Smart Home Devices and Appliances - The Battle of the "Smart Home" Trojans Continues
Futuresource Consulting released a new consumer electronics (CE) consumer study about "Smart Home Devices and Appliances: Consumer Ownership and Attitudes." The study took representative households across the UK, France, Germany and the US and assessed ownership, perceptions, and use of smart home and smart appliances. The report reveals key triggers and obstacles surrounding the development of this market, which has demonstrated strong double digit growth of around 40% year-on-year from 2016-2019Read More

Western Electric to Reintroduce Famous 300B Electron Tube
The 150-year-old Western Electric will reintroduce its flagship product to market, the famous 300B electron tube. In time for its 80th anniversary, the 300B is returning to production this year, and the Rossville-based company announced it will restart the manufacturing in a new facility. Charles Whitener, Western Electric CEO, also confirmed the company will unveil a new single-ended amplifier called the 91E, as an homage to its famous predecessor the 91A, first introduced in 1936.   Read More

THX Launches THX Standard as Consumer Electronics Rating Resource
THX, Ltd., renowned for the certification of world-class cinemas and consumer electronics, announced the launch of THX Standard, a consumer electronics rating website that provides objective and data-driven evaluations of the audio and visual fidelity of consumer electronics to help consumers make informed purchase decisions. The THX Standard rating differs from the THX Certified logo attribution, which is only applied to products passing the THX certification process.    Read More

GRAS Sound & Vibration Announces New 1/2" CCP Low-Noise Microphone
GRAS Sound & Vibration introduced a new, 1/2" CCP low-noise microphone that is particularly well suited for the consumer electronics industry. GRAS offers an extensive line of low-noise microphones for measuring low noise in confined spaces, or environments with a low noise floor. Now, the world-renowned manufacturer of high quality measurement microphones and related acoustic sensors, confirmed the availability of the 47HC model that is particularly well suited for use in the automotive NVH and consumer electronics industries.   Read More

Gibson Brands Files for Pre-Negotiated Chapter 11 Restructuring and Will Refocus on Musical Instruments 
The bad news is Gibson Brands filed for bankruptcy. The good news is that Gibson Brands finally filed for bankruptcy, having reached an agreement to reorganize around its Core Businesses and Iconic Brand to continue to manufacture, supply, and distribute guitars and pro audio products. Gibson Brands will sell its consumer electronics businesses and brands. Also bad, Henry Juszkiewicz is still with Gibson. In another good news, the company has secured $135 million to keep going.   Read More

Comhear to Complete Successful $1.1 Million Fundraising Campaign for YARRA 3DX Soundbar
Comhear Inc., a San Diego-based audio technology company, announced it will complete its successful crowdfunding campaign for the YARRA 3DX immersive audio soundbar on May 4, 2018. Having raised nearly $1.1 million to-date, the company is starting the production of its 3D audio soundbar, with plans to deliver the first production units to crowdfunding participants, followed by a retail launch of the product on Amazon in Summer 2018.   Read More

The Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 Tube Amplifier is Now (Finally!) Shipping
Previewed in 2016, and originally scheduled for Spring 2017, Dynaco (a division of Radial Engineering, Ltd.) announced the ST-70 Series 3 tube amplifier is now shipping. Since acquiring the legendary Hafler and Dynaco brands in 2014, Radial Engineering has been carefully working on the Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 tube amplifier, in an effort to create a truly worthy successor of one of the most successful tube amplifiers of all time. The result is finally available!.   Read More

Shure Expands Electrostatic Product Line with the More Affordable KSE1200 Earphone System
Shure announced the introduction of the KSE1200 Electrostatic Earphone System, a premium, portable audio-amplification solution for consumers of high-resolution audio. The new model is based on the KSE1500 - the world's-first Sound Isolating electrostatic earphone system previously released by Shure - but featuring only the analog input for use with premium audio players. By removing the USB input and integrated DAC and DSP, Shure was able to make the KSE1200 considerably more affordable.   Read More

Neville Roberts

Guest Editorial

All About the Musicians 

An old audiophile friend of mine, who is now living in South Carolina, introduced me to Yarlung Records, a record label that makes really high-quality recordings. This company has recently added analog master tapes to its available media, and this prompted me to get in touch with the founder, Bob Attiyeh, to find out more. A phone call from Attiyeh himself ensued to tell me all about the organization. It soon became clear that Yarlung Records is not just producing top quality audio recordings, it is also supporting its growing list of young musicians. 

