Scan-Speak Introduces First Models from Its New Ellipticor Driver Range
Previewed at an exclusive event in Munich, in May 2017, Scan-Speak has now launched the first two drivers in its Ellipticor line, combining a series of design innovations (e.g., elliptical voice coils), resulting in lower distortion and higher SPL. The first two Ellipticor drivers released by the Danish brand include the D3404/552000 tweeter and the 18WE/4542T00, a 6.5" midwoofer.  Read More

Focal Launches New Range of Portable and Wireless Headphones
Leading French speaker and headphone manufacturer, Focal unveiled the company's newest line of mobile headphones, including its premium closed-back wireless over-ear Listen Wireless, In-ear Spark, Spark Wireless, and Hi-fi in-ear Sphear S models. The new headphones and in-ear products combine latest technology and design, targeting the bourgeoning mobile lifestyle market.   Read More

Parts Express Announces Partnership with Linkplay for Turnkey Wi-Fi Audio Solutions Distribution
Parts Express, the established source for audio and electronic parts and components, announced a new distribution partnership with Linkplay Technology, a leading Wi-Fi audio solution provider and the first audio platform approved for integration with Alexa Voice Services (AVS). The Springboro, OH, company will be able to support OEM/ODM projects in the United States and Canada.   Read More

Qualcomm Releases Next-Generation DDFA Audio Amplifier Technology
Qualcomm Technologies International made exciting audio announcements in platforms and technologies for the development of next-generation audio products during its voice and music developer conference, recently held in Shenzhen, China. At the event, the company announced its new Smart Audio Platform for smart and networked speakers. Additionally, Qualcomm introduced its next-generation Qualcomm DDFA audio amplifier technology for high-resolution audio devices including wireless speakers, soundbars, networked audio, and headphone amplifiers.    Read More

G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration Releases Improved and Easy-to-Use Sound Calibrator That Calibrate at Two Frequencies and Levels 
G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration announced the availability of the new, cost-effective, and easy-to-use 42AG Multifunction Sound Calibrator. This new portable device, which can calibrate at two frequencies, was designed for fast verification of microphones and sound level meters in the field and was developed as an improved replacement for G.R.A.S.'s successful 42AB Sound Calibrator, with additional time-saving features.   Read More

Synaptics to Acquire Audio and Voice Technology Specialist Conexant
The market for anything related to far-field voice solutions has never been hotter, and acquisitions are a natural result of the increasing demand for those cutting-edge technologies and engineering talent. Conexant Systems, a leading provider of audio and voice technology solutions based in Irvine, CA, announced an agreement to be acquired by Synaptics. Meanwhile, Synaptics also acquired the video and audio processing division of Marvell Technology Group.  Read More

XMOS Introduces XVF3000 Voice Processor for Integrated Far-Field Voice Capture and XMOS VocalFusion Speaker Development Kit
Now on the second generation of its VocalFusion family of voice processors and Voice User Interface (VUI) controller solutions, XMOS announced its new XVF3000 voice processor for integrated far-field voice capture, complemented by the new XMOS VocalFusion Speaker Evaluation Kit with circular microphone array. The new XVF3000 devices and development kits target the exploding category of voice-enabled speakers.   Read More

Avermetrics Makes High-Performance Audio Testing Affordable with New AverLAB Audio Analyzer
Avermetrics, the audio and electronic production test systems specialist company from Los Angeles, CA, has announced the release of its new AverLAB audio analyzer. According to Avermetrics, AverLAB slashes the cost of high-performance audio testing by more than 50% and is also the only analyzer in its class that lets users add additional channels as needed for simultaneous testing of multi-channel devices.   Read More

Cypress Announces First Two-Port USB-C Controller with Thunderbolt 3 Support
Cypress Semiconductor has announced the availability of a new USB-C controller with Power Delivery (PD) optimized for Thunderbolt PCs, as well as docking stations. The EZ-PD CCG5 controller is the industry's first two-port USB-C controller that supports the Thunderbolt alternate mode with Intel's Thunderbolt 3 (Alpine Ridge) controllers. This is a programmable, highly-integrated controller that enables designers to easily add Thunderbolt alternate mode and USB Power Delivery 3.0 to USB-C ports in the PC ecosystem.   Read More


