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

Sonos Announces new Sonos One Limited Edition Speaker Collection Created in Collaboration with Danish Design Brand HAY
Sonos continues to expand its lifestyle and brand-awareness global marketing strategy by establishing a collaboration with Danish design brand HAY. The collaboration has resulted in the announcement of five exclusive Sonos One colorways already available for purchase. According to Sonos, the new series "perfectly blends modern design and a great sound experience for any home." It also refreshes the original Sonos One model launched a year ago, and recently updated to add AirPlay 2 and Siri support, adding to the Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant voice control options.   Read More

Studio Technologies Expands Audio-over-Ethernet Networking Options with New Dante and SMPTE ST 2110 Interfaces
Studio Technologies' growing line of audio-over-Ethernet products is receiving wide recognition and reflects the growing adoption of audio networking solutions and a changing media infrastructure. The Illinois-based manufacturer introduced two new audio interfaces for applications that use the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards - the Model 5512 Audio Interface and the Model 5518 Mic/Line Interface. The company also recently launched the Model 48D Dante Bridge, which offers new LAN interconnectivity options for Dante applications.    Read More

Focal Unveils New 100 OD6 and 100 OD8 Outdoor Loudspeakers
Globally recognized for high-fidelity products, Focal has been expanding its range of products for installation and has announced two new outdoor speaker models to complete its 100 Series Integration Collection. The two new models - the 100 OD6 and 100 OD8 - are water resistant loudspeakers offering very high-quality sound reproduction, in a format ideal for a backyard, terrace, or garden. The 100 OD6 and the 100 OD8 are the first Focal products to obtain IP66 certification.    Read More

Shure Introduces High-Resolution Bluetooth 5 Earphone Communication Cable
Precisely a year after releasing Bluetooth 4.1 optional accessory cables for all its SE Earphones, Shure has now announced a new Bluetooth 5 cable that delivers high-fidelity audio, increases freedom of movement, and offers seamless communication for Shure's range of SE Sound Isolating Earphones. Using the detachable MMCX connection, the new communication cable is the next generation in Shure's foray into Bluetooth wireless connectivity, reinforcing the value of its earphones and rewarding its user base.   Read More Publishes Bluetooth 5: System-on-Chip Comparisons 2018 - Complete Teardown Report 
The "Bluetooth 5: System-on-Chip Comparison 2018 Complete Teardown Report" has just been added to's offering. The report presents a technological and economical comparison of four of the newest and most competitive systems-on-chips (SoCs) available on the market today from four different manufacturers. They are: the QN9080 from NXP; the QCC5121 from Qualcomm; the DA14585 from Dialog Semiconductor; and the nRF52810 from Nordic Semiconductor.   Read More

Modus VR Introduces Updates to Virtual Reality Home-Theater Design Platform
Modus VR, developers of the world's first virtual reality (VR) design software solution for residential systems integrators and installers, announced a series of upgrades to its platform. The introduction follows the company's successful formal debut at CEDIA 2018. Leveraging the latest in VR technology, Modus VR lets clients experience their theater and media rooms before construction ever begins. The updated solution now includes the ability create non-rectangular rooms using the 2D Floor Plan Editor.   Read More

HiBy Introduces MQA to Its R3 Tidal Portable Music Player
With the iPod and all the clone MP3 players now long gone and forgotten, music enthusiasts already deeply committed to music streaming services are looking for ways to enjoy higher-quality and high-resolution audio options when out of the home and on the move. Manufacturers such as HiBy are responding with dedicated and affordable streaming music players like the R3, promoted as the smallest and lightest Tidal Online Music Library Player. And now HiBy has also confirmed MQA playback support for the R3.   Read More

Sonarworks Introduces Reference 4 Software Updates with 60 New Headphone Profiles and Increased DAW Support
Sonarworks, the European company behind the Reference studio calibration software, announced a significant update to its software. Key updates in the latest 4.1.7 version include a 32-bit plug-in in addition to the existing 64-bit one, enabling users with older DAW platforms to take advantage of Reference's robust measurement and calibration capabilities. The update also introduces new headphone models by Audio-Technica, Pioneer, Sennheiser, and more.   Read More

Guest Editorial
Franz Dugand
(Sales and Marketing Director, Connectivity, CEVA)

Getting to True (and Non-Captive)
Wireless Stereo

In the world of wireless earbuds we fairly quickly recognized, after Apple introduced AirPods, that earbuds connected by a strap were truly unconvincing in their claim to be truly wireless. Why did those other products even start with a strap? Mostly to keep power consumption down and to synchronize between left and right speakers, both of which become trickier if the speakers are really unconnected.

Wireless stereo earbuds are super-convenient but are locked into proprietary solutions. Consumer-friendly solutions need to be interoperable.

