Fundamentals of Headphone Electroacoustic Measurements
This 26-page application note discusses these challenges, headphone types, measurement standards, headphone acoustics, acoustic test fixtures required for measuring headphones, and the practical aspects of headphone measurements. An overview of the key electroacoustic measurements used to characterize the audio quality of headphones and earphones is also provided. Click here to download the free white paper.   Read More

New Generation of Brüel & Kjær's High-Frequency Head-and-Torso Simulator
In response to the trend toward high-quality audio in mobile phones and the increasing popularity of headphones and headsets for communication and entertainment, Brüel & Kjær has developed the new high-frequency Head-and-Torso Simulator (HATS) Type 5128. The new HATS was shown for the first time in public at the 143rd Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York. The improved version of the "green man" will open a new world of opportunity for the audio industry.   Read More

PMC Launches result6 Compact Near-Field Monitor at AES 2017
There is now a new PCM compact nearfield reference monitor that will be affordable to a whole new range of studios (under $3000 USD retail for a pair), and it sounds completely coherent with any other PMC monitor, including the popular MB3S-XBD-A and BB6 monitors, or even the flagship QB1-XBD-A. To open this completely new segment for the famous brand, the result6 demanded an extensive development effort, that included designing custom-made drivers and a new HF diffraction system.   Read More

GRAS Sound & Vibration Announces New 146AE Rugged Microphone Designed to Perform Under the Harshest Conditions
World-renowned manufacturer of high-quality measurement microphones and related acoustic equipment, GRAS Sound & Vibration introduced a new, extra durable, high-performance measurement microphone. Designed with the automotive industry in mind, because of its ruggedness, the new GRAS 146AE may appeal to many industries that require a high-performance solution.    Read More

Transom Capital Acquires All Brands from LOUD Technologies, Inc.
Los Angeles CA-based private equity firm, Transom Capital Group has acquired all brands from LOUD Technologies, Inc., including the iconic Mackie, Ampeg, EAW, and Martin Audio brands. The new company will be called LOUD Audio, LLC and be led by the executives of LOUD Technologies, ensuring continuity with product development, distribution, and the supply chain but with new capital to enable growth across all brands.   Read More

Knowles Announces The World's First Context-Aware, Machine Learning Optimized Audio Processor For Complex Voice Interactions 
Knowles announced a new audio processor platform, the IA8508 open DSP platform, with four high-performance, power efficient, heterogeneous cores and 5.7 MB of shared memory for a variety of new use cases. The IA8508 advanced audio processor is optimized for performance and power in both near and far-field voice applications - making it the perfect solution for mobile phones, ear-worn products, and IoT devices such as digital assistants, smart speakers, and TVs Read More

Genelec and IDA Audio to Redefine Immersive 3D Audio for Professional Headphone Users
Audio monitoring specialist, Genelec, and IDA Audio, a pioneer in head-related transfer function (HRTF) modeling technology, are joining forces to create a truly accurate immersive audio experience for professional headphone users. Accessible via a software application for smartphones, the jointly developed technology scans the user's ears, upper body, and head to create a cloud-based customized personal audio profile, which can then be loaded into the user's DAW via a choice of third-party plug-ins.   Read More


Editor's Desk

Innovation, Revolution, and Marketing Cycles

I've previously written about my personal frustration with the fact that we often report about excellent products, ideas, and technologies, only to find out - when we check back - that two years or more have passed and nothing happened! Of course, some companies are simply bought, sometimes patents get in the way, and very often, there is still the need to transform a great product idea and innovation into a company to support the business. That's all in the manual. But sometimes, it's different. They just lose track of how important the early stages of the marketing cycle can be.

