Industry & Product News
Plug into AES67 & ST2110 Markets Today with BACH Liberty from Ross Video
BACH Liberty is a drop-in replacement, pin-compatible module to Dante Brooklyn II, featuring a fully compliant AES67 and ST2110 implementation. With BACH Liberty, customers are able to plug into more markets. The open control technologies found on BACH empower manufacturers to bring innovative new workflows and user interfaces to the benefit of end users worldwide. BACH has the Liberty you've been waiting for.   Read More

Cadence Introduces Tensilica HiFi 5 DSP Optimized for AI Speech and Audio Processing
Cadence Design Systems announced the Cadence Tensilica HiFi 5 DSP for audio and voice, the company's first IP core optimized for high-performance far-field processing and artificial intelligence (AI)-based speech recognition processing. This fifth-generation HiFi DSP offers 2X audio processing and 4X neural network (NN) processing improvements versus the HiFi 4 DSP, making it ideal for voice-controlled user interfaces in digital home assistants and automotive infotainment.   Read More

KEF Introduces LSX Fully Stereo Wireless Music System
Approaching the wireless speaker market while leveraging the technologies and qualities for which a high-end brand is known is not easy and differentiating a product in a crowded space is even harder. British loudspeaker pioneer KEF has announced the LSX, a compact two-speaker wireless music system with all the convenience of the connected world, but with the emotion and detail of true high-resolution stereo. LSX is fully wireless both from the source and between the speakers and will feature AirPlay 2 for multi-room streaming from Apple devices in January 2019.    Read More

Focal Introduces Utopia M High-End Car Audio Series
Focal unveiled Utopia M, the latest in high-end reference car audio from the French brand. In 2005, the Utopia Be line was developed using Focal's best high-fidelity loudspeakers, revolutionizing the brand's Car Audio line. Now, Focal introduces the evolution of that legacy, a new high-end reference: The Utopia M line, which includes five completely new drivers and a new two-way passive kit.    Read More

CEntrance Announces MixerFace R4R with Built-In SD Card Recorder
CEntrance announced the launch of MixerFace R4R, a new version of the acclaimed mobile recording interface that now comes with a built-in audio recorder. The new model retains all the features of its parent MixerFace R4, released in July 2018, but adds a built-in, "one-button record," stereo micro-SD card recorder for added in-the-field flexibility and extra recording redundancy. The new model is now shipping worldwide and costs $449.99 USD.   Read More

Audio-Technica Introduces ATH-M50xBT Wireless Over-Ear Headphones with Bluetooth 5s 
Here's an interesting idea! Take one of the most successful headphones ever and an industry standard, and create a wireless version combining the latest Bluetooth 5 technology with the extra features making the design look exactly the same. That's what Audio-Technica just announced with the introduction of its ATH-M50xBT wireless over-ear headphones, which bring Bluetooth wireless technology to one of the world's most acclaimed pro audio and consumer headphones. And even the price stays affordable at USD $199.00.   Read More

Paid Music Streaming Subscriptions Will Hit 235 Million by the End of 2018
The Digital Media and Entertainment team at Futuresource Consulting published its latest Music Market Report revealing that music streaming services continue its ascendance globally. With the number of paid streaming subscriptions on track to reach 235 million worldwide by the end of 2018, Futuresource Consulting forecasts a significant decrease in music file download and the sales of CDs, as streaming services continue to expand its music catalog and worldwide coverage, actually increasing overalls revenues for the music industry.   Read More

Blue Mix-Fi Headphone Wins 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development
The Television Academy recently announced the recipients of the 2018 Engineering Emmy Awards honoring an individual, company or organization for developments in broadcast technology - and a very strange thing happened: A headphone won an Emmy! For the first time in the history of the prestigious awards, a headphone was recognized because, it enables users "to produce mixes that translate accurately from headphone to near-field monitors to the wall and beyond." What headphones received the honor? The Blue Mix-Fi headphones...   Read More