Stand-alone earbuds have to be very small and light, allowing for only tiny power sources. And while the Bluetooth A2DP profile is defined to stream audio stereo, it is still point to point, which means that the standard doesn't (yet) define a method to handle streaming to two or more physically unconnected devices, in this case wireless earbuds. (A spec over BLE is expected in 2020.) So, a number of different solutions have emerged to bridge this gap.
One class of solutions depends on a Bluetooth link to one earbud, which then forwards the other channel to the other earbud. Qualcomm TrueWireless does this using an A2DP link for forwarding. The downside is that this is not very power efficient, even if it were done over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), because the primary earbud has to handle two Bluetooth links. Another approach uses near-field magnetic induction (NFMI) communication for forwarding. This is more power efficient but generally viewed as bulky and expensive. NXP is a leader in this approach, which is quite well established in hearing aids.
Qualcomm has gone one better with TrueWireless Stereo Plus in which each stereo channel is handled by a separate A2DP link from the phone (or other source device). This is very power efficient and lets the phone (which has more juice than the earbuds) take care of synchronization. However, we suspect this solution is captive, requiring Qualcomm chips in the earbuds and the phone.
Another technique uses what is often seen as a threat instead of as a useful feature. Again, the point-to-point connection is from the phone to one earbud. The second earbud "eavesdrops" on this link to pick up its channel. The method is very low power and will work with any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. However, techniques to accomplish this eavesdropping are covered by multiple patents so any solution in this area is likely to come with licensing headaches.
Yet another approach is MFi LEA, an Apple proprietary low-energy audio solution based on BLE. Again, each earbud is supported by a separate link from the phone, assuring low power consumption and synchronization managed at the phone. But this only works within the Apple ecosystem. This solution is designed particularly for accessibility (phone, music, etc.) for the hearing impaired.
So - no shortage of solutions, but buyer beware. You'd better make sure the earbuds you pick are compatible with your phone, and your other phone, and the next phone you'll get when you upgrade (these earbuds aren't cheap). And you should think about how long they'll stay charged. Going on a day hike? Battery life between charges seems to run from 3 to 5 hours, listening only, before you have to put the earbuds back in the case. Obviously better to go with the lowest power solutions.
A company called Tempow, based in Paris, France, has developed a software solution that can run on any Bluetooth chip on any smartphone, providing independent links for left and right earbuds and, hence, a very low power true wireless stereo solution for ear buds. No special hardware required on the phone. As long as the earbuds are based on a compatible classic Bluetooth BR/EDR solution, they will always work with any phone that has licensed the Tempow software. And they'll provide battery life matching the best.

Driving satellite speakers.

There's another interesting consideration - suppose you want to support more than two speakers? Maybe stereo speakers in the room, a stereo headset, and your stereo earbuds. Tempow can do that too, for any Bluetooth speakers and headsets.
Sound good? There is still a little work underway to optimize this solution for earbuds, particularly to synchronize between left and right channels. For speakers in a room, separated by at least a meter, delays of ~10 ms between channels is not really noticeable. But with earbuds, we start to be able to detect latencies of > 25 us (corresponding to one audio sample). Fixing this takes some collaboration between the software and hardware solutions. CEVA will demonstrate a convincing solution in this direction, in partnership with Tempow, during their CEVA Technology Symposium series in Asia this year.
So yes, true stereo wireless earbuds are possible in a non-captive solution. And that's what it will take for wireless stereo to truly take off.

Audio Electronics
Current Feedback: Fake News or the Real Deal?
By Christopher Paul
Recently, the very existence of current feedback as opposed to voltage feedback has been called into question. This article employs bench tests, simulations, and equations derived from various circuits under investigation to address this controversy. In Part 1 of this article - Untangling the Signal Path - the author designs, analyzes, simulates, builds, and tests simple versions of voltage and current feedback amplifiers and demonstrates some differences in their characteristics. Part 2 - A Detailed Examination of Current Feedback Amplifiers - takes a detailed look at some commercially available current feedback amplifiers and voltage feedback amplifiers. As Chris Paul reinforces, "Current feedback is real. Unfortunately, it has multiple definitions. We must be aware of the context in which the term is used." These articles were originally published in audioXpress, July and August 2018.   Read the Two Articles Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
The TPL75 Compact Pro Sound AMT from Acustica Beyma 
By Vance Dickason
This transducer, the TPL75, came from Spanish OEM manufacturer Acustica Beyma. Like the Beyma TPL200/H featured in the July 2018 Test Bench column, the TPL75 is one of the Air Motion Transformers (AMT, aka Air Velocity Transformer) that Beyma has developed for pro sound applications. Beyma has been on the forefront of pro sound AMTs and produces a seven-model lineup of high power handling, high efficiency AMTs for pro sound applications. Part of the success of Beyma's AMTs for pro sound comes from its proprietary X-Bow technology. The concept behind X-Bow Technology is to open as much as possible the mechanical constraint in the diaphragm, allowing it to manage higher temperatures, increasing the limit of the power the diaphragm can handle. In terms of features, the Beyma TPL75 has an AMT Kapton diaphragm radiating area of 71 mm × 34 mm; an aluminum faceplate, 92 dB 1 W/1 m sensitivity, and 40 W AES-rated power handling with a second-order crossover at 1.2 kHz. Other features include a neodymium magnet motor, 8 Ω nominal impedance (4.9 Ω DCR, and chrome-plated color-coded push terminals. Intended applications are high-end home audio speakers as well has high-end studio monitors. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, August 2018.   Check it out here!

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