Bob Attiyeh, a former history major at Princeton University and now a recording engineer, has been a connoisseur of classical music for many years. As a young child, he would listen to chamber music and opera at home and tag along with his parents to concerts. Today, he occasionally performs as a vocalist, but his passion is discovering and recording young artists.
Before starting Yarlung Records, Attiyeh worked as a freelance recording engineer. He recorded albums for Southland Opera, which is based in southern California, as well as for composers of new music. Yarlung is named after a valley in Tibet where Attiyeh made some of his first recordings. There is a Tibetan legend about the valley that holds that, for a brief moment, heaven and earth touched in this valley. Attiyeh says, "For me, this intersection of the earthly and divine realm provides a wonderful metaphor for music." He started Yarlung Records as a US charitable institution that produced CDs for young classical musicians. He now also releases his recordings on high-quality vinyl, high-resolution digital and, most recently, studio-master analog tape.
Bob Attiyeh was the recipient of The Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society 2015 Humanitarian Award in appreciation of the label's outstanding audiophile recordings and the good work Yarlung does to support young musicians in the early stages of their international concert careers.
But why a US charitable institution? The answer is that the profits from the sale of the recordings, plus donations from supporters and recording underwriters, are used to support young musicians. Yarlung Artists is a 501(c)(3) organization (an organization that is exempt from federal income tax) and raises money to support these young musicians as they begin their international concert careers. Being a 501(c)(3) organization, personal gifts to Yarlung Artists could also be matched by a person's employer, as many employers sponsor matching gift programs and match charitable contributions made by their employees, retirees and/or employees' spouses, and thus provide further support of Yarlung's musicians.
The company's board of directors, executive producers and special advisers help Yarlung record, market, and distribute debut albums for select young concert artists to help them gain stature and visibility with their audiences, critics and peers. Attiyeh notes on his website that artists like Yo-Yo Ma and Martha Argerich gained worldwide acclaim through the sale of CDs, LPs, and downloads, and he maintains that a great recording can make all the difference to a young performer's career.
I asked Attiyeh about his views on the relative qualities of CD, vinyl, digital, and tape formats. He replied that he hesitates getting involved in format comparisons since Yarlung does its best to make each format as musically engaging as possible. He considers that all the formats deliver different musical and sonic results. Although Yarlung offers as many formats as it can manage, it has been Yarlung's goal to present its musicians and their music to as many audiences as possible, rather than to try to focus the attention on themselves as engineers and producers.
I can see what he means. I received copies of his recording entitled "Dialoghi" with Elinor Frey playing the cello and David Fung playing the piano on CD, LP (cut at 45RPM) and master tape - all the way from Los Angeles in just a couple of days. This recording, for example, was made possible by support from the Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and Executive Producer Arian Jansen. All the media versions of the recording sound excellent, but different, as you would expect.

