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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





Research from Fraunhofer IDMT Finds Use of Soundbars Actually Improves TV Viewing Experience
The German Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology (IDMT), in Oldenburg, Germany, has compared the speech intelligibility and sound quality of a Samsung smart TV and a Samsung soundbar. The results show that using the soundbar considerably reduces listening effort in comparison to using only the TV. Fifteen adults aged between 25 and 55 were invited to the Fraunhofer IDMT's Sound Technologies Lab (STL) in Oldenburg for the study.   Read More


Steinberg Shows the Way to Great Audio Software with WaveLab 9.5 Update
This is the way things are supposed to be with great audio software. Once again, Steinberg surprises with newly released iterations of its WaveLab Pro 9.5 and WaveLab Elements 9.5 audio editing and mastering workstations. The new half point updates combine an endless number of advanced tools, now featuring a new spectrogram customizable view, Wavelet display, Spectrum Editor, a suite of improved plug-ins, Apple Touch Bar support, and higher dpi screen support, among many, many improvements.   Read More


Propellerhead Announces Reason 10 Music Production Software
Musicians rejoice. Propellerhead Software announced that Reason 10 is now available via the Propellerhead website and authorized resellers worldwide. The new version of this popular music production software was launched just five months after the previous release (9.5). Reason's biggest content update of all time features two groundbreaking new synthesizers and three new instrument collections.    Read More

Futuresource's New Headphones Market Report Confirms Global Headphone Sales Accelerated by Wireless & Smart Features
The overall market for headphones is mature in terms of units, but there are pockets of significant growth. Demand for wireless headphones continues to energize the global market driving up sales, increasing prices, and fueling innovation of smart features. Sales of wireless headphones have rapidly accelerated this year and are on track to reach $9.5 billion, up 83% on 2016. These are some of the finds detailed by Futuresource Consulting in its latest Headphones Market Report: Worldwide Outlook.   Read More

B&C Speakers Formalizes Offer to Acquire Eighteen Sound 
B&C Speakers formalized a binding offer for the acquisition of 100% of share capital of Eighteen Sound from Landi Renzo Group (Reggio Emilia). The announcement confirms an operation anticipated by the Landi Renzo Group of focusing on its core automotive business, divesting from non-strategic assets and a "return to profitability" in 2018. For B&C Speakers, this represents a formidable expansion of its business to new loudspeaker market segments Read More


Phorus PS10 Is First DTS Play-Fi Speaker to Launch with Amazon Alexa Voice Service
DTS announced the availability of the Phorus PS10, the first DTS Play-Fi-enabled wireless speaker with Amazon Alexa Voice Service. The Phorus PS10's built-in far-field microphone array enables users to access information, play music, and control other home automation devices via the Amazon Alexa Voice Service. The PS10 features three microphones for superior far-field voice recognition, one-touch music presets, high-resolution music compatibility, and DTS Play-Fi multi-room streaming.   Read More






João
Martins
Editor-in-Chief




Editor's Desk


Hanging Out at AES NY

Barely recovered from a week in New York -  at least in terms of catching up with the product announcements - I have left this year's Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention with the feeling that it was just too short. Expectations couldn't have been higher. After all, the 143rd International AES Convention (October 18-21, 2017) was promoted as the most important event of the year for the audio industry, including the fact that it was sharing the Jacob Javits Center with the NAB Show New York. So naturally increased attendance was a given, and naturally there were many "synergetic" opportunities to discuss common themes, such as media over IP.
 
A successful AES New York 2017, from the technical program to the exhibition hall, co-located with The NAB Show New York.

Also, because the Technical Program and Events schedule, with presentations, workshops, and technical tours, was simply massive - overwhelming for anyone that would like to follow multiple sessions happening in multiple tracks, happening concurrently. And there lies one of my main regrets about this year's convention - the fact that I wasn't able to attend even some of those sessions that I had noted on my schedule. It was four full days of presentations, demonstrations, and discussions panels, and to be honest, we were so busy at the show itself, that I couldn't even consider getting out of the main exhibit hall - especially after I realized that the concurrent NAB Show NY was in fact only open for the first two days of the AES convention. And during the three AES days, the show floor was so crowded and well attended, that it was even hard to find the time to visit the "other floors," and take time for those valuable research papers and engineering briefs that we had planned to attend.
 
