Tymphany Expands R&D Capabilities with New UK Design Center
In direct response to increasing demand and market expansion, Tymphany has announced the opening of its new R&D facility, located in Bridgend, Wales. The UK Design Center will be led by Tymphany veteran George Bullimore and will have two primary focuses: high-performance transducer R&D and early-engagement system design and prototyping for professional and premium audio customers worldwideRead More

Schiit Audio Introduces Lyr 3 Modular Hybrid Headamp/Preamp
Schiit Audio announced its third-generation Lyr headphone amp/preamp. Using Schiit's new Coherence hybrid single-tube/solid-state architecture, new Continuity constant-transconductance output stage, and the same modular design as Jotunheim, Lyr 3 is available now, starting at $499. The company also announced the availability of a Multibit DAC card for the Jotunheim and Lyr 3, creating the first all-in-one Multibit DAC/ balanced headamp+preamp.   Read More

Dayton Audio Announces New MK402BT Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Featuring the same build quality and articulation as the original top-rated MK402 speakers, Dayton Audio launched the added convenience of a wireless connection with the new Dayton Audio MK402BT Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers. The built-in amplifier on the MK402BT is able to provide up to 80 W of maximum output power, while a local control panel enables users to change tracks, volume, and even pause/play songs directly from the speaker itself.    Read More

Alango Prepares for Launch of Wear & Hear Line of Assistive Hearing Products
Alango Technologies is getting ready to launch its new Wear & Hear line of assistive hearing products, starting with BeHear Now, an advanced Bluetooth stereo headset and hearing enhancer, featuring advanced audio processing with personal adjustments. Unique technologies include the company's ListenThrough enhancement of ambient sounds, music, phone calls, and EasyListen, which slows down incoming speech in real time.   Read More

MQA Makes Live Hi-Res Music Streaming Possible with Real-Time Encoder 
An invite-only audience in Austin, TX, experienced the debut of "MQA Live," a new way for fans to connect to musicians. Jake Isaac and his band performed from London's Rocket Studios - the first time a live performance has been streamed in real time using MQA's technology and a new reference real-time MQA encoder. The performance was listened to live in an Austin home on a variety of devices to recreate everyday listening environments.   Read More

High Quality Sound and Travels with the Nomadic Audio Speakase
The ultimate high-end portable speaker for music enthusiasts? A traveling case that allows users to take the party anywhere? A great acoustic engineering design? The Nomadic Audio Speakase is all that and more. An "out-of-box" project from the speaker industry veterans at Morel, this high-end Bluetooth speaker boosted by an acoustic case is now available on Kickstarter. Because true quality sound requires a box - this one happens to be a quality (cabin-size) travel suitcase too.   Read More

Alexa Development Board Runs Linux on Raspberry Pi Compute Module
Gumstix has launched a version of its Linux-driven Chatterbox Alexa Voice Service development board designed for the RPi Compute Module. Designed by Gumstix in Geppetto, and following the Amazon AVS functional design guide, the Chatterbox for Raspberry Pi CM provides a feature rich development platform for Alexa Voice Service projects.The $116 board is designed for creating wake-word or push/hold button-activated AVS voice services on devices including smart speakers, smart home and IoT devices, soundbars, and set-top boxes.   Read More

Audeze Announces Audeze Mobius Headphones with Waves Nx 3D Audio Technology
The word was out for some time that Audeze was working on something big and now it's official. The high-end headphone brand has expanded its market scope with the launch of the Mobius headphones, targeting gamers and content creators working with 3D audio platforms. Mobius implementation delivers a premium high-end, fully immersive 3D cinematic audio and head tracking-enabled headphone design, powered by Audeze's planar magnetic technologies.   Read More


Editor's Desk

Audio Technology Signposts
TDK InvenSense's MEMS Microphones Ambitions

As audioXpress previously reported, in May of 2017, InvenSense became part of the MEMS Sensors Business Group within the newly formed Sensor Systems Business Company (SSBC) of TDK Corp. InvenSense is headquartered in San Jose, CA, and has offices worldwide. TDK and InvenSense's portfolio of Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS) microphones are now unified within TDK's MEMS Sensor Business Group as fully supported portfolios and form a key pillar in the company's strategy.
TDK has clear ambitions in the MEMS market, and even recently completed another acquisition in the field, adding Chirp Microsystems, a pioneer in high-performance ultrasonic sensing, headquartered in Berkeley, CA. With this latest acquisition, TDK enhanced its existing technology in fingerprint sensors, MEMS sensors, and piezoelectric transducer product lines. Among the key reasons for this expansion are the synergistic opportunities in supply chains and development teams, allowing the Japanese company to further extend its market in the fast-growing MEMS applications' segment.

