Industry & Product News
Audio Industry Returns to New York for 147th International Audio Engineering Society Convention
Now solidly established as an annual tradition for the entire audio industry, and particularly for the professional audio sector, the International Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention returns to New York City, October 16-19, at the Javits Center. As in previous years, AES New York 2019 will be co-located with the independent NAB Show New York, open October 16-17 in an adjacent exhibition hall. AES New York registration includes access to both exhibition halls. 
Use this Code for FREE Exhibits-Plus registration: AES19AUDIOXPRESS    Register Now
Audio Collaborative 2019: Content & Technology Evolution Spurring Innovation
Promoted every year by market research firm Futuresource Consulting, Audio Collaborative is a premier must-attend event for consumer audio, pro audio, and entertainment industry professionals. The event returns to London, England for the sixth time, November 7, 2019, with a full day of invaluable insights, expert discussions and networking opportunities. There are more key industry executives attending, more high-profile companies sponsoring and getting involved, and the topics couldn't be more relevant. Plan ahead and freeze that day on your agenda .    Read More

The Focusrite Group Announces Acquisition of Studio Monitor Company ADAM Audio
British company, The Focusrite Group, which comprises Focusrite, Focusrite Pro, Novation and Ampify Music brands, announced the acquisition of studio monitor company, ADAM Audio GmbH of Berlin, Germany. The group of companies has recently defined a new growth strategy and adding speakers to their product mix was the first acquisition for The Focusrite Group since going public in 2014. "A clear demonstration of our careful consideration around which brands should join in the Group's mission to 'Remove Barriers to Creativity'," the company states .    Read More

HEAD acoustics To Present Leading-Edge ANC Testing and Development Solutions at AES Headphone Conference
HEAD acoustics will present its latest testing solutions for headphones and headsets at the upcoming AES International Conference on Headphone Technology in San Francisco, CA August 27-29. The company will demonstrate all that's needed for product development and evaluation, including speech and audio quality testing, active noise cancellation (ANC) performance evaluation, realistic background noise simulation, and a new measurement method for listening effort .    Read More

Wolfgang Fraissinet to Leave Georg Neumann GmbH
Wolfgang Fraissinet, the most recognizable face of Georg Neumann GmbH, and the company's Marketing and Finance President, will leave the studio specialist to pursue new career opportunities in the audio and music industry, Sennheiser announced. "We thank Wolfgang for his huge contribution to the success of Georg Neumann GmbH for almost three decades," said Peter Claussen, COO of Sennheiser .    Read More

Audinate Announces Commercial Availability of Dante AV Module and Dante AV Product Design Suite
Announced early in 2019, and already receiving extensive industry support, the all-new Dante AV module adds video capabilities to any Dante network, allowing unified control and tight synchronization of AV signals over standard IP networks. Now, Audinate has announced that the new Dante AV Module and the Dante AV Product Design Suite are commercially available for order by manufacturers. Patton Electronics, a US manufacturer and OEM/ODM supplier of networking and connectivity solutions for Pro-AV and Telephony, has announced that it will adopt the platform into a new generation of AV-Over-IP products.    Read More

Bobwire Audio Introduces Solution to Missing 12 V Trigger on Popular Music Streaming Devices
Bobwire Audio, a new company based out of San Francisco, CA, has introduced its first product, the DAT1 Digital Audio Trigger, which adds an industry-standard 12 VDC trigger output to any audio component with a digital audio optical (SPDIF) output. This allows devices such as the Sonos Connect, Amazon Echo Link, and many others that lack 12 V triggers, to turn on and off connected power amplifiers and other equipment. The device also provides an analog audio output and high-quality DAC .    Read More

Fraunhofer Institute Researcher Receives Grant to Improve Personalized Hearing Systems
Dr. Jan Rennies-Hochmuth has been awarded a grant from the "Klaus Tschira Boost Fund" for his research on personalized hearing systems for improved speech communication at the Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology Division (HSA) of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Oldenburg. Rennies-Hochmuth's research work aims to understand better how speech is perceived in complex listening conditions and above all how information is combined across both ears.    Read More

Pro Audio Technology Introduces New S and SR Series Home Theater Loudspeakers
Pro Audio Technology (PRO), the California-based supplier of high-output home theater loudspeakers and DSP loudspeaker controllers, announced two new series of loudspeakers consisting of three new models - S-12sm, SR-12ai, and SR-212ai. The new speakers were designed to reproduce the unrestricted dynamics and power of the commercial cinema experience but in a more compact form factor ideal for home theater environments. The S and SR Series all feature enhanced cosmetics and more discreet enclosures.    Read More

Guest Editorial

Healthy Vinyl Plant Growth
New pressing plants are sprouting up across the globe

Due to the growing market for records, the aging pressing plants around the world became increasingly unable to keep up with the mounting numbers of orders. Now, with demand for vinyl at a 25-year high and news that vinyl is on track to become a billion-dollar industry, we are seeing a new breed of pressing plants springing up, which is certainly great news for vinyl devotees. However, this also brings new challenges - not only to keep up with the orders flooding in but, also, to maintain the quality of the LPs.

