Audio Precision Unveils AECM206 Binaural Headphone Test Fixture
Audio Precision announced its new AECM206 Headphone Test Fixture, a competitively priced IEC 60318-4-compliant accessory that simplifies earbud and headphone measurements in both lab and production environments. The AECM206, in conjunction with APx Series analyzers, accessories and software, provides a complete system enabling precise and repeatable electro-acoustic testing of headphones and insert earphones (earbuds).  Read More

Legrand Acquires US company Milestone AV Technologies LLC
French company Legrand, a world leader in electrical and digital building infrastructures solutions, announced the acquisition of US group Milestone AV Technologies for $950m. Milestone is the group that detains well-established Audio Video (AV) infrastructure brands, including Chief mounts and racks, Da-Lite screens, Projecta screens, Sanus Av mounts and furniture, and Vaddio conference and PTZ cameras.   Read More

Dirac Research Equips Select NAD Electronics Amplifiers with Dirac Live Room Correction
Strengthening its commitment to provide an unparalleled home theater listening experience, NAD Electronics announced a strategic partnership with Swedish sound enhancement technology specialists, Dirac Research. The partnership will incorporate the Dirac Live room correction solution into upcoming, select products in NAD Electronics' Masters and Custom Install lines, designed and manufactured by Lenbrook International.   Read More

MAG Audio Introduces THOR Cinema Subwoofer Based on Powersoft M-Force
Described as "the most advanced cinema subwoofer in the world", with a frequency range extending from 18Hz to 120Hz and SPL peaking at 145dB, MAG Audio's new MAG THOR has set out to redefine the cinema experience, by reproducing soundtrack low frequencies well beyond conventional subwoofers. The new THOR subwoofer combines the Ukrainian company's own ingenious engineering with Powersoft's innovative M-Force transducer and M-Drive amplifier.    Read More

beyerdynamic Announces Impacto essential Digital-Analog Converter in Headphone Cable 
Sound enthusiasts chose high-end headphones like the T 1 or T 5 p models from beyerdynamic expecting to get the highest quality experiences, not always provided by the sound source. In order to enable the best possible playback quality from portable devices such as notebooks or smartphones, beyerdynamic has developed the Impacto essential hi-res Digital to analog converter (DAC), which connects directly to USB interfaces.   Read More

MAAT Launches DRMeter, an Essential Dynamic Range Metering Plug-in
A collective of pro audio veterans, lead by engineer and educator Friedemann Tischmeyer, have started a new enterprise. Based in California, MAAT Inc is building premium quality software and hardware for production professionals at all budget and skill levels. As an introduction, MAAT released a free download of 2BusControl, a cross-platform metering and monitor controller plug-in, and now announced the release of the new DR Meter, a remodeled plug-in of the legendary TT Dynamic Range Meter.  Read More

Rayz Plus Lightning Headphones Get New Smart Mute Feature
Pioneer & Onkyo U.S.A Corporation have announced a new "Smart Mute" feature for the Rayz and Rayz Plus Lightning earphones, along with new Rayz Plus colors - Black and Rose Gold -  which are available exclusively at and at Apple Retail stores worldwide. Rayz Plus are the first and only Lightning earphones - so far - with an inline charging node that allows users to charge the iPhone and listen to music or talk at the same time.   Read More

Blackfire Research Introduces New Wireless Real-Time Entertainment Distribution Framework
Blackfire Research, a wireless network specialist from San Francisco, CA, announced the availability of Blackfire RED, or Real-time Entertainment Distribution framework, which the company says is the industry's only wireless and entertainment-centric infrastructure software framework built from the ground up to both overcome the limitations of Wi-Fi when used for media, and wireless entertainment-related consumer applications and products.   Read More

IK Multimedia Announces ARC System 2.5 with Greater Accuracy and MEMS Measurement Microphone
Italian audio innovators, IK Multimedia announced that its ARC System 2.5 with a new MEMS microphone will be available for shipping in July 2017. The solution employs Audyssey MultEQ XT32 patented technology to greatly improve the audio monitoring accuracy of speakers in any studio or room listening environment. Combined with a new MEMS measurement microphone, the solution dramatically increases measured precision, offering a new milestone in accuracy for room correction.   Read More


Editor's Desk

You Must Explore to Reap the Rewards

Read the Loudspeaker Industry Sourcebook (LIS) 2017 edition now!
By now, many of our readers have already received their print copies of the annual Loudspeaker Industry Sourcebook (LIS 2017) or have checked the FREE online edition available at: If you didn't, make sure to click and read it now, or simply download the full PDF copy for reading at leisure and future reference.
As always, apart from the speaker industry directory, our annual Loudspeaker Industry Sourcebook (LIS 2017) edition - combining the editorial resources of our monthly publications, audioXpress and Voice Coil - contains a collection of must-read articles from industry leaders, Q&As on trending industry topics, and our annual industry reports about the state of the industry.

