Focal Launches New Generation of Sib Evo Loudspeakers Featuring Dolby Atmos
French speaker and headphone manufacturer Focal unveiled the company's new generation of Sib Evo home cinema loudspeakers featuring Dolby Atmos technology. Easy to install and use, the Sib Evo Dolby Atmos system was designed for users who want to improve their home-theater experience. The Sib Evo loudspeakers are available as a 2.0 pack, or can be used to upgrade a 5.1 system to a 5.1.2 system without having to change all loudspeakers.  Read More

ams Wins Innovation Gold Award at 2017 Sensors Expo for Single Wire Communication Interface
Austrian company ams, a leading supplier of high-performance sensor solutions, has won the prestigious Gold Level Innovation Award at the 2017 Best of Sensors Expo Awards (Sensors Expo & Conference, San Jose, CA, June 27-29, 2017). ams won the award for its novel Accessory Communications Interface (ACI), a technology that enables Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headsets to operate with no battery in the earphone when connected via a single wire to a host device such as a smartphone.   Read More

Smart Speakers Capture 30% of Audio Market, VPAs Poised to Create New "Wild Frontier"
Market research and consulting company, Futuresource Consulting recently released a new report in the consumer electronics (CE) space covering the emerging voice personal assistants (VPAs) category and smart speakers. The report highlights that we are at the beginning of a wider market transformation, with voice personal assistants (VPAs) at the heart of a new CE land grab.   Read More

NTi Audio Develops Solution for Unattended Noise Monitoring Stations with Remote Control
NTi Audio has implemented NoiseScout, a complete professional solution for unattended sound level monitoring. With a Noise Monitoring Station from NTi Audio, both short-term sound level measurements and long-term monitoring can be easily achieved. At the core is an XL2 Sound Level Meter, which in turn connects to the Internet via a NetBox. The remote access to the monitoring station is managed via the NTi Audio Gateway or the self-managing NoiseScout Web Portal.  

Peerless by Tymphany Launches New SDF Woofer Series and Starts Shipping SDF-250 10" Model 
The newest product line from Peerless by Tymphany is the SDF series of woofers. With sizes ranging from 10" to 15", they are built to provide more bass in smaller-than-traditional enclosures. Designed with a 3" voice coil and a robust ferrite magnet system, the woofers provide higher power-handling, enhanced low-end response, and more linearity. The company is now shipping the SDF-250 10" woofer, built for high-performance, high-excursion consumer, and hi-fi applications.

XMOS Acquires Setem Technologies to Drive Development of Next-Generation Voice Interfaces
XMOS announced that it has completed the acquisition of Setem Technologies, a pioneer on algorithms that enables separation of voice or conversation signals within a crowded audio environment to achieve optimized input into speech recognition systems. The two companies have been collaborating on next-generation voice interfaces and decided upon the combination of the companies to create a leading vendor in the fast-growing application area.  Read More

Vesper MEMS Recognized for Innovation and Engineering Team at Sensors Expo Awards 2017
The 32nd annual edition of the Sensors Expo & Conference, which focuses exclusively on sensors and sensor-integrated systems, took place June 27-29, 2017, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA. During the event, the winners of the 2017 Best of Sensors Expo Awards, designed to spotlight the advances in both innovations and real-world applications of sensors, were announced. MEMS microphones developer Vesper was named Engineering Team of the Year.   Read More


Editor's Desk

Audio Engineering, Will Travel

Career opportunities in the audio industry have never been greater and more rewarding. With all the semiconductor and digital signal processing companies currently working on new "smart speaker" projects for companies that have never developed an audio product, and all sorts of consumer electronic companies showing ambitious plans in wireless, multiroom, portable, and personal audio applications, there's a never-ending world of opportunities for recently graduated engineers, seasoned veterans, and even external consultants. In fact, this is a great time to be an independent consultant if you have some real development experience in audio products.
Amazon recruiting at the 141st Audio Engineering Society (AES) International Convention in Los Angeles, CA.

As we predicted, the audio industry is at the center of important technology market trends - with new generations of portable connected speakers, wireless headsets and earbuds, and the emergence of streaming services, and on the corporate and professional side of things, the transition to fully networked systems, software control, and the evolution in digital signal processing now spreading from microphone arrays to collaboration and conference solutions, all the way to real-time acoustic correction of sound reinforcement systems, and variable acoustics... Adding to this, we now have the extraordinary uptake in voice recognition and voice personal assistant applications, motivating large investments from large companies, which typically would outsource most of its audio-related developments.
To fulfil all their declared ambitions in a very competitive landscape, companies need actual people. With entrepreneurship, vision, great marketing skills, and the ability to innovate (yes, those are needed!), companies need to hire real talent, in many vital disciplines, starting with engineering, obviously.
The problem is that all this growth and ambition from companies also needs lots of highly skilled people. And recruiting the right talent for those jobs becomes a real issue. Hiring men and women with the right set of skills for increasingly complex technological projects is already hard in generic disciplines such as electronic engineering and software development. But an even smaller percentage have studied acoustical and audio electronics or transducer-specific mechanical engineering, and much less have any knowledge needed for developing and manufacturing audio products.
To make things even more interesting, established audio manufacturers seem to be hiring like we don't remember seeing. From sales to manufacturing positions, audio companies in general have all sorts of openings, reflecting their global expansions. But to find new talent, they are now competing with the big semiconductor companies and the corporate giants (e.g., Amazon, Apple, and Google) for the industry's best engineers to help develop integrated circuits, embedded software, and DSP algorithms for new generations of advanced audio products.

