Vibrotextile Surround-Body Experience Bypasses Eardrums Enabling Users to "Hear" Music via the Brain
Not Impossible Labs, a California-based company, made a presentation of its "Music: Not Impossible (M:NI)" applied Vibrotextile technology that translates sound onto the skin through vibration, enabling users to feel the nuances of a music-listening experience. Initially inspired by deaf music fans, M:NI's use during a concert produces a dramatic effect for all participants, regardless of their hearing, delivering a shared "surround body" experience.   Read More

SMPTE Publishes Immersive Audio Standards for Cinema
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) announced the publication of new SMPTE ST 2098 standards for immersive audio, in an effort to simplify distribution of immersive audio and ensure smooth and consistent playout on various immersive sound systems. The Society has published ST 2098-1:2018, Immersive Audio Metadata; ST 2098-2:2018, Immersive Audio Bitstream Specification; and ST 2098-5:2018, D-Cinema Immersive Audio Channels and Soundfield Groups.   Read More

New Professional Power Amp Market Report from Futuresource Consulting
Despite rising challenges, the professional audio power amplifier market continues to grow, achieving a global market value of $658 million in 2017, according to a new industry report from Futuresource Consulting. The report tracks the five key power amplifier verticals - namely rental, portable sound, installed leisure, installed commercial, and cinema sound. The two install categories are currently the highest growth application areas.    Read More

SiriusXM and Pandora Get Together to Create the Largest Audio Entertainment Company in US
Sirius XM Holdings and Pandora Media announced a definitive agreement under which SiriusXM will acquire Pandora in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.5 billion. The combination creates the largest audio entertainment company in the US (both services are only available in the US market), with more than $7 billion in expected pro-forma revenue in 2018 and strong, long-term growth opportunities. According to the announcement, both SiriusXM and Pandora brands, products, and services will continue independently.   Read More

Sennheiser and Magic Leap Partner for Spatial Computing Applications 
Extending its engagement in VR/AR applications, Sennheiser has partnered with spatial computing and mixed reality specialist Magic Leap and joined the "Works with Magic Leap" certification program. This partnership consolidates Sennheiser's presence and thought leadership in spatial audio as it continues to develop innovative audio tools for spatial audio visionaries and content creators.   Read More

Smart Home Market Will Hit $15.75 Billion by 2023 According to Rethink Technology Research
Riot - the service of Rethink Technology Research, a research and analyst company focusing on IoT, video and wireless - say that the revenues of Smart Hhome as a Service (SHaaS) will rise to $15.75 billion by 2023. The study is entitled "Smart Home as a Service - Awakened from Sleep by a Deep Voice - Forecast to 2023." The analyst firm confirms Communications Services Providers (CSPs) will need to turn to consumer voice platforms to explore the full potential of the smart home market.   Read More

Mavin Introduces Air-X True Wireless Earbuds with 10-Hour Battery Life and 100' Connection Based on Qualcomm QCC3026 Platform
Mavin, a California brand of wireless audio solutions, announced the Air-X true wireless earbuds, which claims to be the first to last 10 hours with one standalone charge, and up to 50 hours with its included charging case. The brand, winners of the German iF Design Award, the Red Dot Design Award, and the CES Innovation Product Design Award, was among the first to implement Qualcomm's latest chipset for premium wireless headphones. Air-X is now available on Indiegogo for only $99 (44% off regular price of $179).   Read More

145th Audio Engineering Society New York 2018 Convention. Where the Audio Industry Convenes
This year's 145th Audio Engineering Society (AES) International Convention is being held once again at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dates for the 2018 convention are October 17-20 (October 17-19 for the exhibits). The 145th AES Convention will offer Technical Program presentations, workshops, discussion panels, and more, as well as the largest dedicated professional audio showcase and exhibition. The convention will be once again concurrent with the independent NAB Show New York 2018 event (October 17-18) in an adjacent exhibition hall.   Read More

João Martins

Editor's Desk

IBC 2018 Show Report 
Audio-Over-IP at the Crossroads of Next Generation Audio

In my previous report on IBC 2018, I addressed some key technology trends from the IBC show in Amsterdam (September 13-18, 2018), in the perspective of audio technology, content production, and distribution. Of course, on the backbone of all the tremendous changes that are currently happening in the media business, broadcast, and professional production, the topic of audio-over-IP (AoIP) and the ongoing transition to fully IP-enabled operations in all platforms - traditional linear television, radio (digital, hybrid, virtual, etc.), and new over-the-top and on-demand streaming services - is front and center.