Produced in cooperation with the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics (ALMA) International, most of the articles selected for this year's LIS edition are based on presentations that took place during ALMA's International Symposium & Expo (AISE) 2017. This should provide you with an idea of the incredible value of attending this event, for which audioXpress, Voice Coil, and the Loudspeaker Industry Sourcebook are official media partners. Now is the right time to confirm your presence at the forthcoming edition of AISE 2018 (January 6-7, 2018), which takes place at an exciting NEW venue, the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
As reflected in ALMA International's theme for 2018, "The Revolution of the Audio Signal Chain," the signal path from source to speaker continues to evolve, from a variety of discrete components to converged and integrated, embedded, networked, and increasingly "intelligent" solutions, ultimately determining the quality of audio. The theme for AISE 2018 will focus on this convergence and how this will impact transducer design, the integrated speaker, and overall loudspeaker performance.
As we've noted for this year's LIS edition, we see a clear trend towards evolving wireless technologies and applications, especially on headphones and earbuds, voice-controlled applications, connected smart speakers, and an important evolution on digital processing techniques, creating exciting opportunities for the audio industry. Make sure you read the industry report "Audio Finds Its Voice" by Jack Wetherill (Futuresource Consulting), for LIS 2017.

Compare the frequency response measurement of ORA's headphones equipped with GrapheneQ diaphragms, with a standard Mylar driver.

Meanwhile, we also witness very important dynamics in the evolution of test and measurement tools and techniques. Make sure you don't miss excellent articles on new measurement research by Dan Foley (Audio Precision) on "Advanced Distortion Analysis Methods"; by Christian Bellmann (Klippel), on how to measure the 3D sound pressure output of audio devices using the Klippel Near Field Scanner; by Tim Gladwin (Harman International) on the endless search for the Elusive "Good Sound" Meter for Loudspeakers; by Gregor Schmidle (NTi Audio) on "EOL Testing of Acoustic Devices; by Claus Futtrup (SEAS Fabrikker, AS) on "Benchmarking Viscoelastic Models for Loudspeakers"; by Zarina Bhimani (Listen, Inc.) on "In-Vehicle Loudspeaker Measurements and Distortion Audibility"; and by Hans W. Gierlich (HEAD acoustics) on the sophisticated VoCAS Voice Control Analysis System.

In LIS 2017, we also see the industry reporting on new materials with truly exciting possibilities. Inside, you will find an interesting article by Robert-Eric Gaskell, Ph.D., ORA Sound, discussing how his company is pioneering the use of graphene oxide composites for high-performance loudspeaker membranes. ORA's patented technology - which was already featured in Voice Coil April 2017 - is poised to be the first wide-spread consumer application of graphene, leveraging the material's properties to create smaller, more efficient loudspeakers with improved sound quality.
Beryllium earphones anyone? StarBrick Be4 Earphones are now on Kickstarter.
Following a preview at CES 2017 and a presentation at the ALMA Winter Symposium, ORA Sound is making headway in the use of graphene in acoustic transducers and is already promoting a crowdfunding campaign for the world's first headphones equipped with the patented GrapheneQ membranes. In fact, anyone can still support their Kickstarter campaign and grab one of the first production models of ORA's GQ Headphones. Expected to ship in March 2018, ORA's closed-back headphones are a high-end audio proposition, allowing wired or wireless (Bluetooth) operation, featuring an over-ear ear-shaped design, with a gesture control track-pad on the right earcup, breathable lambskin leather on the earpads and headpad, and a well-thought design. Check it out.
And while we are at it, be sure to check new material-related projects currently on Kickstarter, including the StarBrick Be4 Earphones, harnessing the potential of Beryllium drivers, a project already scheduled to go into production with a limited run of 3000 pieces.
And of course, there's plenty of fully wireless earbuds currently on the works, most of which have been crowdfunded or have ongoing campaigns on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other platforms. There's something for everyone, from unpretentious earbuds that promise a reliable music listening experience, leveraging the CSR 8615 Bluetooth chip with aptX, promising real dual channel stereo independent operation "just like Apple's AirPods's", all the way to fully sensor-dedicated hearables, like The Aware promising custom-fit, brain and biometric sensing, noise cancelling, activity and sleep tracking and stress reliever, or Olive, the next-gen "affordable hearing for all" solution, which was 1630% funded on January 11, 2017.

