Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound 2018 Report Signals Upward Trend for International and Exhibitor Satisfaction
The Saturday evening concert by Dionne Warwick and the New Philharmonic Orchestra Frankfurt marked the end of a week of music and events. During the five days of Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound 2018, 1,803 companies from 56 countries launched their latest products. For 2019, Frankfurt Messe promises to return to a unified format, with Musikmesse and Prolight+Sound fully overlapping on all days and moving closer together spatiallyRead More

Wireless Microphone Market Will Account for Revenues Worth USD $4.5 Billion by 2028
Market intelligence and consulting services firm Future Market Insights (FMI) just released a new market research report focusing on the wireless microphone market with analysis and forecasts until 2028. The report features useful insights on the growth in adoption of wireless microphones across key regional markets, including key factors that will influence the Wireless Microphone Market, which FMI predicts will enable rapid growth in a changing technological environment and intense competition among players.   Read More

Brüel & Kjær Sound & Vibration Will Merge with Hottinger Baldwin Messtechnik, Forming New Company HBK
The companies Hottinger Baldwin Messtechnik GmbH (HBM) and Brüel & Kjær Sound and Vibration A/S (BKSV), both owned by UK-based Spectris plc, have announce that they will be merging their businesses. The merger will become effective on January 1, 2019. The merger aims to redefine the concept of a complete solution, where the two companies will combine their expertise and provide an integrated offering, encompassing sensors, acquisition, preparation, evaluation, and engineering services.    Read More

Magix Brings Back Revolutionary Digital Audio Workstation ACID Pro
Following the acquisition of Sony Creative Software (SCS) products by Magix Software GmbH, the German software house has kept its promise to maintain and revitalize popular audio editing and music production applications Sound Forge Pro and ACID Pro.  In August 2017, Magix released version 12 of Sound Forge Pro, and has now announced the release of the new ACID Pro 8 on April 23, 2018, featuring more power and plug-ins, a new user interface, and improved accessibility .   Read More

Fraunhofer MPEG-H TV Audio System Selected as 3D Audio Standard for UHD TV in China 
China's AVS 3D Audio Task Group has chosen Fraunhofer IIS as the transmission audio codec solution provider for the upcoming 3D Audio standard that will be used in the country's 4K UHD broadcast. Fraunhofer proposed its MPEG-H TV Audio System according to the requirements of China's next-generation broadcasting audio standard in order to meet the Chinese market's demand for compelling audio.   Read More

Clair Brothers Unveils 10SPOT Hybrid Loudspeaker at Prolight+Sound 2018
Clair Brothers unveiled another innovative loudspeaker with the 10SPOT - designed as an ultimate hybrid loudspeaker that combines Clair Brothers Curved Array Technology together with the company's One Series coaxial horn technology. The result is a unique form factor loudspeaker that occupies little visual space while covering listening areas more coherently than average conventional point sources. The premiere took place at the recent Prolight+Sound 2018 show in Frankfurt, Germany.   Read More

Lawo Introduces Third Generation mc²56 Production Console at 2018 NAB Show
With live productions becoming increasingly complex in a multi-platform and multi-format environment, digital production consoles have to accommodate an increasing number of functionalities, including automated routines, while enabling operators to remain in control at all times. This is where German company Lawo has excelled and it recently unveiled the third generation of the mc²56 console at NAB 2018, introducing support for the latest networking protocols and standards.   Read More

DiGiCo, Avid, and Lawo Join d&b Soundscape Integration Partnership
As the d&b Soundscape continues to draw attention worldwide, d&b audiotechnik has announced a series of landmark integrations between Soundscape's central DS100 Signal Engine and digital mixing consoles from leading manufacturers DiGiCo, Avid, and Lawo. The announcement was made at live mixing sessions showing the console workflows and mixing live multitrack recordings at a large-scale demonstration venue at Prolight+Sound 2018 in Frankfurt.   Read More


Editor's Desk

Hearables That Make Us Hear Better 

In the previous edition of The Audio Voice, I mentioned how many companies, such as Bragi, Jabra, Skybuds, Earin, and many others have tried a combination of different features and technologies to differentiate their hearables form standard true wireless earbuds, while other companies have failed to deliver products or simply failed in their vision for the segment. Among those that are trying to differentiate themselves in this new product category are companies exploring enhanced hearing, even though they are clearly positioned in the consumer space.