The Vinyl Factory Record Pressing Plant in London

Many of us will remember the low point for vinyl LPs in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In an effort to cut costs, pressing plants started using increased amounts of recycled vinyl, which resulted in an increase in background noise. Furthermore, they made LPs so thin that they were nearly as flexible as the record sleeves in which they were stored. When the vinyl revival started just over 10 years ago, new record production focused on the audiophile market and factories began producing high quality 180 g pressings on virgin vinyl, thinking that it would be a niche market. However, as more and more people discovered the sonic benefits of a well-made LP, combined with the pleasures of a physical medium, the demand for records has continued to increase and shows no sign of dwindling again.

As a result of this increase in demand, we are seeing new pressing plants popping up everywhere. A former Dutch prison located in Leeuwarden in the north of Holland that was used during the Second World War, has had two new presses installed by a company called Deepgrooves. Eastern Canada's Prince Edward Island is the unlikely location of the new Kaneshii Vinyl Press.

Machang Music and Pictures has opened a new, two-machine, pressing plant in Seoul, South Korea. Third Man Records in the US has opened a long-planned vinyl pressing plant in Detroit. The Jamaican company Tuff Gong, located in Kingston and founded by Bob Marley in 1965, relaunched its vinyl manufacturing services in 2017, thanks to a new partnership with US company Sunpress Vinyl. This means that Jamaica has started pressing records again after years of inactivity. Last year, Sony Music restarted producing vinyl records in-house for the first time since ceasing its production in 1989.

A new vinyl factory opened last year in Ireland's capital. Appropriately named Dublin Vinyl, the plant is housed in 9,000 square foot former steelworks and focuses on pressing high-quality vinyl records, both in 180 g and 14 0g weights. In London, The Vinyl Factory Group that was established in 2001 now encompasses a record label, a record shop, a music magazine, and a vinyl pressing plant. The list goes on...

New Intakt Record Pressing Plant in Berlin, part of Optimal Media (Photo credit - Gerd Engelsmann)

All this seems fantastic news for "vinylholics," but the rapid rise in the number of new plants has uncovered some real challenges for the industry. For companies that are still using antiquated machinery to cater to the growing demand for vinyl, where do you go to find experienced engineers who understand the equipment's idiosyncrasies? For example, The Vinyl Factory uses the former EMI Records vinyl pressing equipment, but where do they go to find operators who know how to operate the 50-year-old EMI 1400 presses? On a more general front, pressing an LP requires highly skilled staff who understand the intricacies of getting the balance right between temperature, pressing pressure, and subsequent cooling of the finished record.

The problem doesn't stop with pressing LPs. Now, only a few months after equipping its Tokyo studio with a cutting lathe, Sony is struggling to find experienced mastering engineers who know how to cut master lacquers. Having chatted to the mastering engineer at AIR Studios in London on a number of occasions, and having seen him in action, I am well aware of many of the complexities of cutting a master LP. For example, if there is too much out of phase information between the left and right channels, the cutting head will attempt to cut a very deep groove, which could make the final record impossible to press and also damage the cutting stylus. To manage this, mastering engineers sometimes have to subtly blend the left and right signals together in order to make the cut less deep and more uniform. Although this blending effectively makes the signal mono below a certain frequency, this does not pose a problem for bass signals. At the other end of the audio spectrum, excessive high frequencies can result in cooking the cutting head. Add to this the obvious need to get the groove spacing correct and deal with the swarf that is produced while the record is being cut, it is not difficult to see why it can take many years to acquire the experience needed to do a good job. Apprenticeships are once again being offered, but are there enough experienced people around today to be able to train them?

Despite these challenges, I for one hope that the pressing plants will continue to focus on quality. Modern developments in vinyl, coupled with new production techniques, will hopefully support the year-on-year increase in vinyl sales - providing the industry doesn't take its eye off the quality ball .
Audio  Amplifiers
Why Smart Power Audio Amplifiers Are Becoming Important to Smartphones
By  Eric Eklund (Product Line Manager, Cirrus Logic)
There seems to be no end to the amount of content people are consuming over their smartphones, tablets, or other portable devices. As smartphone screens become larger and brighter and offer a better overall visual experience, consumers are experiencing that mobile content in new ways - not just via their headphones. It's not unusual to see friends gathered around a sideways-turned phone to share the viewing and listening experience while watching videos on the phone's external speakers. This trend toward stereo audio in smartphones, and other audio-playing devices, shows that audio amplifiers are playing a more important role in smartphone design. As a result, audio amplifiers are seeing a big jump in both unit volume and technology. This article was originally published in audioXpress, July 2019 .   Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Voice  Coil Spotlight
Microspeakers' Anatomy - How to Design Audio Systems with Very Small Drivers
By Mike Klasco and Steve Tatarunis
Audio sound quality optimization in a smartphone, mobile device, display, or laptop computer is the focus here. A key concept to understand is that there is an audio reproduction system in these products. The function of the sound system is clear, intelligible speech communications and aesthetically pleasing music. While these goals might seem modest, there are another half-dozen conflicting requirements that result in few mobile audio products actually succeeding in satisfying these goals. The goal of this article is not to teach how to design a good microspeaker, but rather to provide information on how to design a good mobile audio system, touching upon speaker design and speaker enclosure techniques. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, May 2010 .   Check it out here!

AX August 2019: Digital Login
Audio Product Design | DIY Audio Projects | Audio Electronics | Audio Show Reports | Interviews | And More 

Don't Have a Subscription?
VC July 2019: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More