Industry & Product News
Bose Introduces Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphone 700 with Voice-Control
Already the undisputed leader in active noise cancelling technology, Bose is stepping up its product range with the announcement of the new wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which the company itself says is "the biggest leap forward in headphones since the iconic QuietComfort." The new Bose 700s also introduce a revolutionary new voice interface that redefines mobile communication, combined with new audio augmented reality features that will enable completely new user experiences .    Read More

Dialog Semiconductor Launches Family of Audio Codecs Delivering Superior Active Noise Cancellation
Dialog Semiconductor announced the DA740x, a family of highly-integrated audio codec chips that deliver best-in-class active noise cancellation (ANC), providing optimal audio performance in any environment to the rapidly-growing wireless headphones market. According to the British semiconductor company, the DA740x chips are able to deliver superior active noise cancellation - no matter how noisy the environment - with twice the audio quality and half the power consumption as competitive solutions .    Read More

Tracktion Joins Forces with Prism Sound to Create New Pro Audio Enterprise
Tracktion Software Corp. and 2JW Design announced they have joined forces with Prism Sound and SADiE to create a dynamic new player in the pro audio market, under the umbrella of Audio Squadron. Essentially, the US-based company is joining forces with the British manufacturer to work on expanding audio software tools, while also exploring opportunities in the recording hardware front. A collaboration between companies that will remain independent but both have a long history of perseverance and passion for the audio industry .    Read More

Fraunhofer IIS Licenses MPEG-H Audio Patents to LG Electronics
Fraunhofer IIS, one of 72 institutes and research units of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe's largest application-oriented research organization, announced the licensing of its MPEG-H Audio patents to LG Electronics, allowing the Korean consumer electronics giant to produce products that feature MPEG-H object-based audio. In South Korea, terrestrial ATSC 3.0 broadcasting with MPEG-H Audio is already on air, making MPEG-H the world's first commercialized next-generation TV-audio technology .    Read More

Chord Electronics Introduces Advanced Microprocessor-Controlled Phono Preamp  
As part of its ongoing 30th-anniversary celebrations in 2019, Chord Electronics has unveiled Huei, an all-new phono preamp that distills three decades of amplifier development and audio engineering expertise into a high-performance, yet space-saving chassis. Entirely conceived, engineered, and manufactured in Great Britain, the new microprocessor-controlled Chord Huei has been carefully designed to provide turntables with the same high standards of amplification the company has become known for over the past 30 years .    Read More

USound Piezoelectric MEMS Will Boost Battery Life of Wireless Earbuds up to 12 Hours
Austrian microspeaker company USound has just received an additional equity tranche increasing the last financing round to $30 million. According to the company, these added funds will accelerate the evolution of the next MEMS microspeaker generation, with the potential to boost the battery life of wireless earbuds and other wearable devices up to 12 hours. USound hopes to enable a market transition from electrodynamic drivers to solid-state technology with the next-generation of its Ganymede piezoelectric MEMS .    Read More

Arcam Launches SA30 Integrated Stereo Amplifier Featuring AirPlay 2, MQA, and Dirac Live
The Cambridgeshire manufacturer that is now part of Harman, announced the SA30, a new flagship integrated amplifier from its HDA product range. Designed around Class-G amplification, the new Arcam models its maker's latest casework and fascia (somewhat reminiscent of Mark Levinson's designs), housing an extensive features list, including AirPlay 2 wireless support and custom install-friendly technologies. The inclusion of Dirac Live, the state-of-the-art room correction technology, helps ensure the SA30 will always offer the very best performance, individually optimized to its acoustic surroundings .    Read More

Roswell Ships Delphos II Studio Condenser Microphone
After a successful debut at the 2019 NAMM Show in January, Roswell Pro Audio, the Californian maker of premium boutique microphones, is now shipping its new Delphos II all-purpose studio condenser microphone, which retains the characteristics of the original Delphos, adding a third polar pattern (Figure 8) and refined electronics designed to reduce ultrasonic noise. The updated microphone also features a new, larger body adorned in custom metallic blue paint .    Read More