Dialoghi: Elinor Frey, cello and David Fung, piano (album available on vinyl and tape)

The CD has a brightness and intimacy that many will love. In fact, the CD is manufactured in Germany using a Yarlung special alloy and high-resolution virgin polycarbonate. Without doubt, this is one of the finest-sounding CDs I have heard. Of course, for me, being an analogaholic, the 45 RPM 180 g vinyl takes the realism and presence in my listening room to new heights, and the tape, which has no compression whatsoever, simply blows me away. The recording itself is really excellent. Attiyeh used an AKG C-24 stereo valve microphone (fitted with an original brass surround CK12 valve) feeding a valve preamp, no mixer and recorded directly onto a modified Studer tape recorder at 15 IPS using Agfa 468 1/4" master tape. 
One of his latest recordings is of some fine jazz playing by The Yuko Mabuchi Trio, produced by Randy Bellous. The youthful Yuko's jazz performances on the piano are remarkably mature, as are her accompanists on the double bass and drums. As with "Dialoghi," the presence of this recording is uncannily real. Once again, valve microphones were used throughout - the AKG C-24, a pair of Schoeps M222s, and a Bock Audio 5Zero7. The output was recorded on a SonoruS ATR12 tape recorder for analog and a Merging Technologies Hapi unit recording DSD256 for digital.

Yuko Mabuchi Trio

All the recordings can be purchased directly from the website at The company also distributes its CDs and vinyl through Naxos Global Logistics in Germany for European customers. However, the tapes can only by purchased direct from the US as they are made to order. What is more, the prices for all their recordings are certainly not extortionate - for example, the 15 IPS CCIR equalization master tapes are an extremely reasonable $200 each.
This is all great news for audio enthusiasts as Yarlung is clearly another source of superb quality recordings. However, the extra bonus is that your purchases are helping to support up-and-coming young musicians.


You Can DIY!
High Power SE 6C33C Amp
By Ari Polisois
This article from respected author Ari Polisois deals with a single-ended amplifier with enough power to drive even the most difficult speaker systems - delivering 50 W per channel. This is a project that quickly became the focus in a lot of tube-oriented forums and has inspired long threads and many iterations, including further articles published in audioXpress from the author himself. As Ari Polisois writes, "In my opinion, single-ended amplifiers are simpler, do not require frequent adjustments due to valve characteristics' drifts, and cost less than push-pull versions. Also, I am convinced that they are more sensitive, carefully amplifying the quietest sounds. There is another good reason: the zero level of the amplification is normally set halfway between the straight portion of the plate curves, letting the anode current changes take place smoothly, up and down. The electrical consequences are that if any harmonic is generated, it will be of the even family, meaning that the added 'la' will still be a 'la,' the 'sol' will still be a 'sol,' and so on. In other words, these harmonics are 'harmonious,' unlike the odd harmonics generated by the push-pull. Do not underestimate your ears' judgment." This article was published in audioXpress, July 2004.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
Eton 4-512/C8/25 RP Bass-Midrange 
By Vance Dickason
The driver for this Test Bench explication came from a German OEM driver manufacturer and is from Eton's home audio Orchestra line of drivers. I asked Eton to send a model from this line, the 4-512/C8/25 RP, mostly because of the unique cone. All of the cones in the Orchestra line are serrated paper cones, which is somewhat reminiscent of the orange sliced paper cones in the Scan-Speak Revelator line. Obviously, it is quite different - not cut and reassembled like the Revelator drivers - but it has the same goal of breaking up cone modes. The feature set for the Eton 4-512 includes a proprietary four-spoke cast aluminum frame that minimizes reflections back into the cone. The frame also incorporates 12 of the 6 mm × 6 mm vents below the spider mounting shelf for cooling. Additional cooling comes from the 10 mm diameter pole vent. The cone assembly consists of a specially formed serrated paper cone, with a 25 mm diameter shaped (and serrated) black aluminum phase plug, suspended with a NBR surround, an elevated cloth spider (damper) connected at the neck joint to a 25 mm diameter voice coil wound with round copper wire on a Kapton non-conducting former. Powering the cone assembly is a 17 mm × 90 mm ferrite magnet with a milled and polished front plate and T-yoke. Tinsel leads connect on one side of the cone to a pair of solderable terminals. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, December 2017.   Read the Full Article Online

AX May 2018: Digital Login
Audio Product Design | DIY Audio Projects | Audio Electronics | Audio Show Reports | Interviews | And More 

Don't Have a Subscription?
VC May 2018: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More