Editor's Desk

InfoComm 2017 Report

Click to read all the InfoComm 2017 news.
With very little time for the industry to fully take in the implications of Apple's massive announcements, the AV industry gathered once again in Orlando, FL, for another very positive edition of the InfoComm show. During that same week and ensuing days, the audio industry has seen some very significant announcements in terms of audio development platforms, which are clearly reflected in the momentum seen at InfoComm 2017, sometimes in not so obvious ways.
As the InfoComm International Association ( confirmed immediately following its InfoComm 2017 event, the show was another record-breaking moment for this thriving sector, which now combines much more than AV commercial integration, increasingly focusing on integrated systems, building, corporate, and event technologies. What InfoComm now increasingly refers to as Integrated Experiences.
InfoComm, is North America's largest audio-visual trade show, and the 2017 edition attracted more than 40,000 visitors for the first time in its history. That's 13% more than the last time it was held in Orlando, in 2015, and 14% more than InfoComm 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. As Jason McGraw, CTS, CAE, Senior Vice President of Expositions, InfoComm International noted, "the technology on display was amazing again, and we're thrilled with the tremendous response, but we're especially excited that guest after guest told us this InfoComm offered new and different experiences for our growing, innovative audience."

InfoComm commissioned a new AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA) report, which was presented at InfoComm 2017 and will soon be available. This is the most comprehensive pro-AV market study to-date, and includes four separate reports: one global report and three regional reports.

InfoComm is clearly a North American event, even if InfoComm 2017 attracted visitors from 117 countries, and 17% of attendees were from outside the US. The show's growth is increasingly visible in the success of its "converged" event, Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), promoted in cooperation with the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA), which has now outgrown the two US shows combined. But the reasons for the growth are similar, with the sector increasingly attracting companies and business from other converging technology applications areas - from lighting and security to integrated (networked) control and digital signage, among others. Not surprisingly, this year, 39% were first-time visitors.
Among the show's 950 exhibitors, gathered in the more than 545,000 net ft2 of exhibits, demo rooms, and special events, there was a clear focus on new conferencing and collaboration technologies, while much of the audio systems on display targeted new and improved experiences for events, retail and public spaces. On the visual side of things, there is a clear trend for larger and more sophisticated displays - with new LED systems now allowing for flexible surfaces, all shapes and sizes - even amazing double-sized screens - and with impressive resolutions. Now with minimum 4K resolutions and up, and pixel pitch already in a nearly invisible 1 mm gap, no wonder LED screens are replacing projection systems in commercial installations, especially for outdoor and public spaces applications. But improving LED and OLED multi-displays are also having a strong effect on corporate environments, inspiring new working and collaboration spaces, precisely the segment that's also moving faster on the audio front.

Large LED screens are conquering the AV space with increased resolution and invisible pixel pitches.

Everywhere we looked, in the audio and communication/conferencing zones of the show, we could find examples of technology evolution, directly influenced by current trends in the consumer electronics and mobile segments. It's not just the increasingly seamless integration of updated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies, but also a direct consequence of all the ongoing development in new far-field voice capture technologies and beam-forming transducer arrays, both for microphones and speakers. As any visit to the Unified Communication and Collaboration exhibits revealed, all the research that is currently being applied to the growing number of voice-controlled speakers and devices  is clearly benefiting this application segment , inspired by the Amazon Echo and the availability of personal voice assistants from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple.
A clear example is the new Nureva HDL300 Audio Conferencing System, with a new integrated microphone and speaker bar for huddle rooms, that was introduced at InfoComm 2017. The Canadian company combines 8,192 virtual microphones throughout a meeting room to pick up sound from any location, enabled by real-time hardware, and sophisticated algorithms to simultaneously process sound from all virtual microphones to provide remote participants with a high-quality listening experience. This, combined with a custom audio processing unit, able to support continuous self-calibration, simultaneous echo cancellation, position-based automatic gain control, sound masking, and much more, creates an optimized experience for small to mid-sized meeting and collaboration spaces.
An "Amazon Echo" on steroids? Well, not exactly, but looking at the new Yamaha/Revolabs unified communications (UC) portfolio, including the amazing CS-700 Video Sound Collaboration System for Huddle Rooms, it is clear how these technologies will benefit from all the innovation that's taking place in the voice-controlled speaker craze. Also, we couldn't help thinking how this will also inspire a whole new generation of users to interact with those new-generation smart home devices that are currently being introduced, in ways that are currently restricted to the typical "corporate" UC service and software providers, including Microsoft (Skype), Google, Cisco, Zoom, and others. Not to mention the tremendous impact this convergence will have on new generations of home speakers - as Apple clearly already anticipated with its HomePod.
Even for the design side of things, when we look at the new generation of network-connected microphones from Audio-Technica, beyerdynamic, Shure, and Sennheiser, as well as the all-new wireless conferencing solutions (e.g., Sennheiser's TeamConnect Wireless), we cannot help noticing how similar those devices are to the "hockey puck" Amazon Echo Dot, only if optimized for corporate communications. I am certain that many engineers and executives involved in those Amazon Alexa consumer-oriented projects have also visited InfoComm 2017 and noticed the potential to diversify their market scope...