Editor's Desk
J. Martins

Wireless Speaker and Audio Realized
A Conversation with Tony Ostrom, President of WiSA

It's an exciting time for the Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association, a consumer electronics consortium dedicated to creating interoperability standards utilized by leading brands and manufacturers to deliver immersive sound via wireless, intelligent devices. As anyone who has seen a demo agrees, WiSA Certified components from any member brand are finally helping to ensure robust, high definition, multi-channel, low latency wireless audio, while eliminating the complicated setup of traditional 5.1, 7.1, or immersive configurations in wired systems.

After meeting Tony Ostrom at several busy shows since CES 2019, we caught up with the president of WiSA in Munich, where there was finally some time for an interview.

As audioXpress has been extensively reporting on its website, the WiSA momentum has never been greater, and the increasing number of new company members joining the association is increasing exponentially. Especially since the collaboration with LG Electronics was announced just prior to CES 2019. The full promise of a home theater system with simplified wireless audio, was fulfilled in this collaboration, putting LG Electronics' latest range of OLED and NanoCell TVs at the center of a solution that can dramatically increase the enjoyment of TV, streaming content, movies, gaming, music, and more. LG's 2019 OLED and Nano Cell TV series all now support WiSA, are compatible with WiSA USB Transmitters and a full range of intelligent WiSA Certified speakers already on the market.

audioXpress caught up with Tony Ostrom, president of WiSA, at the recent Munich High End show, where the association, Summit Wireless Technologies - the technology arm and WiSA founder - and LG announced the next step in its global collaboration, and signaled the European launch of the WiSA Ready initiative. Explaining better, WiSA Ready TVs, gaming PCs, and console systems are "ready" to transmit audio to WiSA Certified speakers when a WiSA USB Transmitter is plugged in and a user interface is activated through an APP or product design (e.g., LG TVs). The combination offers easy connectivity to external wireless speakers with very low latency to WiSA Certified intelligent speakers.

At the High End 2019 show, several WiSA members were supporting LG's demonstrations with new WiSA Certified speakers, including Klipsch, Harman, and newly certified models from System Audio, and Electrocompaniet's latest EC Living Wireless Lifestyle Series.

LG Electronics was in full force at the 2019 High End show in Munich, Germany. All part of the plan to promote the company's range of WiSA Ready TVs.

audioXpress : Tell us about your recent experience with LG Electronics and what brought you to High End.
Tony Ostrom: A couple of our members are showing new products, and with the WiSA Ready momentum and LG launching its 2019 TVs, we were able to make those connections, so we have a couple of speaker brands here that are actually showing LG TVs in their booths - connecting to their WiSA Certified speakers. As LG is releasing the 2019 products, it's nice that the speaker companies are aligning with them and their marketing strategy. This is a great opportunity to show what the solution can do, how easy it is to connect the system, what the performance can be, right after the launch. We didn't have to wait a long time. Everything seems to be aligned in North America, Europe, and Asia, creating a perfect opportunity for companies to show what WiSA is doing.
LG are extremely strong supporters. As they are going into their training season, they want to make sure that they are telling the right story, and that they are able to promote the capabilities of the TVs properly and aligning with speaker brands. They have been excellent partners.

AX : Do you expect to have similar traction with other TV manufacturers?
TO: Yes. We've had discussions with other TV manufacturers. And we anticipate additional source manufacturers to join as well. Those should be announced by the next CES timeframe. And I anticipate there will be more brands in 2020, which is great for everybody, because it tells the story and it helps with the standard. LG is certainly first and is showing what's possible and how cool it can be.
The future is the content coming from that glass panel that fits in my pocket, fits on my desk, or fits on my wall, and easy distribution of sound to speakers, wirelessly. Wirelessly to my headphones, wirelessly to my speakers on my desk, or wirelessly to my home theater system. And how easy it is to setup and to expand. WiSA is doing the part that works with home theater. We are the part that's multichannel, low latency, all those things.
And coming directly from the panel is the most elegant way to do it. And for all speaker partners not needing to build the transmitter side... The panel guys are becoming pretty much the content streaming, the aggregation and the control mechanism, so they can just send the audio and we will take care of the rest. That paves the path for the rest of the industry really.
And that's not just TV... It's gaming systems, PCs, set top boxes, anything that's bringing content in and WiSA ready, and with a USB output allows you to have a solution ready.