Many companies in their launching stages focus on the demonstration of their key technologies and benefits, which makes sense. Unfortunately, many also lose sight of the marketing timing - When is it time to get over pursuing the key partnerships and first strategic clients and fire up the "engines" on serious marketing, sales efforts, and truly launch the business on a global scale?
Sometimes, revisiting the marketing plan and the product focus helps: "What is it that we do, that could actually make a difference?" Very often, great engineering and specs are just the groundwork. Companies need to identify the "trigger" for what they sell. In speaker technologies, that goes together with choosing the correct market segment for launch, and define how to approach it with a clear marketing plan, before targeting another potential group of users.
Of course, many owners and founders of great companies, and inventors of great products, sometimes don't want to have big companies. With their roots in a certain market segment or a limited vision of the product's potential, they will choose to sell the new speaker to car audio, custom installation, or high-end audio, because that's where their roots are. Or they will focus first on establishing a distribution channel in their familiar region, without even considering where their product is actually needed or faces less competition. This approach, very often makes it difficult for those passionate inventors and engineers to attract the people they will need to move the company forward.
Many inventors and engineers will always say that the product is not ready for mainstream and that they need a few more years in the lab, while the new sales manager (sometimes a partner or investor) looks for the first deals with strategic clients. And that's where the marketing timing comes into play. Timing is critical to transform innovations into profitable/thriving businesses.
Any great innovation or idea, once it is out there (and these days it can be just on a Facebook page or a Linkedin post) starts the clock ticking. You need a precise timetable to execute your marketing, grow, and create your own "brand image" and control how the market will perceive you. Awareness is easy with technical innovation, but choose the wrong path or fail to meet that timetable and your "idea" - no matter how good it is - might stall.
It is much more challenging to work on a growth plan, if you have already failed the introduction, and your novelty has matured. I like the notion of TAKT Time (The TAKT Time Formula, from the German word "Taktzeit" or cycle time, defines the Net Time Available for Production/Customer's Daily Demand), the conductors baton determining production principles and practices, and the maximum acceptable time to meet the demands of the customer. A TAKT formula can also be applied in the launching stages and not only for when you have to worry about production time meeting demand. Products "discovered" and correctly perceived will generate demand. Failing that marketing stage, demand fails and you have to start again.
So many great audio products have missed that stage. Just during the last five years, I've seen so many "revolutionary" and "breakthrough" products in prototype stage, sometimes serious investments in presentations at CES and other trade shows - and years pass - nothing. Silence.
After that, the problem changes. It is time to focus on new product launching schedules and strengthening the catalog. For that, each product needs to have space to breathe. A time for its own marketing cycle, measured by consumer recognition that it exists, it's desired, and it's bought and replaced. Every product should be allowed this space. I pity the companies who launch 30 different products once a year and remain silent almost the rest of the time. And the ones that announce five different versions of the same product in 20 different configurable options resulting in hundreds of SKUs.
Focus on one product, one great idea, one great benefit. Make consumers realize they need your product in their lives. Put the effort to launch it and fire up the engines.


You Can DIY!
Build the Mojo Maestro
By Ethan Winer
This interesting DIY project details a fairly simple passive device that's easy to build, and is basically a "subtle distortion" circuit to emulate the sound of an analog tape or vinyl (minus the clicks and pops). As Ethan Winer writes, "Gentle distortion is popular, and people pay handsomely for this! But there's no need for magic or high prices. I call this project "Mojo Maestro" because recording engineers often use subtle distortion to add some "mojo" to their mixes. I've pointed out many times that you can create a controlled amount of soft-clipping distortion with just two diodes and a few resistors. So I finally decided to do it, and the result is Mojo Maestro. This box can add distortion ranging from very subtle to add a little grit to a sterile sounding track or help "glue" a mix together, through more severe clipping to add "mojo" or "dirt" to any source that will benefit. The Mojo setting also switches in a capacitor to gently roll off the highest frequencies to counter the added fuzziness from the diodes. The overall effect is essentially the same as running music through one pass of analog tape." The results can be heard on the audioXpress website, with Winer playing multiple instruments, with and without the "Mojo effect." This article was originally published in audioXpress, October 2017.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Spotlight
Advanced Engineering Simulation Software 
By Mike Klasco and Alex Butler
Simulation software for speaker design has been around since the 1970s. Back then some programs ran on Hewlett-Packard scientific calculators, other software ran on the TRS 80 (RadioShack), and there were many popular programs on the Apple II. Early software was based on SPICE electrical circuit analogy programs for predicting speaker response in various enclosure tuning with variables for box volume, sealed or ported, and various port tunings. Essentially the speaker and the enclosure alignments followed electrical filter characteristics. With the introduction of the IBM PC and DOS operating system in the early 1980s, Thiele-Small (T-S) simulation software for enclosure design became a must-have for speaker system designers. In the 1990s, LEAP and other speaker design software grew in sophistication, enabling users to predict the impact of manipulating speaker driver parameters, band-pass enclosures, passive radiators, and crossover networks. For the most sophisticated design efforts, there are now magnetic circuit design software and finite element analysis (FEA) cone and thermal prediction simulation software. FEA can predict whether a part or assembly will break, wear out, or hopefully work the way it was intended. FEA techniques work by breaking down a component into a number of finite elements (e.g., little cubes). Mathematical equations help predict the behavior of each element. A computer then adds up all the individual behaviors to predict the behavior of the part. FEA can be used to predict the behavior of a part or assembly due to mechanical stress, vibration, fatigue, heat transfer, and even fluid flow (e.g., ferrofluid in the voice coil gap or turbulent air noise in a vent). These programs are characterized as Multiphysics. In this article, Mike Klasco discusses advances in Engineering Simulation Software for speaker design, and acoustic FEA modeling expert Alex Butler shares his impressions on FEA Modeling with both COMSOL and ANSYS. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, March 2017.   Read the Full Article Online

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