I have quickly browsed the "careers" section of just a handful of those chip companies and I couldn't believe that I had to give up after more than 10 pages of just the short listings of open positions. And the biggest problem is that most of the required job profiles are "shooting for the moon." Good luck finding "a project leader to coordinate the design planning and execution of **** products across all facets of design from concept/new IP development to production ready silicon, represent the collective engineering team in interfacing with management, product management/marketing and key customers and champion the development and deployment of best practices to improve project performance."
I'm certain the universities around the world will quickly identify the opportunities and start channeling their students to the required areas. But to fulfill current open positions, the only solution will be to promote training programs that involve industry veterans, such as those people who have been readers of this magazine for many years. The same industry veterans who have been actively promoting audio industry associations such as the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics (ALMA) International.
And because ALMA acknowledges this pressing need, it has been promoting the ALMA students program, initiated two years ago. ALMA is now preparing for its ALMA International Symposium & Expo (AISE) 2018, and organizers can use everyone's help. The theme for AISE 2018 will be "The Revolution of the Audio Signal Chain," and ALMA is already picking up steam with its most dynamic seminar program ever, for which submissions are still encouraged. In keeping with its theme, as Dan Foley, ALMA's new president highlights, the "audio engineers, not just transducer engineers, need to have a deeper understanding of every aspect of audio signal path and its corresponding impact on audio quality."
"Today's engineers designing an audio system, or any of its components, need to have at least a basic understanding of the complex interactions of each part of the entire audio signal path. This requires a willingness to learn about technologies for which one may have not been formally trained. Attending meetings organized by professional technical organizations is a great way to learn about emerging technologies as well as expanding one's network of technical contacts."

ALMA International Symposium & Expo (AISE) is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in learning from industry experts and the best companies.

AISE 2017 was the first show to feature a focused Student track. For 2018, organizers hope to accelerate that endeavor. As ALMA highlights, more than two-thirds of Student AISE attendees leave with either internships or jobs! There will be several Student/Educator centric events at AISE 2018 to help students and perspective employers connect and to help educators to find funding for research. Qualified students attend AISE 2018 for free.


Fresh From the Bench
Earthworks M50 Omnidirectional Measurement Microphone
By Stuart Yaniger
Earthworks, a well-regarded brand based in the US, manufactures the M series microphones, targeted at the middle of the market, and ranging in price from $500 to $1300 per microphone. The Earthworks M50 under review ($1299 retail price) is the top entry of the M series, which mainly differs in high-frequency cutoff between models. Because the capsules are the same, the maximum sound pressure level (SPL) and sensitivity remains the same for the entire M series. The "50" in the M50 denotes response flat to 50 kHz. As Stuart Yaniger writes in his review: "Earthworks was started by David Blackmer as a measurement microphone company back in the late 1990s before branching out to other markets and developing proprietary acoustics and electronics technology. Blackmer's goal was to produce the most accurate measurement microphones in the market, since he felt that most of the then-existing products did not give reliable results. The basic philosophy at Earthworks is optimization of the time-domain response. If the time domain is done well, frequency response will automatically be correct." Read the full review now available online. This article was originally published in audioXpress, July 2017.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
Faital Pro HF108R Compression Driver with LTH102 Horn 
By Vance Dickason
This month's Test Bench samples came from a premier Italian Pro Sound OEM driver manufacturer. From Faital Pro, I received the HF108R compression driver coupled with a LTH102 60° × 50° horn. The HF108R is the latest in Faital Pro's series of Ketone Polymer diaphragm 1" compression drivers, which includes the HF100, the HF102, the HF103, the HF104, the HF105, the HF106, and the HF107. I reviewed the HF108 compression driver in Voice Coil's April 2015 issue, and included some data on the HF108R. However, this transducer is different enough that it deserves a separate review. Features for the HF108R include a Ketone polymer annular-shaped diaphragm and an annular-shaped phase plug. Throat diameter is 25.4 mm (1") and is coupled to a 44 mm (1.73") diameter voice coil wound on a Kapton former with aluminum wire. Other features include a cast-aluminum body, a 60 W AES-rated power handling (120 W maximum), a neodymium ring magnet motor, and solderable terminals. Compared to the HF108 compression driver, the HF108R incorporates a more rigid clamping system on the diaphragm. This creates a more subtle listening experience when the distance between the enclosure and the target audience is limited (as in a bar/club/restaurant or for a home listening situation) since it is typical for the compression drivers to be somewhat overwhelming when listened to in the near field. This requires additional machining in the gap as well as the alternative clamping method. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, November 2016.   Read the Full Article Online

AX August 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