AX : So, apart from WiSA Certified products, you now have a WiSA Ready program?
TO: Yes. We're in the process of putting together a specific certification just for WiSA Ready solutions. It had been part of the greater documentation, but with such an interest now, that is for those types of partners where we can simplify it. This will help them through the process and get more products certified. It's very cool to walk into retailers and see the WiSA logo on LG boxes, I'll tell you that!

AX : That will certainly help to finally create the public awareness that WiSA needs. But, will it help clear the noise that for a while was generated on the topic of wireless audio, with supposedly multiple competitors?
TO: Yes. That has consolidated a bit. The leaders are really starting to be set. And the other thing is, it was never really what we were doing. Before this opportunity, I was in product development, and we were doing all the research and trying to figure out which path to take. We were looking at the Play-Fis and the Qualcomms and all the others, and back a few years it was mainly about "What are we going to do to compete against Sonos?". It was always whole-house first, and then an extension to rear speakers or something. It really wasn't multichannel home theater. Maybe surround on a soundbar. And that's fine for certain applications, but we are talking being in that room in your house where you sit down and enjoy surround sound content, multichannel. That's what we're talking about.
If in some of your rooms you have a soundbar and a sub, that's great, and it's not that we cannot play there too, but our real advantage is when you start talking about high definition, 4, or 5, 6, 7, 8 channels of audio, and there really wasn't and there isn't a competitor there.
When I see the conversation we are having with other WiSA members and other speakers manufacturers, everyone is telling us that it's great that we are doing this. There's a feeling of unity and a movement which I think everyone's been wanting for a while. We are really starting to get traction in that area and it's really exciting.

A 2019 LG TV model at the System Audio booth during High End Munich. The Axiim Link WiSA Certified USB Transmitter works with any WiSA Ready source, sending audio wirelessly to any WiSA Certified speakers.

AX : But isn't WiSA going to get to a point where you have to decide what, if anything, you are going to do with multi-room? 
TO: I guess there's two different parts to the answer.
One is that right now we are focusing on multichannel, single room. But we're also making sure that we play nicely with all those other technologies - whatever you're using to bringing content in. Products that are in the market, or are coming to market that do that. The Harman Citation products are an example. They are WiSA Certified, and they use another technology to bringing content in, and we can distribute it.
Playing nicely with those guys is a priority.
Then, the other thing is that obviously there will be evolutions of what we're doing. We are constantly trying to figure out how to make things easier. If you look right now at personal audio, it's Bluetooth. If you look at distributed audio, it's Wi-Fi. And if you look at home theater audio it's WiSA. Those things will start to merge.
I can't go into more detail. 
There's definitely a roadmap.

At the end of the day, we are constantly looking at what is the benefit for the consumer. How to make their lives easier.
The other important thing is productizing in a usable, thoughtful way and making it as turnkey as possible to implement it and get it up and running.
We are ready to support our members with development, show them samples and things that work. That helps a lot. Not just having a technology that works, but actual examples of a finished product.
We just want to facilitate, getting signals from one place to the other without messing it up, and help those companies bring those products to market and utilize it and make sure that it's all interoperable. That's the goal.