I briefly peeked in on some of the sessions and I am certain that they were all well-attended - mainly by students and lots of enthusiastic young audio engineers and music producers, the clearly dominant crowd. On the show floor, the Project Studio Expo and the Mix with the Masters Mixing Workshops - very close to our own audioXpress booth - provided an excellent sample of the visitor profile, mainly interested in anything to do with recording, mixing, mastering, and studio production in general. In clear contrast, the large Live Sound Expo auditorium was almost empty most of the time, and this was supposed to have held the Broadcast Audio Expo, and Broadway Sound Expo, and a series of talks (which to be honest I didn't see if they happened - hope so...)

The opening keynote speech by Prof. Edgar Choueiri at the 143rd International AES Convention. Great thoughts on the future of audio, hindered by a pathetic PowerPoint.

So, after three incredibly busy days, the AES convention was over... Over? Well not exactly! There was a fourth FULL day of Technical Program and Events, including interesting sessions on Spatial Audio, Sound Reinforcement, and Audio Networking. There was even a very interesting technical tour to the Ambiophonics Institute (www.ambiophonics.org) in New Jersey, happening the same morning of the Spatial Audio sessions... Not surprisingly (trusting the testimony of some attendees...) there were very few people attending... So, who thought of doing an extra day of conferences and tours one day after the show is officially over? That remains one of the problems within the Audio Engineering Society. They "tolerate" the exhibition because it pays the bills, but everyone is just obsessed with what happens in the lecture rooms. The result is like two alternative worlds. And that's not good.
 
Another negative aspect of the show, that was supposed to be a positive thing, was the new software@aes pavilion, a partnership with the International Music Software Trade Association (IMSTA). At past AES conventions (and other shows), I have criticized the fact that audio software companies are not attending proportionally to their importance to the market - as could be seen during the Mix with the Masters sessions, or the Waves demo theater, which were always crowded. At shows like Musikmesse, in Frankfurt, we have seen a complete hall of software companies, almost the size of the AES show floor. Suddenly, we started to see software companies reduced to "two chairs and an iMac" at the Avid Partner's Pavilion (nothing wrong with that for small plug-in companies that mainly depend upon Pro-Tools to do business.) Unfortunately, the new software@aes pavilion was almost a repetition of the model, with basically "two chairs and an iMac" for everyone, even with some important companies represented there. This is not what software represents to the market, and this is not the best model for those companies.
 
Why weren't the big software DAW companies also represented with their own demonstration spaces? Why was iZotope's booth the same size of our own audioXpress booth (the minimum module) given the quantity, quality, and importance of products released just in the past few months? And why wasn't the new Steinberg Wavelab 9.5 software introduced at the AES show and instead announced the week after? Clearly, something's not right, and I have the feeling that someone is not doing their work.
 
Hopefully, this will not be the trend at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show, especially now that there are additional halls - and given the fact that the AES is cooperating with the NAMM to augment the professional audio momentum. I still don't understand why some pro audio companies in the live sound domain don't invest more in attending the valuable AES shows.
 
We couldn't help noticing that some important audio brands were also absent, which is strange given that this was supposed to be the most important audio show of the year in the US - and in particular given the tremendous momentum the audio industry is going through. It's clearly NOT the economy! Again, I think a much stronger effort needs to be done to sell the AES show and engage those companies to attract even more visitors.

The Project Studio Expo was again a success with well-attended sessions, unlike the Live Sound Expo.

Anyway, the 143rd International AES Convention was in fact the best (not the largest) pro audio education and networking AES event of the year. I just hope that next year the organizers will reflect on ways to improve the opportunities of staying on the West Coast, and the co-location with the NAB Show New York. And please start the conferences one day BEFORE the show opens or expand the show to all four days.
 
Just as I was writing my impressions from New York, I received the official statement from the AES regarding the event. It states, "Declared a rousing success by attendees, exhibitors, presenters, and sponsors alike, the AES New York 2017 Convention once again hosted the year's largest annual contingent of pro audio professionals, students, and enthusiasts at the Jacob Javits Center." We agree with the success. Not with "the largest" part of it. Unless it was for the fact that total registration eclipsed that of last year's Los Angeles convention, with 15,590 registrants - 24% higher than final registration for AES LA 2016. The AES also notes that the quality of the technical programs in New York drew over 40% more "All Access" attendees than in Los Angeles last year, setting a new milestone. Still, we should instead compare this event with the previous one held in New York, in 2015, where an all-time high record of nearly 20,000 visitors was reached.
 