ATC Announces Installation-Friendly SCM12i Pro Passive Studio Monitor
British loudspeaker manufacturer ATC announced availability of its latest SCM12i Pro passive monitor - effectively an adaptation of its SCM12 Pro compact, high-performance, two-way passive studio monitor released in September 2016 to widespread critical acclaim, albeit (re)designed for simple installation into recording, post-production, broadcast, and film studios of all shapes and sizes.   Read More

Guest Editorial
Gary Galo 

AES New York 2018 Convention - A Few Highlights

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) held its  145th convention in New York City  from October 17-20, 2018. The AES had a New York convention last year, so this was the first time since the mid-1980s that a New York convention was held two years in a row. The year 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the AES, and convention organizers obviously wanted the celebration to take place on their home turf. Another New York convention is scheduled for October 2019 and, according to AES Director of Communications Frank Wells, no future West Coast conventions are currently slated. AES will continue to have a West Coast presence, however. In 2018, they held their inaugural AES@NAMM Pro Sound Symposium, a joint venture with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), and they have an agreement to hold that event during the  Winter NAMM show (January 24-27, 2019)  through 2021. AES also is planning a Headphone Technology Conference in San Francisco, CA, scheduled for August 2019.

Participants at the Custom Gear Show, including Eddie Ciletti, Owen Curtin, Bob Katz, Joe Vezzetti, and Ethan Winer, exhibit their custom-built audio equipment at the 145th AES convention.

This year the AES added a new track to their program, offering several sessions related to do-it-yourself (DIY) audio. Seasoned electrical engineers that I know sometimes complain that young engineers fresh out of school have never held a soldering iron. They know a great deal of theory but have no practical experience building or making electronic circuits work in the real world. This year's convention included a Custom Gear Show, with five participants exhibiting their custom-built audio equipment. The Boston section of the AES now sponsors an Audio Builders Workshop program, which was started by Owen Curtin in 2015 ( ). Their display at the Custom Gear Show featured two simple projects for the novice builder with soldering skills - an electronic metronome based on the 555 timer chip, and a low-pass filter based on a pair of LM358 IC op-amps (photo below). Information on purchasing PC boards and kits of parts can be found on their website under "Builds."

The Audio Builders Workshop also sponsored a two-hour session bearing their name to give novices an introduction to acting on schematic diagrams to produce working devices. Participants in this session built the metronome shown at the Custom Gear Show, but on a breadboard, so no soldering was needed. Kits for each participant were supplied by Mouser Electronics , including the breadboard and all parts needs to complete the project, including duplicate parts in case of mishaps. 

The kits for each Audio Builders Workshop participant at AES New York 2018 were supplied by Mouser Electronic.

I took a few photos of the Audio Builders Workshop participants getting started and returned shortly before the end of the session to see the results. Only a couple of builders had finished when I returned, including Taylor Fitzgerald of Palatine, IL, shown second from the left. The photo below shows her completed project.

When I was a kid, there was a proliferation of companies making electronic kits of all types, including Heathkit, Allied Radio's Knight Kit, Eico, Lafayette, and Dynaco. Many builders, myself included, wound up working in the audio field while others pursued different careers. Kits were a great place to get a start building electronic equipment before moving on to equipment modifications and from-scratch projects. Hafler attempted to build on the Dynaco tradition, beginning in 1978, but its kit venture lasted less than a decade. By the 1990s, the kit business was essentially defunct, though in recent years there's been a bit of a comeback. Still, it's much more difficult for young people get a start building electronics projects than it was for those of us who grew up in 1950s and 1960s. The AES DIY programs are a welcome addition to their conventions and I hope they will continue with these workshops at future conventions. Kudos to the Boston AES and  Mouser Electronics  for their support of this venture.
Historical presentations and exhibits continue to be an important part of AES conventions. Thomas Fine gave an outstanding presentation titled "The Commercialization of Stereophony, 1955-1960." This presentation was a sequel to the one he gave last year on "The Roots of Stereophony," which covered the early development of stereophonic recording, including two-channel telephony in France and England in the late 19th century, experiments by Alan Blumlein and Bell Labs in the early 1930s, war-time stereo recordings made on the German Magnetophon tape recorders, and the staggered-head stereo tape recorders made by Magnecord in the early 1950s. 
This year's presentation concentrated on the first commercially issued stereo recordings and, as with his previous presentations, it was accompanied by an extensive slide show and numerous recorded examples. Tom divided his presentation into five broad categories, beginning with "On the Horizon: Early Commercialization of Directional Sound." This segment included Bert Whyte's 1952 experiments with Magnecord's PT-6 staggered-head stereo tape recorder, and Emory Cook's commercial two-band stereo LP record (left side on the photos below). 