AX : Is high-resolution audio still an argument for wireless audio, and a key differentiator for WiSA?
TO: We transmit at 24/48 or 24/96, with all channels driven and with 5.2 or 2.6 ms depending on whether you are at 96 kHz or 48 kHz and with synchronization well within a sample. The point is, it's already so good, that I think we don't have to get extreme. It's my personal take on that.
It's not the key selling argument.
There are certain steps that you would think are fairly basic, but aren't still being taken in a lot of situations. Good quality 5.1 is still pretty awesome! Now, if you can add elevation speakers and a second subwoofer that's all great... With all the content coming in now that's multichannel, just getting a 24/48 or 24/96 program, with speakers behind you, maybe elevation, that's a phenomenal system.
But it's pretty rare still... and if we can help people realize how great that can be, we will be a lot better off.

"With the success of the new WiSA Ready platform, WiSA bandwidth continues to grow rapidly along with leading consumer electronics companies. The WiSA brand can thus become the new standard for wireless audio - a standard that stands for quality and trust," says Tony Ostrom.

AX : What is the role of Summit Wireless Technologies, the company, and WiSA as an association? How do the two interconnect?
TO: What Summit is doing on the silicon side, at a technical level, together with partners and lead users, on the development side, as well as the brands, is to bring those worlds together. It is all about aligning these different roadmaps. The tech roadmap with the product roadmaps.
And these are different companies.
It's the providers of the technology dealing with the guys that are actually productizing it and having conversations to make sure that everyone is walking down the right path, because, it's not a formal development cycle. We've got to know what's going on in 2021 and 2022, and those conversations are happening.
So that's important.
I always believe in having a tech roadmap, a product roadmap and kind of a line plan. The line plan is what's actually happening, and we are sure of it. The product roadmap is all the things we are working on. And the tech roadmap are the concepts that can maybe fall down into the product roadmap.
Aligning that when we are dealing with multiple different entities is complicated. But Summit is all over it. 
It's cool.  When I am in those calls and I see who they are working with, we can see it's a solid plan. But we present it in a unified front, with technology and brands. Everything is very well-thought-out. At the same time, WiSA as an association, makes sure that the solution is implemented in an interoperable way that allows all our members to easily contribute and be part of the category.

AX : Is WiSA going to expand into the mobile space as well?
TO: We believe in having as many different sources as possible. Anything that is bringing in content and has the ability to wirelessly distribute it. Same with VR. The solutions are out there, and we will see how it works. And gaming is getting bigger and bigger. Gaming is different from movie audio, which is multichannel and it gets produced one time. In a game, it's all based on user input... But the audio is still multichannel and it's phenomenal. It just needs to be rendered instantaneously based on user input. For all those applications you need to have a great playback system. And it needs to be easy to setup, reliable, and very high definition. I think those are huge opportunities .

Music Experiences
Exploring Qobuz High-Resolution Streaming
By  Luke McCready
Music streaming is now the mainstream music distribution method. European high-resolution music streaming company Qobuz expanded to the US in 2019 to challenge Tidal for the audiophile streaming market. Qobuz claims the largest hi-res catalog in the world, the most complete metadata, and the best editorial content. In this review for audioXpress, Luke McCready puts those claims to the test and offers input on Qobuz as a streaming service. This article was originally published in audioXpress, April 2019 .   Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice  Coil Test Bench
A New Beryllium Tweeter from BlieSMa
By Vance Dickason
I had the opportunity to characterize the T34B-4 34mm beryllium dome tweeter from BlieSMa, a German company founded in 2018 by Stas Malikov. BlieSMa's first tweeter offering, the T34A-4 34 mm aluminum / magnesium alloy dome, appeared in Voice Coil's June 2018 Test Bench. For this explication, I received the company's second offering, and it seems logical that this driver, the T34B-4, is a 34 mm beryllium dome tweeter.  Over the last 20 years, Malikov has worked at Ultrasound Technologies, at Morel as a QC manager and a transducer engineer, and at Accuton as a production engineer. Like the T34A, the T34B-4 high-end beryllium dome tweeter has an impressive feature set. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, March 2019 .   Check it out here!

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