New "Huddle Room" solutions are taking over the UC space. In the picture, Harman's AMX Acendo Core solution.
More specifically on the loudspeaker front, obviously targeting professional sound reinforcement applications, InfoComm 2017 surprised with many interesting new products - in great part benefiting from new Class-D amplification, sophisticated DSP, and network connectivity. But even with the more foundational electro-acoustic design, there were nice surprises, such as the new Bose Professional Panaray MSA12X Modular Steerable Array Loudspeakers and the even more surprising Bose Professional EdgeMax In-Ceiling Premium Loudspeakers with PhaseGuide Technology. Its design was able to combine the superior coverage patterns typical of larger surface-mount loudspeakers on in-ceiling configurations, making it one of the most impressive products at InfoComm 2017.
Another impressive speaker was VUE Audiotechnik's new e-352 Nano, the first member of its new e-Class range of high-definition installation speakers. This two-way weather resistant die-cast aluminum, extremely compact loudspeaker, combines dual 3.5-inch high output cone transducers with a Truextent beryllium dome tweeter. Ultra-powerful and clear, the e-352 Nano is true pro audio hi-fi. And since we mentioned Bose's new range of steerable vertical columns, we must also highlight Yamaha's new VXL1 range of "smart" and compact column loudspeakers, designed to perform on virtually any space. Also, the famous German brand Dynacord (owned by Bosch Security Systems) is now being reintroduced in North America, starting with the introduction of its new L Series and C Series power amplifiers, featuring tour-grade features and protection circuitry usually found in more expensive amplifiers, as well as high-performance digital signal processing with easy-to-use remote control software. Coinciding with Dynacord's 70th anniversary, these new L Series and C Series amplifiers will be available globally.
As I have highlighted in previous InfoComm and ISE reports, the networked audio approach is clearly making a difference. Following the excitement of the introduction of the AES 67 interoperability standard, and with existing leading protocols maturing - see Audinate's announcement of its new enterprise-wide IT-Grade platform to simplify audio-over-IP Network Management: Dante Domain Manager  - the AV industry is embracing networked interfaces faster than any other. It still needs to sort out the challenge of integrated video and audio protocols over IP (the closed and proprietary approaches - albeit effective - are still around), but from the audio systems' perspective, it seems clear that the IP-speaker is very close to becoming a reality. For the moment, it is still mainly about IT/IP managed systems, with the last mile to the speaker still on standard analog or digital formats, but there is a clear perception of the benefits to reach bi-directionality to the single speaker on those commercial installations.
As the Media Networking Alliance (MNA) highlighted at InfoComm 2017, the AES67 interoperable audio transport, connectivity, discovery, and connection management between Dante, Livewire, and Q-LAN protocols is the "glue" that puts those systems together in an economical way that's appropriate to reach the extreme ends of the audio network - from microphones to speakers. This year, the MNA promoted an extensive live demonstration of AES67 interoperability, integrating multiple, different networked audio systems, emulating a practical, real-world AoIP networking application. The demo comprised three racks of networked audio devices, running Dante, Livewire, and Q-LAN respectively, effectively operating as a single AES67 network for a typical performance venue, or theater, networking scenario. Among the many MNA/AES67 demonstrations, involving a total of 16 member companies, Coveloz Technologies was promoting its latest embedded media networking technology solutions for audio, video and control, involving AES67/Ravenna, AVB/AVDECC, ST2110/NMOS, and SAP.
With the complementary Open Control Architecture (OCA) Alliance demonstrations at InfoComm 2017 (it had a booth adjacent to MNA), there was also an important showcase of new AES70 tools and resources, including the promotion of a new technical website developer resource and OCA v1.4 enhancements. Demonstrations on the OCA Alliance booth showcased AES70 hardware and software references, available on a license-free and cost-free basis. The alliance also announced a number of initiatives to further drive AES70 development, including features introduced in the new OCA 1.4 specification, which will be used by the AES to update the current AES70-2015 (OCA 1.3) standard.  Those introduce a streamlined system for connection management, OCA CM3, and define new options for transport of OCP.1, the AES70 control protocol, over USB and WebSocket connections, instead of the u sual TCP.