The Zolo Liberty+ wireless earbuds. It's hard to understand how Apple didn't see this one coming :)

But if we want to really "go crazy" what if we could combine the best of material innovation, such as graphene, in truly wireless earbuds that already use Bluetooth 5.0? Yes, they exist (or at least the crowdfunding campaign does...) and are the Zolo Liberty+ Total-Wireless Earphones. Already with over 1.2 million USD pledged (of the original $50,000 goal) and 11,621 backers, Korean company Zolo apparently already broke the secret for creating Graphene-enhanced drivers. As they state, "we discovered applying a layer of graphene to a dynamic driver created an astonishing improvement in sound quality." They have also created the ultimate shape for universal fit after spending over a year analyzing thousands of ears; they have a fully working Bluetooth 5.0 wireless implementation with an LDS antenna, and they have thrown-in Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant voice-control AI's - just because they could. Zolo also promises to use "the world's most advanced battery technology", partnering with Anker to deliver 3.5 hours of playtime and 48 hours on the charging case. And they promise to ship in October 2017... What's not to like?


Questions & Answers
Music Takes Flight with Raven Audio Sound Systems.
An Interview with Dave Thomson, CEO of Raven Audio
By Shannon Becker
Shannon Becker conducts an interview with Dave Thomson, CEO and founder of Raven Audio, a tube amplifier company based in Texas, which has successfully created a thriving business with high-quality tube amplifiers and preamplifiers. Since it was founded in 2010, Raven Audio never stopped growing and now offers a complete range of products and just opened a new facility in Onalaska on Lake Livingston, 100 miles north of Houston, and continues to expand its engineering staff. As Dave Thomson states in this interview: "Tube audio takes a little work. But, I have always found that it is well worth it. You will never beat the real "human" sound of a really great tube audio system. There is no answer as to why people react to music the way they do, but striving to make it perfect and completely without distortion and imperfection will rip the soul out of the art of the performance. It would be nice if more people understood this. And I am here to try to help with that!" This article was originally published in audioXpress, June 2017.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
A Redesigned DE990TN-8 1.4" Compression Driver from B&C Speakers 
By Vance Dickason
The compression driver/horn that I received for testing in this edition of Test Bench was the redesigned B&C Speakers DE990TN-8, a 1.4" neodymium motor compression driver with a titanium diaphragm coupled with the ME90 horn. This compression driver is fairly compact with a 115 mm package diameter, achieved by using a specially milled inside ring neodymium magnet. The new DE990TN-8 was updated with a completely redesigned diaphragm that incorporates a bent edge voice coil former, a new dome and surrounds geometry, and an optimized phase plug. These modifications combine to better control diaphragm displacement and deformations, resulting in lower distortion and a smoother higher frequency response above 10 kHz. However, the new DE990TN-8 is also the second highest power handling (100 W) model in the Italian brand's line. The DE990TN-8 has a 36 mm (1.4") throat diameter. It is driven by a titanium diaphragm with an 86 mm (3.4") diameter voice coil wound with copper-clad aluminum wire (CCAW). Other features include a neodymium ring magnet motor structure, nominal 100 W rated power handling (200 W continuous), an injection-molded aluminum black heatsink, and color-coded chrome push terminals. The horn supplied with the DE990TN-8 is B&C Speakers' 1.4" throat 80°H × 60°V constant directivity cast-aluminum ME90 horn with a 0.9 kHz cutoff frequency. B&C Speakers recommends a minimum 1 kHz crossover frequency (with at least a second-order high-pass active or passive filter) with a published 500-Hz-to-18-kHz frequency range. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, September 2016.   Read the Full Article Online

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

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