Part of TDK InvenSense's portfolio of MEMS microphones, the new ICS-40740 with 70 dB SNR will be as compact as the smaller current model and increases AOP to 133 dB SPL.
TDK's own portfolio of MEMS microphones originated with the acquisition of EPCOS in 2008. InvenSense's portfolio originated in Analog Devices and was acquired by InvenSense in 2013. With TDK's acquisition of InvenSense, the portfolios and teams are now working under the same umbrella strategy. This consolidation is directly tied to the need to scale MEMS production in order to stay competitive, as much as getting access to the latest technologies.
As Hironobu Hayashi, Business Unit Manager, MEMS Microphones, TDK, stated when the InvenSense acquisition was announced, "TDK's microphone team has excelled at packaging and test methodologies that enable small and highly robust microphones, while InvenSense's portfolio has led the industry in performance and signal chain integration. We are committed to supporting the existing portfolios from both groups. Future product releases with enhanced robustness, higher performance digital outputs, and raw acoustic improvements with analog output are all planned."
In fact, TDK has a history of maintaining the brands and companies it acquires, marketing its products under the brands TDK, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. For companies in the audio industry, TDK's portfolio also creates important synergies, with consumer electronics increasing demanding all types of sensors, battery systems and flash memory, all areas where TDK excels.
With InvenSense, TDK gained an important foothold in MEMS sensors in general (e.g., accelerometers, gyroscopes, and compasses) with proprietary algorithms and firmware that intelligently process, synthesize, and calibrate the output of sensors, maximizing performance and accuracy. Its MEMS microphones are crucial in product segments such as wearables, mobile audio, smart home, and automotive. All areas where we see voice recognition gaining adoption and are strongly dependent on these components.
With the combination of the TDK and InvenSense microphone portfolios and development teams, the organization also promises to expand its scope of solutions. At CES 2018, I met with Kieran Harney, Managing Director for Audio Products, and Paul M. Schreier, Senior Director, Audio Marketing, both having transitioned to InvenSense as a result of the MEMS microphone product line spinoff from Analog Devices. Kieran Harney currently leads the MEMS Microphone and Audio Products global marketing and new product development initiatives.

Paul M. Schreier, Senior Director, Audio Marketing (left), and Kieran Harney, Managing Director for Audio Products (right), are confident with the synergies that resulted from InvenSense's acquisition by TDK.
As they explained, the company's new ICS-40740 MEMS microphone is a crucial solution for new-generation consumer devices. Slated for production in 2018, the ICS-40740 delivers 70 dB (A) SNR with 133 dB sound pressure level Acoustic Overload Point and excels in low self-noise coupled with wide dynamic range. This is crucial for voice-controlled applications, especially those with integrated loudspeakers, as well as noise cancelling headphones and earphones.
A microphone's signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) has long been recognized as a key specification to enable far-field voice capture in microphone arrays. But as the smart speaker market has shown, the capability of these microphones to operate in a very loud environment is also critical to enable the user to interrupt loud audio with spoken commands. The ICS-40740 performs in both demanding respects.
"TDK is pushing the limits of the audio signal chain with the ICS-40740," said Paul Schreier. "We are delivering a microphone that can perform audio capture at very great distance with complex beam-forming algorithms while simultaneously capturing high-fidelity spoken commands regardless of booming music in close proximity."
Beyond simple SNR and dynamic range, the ICS-40740 performs across a very wide frequency band, from 80 Hz to 20 kHz. The sensitivity tolerance of ±1 dB also makes it ideal for use in an array with very consistent performance from unit to unit.
Wearable noise-cancelling applications are also a fit for the ICS-40740. With a 4 mm by 3 mm by 1.2 mm package and consuming only 155 µA in operation, the ICS-40740 fits both the size and power budget of a noise-cancelling headset. As we've learned, TDK InvenSense was ramping up to deliver the new solution in high volumes to many important manufacturers. "The existing efficient supply chain will support the ICS-40740 to provide high confidence for end customer ramp into volume production for consumer devices," they stated.