"Home Stereo's First Foothold: 2-Track Tapes" covered the first commercial reel-to-reel tapes, released by RCA Victor in late 1954. Images courtesy of Thomas Fine.

Other record companies followed suit, with tapes made in both staggered-head and in-line head formats. Although this was the first practical means of delivering stereophonic sound to the consumer, the tapes weren't cheap. Tom pointed out that the $14.95 US retail price of the RCA Victor tapes was the equivalent of about $140 of today's US dollars. 
"Competing Designs: Finding a Stereo Disc Standard" included discussion of the systems proposed for cutting two channels into a single record groove. One was a hybrid system with one channel as lateral vibrations and the other as vertical. The Western Electric 45/45 system was eventually standardized, and the entire industry followed suit. 

The Westrex "45/45" single-groove system for stereo two-channel records. Courtesy of Thomas Fine.

"Stereo Goes Mainstream (sorta): The 2-channel LP" covered the first commercial stereo LP records, beginning with Sid Frey's stereo demonstration disc issued on his Audio Fidelity label in 1957. By 1958, most major labels began issuing stereo LPs cut with the Westrex 45/45 system including RCA Victor, British Decca, Mercury, and Capitol. Most of these labels had been making simultaneous stereophonic recordings during their monaural sessions, some as early as late 1953, giving them a library of material ready for release (American Columbia was an exception, and the launching of the stereo LP in 1958 forced a scramble, as they began remaking a lot of their monaural catalog in order to catch up). 
In 1959, Enoch Light launched the Command label with his first Persuasive Percussion album, which became the first stereo gold record. It was engineered by Tom's father, C. Robert Fine, and was number one on the charts for 13 weeks and in the top 10 for 43 weeks. One cut Tom played from this album was "Miserlou," going back and forth between his own transfer of the original LP and the CD reissue. The bells featured on this cut had such incredible high-frequency energy that several cutter heads were burned out before a safe cutting level was found! With consumer acceptance of the stereo LP, other stereo formats were introduced, including stereo FM radio, the 8-track cartridge tape and cassette tapes. These were all covered in the segment "Stereo Becomes Ubiquitous," along with the Sony Walkman, Compact Disc, and portable music devices that play files rather than physical media. This was another superb presentation, and one hopes that Tom Fine will be a continued presence at AES conventions.  Tom operates an audio transfer and restoration studio in Brewster, NY.

The first commercial tube amplifier designed by Robert von Lieben in 1912 (Left). Also, in the Audio History Library exhibit was a Western Electric Mechanical Amplifier dating from around the turn of the 19th century.

