Faital Presents FEM Thermal Model of a Compression Driver at AES Convention in Milan
Milan will host the 144th International AES Convention from May 23-26, 2018, and Faital, an Italian manufacturer of automotive and professional loudspeakers, will present a new technical report entitled: "FEM thermal model of a compression driver: comparison with experimental results." The presentation details Faital's successful experiments in developing a predictive model using Finite Element Analysis to improve the design of magnet assemblies in a loudspeakerRead More

McIntosh Announces Luxury Music Streamer and New Flagship CD/SACD Player
McIntosh continues to consistently update its range of reference-level home entertainment source components, this time with two "best-in-class" solutions for high-quality music streaming and CD playback. Keeping up with its 65 years of tradition in the high-end audio market, McIntosh announced the MCD600 SACD/CD Player and the MS500 Music Streamer, both retailing for approximately $7,000 USD.   Read More

Radial Presenter Compact Mixer and Interface is Now Shipping
Radial Engineering, the imaginative audio solutions company from Vancouver, BC, already offers many unique solutions for any type of presentation event, from versatile DI boxes and converters to press boxes, and even new Dante boxes that are ideal for connecting all sorts of sources into the audio networking systems that are common with audio crews these days. But for more basic needs at the podium, now there's the Radial Presenter compact mixer, now shipping.    Read More

End User and Buyer Behavior in the Corporate Meeting Rooms - Making Sense of Meeting Room Technology
Futuresource Consulting has announced the availability of its new Meeting Room Technology - Corporate End User Study, which highlights the opportunities for an ever-broadening range of suppliers to this rapidly evolving and developing market sector. The new study highlights corporate end user and buyer behavior in the Corporate Meeting Room markets in USA, UK, and France. and Germany.   Read More

Maxim Announces Highly Efficient Plug-And-Play Digital Class D Speaker Amplifiers 
Maxim Integrated Products announced new MAX98357 and MAX98358 compact and cos-effective audio amplifiers, ideal for a variety of applications, including a plug-and-play solution for portable and smart speakers. Despite their ultra-small form factors, the MAX98357 and the MAX98358 digital-input 3.2 W Class D audio power amplifiers require only a single power supply and auto configure for 35 different clocking configurations and 128 digital audio formats.   Read More

PMC Impresses at High End 2018 with New fenestria Flagship Loudspeaker
In what is its most significant product launch for the high-end consumer market, at High End 2018, PMC Speakers (The Professional Monitor Co., Ltd.) introduced its new Fact loudspeaker range and launched fenestria, a flagship speaker that also represents a completely new approach from the famous British brand. Detailing every single aspect of the new design, and explaining all its technology innovations, the company impressed visitors and the specialized press at the Munich show.   Read More

AKM Develops New 32-bit D/A Converter with Headphone Amplifier and DSD Support
Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) Corp. has developed a 32-bit stereo D/A converter with headphone amplifier, the AK4377, enabling playback of DSD sound sources in smartphones or portable music players. The new advanced stereo D/A converter uses AKM's Velvet Sound architecture, delivering improved audio performance with a THD+N of -109 dB, and offers support for DSD inputs up to DSD256.   Read More

Loud Audio Announces Sale of the Iconic Ampeg Brand to Yamaha
Loud Audio LLC, a portfolio company of private equity firm Transom Capital Group, and the parent company of Mackie, EAW and Martin Audio, has concluded the sale of the historic family of Ampeg bass amps and pedals to Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc. According to Transom, this move is aimed at allowing Loud to narrow its focus, return to its roots in professional audio, and deliver the best possible products and experience to its customers, while ensuring the future of a legendary bass and guitar amplification brand.   Read More


Editor's Desk

High End 2018 Report: Head-Spinning Sounds in Munich 

The 2018 High End show promised to be the best one ever, in part because of the most pleasant weather conditions experienced in Munich - almost summer like - turning the Bavarian region into a tourist postcard and making any outing a true pleasure and the entire experience of beer and German food even more enjoyable, particularly in the fantastic nearby Englischer Garten esplanades and restaurants.

The atriums of the High End show on the first day where busier than ever, even if it was just trade and press day. Click the image for my full first impressions report.