For the new Live IQ, Nuheara tried a completely different hardware platform using a dynamic driver and an ANC-optimized solution, working in cooperation with Austrian ams AG.

An example is Nuheara from Australia, with its IQbuds, which have been under the spotlight since their initial crowdfunding campaign in 2016 - reaching the market in January 2017. The IQbuds started as a project for earbuds that could filter out noise, and Nuheara's founders had been involved in industrial sound protection. Quickly, Nuheara found that while developing the technology to filter background noise, they could also offer a way to amplify sounds and speech above background noise, and they implemented it front and center in their earbuds/app combination. They called it Super Intelligent Noise Control (SINC), Elevate Speech, "World on/off," and yes, Augmented Hearing. Of course, they also added some personalization features like environmental frequency control and left/right individual amplification. The IQbuds added tap touch customizable controls, which is not a major selling point.
Initial reactions to the IQbuds was enthusiastic. Their pitch with audio enhancing as "truly wireless earbuds that give you control to hear what you want to hear in the world around you," was well received. The company's microphone amplification and sound enhancement was impressive enough to cause excitement, and their location scenario presets for the user to combine the amount of background sound and enhancement was simple enough to appeal to the market, instead of simply promising better music enjoyment or "freedom from wires." It was successful enough to keep the company going, and now getting ready to launch second-generation products. 
Vincent Pronk, VP and General Manager Audio and Pressure Sensors and Automotive at ams AG, highlights the ANC implementation on the new Nuheara Live IQ earbuds.
Promised for the third quarter of 2018, the Nuheara Live IQ earbuds, were introduced at CES 2018. And for this new development, Nuheara decided to combine its audio enhancement platform with the best available active noise cancelling (ANC) technology. For that, Nuheara worked with Austrian high-performance sensors and analog ICs specialist, ams AG. Since 2016, ams has been successfully selling its compact, cost-effective Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) platform, ideal for use in both low-cost headphones/earphones, or for true wireless earbuds, due to its lowest power consumption. With its AS3418 solution, ams can currently claim the smallest solution with TWS Hybrid ANC support in the smallest PCB size (less than 0.5cm²).
During CES 2018, I visited ams to see these latest platforms and found Nuheara's Live IQ, being displayed in the front of the company's booth, promoted as the world's first high performance "true wireless" ANC earbud with up to 30 dB of noise attenuation. As Vincent Pronk, ams AG VP & General Manager Audio (and former NXP executive) explained, Nuheara is using the miniature ams AS3412 Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) IC to provide hybrid noise cancellation and audio amplifier functions for its new Live IQ true wireless earbuds.
Of course, this latest generation TWS earbuds can also benefit from recent advancements in Bluetooth (Nuheara specifies Bluetooth 5 radio), to one of the earbuds to connect wirelessly to a smartphone or media player, using NFMI (NXP) to connect the other earbud. Priced under $200 USD for retail, the Live IQ earbuds feature touch-sensing controls to turn noise cancellation on and off, or activate Apple's Siri and Google Assistant voice control, allowing four hours talk and 12 hours of charging in the case, with improved audio quality using a dynamic driver, instead of a single balanced armature used in the IQbuds.
Pronk was proud of having this integration in a latest-generation consumer audio device and of the leading ANC performance. The new product needed to be small and light, and Nuheara also wanted to give users a longer battery run-time between charges. Nuheara chose the ams AS3412 IC because of its combination of audio capabilities, small size, and low power consumption. As we've learned, the AS3412 is a highly integrated ANC chip, requiring only few external components and provides up to 30 dB of noise attenuation over an audible frequency range of 20 Hz-3 kHz. The device's integrated amplifier is capable of driving 2x 34 mW into a 32 ohm load. It features a signal-to-noise ratio of 112.5 dB and a total harmonic distortion and noise (THD+N) figure of <0.01% at an audio output power of 30 mW. The low-power characteristics of the AS3412 helped Nuheara to extend battery run-time - the device operates from a supply voltage of 1.6 V to 1.8 V, and typical power consumption is just 8 mW.
"The noise cancelling performance of the AS3412 was by far superior to anything else on the market today, and ams' expertise is unmatched in the industry," says Justin Miller, CEO of Nuheara. "The technical and design guidance we received from ams was a great help to our design team in aligning the noise cancelling system with the mechanical and acoustic characteristics of the Live IQ earbuds."