The New York City-based Audio History Library has been a regular exhibitor at AES conventions for many years. Under the capable and dedicated leadership of its director, Louis Manno, the Audio History Library is a non-profit educational charity, serving as the "world's only repository and resource for the technological history of acoustic and electronic products that have made possible the very existence of the radio, television, concert touring, film (other than silent), and recording industries." ( ) Their ever-expanding collection consists of documents from more than 2,000 companies in 37 countries, including manufacturer product literature, owner and service manuals, equipment reviews, and photographs, plus a large collection of vintage audio equipment.
Robert von Lieben is not exactly a household name, even among devotees of audio history. However, the Austrian physicist, who died in 1913 at the age of 34, played an important role in the development of vacuum tube amplifiers. Von Lieben's work paralleled that of American Lee de Forest, and in 1910 von Lieben received a patent for a vacuum tube with a grid that allowed controlled amplification, something that de Forest had yet to achieve. Among the items on display in the Audio History Library booth was the first commercial tube amplifier, a von Lieben design manufactured by Gesellschaft für drahtlose Telegraphie in 1912 (Company for Wireless Telegraphy, a predecessor of Telefunken).
Quoting from the description in the display, written by Saul Walker, "This ingenious device makes use of a circa 1900 telephone receiver (earpiece) mechanically coupled to a carbon button capsule from a telephone microphone (mouthpiece) to amplify audio frequency electrical signals. A conventional telephone mouthpiece of that period contained an electrically conductive carbon capsule mechanically coupled to a diaphragm causing its electrical conduction to vary in proportion to sound waves striking the diaphragm. Since electrical current from a battery or other DC voltage source powered the device, it was capable of producing electrical signals with higher energy than the original source. That same principle was applied to this electromechanical amplifier in that the small amount of electrical energy required to operate the telephone earpiece causes pressure to be applied to the carbon capsule, which in turn produces larger audio frequency electrical signals from the current supplied by the battery." 

Anyone who values our audio heritage should visit the Audio History Library website and consider making a donation .


You Can DIY!
The MC100 - A High-Quality Moving Coil RIAA Preamplifier
By George Ntanavaras
Moving coil cartridges are frequently preferred by audiophiles due to a subjectively better performance. But designing a high-quality preamplifier for this type of cartridge is challenging. Their output voltage is usually more than an order lower than the moving magnet cartridges and their source impedance is much lower and completely different. In this project article for audioXpress, George Ntanavaras describes the design and construction of a high-quality RIAA preamplifier for moving coil cartridges. It is based on high-quality Analog Device AD797 op-amps designed for low-noise audio applications and driven from very low source impedance. As the author explains, a high-quality low-noise preamplifier requires a high-quality power supply, so he used Walter Jung's regulated power supply as described in his article "Improved Positive/Negative Regulators" (Audio Electronics, 2000). To make construction easier, all the components of the preamplifier and its power supply (except the transformer) are placed on a single PCB, and the design includes an adjustable gain to compensate for the differences a cartridge has between the two channels and optionally a volume control, so it can be used to directly drive a power amplifier. This article was originally published in audioxpress, March 2014.   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
The Alpha-5-8 5" Midbass Driver from Eminence 
By Vance Dickason
For this Test Bench article, I characterized the New Eminence Alpha-5-8 5" line array/column array midbass driver. This a new 5" midwoofer from the American Standard Series, a 24-model transducer line of epoxy-acrylic finished stamped frame woofers and midranges. Applications for the Alpha 5-8 include use as a midrange in a multi-way speaker, as multiples in a line array, or as a compact column PA speaker. Features include a lightweight curved profile pulp paper cone with a water-resistant coating, a 2" diameter solid composition paper dust cap (with a water resistant coating) and a stamped steel frame, plus a very robust (for a 5" driver) 125 W nominal power handling capacity. Cooling is provided by a 0.47" (12 mm) pole type vent, four 22 mm × 8 mm vents located below the spider mounting shelf, plus six 4 mm diameter former vent holes. Compliance is controlled by a two-roll pleated coated cloth surround and a by a 3.25" diameter flat cloth spider. The motor assembly is powered by a 100 mm diameter 20 mm thick ferrite ring magnet with a conventional steel front plate and shaped back plate. Driving the cone assembly is a voice coil that consists of a 38.1 mm (1.5") diameter polyimide former wound with round aluminum wire. Voice coil tinsel lead wires terminate to a standard pair of solderable terminals. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, August 2018.   Check it out here!

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

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VC November 2018: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More