AES New York 2017 offered well over 200 technology presentations including 700 presenters and a half-dozen offsite Tech Tours, as well as 260-plus brands exhibiting the latest gear and services on the AES Exhibition floor (there were 300 exhibitors at the 139th AES convention in NY in 2015). I agree with the words of Bob Moses, AES Executive Director, when he says, "At the close of the exhibition on Friday, the hall was still packed when the lights were dimmed." Yes, that was true, no one could believe the show was going to close at 4pm, two hours early...
 
Fortunately, AES New York convention research papers and E-briefs can now be found online in the AES E-Library, and recordings of the convention presentations and proceedings will soon be online as part of the AES Live: Videos collection. Full E-Library access is a benefit enjoyed by all AES members - for those with time.

The Mix with the Masters talks were the hit of the show, with hundreds of people carefully following all the presentations.
 
Next up, the Audio Engineering Society returns to the west coast for the AES@NAMM Pro Sound Symposium, Live, and Studio, to be held in NAMM's education campus, adjacent to the Anaheim Convention Center, during the 2018 NAMM Show, which runs January 25-28, 2018 (aesatnamm.com).
 
The AES celebrates its 70th anniversary as the Society returns to the Jacob Javits Center in New York for AES New York 2018, the 145th AES International Convention, taking place October 17-20, 2018, co-located once again with The NAB Show New York. aes.org/events.



                     

Fresh from the Bench
RME ADI-2 Pro Bi-Directional Converter with Dual Headphone Amp in Review
By Bennett Prescott and Stuart Yaniger
 
audioXpress September 2017 featured a review of the RME ADI-2 Pro by Bennett Prescott and Stuart Yaniger. The sensational RME ADI-2 Pro Bi-Directional Converter with Dual Headphone Amps is a feature-packed update to the original RME ADI-2, providing incredibly precise audio quality and a host of innovative features that will appeal to both mastering engineers and high-end audio aficionados alike. After spotting the RME ADI-2 Pro at the NAMM Show, Prescott requested the loan of a unit so he could examine it more closely. He also enlisted Yaniger to put the converter/headphone amplifier combination through a series of measurement tests. As Prescott found out - and Yaniger could attest with objective metrics - this is a very serious piece of equipment from a company that deserves wider recognition, outside its traditional recording market. Prescott writes: "The ADI-2 Pro (not to be confused with the older, less headphone-oriented ADI-2) is a sort of do-everything bi-directional digital-to-analog (DAC) converter with dual headphone outputs on the front, XLR and optical S/PDIF inputs and outputs on the back, plus copper S/PDIF and AES available on a breakout cable (included), which connects via DB-9. The converter came in a compact and well-padded retail box with nice graphics, and included an external power supply that solves one of my usual complaints by using a twist lock mechanism to hold its jack in place. The retail price is just under $2,000 US, and for that you get two powerful DSP engines and two powerful headphone amplifiers, plus the ability to work with PCM sample rates up to 768 kHz at 32 bits, and true native DSD support up to DSD256. The bottom line is this unassuming desktop unit will do instrumentation-grade conversion of audio in any imaginable format-today or probably until we start listening to quantum audio directly on our positronic brains."   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
FaitalPRO HF142 Compression Driver Coupled with LTH142 60°×50° Horn 
By Mike Klasco and Alex Butler
 
These Test Bench samples came from Italian pro sound OEM FaitalPRO, which sent the HF142 1.4" neodymium motor compression driver with the LTH142 60° × 50° horn. The HF142 is the latest in a series of 1.4" throat 2.5" diameter voice coil neodymium motor compression drivers that includes the HF144, the HF146, and the HF146R. Features for the HF142 include a ketone polymer diaphragm, with proprietary perforated suspension for acoustic tuning and a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) modeled and optimized four-slot annular phase plug. The phase plug's design and its coupling with the diaphragm uses Faital's proprietary simulation / modeling software. The diaphragm assembly is driven by a 65 mm (2.56") voice coil wound with aluminum wire on a Kapton former. Other features for this compact design include a cast aluminum body, an 80 W AES-rated power handling (160 W program material maximum), a neodymium ring magnet motor, 110 dB sensitivity, minimum crossover frequency of 0.9 kHz, and color-coded push terminals. The horn supplied with the HF142 driver is FaitalPRO's LTH142 injection-molded PC/ABS with a 1.4" throat. The LTH142 is a 60°H × 50°V elliptical Tractrix-type horn with a 9.5 dB directivity index. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, March 2017.   Read the Full Article Online

AX November 2017: Digital Login
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