Personal Sound from Noveto Systems
One of the most impressive demonstrations in terms of audio technology at CES 2018 was at the Noveto Systems booth in the North Hall - not surprisingly close to other automotive-related exhibits. This company from Israel provided an effective demonstration of acoustic beamforming to achieve the most impressive result of a personal soundfield.

Noveto Systems technology in application on a computer used for videoconference. From the angle we took the photo, we couldn't hear the other person at all. Moving just a few inches we could hear perfectly.

Imagine being able to make a Skype call from a computer in the middle of a trade show (open office space, or any other busy location), and being able to perfectly hear the other person without using headphones, while a person 20" away doesn't hear anything. Or imagine two kids sitting in the back seat of a car, both watching a different movie or playing a game at decent volume, without disturbing the driver in the front seat or each other.
This was exactly what Noveto was demonstrating in a very impressive way at CES 2018. Built with Noveto's Smart Personal Sound (SPS) technology, Sowlo is a compact soundbar design that sends sound waves directly to the user's ears. With intelligent 3D sensors, the technology locates and tracks the user's position with accuracy, creating a personal, private listening area. Perfect sound without using headphones or wires, and without disturbing others.
Noveto is working currently with Dell computers and Mercedes on those demonstrations, and the results are extremely promising, even if their speakers still need some work in terms of audio quality. But the impressive aspect is how Sowlo's proprietary processing and DSP engines combine with sensors to constantly track the user's position and dynamically focus the audio beams, creating a directional sound interface. If they could apply their technology in a small array, we could see this being used in smartphones and tablets everywhere.


You Can DIY!
All About Stroboscopes
By Ron Tipton
In this article, Ron Tipton explores the use of stroboscope discs to determine whether your turntable is set to the correct rotational speed. A stroboscope is a paper or cardboard disc with a spindle hole in the center that you can put on the turntable, and works with alternating current (AC) lighting because the light flashes depending on the power mains frequency (50 Hz or 60 Hz), and the pattern of bars on the stroboscope disc appears to be stationary when the turntable speed matches the speed printed on the stroboscope. Stroboscopes have probably been around since the first turntables were produced; that is, over 100 years. Apart from looking at some commercially available stroboscope discs, Tipton explains how to print one from files that are freely available on the Internet and explains how to build your own multiple-LED lamp to check the rotations. This article was originally published in audioXpress, December 2010.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
An Updated CQ76 Ribbon Tweeter from BoZhen New Audio Lab 
By Vance Dickason
For this Test Bench article, I examined the CQQ76 ribbon tweeter from BoZhen New Audio Lab. BoZhen was founded in 1995 as a high-frequency ribbon manufacture. I already characterized the BSL CQ76 in the April 2013 issue of Voice Coil, followed by a review of the little brother to the CQ76, the CQ66 in the May 2016 issue. The original device BoZhen sent to Voice Coil in 2013, the CQ76 ribbon tweeter, was portrayed in the company literature as a unique (patent number ZL200820128865.6) ribbon tweeter design. "CQ" is an acronym in Chinese pinyin "Chuan-dao-pian Qu-dong," which in English means "ribbon loudspeaker based on slice-conducted technology." The CQ76 utilizes an 80 mm × 20 mm pleated aluminum diaphragm making it look like an air motion transformer without the front located magnets. The pleats are each connected mechanically to a section of the voice coil. What has been changed in the new version I received this month is the shape of the diaphragm. Instead of being triangular, the new diaphragm is rounded without sharp corners and more of a "wave" shape. Other features, which are the same as the original, include the injection-molded back cavity, an attractive bushed aluminum faceplate, a black mesh screen protecting the diaphragm, and a pair of gold binding posts for terminals. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, October 2017.   Read the Full Article Online

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