Worldwide Home Audio Market Research Shows 25% Growth
Futuresource Consulting recently updated its research on the worldwide home audio market. In its latest quarterly report on "Worldwide Home Audio - A Landscape of Stark Contrasts and Opportunities: Pricing, Shipments, Regions and Brands," Futuresource reveals that "home audio" shipments, including wireless speakers, soundbars and hi-fi systems, grew by 25%, accumulating a total of 27 million units during January to March 2018Read More

Genelec Improves on a Classic with 7050C Subwoofer
Genelec has once again redefined their own benchmarks for compact subwoofer performance by unveiling the 7050C, which delivers an extended low frequency response with higher SPL and lower distortion than its 7050B predecessor, along with the added benefits of a professional bass management system. The unit's LSE spiral enclosure has been further refined to deliver unconventionally clean audio output even at peak levels, with users also benefitting from a remarkable 3 dB increase in SPL capability and a universal switched-mode power supply.   Read More

Fulcrum Acoustic Unveils the World's First Cardioid Coaxial Stage Monitor
Fulcrum Acoustic has launched its latest innovative product: the FW15 15-inch Coaxial Cardioid Stage Monitor. The FW15 is the world's first cardioid stage monitor incorporating Fulcrum Acoustic's patented Passive Cardioid Technology. This proprietary technology enables tour-grade, low-profile FW15 stage monitors to attenuate rear low frequency radiation which interferes with the audience, stage microphones and front fills.    Read More

Vivo Selects Knowles SmartMic in New Flagship Vivo NEX AI Smartphone
Knowles Corp. announced its SmartMic IA610 solution was selected by Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo for its new flagship NEX AI smartphone. The Knowles SmartMic is the world's first microphone with an integrated DSP enabling low power always-on voice-wake, a technology breakthrough combining the company's high-performance SiSonic MEMS technology with a state-of-the-art audio DSP into a single, miniature package, ideal for applications that require always-on voice-wake as well as low-power voice control.   Read More

Celestion Offers Premium Quality P.A. Cabinet Designs for DIY Builders 
Celestion announced the availability of Celestion driver-specific cabinet designs for DIY builders, including the crossover schematic and complete woodworking plans. With these designs, DIYers can build their own full-range, high-quality, Celestion-driven P.A. cabinets by following the company's CKT-TF1525e and CKT-TF1225 speaker designs, as well as the double-duty CKT-TF1020, which can serve as both a satellite speaker and a floor-wedge monitor.   Read More

New Listen Seminars on Testing Smart Speakers, Voice Controlled Devices, Automotive Audio and More Set for Boston and Chicago
Smarter Measurements for Smarter Speakers is the motto for the recent series of free seminars promoted by Listen, Inc., detailing the latest routines for measurement of smart speakers, robots, automotive audio, smart home controls, and much more. The seminars are scheduled for the Addison (Chicago area), IL, July 18, 2018, and the Waltham (Boston area), MA, July 20, 2018. The seminars provide essential knowledge for all audio professionals wanting to keep up to date with the latest market trends.   Read More

New EX378B02 Microphone from PCB Piezotronics for Measurements in Hazardous Areas
PCB Piezotronics released a prepolarized condenser microphone system - Model EX378B02 - for use in hazardous areas. The new measurement microphone system is compliant with explosive atmospheres and gaseous hazardous environments where standard microphones are restricted. Additionally, EX378B02 is compliant with intrinsic safety protection levels for all above ground applications globally; below ground very high (Ma) mine safety protection levels for all mining locations outside of North America; and below ground Mine Safety tests in Europe.   Read More

AKM Releases AK1574 Fractional-N PLL Synthesizer with VCO Capability to Replace Variable Capacitance Diode Configurations
Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) Corp. launched the AK1574, a fractional-N PLL synthesizer with a Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) for frequency modulation, able to replace variable capacitance diode configurations. Targeting professional, portable radio transmission systems, the built-in VCO supports from 46.875 to 1682.5 MHz, saves space, has low-phase noise, and low-power consumption. Uses include two-way radios in the VCO configuration with a variable capacitance diode and a winding coil, with support for diversity receivers.   Read More


Guest Editorial

InfoComm 2018 - How Things Change 

It was my birthday this last weekend and it marks 50 years that I have worked in the audio industry. In high school, after class, I worked at a hi-fi retail store back in 1968 - so if you continue to read-on, you are in for a retrospective story. I am writing this in Las Vegas, NV, at the InfoComm show. A huge event with digital signage, security, video controllers and all sorts of large displays, and commercial, teleconferencing and pro-sound gear. Attendees include contractors and technicians along with facility managers.