IP production demonstrations at IBC 2018. Even Sony had to put aside its own proprietary IP Live solution and embrace the industry's standards.

At recent media-centric shows such as NAB and IBC, together with the topic of Ultra High Definition (UHD), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and High Frame Rate (HFR) video, we have now started to see the term Next Generation Audio or NGA being used a lot. NGA is frequently used to describe the new immersive sound formats that go together with the new broadcast/media distribution video formats, either channel-based or object-based (e.g., Dolby Atmos and MPEG-H), but also to describe practices that are now understood to be dependent on IP-based workflows and distribution platforms, as both The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommend. These practices consider the fact that media will reach the consumer through a complex network of services that encompasses content delivery networks (CDNs) and Internet Delivery Systems using popular delivery protocols such as MPEG DASH, Adobe HDS, Apple HLS, and Microsoft Smooth Streaming. Even the latest broadcast standards such as ATSC 3.0 and DVB-UHD support IP multicast and hybrid broadcast (Internet) delivery using MPEG DASH (and so does Netflix, by the way).
To support these new distribution methods, the transition to IP-based infrastructures is unstoppable. These operations are now being moved to fully networked systems, cloud-based, and even being "virtualized" - which is another buzzword to describe the process of allocating production, operational, and transmission resources wherever they are available on a network, local or distributed, requiring infrastructures to be software defined. That in itself is a topic for another editorial.
But let's go back to audio. AoIP has expanded to become one of the most important audio technologies today. Even home studios and musicians have started to replace USB and other computer interfaces with networked solutions. After proprietary and Ethernet layer 2 solutions, including Audio Video Bridging (AVB) initially caught some traction with the studio and live sound crowds - thanks in great part to Apple's native support in macOS - the media industries moved on to fully IP-compliant solutions.  In the last five years, Audinate's Dante protocol took that market, expanded to become the audio installation "de facto" standard and now it even competes with other established audio protocols (e.g., Ravenna and Livewire) in the critical broadcast and media production space. And meanwhile, thanks to the industry's efforts and the Audio Engineering Society (AES), we have gained an interoperability standard called AES 67. This provided the industry with the trust that the debate was over and we're definitely ready to go all AoIP. But as IBC 2018 demonstrated, in practice, things are slightly more complicated.
Audio professionals, whether they are working in recording studios, live productions, facility management, or broadcast/content production, are now conscious of the advantages of working with networked systems, and they are confident that they are able to adopt flexible solutions based on any of the existing popular protocols such as Dante, Ravenna, Q-LAN, and Livewire+ (widely adopted on radio), knowing they will be able to connect and interchange audio whenever needed thanks to the AES67 interoperability standard. And effectively, that's a great start.
As I've documented in the past, the companies and the audio consortiums that have propelled these protocols and standards have joined the larger-scope efforts ongoing in broadcast and content production industries, represented by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), and reinforced with the promotion of organizations such as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and SMPTE. This means the AoIP roadmap is now a part of a larger industry effort, as established at recent trade shows by the IP Showcase demonstrations. In those efforts, we find widespread support as these industries have never seen. This includes the support of virtually all manufacturers, from Arista to Cisco, Sony and Yamaha.

The IP Showcase at IBC 2018 featured equipment displays and product demonstrations from more than 60 organizations in support of IP standards and specifications. This was one the biggest assemblies of interoperable IP products ever seen.