Nuheara is not stopping. At CES 2018, the Australian company announced an update for the original IQbuds, the introduction of the new Live IQ, and the IQbuds Boost, specifically targeting the hearing enhancement market.

At CES 2018, Nuheara also announced an evolution of its original IQbuds, now called IQbuds Boost, providing "deeper, more sophisticated levels of personalization, customization, and amplification." The Australian company believes that this new product will leverage "the potential explosion of the assistive audio segment and the opportunities resulting from the Over-the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017." The new earbuds also enable users to create a new unique personal hearing profile and automatic calibration, using the NAL-NL2 self-fit software and algorithm, originated at the National Acoustic Laboratories of Australia and already adopted in the hearing aid industry. Nuheara also announced a refresh and upgrade for the original IQbuds that will extend performance to 20 hours of on-the-go Bluetooth streaming and 40 hours of Hearing Processing. All coming in 2018.
"We are committed to a leadership role in the hearables space, and with these two new exciting products and the refresh and upgrade of IQbuds, we are in a unique position to make a further impact on the hearables market. With an industry-first suite of intelligent hearing devices we can now appeal to a broader range of global customers," stated Miller.

Promoted as an assistive listening device, IQbuds Boost leverage Nuheara's developments for the IQbuds, adding a clinically validated audiometric hearing assessment to calibrate the earbuds to the user's unique hearing profile.

Will users understand three different products? Will users understand the features and arguments for each one, while it is questionable if consumers understand the arguments for hearables in the first place? In that regard, I agree with Bragi that it is better to have a single sophisticated platform and allow users to explore and experiment the features they want to use. Of course, there comes a point when even the most powerful platform will need a hardware update and Nuheara decided that it was time to do just that.


You Can DIY!
A Dynamic Microphone Soundcard Amplifier
By Paul Loewenstein
"A good tutorial on interfacing microphones to sound cards." This was the brief description preceding Paul Loewenstein's article in the original edition of audioXpress. We think there's more to it. The author describes a microphone amplifier designed to interface a standard dynamic microphone to a sound card (the original text still referred to a Creative Soundblaster...) or other computer microphone input with a 5 V through 2.2 kΩ bias to the microphone connector ring. The resulting circuit was optimized for speech recognition applications with the Dragon Naturally-Speaking technology (from Nuance and one of the earliest voice-to-text transcription and speech recognition applications. This is still a useful circuit for anyone exploring microphone preamp applications. This article was originally published in audioXpress, February 2008.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil User Report
Loudsoft FINE R+D Analyzer 
By Vance Dickason
Beginning with the January 2018 issue of Voice Coil magazine, Vance Dickason began implementing the Loudsoft FINE R+D analyzer into the Test Bench measurement protocol. This article provides details about the features in FINE R+D, a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analyzer packaged in a 1u rack. FINE R+D comes with the hardware rack, a manual, an external power supply, a USB cable, a loop-back cable for calibration, and a measurement microphone. Even though the included standard measurement microphone is quite good, for enhanced accuracy Loudsoft recommends using the G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration 1/4" Type 46BE microphone capsule and preamplifier body, which is used with the system. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, December 2017.   Read the Full Article Online

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