InfoComm 2018 takes place every other year in Las Vegas, NV, where the former NSCA Systems Integration Expo used to take place.
Once upon a time, there was the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) show, which was all about commercial audio, and then the NSCA was merged into InfoComm 10 years ago. Sound contracting is so much more now and has morphed from sound gear installation and touring sound, additionally into conferencing/collaboration, signage and video, and InfoComm reflects this reality.
So let me start at my beginning... the National Audio Visual Association (NAVA) - the predecessor organization to InfoComm. As an undergraduate at New York University (NYU), I started GLI, a discotheque equipment company that made mixers, speakers, and so forth. Some of our more compact powered speakers were used not just by mobile DJs but also for presentations. In the late 1970s, we had a good relationship with TASCAM, the AV division of TEAC and our (relatively) small powered speakers were being bundled by dealers with their industrial cassette decks, which uniquely featured a third track for controlling slide projectors. What is now the InfoComm show, was the NAVA show back then. The focus was the corporate presentation and educational markets. Back in 1970, a big color TV was 25" (but most were 21" diagonal) and projection TVs were just a glimmer in Henry Kloss's mind. Film, even Super 8 was expensive, awkward, and complex to edit. Instead a corporate presentation would typically use either an overhead projector using transparencies placed by hand or a slide projector, or for serious productions, an array of synchronized slide projectors with a controller such as the AVL Eagle. Some semblance of motion could be projected onto the screen when composed by a skilled producer. There might be one, two, or more screens with a couple of slide projectors specifically aimed at each screen. With 16 projectors operating more or less continuously, the racket was quite intrusive - and sooner or later one of the slides in one of the projectors would hang up.
Apple and IBM introduced their personal computers in the early 1980s with crude presentation software soon following. By the late 1980s, Microsoft's PowerPoint was introduced for the PC.  Parallel developments in video displays made it clear that slide projectors were on the way out. It was 1983 when the Kloss front projector first launched, although it was never quite ready for commercial use. By 1986, CRT 36" picture tube TVs were introduced, followed by the 40" CRT TV from Mitsubishi in 1992 and along with it their projection TVs hit the market. 

The visual displays at InfoComm 2018. What would Henry Kloss think?
NAVA changed its name in 1983 to the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA), which is the current show management of InfoComm. To keep us on our toes and to better reflect the times, the organization changed its name and is now the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). As computers and large screen technologies improved, resolution and display size got bigger and the cost dropped. It was a quick death for the slide projector and slide controller industry. By the 1990s, the focus was mostly visual with video projectors, and InfoComm became the showcase for the Video Projector Shootout. A separate hall was allotted for the good, the bad, and the ugly video projectors all being fed the same identical signal.
In a parallel universe, the National Sound Contractors Association (as the NSCA was called then) show grew out of an industry electronics parts distributor show in 1983 (yes, I was there at the first show, which was not much more than a bunch of table-top displays). Move forward to 2007 and the NSCA (now National Systems Contractor Association) and InfoComm agreed to merge its trade show event with NSCA, delivering an audio-focused group of exhibitors to the InfoComm show.
What has not changed is the focus on ongoing education of the membership. If we look back at the start, the ICIA was The National Association of Visual Education Dealers (NAVED) founded in 1939 and later NAVA in 1949 - so next year would mark 70 years! Today, InfoComm offers courses from technology to marketing to business in conjunction with its Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification program.
Remember that, in 2003, the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), the International Communications Industries Association, Inc. (ICIA/InfoComm), and the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) decided to get together to produce joint trade exhibitions in Europe and Asia. Asia was not to be, but the result was the very successful Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show, which kicked-off in 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2008, the NSCA Systems Integration Expo became part of InfoComm's annual trade show in Las Vegas, and NSCA transferred its ownership interest in ISE to the remaining partners. ISE is now larger than the InfoComm and the CEDIA shows combined...

Sound contracting is now all about digital audio networking.
So what about this year's show? 
Here we are today and while I am still just an audio guy, the industry and installations are all a mix of audio and visual gear. InfoComm 2018 was held June 6-8, 2018, at the Las Vegas Convention Center with almost 45,000 attendees, establishing a new attendance record. With 964 exhibit booths and many demo rooms, catching it all is impossible, but we will provide a glance of a few products that caught our attention, while detailed coverage is available online.
Bosch Communications Systems was highlighting the "one stop audio shop" with its ongoing integration of Electro-Voice (EV) and Dynacord (and RTS/Telex) brands. US-based EV has a long history of speakers and microphones for commercial and professional applications. Dynacord, based in Germany, has always had a strong focus on professional audio electronics from power amps to mixing boards, and now Bosch is reinforcing the brand's presence in North America. On display was Dynacord's new flagship TGX power amps - a power amp rack of three units boasted 20 KW total of audio output! No, you cannot stick this at the end of a lamp cord.
CODA is well known in Europe as a German/Bulgarian speaker system specialist that has recently set up its US operation in California - CODA Audio USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CODA Audio GmbH. CODA has a complete line of speaker systems from powered contractor speakers to concert sound line arrays. Its ring radiator compression driver "DDP Dual Diaphragm Planar Wave Driver" combines extended top-end response and high power handling. Also on display was a servo-control (secondary sensor coil) woofer. The demo room was packed and the sound was impressive. While CODA only offers complete speaker systems, its drivers are specifically designed for its systems and are built in-house. CODA offers power amps, which they also design and fabricate themselves. During InfoComm, CODA introduced its new range of Linus DSA amplifiers and system racks with integrated DSP. 
CODA's Dual Diaphragm Planar Wave Driver and Sensor Controlled Woofer.

