDC) enclosures, the way the enclosures enable the concealed dual woofers to radiate in alignment with the coaxially aligned separate midrange and  tweeter in the center, all the way to the dedicated latest-generation amplification and unique digital processing that allows precisely calibrating the monitors to every single environment. That's in a completely other level of engineering. And it also helps explaining why, even though I was trying my best to decide which of the three models I liked the best, I simply couldn't. The small model (8331) is as good as the largest (8351).
 
World's First Fully Digital and Networked Home Theater
My second highlight for High End was slightly unexpected, but extremely rewarding. I had already intended to visit StormAudio's booth, the Belgium-based brand and a division of Auro Technologies, which literally "stormed" the high-end immersive audio home theater processors and integrated amplifier segment, offering support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D immersive audio formats together with Dirac room correction. Before the show, I received an invitation from Ascendo Immersive Audio Gmbh (www.aia-cinema.com), which was sharing the space with StormAudio in Munich, announcing the "world's first fully digital cinema system" completely integrated using an AVB/TSN network solution.

Ascendo Immersive Audio, together with StormAudio (Auro 3D), demonstrated the world's first fully digital cinema in Munich during High End 2017.

I visited the Ascendo Immersive Audio (AIA) booth and attended the demonstration in its immersive theater, with content presented in all the three immersive formats, with movie excerpts, live concerts, and other clips. I was greeted by Geoffrey Heinzel, Ascendo Sales & Marketing Director and Jurgen Scheuring, Head of Technology, also one of the company's founders, which helped me understand a little more about the presentation.
 
Apart from being one of the founding partners of Ascendo, Jurgen Scheuring is also CEO of uMAN Universal Media Access Networks Gmbh, one of the leading companies in the original IEEE 802.1 Audio Video Bridging (AVB) networking efforts and member of the AVnu Alliance that supported those efforts in professional audio applications. Now refocused on the AVB/TSN (Time Sensitive Networks) efforts in IoT, automotive and industrial markets, it has been some time since we last heard of any evolution in audio applications. Still, the fundamental benefits of AVB/TSN networked systems, with its improved synchronization, and low latency, are recognized for critical multichannel audio applications in sync with video or real time events.
 
Jurgen Scheuring, Ascendo's Head of Technology and CEO of uMAN Universal Media Access Networks, explained the network setup.
Ascendo has created a complete range of networked cinema speakers and has worked with StormAudioto implement the completely digital and networked solution for home-theater applications. A world's first and something that truly leverages the TSN technology features. The solution enables the audio data to remain in the original digital domain from the source - like a Blu-ray player - through the processor, over the network, all the way to the active AIA Cinema speakers without any of the phase alignment problems, or quality loss usually anticipated in analog conversion. This allows complete control over the immersive audio installation and instant re-configurability of the entire system, depending on the source format.
 
The immersive audio sound experience with the AIA speakers (over 20,000 W of power) was convincing - not so much the quality of the video projection. What's important is that Ascendo is now able to supply the first fully networked immersive audio installation, supporting high-resolution audio streaming (up to 192 kHz) and perfectly synchronized video signals, proving the benefits of networking to the speaker and realizing the vision of bidirectional monitoring of each channel in a complex installation, with complete control of each amplifier, crossover frequency, and equalization with perfect timing and extremely high performance. AIA's cinema speakers - mostly coaxial designs - have its own amplifier, coupled with custom-designed high-performance drivers and integrated digital sound processor (DSP). Ascendo and StormAudio are now able to provide home-theater solutions of any size, all easily and centrally controlled via a graphical user interface, everything running on a standard CAT5 network. All desirable parameters can be adjusted in real time while the movie is playing, using the UNOS by uMAN network operating system and integrated with any home automation system such as Crestron, AMX, KNX, or similar.
 
Ascendo developed the AVB/TSN module that equips the company's cinema speaker range and StormAudio's digital processors. Pictured are some of the coaxial speakers and subwoofers in the Munich installation, with the new Live 15 speakers on the side of the screen.

I've been advocating the application of audio over Ethernet for multichannel applications (e.g., home theater and immersive audio), as one of the most promising pathways to consumer audio evolution. As I have highlighted in our previous edition of The Audio Voice, Merging Technologies is doing an important work to promote the advantages of the RAVENNA Ethernet audio protocol for high-resolution audio connectivity, from two-way to simple multichannel surround. 
Now, Ascendo did it first for immersive audio!


Practical Test & Measurement
Sound Cards for Data Acquisition in Audio Measurements (Part 7) - Pitting the CLIO Pocket Against a Sound Card
By Stuart Yaniger
 
In this article series, Stuart Yaniger examines ways to create a low-cost system for lab-grade audio electronics measurements. The first six articles in the series looked at the hardware and software bits of the sound-card-based measurement system, how to understand the measurements, choose the right measurement parameters, and how to perform a few measurements that illustrate the power and the versatility of sound-card-based measurements. In this article, the author decided to do a comparison experiment between a dedicated but affordable measurement solution - the Audiomatica CLIO Pocket - and his own sound-card-based system described previously. As Stuart Yaniger writes: I admit to being intrigued by Joe D'Appolito's review of the CLIO Pocket - the "junior" version of Audiomatica's well-respected CLIO systems (Read it online here). Until now, my series on using sound cards for audio measurement primarily concentrated on electronics rather than loudspeaker or acoustic measurements, but the current generation of sound cards and software can provide a variety of loudspeaker measurements. So why my interest in the CLIO Pocket, given that I already have three sound cards and four software suites to support them? I was curious. This article was originally published in audioXpress, December 2015.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
Revolution Acoustics SSP6 Actuator 
By Vance Dickason
 
The driver in this Test Bench explication is not so much an OEM product as an installer product, but it is a very interesting transducer: The Revolution Acoustics SSP6 actuator, which transforms nearly any panel structure into an audio speaker. You can read an interview with Bob Katz, founder of Revolution Acoustics. As promised, I am doing a brief review of the SSP6 actuator. It is definitely an interesting transducer. Acoustic actuators have been around for a long time. Layfayette Radio sold a small actuator that could be attached to a door or desktop to play music in the mid-1970s, although compared to a professional device such as the SSP6, it was a novelty toy. Features for the SSP6 transducer include a 45-Hz-to-20-kHz frequency range (the low end is dependent on the surface area being excited); 6 Ω impedance; neodymium motor; IP65 Ingress protection for water and dust; and peak power handling up to 400 W instantaneous. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, July 2016.   Read the Full Article Online

AX June 2017: Digital Login
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VC June 2017: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More