During IBC 2018, AIMS promoted another round of demonstrations, displaying how standards-based IP signal transport and IP infrastructures will power the future of these industries. More importantly, this was the first IBC show since the 
SMPTE ST-2110 suite of standards was ratified, which signals a new level of integration of those systems over IP, away from the previous focus of migration from SDI to IP.
The publication in May 2018 of the SMPTE ST-2110 Professional Media Over Managed IP Networks documents defined the foundational standards for essence-based transmission of video, audio, and metadata in real-time professional media applications, and now forms the backbone of the transition to IP. That's why it is not surprising to see some audio companies more frequently mentioning their own audio systems as "ST-2110," instead of their own protocol "flavors."
The latest SMPTE ST 2110-40 standard, part of the suite, maps ancillary data packets into Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) packets that are transported via User Data Protocol/Internet Protocol (UDP/IP) and enables those packets to be moved synchronously with associated video and audio essence streams. This was important to allow the migration from SDI. The ST-2110 standards suite also specifies the carriage, synchronization, and description of separate elementary essence streams over professional IP networks in real time for live production, playout, and other professional media applications, separately routing the individual essence streams (audio, video, and ancillary data), which simplifies, for example, the addition of captions, subtitles, and Teletext, as well as tasks such as the processing of multiple audio languages and types, and enables the efficient carriage of NGA formats that require metadata.
This is the environment with which audio protocols need to cope, with SMPTE ST-2110 offering full native support for AES67/Ravenna, Dante, and even MADI audio streams. But it is also important to understand that this "support" also means that any exchange of audio among different protocols is established with AES67, created to generate interoperability, not replace any of the existing "flavors." And in that regard, AES67 imposes operational limitations.
Within the continuously moving landscape of 2110 infrastructures, this poses new challenges as requirements change. As described in the standard, AES67 addresses the synchronization mechanism, encoding format, and QoS provision for delivering audio data as well as connection management functions associated with audio delivery using existing and standard protocols and technology. It "does not invent new protocols or technologies; rather, defines how to use existing protocols as a system in an interoperable manner."
As AES67 is not intended to be a solution on its own, but rather "providing means for exchanging audio streams between areas with different networking solutions or technologies," this means that users will have to choose which solutions they will use with any of the fully featured protocols. Even though there are discussions of future developments in control solutions (AES70) and possible adoption of new discovery and registration mechanisms (e.g., like the Networked Media Open Specifications (
NMOSis proposing), those will most probably be built on top of the existing protocols, not replacing any of them. And at IBC 2018 we have seen interesting signs on how companies are responding to this complexity.

Nestor Amaya, Ross Video's VP of Infrastructure (right), and Theo Hugentobler, general manager HUGEL GmbH, at the Ross booth explained how manufacturers are now able to implement fully compliant AES67 and ST2110 solutions using the new Ross BACH Liberty board.

In this complex, diverse, but exciting scenario the requirements will inevitably change and it will not be the audio industry alone that determines the technology in use. The adoption of Next Generation Audio formats will be among the first areas that will need to be addressed, including at the AES67 level. It seems clear the next two years (I'm being optimistic) will be a time to meet these challenging demands, while pushing for audio-specific innovations, operational flexibility, and quality-standards.

In the full version of this IBC 2018 report now online, I discuss how Audinate, Lawo, Ross, and many other companies are dealing with this challenging transition. You can read it in full here.

Book Review
Examining Rudolf Moers' Fundamental Amplifier Techniques with Electron Tubes, 2nd Edition
Review by Richard Honeycutt
Richard Honeycutt reviews the second and more extensive edition of this electronics classic, Fundamental Amplifier Techniques with Electron Tubes. He gives high marks to this massive tome that provides useful information about electron tube technology, including their power supplies, for the design and DIY construction of these electron tube audio amplifiers. This review was originally published in audioXpress, September 2018.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
The 951PB 1.4" Compression Driver from Radian Audio Engineering 
By Vance Dickason
Vance Dickason looks at an interesting new high-frequency transducer: the 951PB, a 1.4" exit pro sound compression driver from Radian Audio Engineering, based in Orange, CA. Voice Coil has featured several of Radian's neodymium series of compression drivers, including the 960PB and the 760NEOPB 2" exit aluminum diaphragm compression drivers (in the November 2014 issue), and the 745NEO with both the aluminum and beryllium diaphragms (in the October 2017 issue). For this explication, Radian sent the 1.4" exit version of the previously featured 950PB, the 951PB, which share almost identical feature sets. Both have neodymium ring magnet motors, high temperature 101.6 mm (4") diameter polyimide voice coil formers wound with copper-clad aluminum-edge wound ribbon wire voice coils, 125 W continuous power handing (250 W program power handing), a self-aligning field-replaceable diaphragm assembly, and the most important feature, a proprietary processed and hardened aerospace-grade aluminum alloy diaphragm. As Dickason confesses, he liked it so much that he ended-up using the drivers in a new studio monitor design for his own work space. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, July 2018.   Check it out here!

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