Nureva's Dual HDL300 Soundbar audio conferencing system is one of the new breed of off-the-shelf integrated far-field pickups for large meeting spaces. Using just two microphone array/ speaker bars, the Dual HDL300 is intended for spaces up to 30' x 50'. Large boardrooms or conference rooms have been traditionally sophisticated acoustical design projects but the writing is on the wall (that is my attempt at a pun). Nureva's Microphone Mist technology "fills a room with 16,384 virtual microphones" and the system worked well in the demo I experienced.
Nureva's Dual HDL300 audio conferencing system for large spaces features advanced system processing capabilities to simultaneously process all 16,384 microphones with no latency.
CatchBox had a very cool Q&A mic product that can be tossed around to the audience - "The World's First Throwable Microphone." At first glance, it is not much more than a mic embedded into a padded cube. But this well-thought-out solution features gyroscope-sensing when it is "in-flight," muting its output. There are three mic products - the Catchbox Pro, for larger, more demanding events; the Catchbox Lite, for a seamless plug & play experience; and the Catchbox Plus, for large auditoriums. The Pro version requires an external belt pack-type wireless audio transmitter to be attached, while the Lite and Plus, feature built-in transmitters. The longer distance wireless version features Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology (DECT) and the entry level has Bluetooth. It's just like a regular wireless microphone, but you throw it. The "padding" is made from a combination of foams and technical fabrics with all the hard electronic components embedded inside, ensuring that dropping and throwing the device won't damage the equipment... or the person catching it. The future is far-field dynamic tracking mic arrays, but with Catchbox systems ranging from $400 to $650 there is a place for this unique audience mic solution.
There's nothing better to engage an audience, than throwing a microphone, instead of having a handheld microphone to be passed around...

Listen Technologies was showing its reliable assistive listening solutions, including receivers, transmitters, headsets, chargers, and accessories. Listen Technologies develops products that enhance user listening experiences in a variety of groups or gatherings. These solutions are commonly used for assistive listening, unobtrusive audio information narratives, and language interpretation in houses of worship, tour groups, fitness centers, stadiums, and other applications. Listen Technologies uses a clever combination of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to configure the systems, and transmission is by DECT, which works well for closed systems. But the company is already also exploring clever Wi-Fi-based solutions in its Audio Everywhere range of solutions.
Many more highlights from InfoComm 2018 are already online, and more will be posted in the following days.
See you at next year's InfoComm, which is back in Orlando at the Florida Convention Center Conference: June 8-14 | Exhibits: June 12-14. This will be the first edition to also host the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics (ALMA) International Symposium & Expo (AISE 2019), June 9-10, 2019, at the Double Tree by Hilton Universal.


Fresh From the Bench
IK Multimedia ARC 2.5 MEMS Test Microphone
By Stuart Yaniger
For the Test & Measurement Focus published in audioXpress March 2018, two of our authors tackled IK Multimedia's ARC 2.5 room correction system. Ron Tipton investigated IK Multimedia's claims that the new ARC 2.5 improves the audio monitoring accuracy of speakers in any studio or listening room (read it here). In this article Stuart Yaniger tested the new MEMS measurement microphone available with IK Multimedia's ARC 2.5 System. The microphone is built around an omni-directional, high precision MEMS capsule to ensure maximum response accuracy and stability over time. This article was originally published in audioXpress, March 2018.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Spotlight
Remembering AISE 2018 - The Last One Before CES! 
By João Martins and Mike Klasco
With InfoComm 2018 already behind us , it's time to look forward, when the very first edition of the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics International (ALMA International) Symposium & Expo (AISE 2019), will take place June 9-10, 2019, at the Double Tree by Hilton Universal, concurrent with InfoComm 2019, which will be held June 8-14, 2019, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. This will be exciting times for ALMA, bringing new opportunities and challenges. And precisely because of that, we thought it would be fit to properly remember AISE 2018, which was held this year for the last time in Las Vegas, just before CES. Recapping the several texts that were included in The Audio Voice, as well as the March 2018 edition of Voice Coil, we remember the content, the awards and the excellent moments that always make every edition of ALMA International's Symposium & Expo, and also hoping to inspire everyone to participate in the 2019 edition.   Check it out here!

AX July 2018: Digital Login
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