High End show is one of the best organized shows in the world, and certainly the best in the audio industry. It's also one of the most successful shows given the expansion in the last few years and the fact that it has clearly far surpassed the promotor's - the High End Society - ambitions in terms of its own scope and (formally) regional market.
These days, for the brands attending the Munich show, it's mostly about the results they can achieve in the first day - distributors and trade (and also press) day. Results in the remaining three days, when it is open to public, can largely vary, basically because Germany is one of the most unpredictable countries for these things, when they depend on local visitors. 
One way or another, there seems to always be a religious or national holiday, a big football game involving the local Bayern FC, or something else, and suddenly exhibitors are surprised with a show where there's hardly anyone, apart from other visitors and the press. A bad thing? Certainly not for the press, but it is very hard to understand how the show on a Friday can be bursting with activity, making it hard to access any of the demo rooms or walk the aisles, and the next two days - a Saturday and a Sunday - and it seems like no even knows there's a show in town. This year it was Mother's Day on Sunday, a day where Germans "show their appreciation toward mothers and mother figures" - held at different dates in the calendar - and which we have learned, means that Germans in general consider a sacred time to be away for a day... or in this case the full weekend.
Just days before, it was Father's Day ('Vatertag'), which in Germany, is celebrated on Ascension Day, which is a public holiday in Germany. Fortunately that was on Thursday, when the show was trade only, otherwise there would have been no one there. I've asked my German friends and was told that the custom on Father's Day is that men will go out, drink a lot, and party. Munich at night was certainly lively, also with students, who enjoy an extended break. So, that might explain also why two days later they devote themselves to the "mothers."
Anyway, the reason I mention this, has to do with the fact that I feel it's time for High End to focus more on trade. Because of its "open to the public" roots, the High End show is full of companies and demonstration rooms where it is sometimes difficult to understand what/who is exactly showing. When we have time to visit a certain room, looking for a certain brand, odds are that the equipment you want to see is not playing, there is someone showing off a vinyl collection using a separate set, or there was simply no one there from the manufacturer, and no one knew exactly what was new and why we were asking. In fact, both because of language barriers and the distinct features of hi-fi shows, sometimes it becomes a hunting game to actually find the new gear in a show like this, given the quantity of things stacked inside dark demo rooms - or simply the fact that some companies in high end audio have no idea that you need to advertise your new products - sometimes even placing a "New" label on the equipment itself would help a lot. Having English literature available, would also help... (press kits are an unknown concept at these shows...)
The excellent MOC exhibition space has also reached its limit and is forcing many companies - particularly manufacturers - to book suites in nearby hotels, not to mention the "traditional" separate Hifideluxe exhibits for esoteric audio companies that would never consider mixing with the High End crowds, and many others that simply join because it's the only space in town where they can find a suitable demo space (plus there's even a free shuttle to connect the MOC with the Marriott where these exhibits take place...).

The vinyl renaissance is in full swing. The format itself is appealing, but at the 2018 High End show in Munich, things started to get a little out of control...

For the headphone enthusiasts, this year there was the CanJam Europe (no relation with Headfi's CanJam Global shows), just across the street in a very nice building. But headphones don't actually need much space, and most of the major brands were already (very nicely) accommodated in proper booths at the High End, where there was also the traditional Kopfhörerbar (headphone bar), which is the reason why the whole concurrent CanJam Europe idea wasn't exactly a success - except for a few brands that booked the event last minute and tried to compensate visitors with nice sofas, plenty of gear to try, and nice beer (thank you Sonoma!).

The reel-to-reel tapes are back! One small detail is that there is only one company left making tapes.

But the most important aspect that needs attention at this show - in my opinion, and I know many would strongly disagree - has to do with some worrying retro-trends from exhibiting companies. With the much hyped and premature over-enthusiasm with the "return of vinyl" and "all things analog," things are getting over the top and there seems to be an attitude of "vendetta" from certain industry personalities that thought this would be the time to bring back the RIAA equalizing boxes, the mono needles, the esoteric cartridges and tonearms, all sort of contraptions for weighing, balancing, adjusting, compensating, and stabilizing the plates, and the never-ending world of interconnects and pre-preamp-filter-box feeding the tube preamp. The results are systems that users would need to call the designer every time they want to play a record. Next up, it will be the return of the mockery salesman ridiculing the unworthy plebeian who dares to ask anything... 
Read my First Impressions report in this link >>>> where I discuss some gear that made our heads spin and includes an extended photo gallery. Enjoy!


Fresh From the Bench
G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration RA040X Ear Simulator
By Brent Butterworth
Brent Butterworth reviews the new RA040X Ear Simulators from G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration. Measuring headphone response at frequencies above-10 kHz has been an imprecise, non-standardized process. The new RA040X ear simulator represents part of an effort by G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration to update headphone measurement equipment to suit the needs of today's headphone industry. Most current headphone measurement equipment relies on an ear simulator designed in accordance with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60318-4 standard, updated in 2010 but based on the IEC 60711 standard established in 1981. In 1981, high-fidelity headphones barely existed. The focus of IEC 60711 was hearing aids, in which speech intelligibility is paramount and other concerns are much less important. With the RA040X high-resolution ear simulator, G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration attempts to make the measurements more meaningful. This article was originally published in audioXpress, March 2018.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Spotlight
Recap of the Loudspeaker Sourcing Show 2017 
By Rob Baum (Pacific Audio Consulting)
The third annual Loudspeaker Sourcing Show was again held in Guangzhou, China, which is about an hour by ferry from Hong Kong. The show was hosted by Philip Richardson, owner of Trueanalog Strictly OEM, and his wife Mandy Tseng of ZengBen. The couple created the Loudspeaker Sourcing Show to connect qualified and vetted loudspeaker component, driver, and system manufacturers directly with loudspeaker engineers, purchasing heads, and brands. This is a focused engineering/purchasing event where the attendees meet directly with manufacturers for details and costing at the show. The 2018 Loudspeaker Sourcing Show will be held October 16, 17 & 18, 2018, again in the Nansha Grand Hotel, Nansha, China. Make your reservations early and start planning.   Read the Full Article Online

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