ALMA International's team at InfoComm 2017, benefiting from the enthusiasm and commitment of Vanessa Rene (Ferrotec), as new vice president, Jonathan Novick, and association manager Barry Vogel.
One last note to commend the amazing work of the reenergized Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics (ALMA) International , which attended InfoComm 2017 and enlisted new members, promoting its forthcoming ALMA International Symposium & Expo (AISE) 2018, taking place at a NEW venue, the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. According to the new Board of Directors and new Executive Committee, now lead by Dan Foley (Audio Precision), as ALMA's new president, this larger location will better facilitate future growth of the  association and of AISE. AISE 2018 will certainly be a must-attend for the electroacoustic and audio industry.
For 2018, InfoComm organizers have announced a new Integrated Life content program and exhibition, spotlighting smart lighting, sensor technology, building and home automation, voice control, integrated security, mobile AV solutions, smart car technologies, and much more. "We plan to take everything that is cool, but maybe abstract, about new technology - the Internet of Things, sensors, artificial intelligence, the cloud and more - and present it in terms of real-world AV solutions that result in outcomes for customers," says InfoComm International. InfoComm 2018 returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center, June 2-8, 2018.


From the Vault
A Hybrid Valve MOSFET SE Amp - Complete Project
By Stephen W. Moore
Published in two separate parts in audioXpress October and November 2007, this hybrid amp design is a detailed and interesting project, frequently referenced by other DIY audio enthusiasts. We thought it was time to make it available online in its entirety, in the best possible quality. As Stephen W. Moore writes about the project: "This hybrid amp design looks a whole lot like a Pass Zen but with the MOSFET's input signal upside-down. That's because it is. I properly used the inherent local gate-drain feedback of the MOSFET source follower to reduce effects of gate capacitance and to maximize linearity. But it still needs gain. Can the same tricks of applying a device's inherent local feedback be applied in a voltage gain stage? Of course. It's called a triode valve."  The article discusses the unity-gain, single-ended MOSFET output stage, the valve voltage amplification stage, and wraps up with the power supplies, printed circuit boards, and construction. This article was originally published in audioXpress, Oct/Nov 2007.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
Tymphany GBS-135F25AL02-04 5.25" Woofer 
By Vance Dickason
The driver I received for testing in this edition of Test Bench came from Tymphany and is a patent-pending thin-profile 5.25" aluminum cone mid-woofer from the company's GBS line of thin-profile woofers and midranges. Woofers in Tymphany's GBS line all share the same low-profile patent-pending (Patent Application 61/895,953) frame and motor structure. Features for the GBS-135F25AL02-04 include a four-spoke stamped steel frame with a mere 27.4 mm (1.08") total depth. The depth is significant as the motor assembly is obviously housed inside the frame. This motor assembly uses a ferrite magnet that measures 80 mm × 15 mm with a T-yoke that has an 8 mm diameter pole vent. The area below the spider is completely open and allows air to circulate across the top plate although not the voice coil winding. The cone assembly is comprised of a flat cone made from a convex 90 mm diameter aluminum dome. Suspension is provided by an inverse roll NBR (CBR) surround and a single 90 mm diameter cloth spider. The patent application also designates models that use a dual-spider configuration. Total depth, including the aluminum dome/cone is 44.9 mm (1.76"). Last, the cone assembly is driven by a 1" (25.5 mm) diameter two-layer voice coil wound with round copper wire on an aluminum (ASV) former, terminated to a pair of solderable terminals. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, September 2016.   Read the Full Article Online

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