Industry & Product News
Leader Electronics Acquires British Test and Measurement Company PHABRIX
Leader Electronics Corp., a manufacturer of high-end test and measurement solutions established in Japan since 1954, announced it has acquired PHABRIX, Ltd., a manufacturer of video and audio broadcast test and measurement instruments. PHABRIX has established itself as a leading manufacturer of innovative, cost effective, test and measurement instruments since it was formed in 2005. The UK-based company gain recognition with its range of solutions supporting advanced UHD video standards and hybrid IP/SDI environments .    Read More

Peavey Electronics Announces Auction on Inventory & Assets No Longer Needed For Ongoing Operations
Announced by CA Global Partners and scheduled for August 7, 2019, Peavey Electronics is clearing up a massive inventory of more than $12 million USD of new and used equipment, together with all sorts of manufacturing parts for professional audio and musical instruments products, as well as machinery and large quantities of raw materials. The auction, as Peavey explains, is the result of the company's closing and consolidation of manufacturing locations in the United States .    Read More

Rupert Neve Designs Introduces Fidelice Line of High-Fidelity Products
Shown for the first time during the 2019 CanJam London Show (July 27-28), Rupert Neve Designs introduced Fidelice, a new product range for the high-fidelity audio market. The initial Fidelice product lineup includes the Precision Headphone Amplifier, Precision Phono Pre-Amplifier, and the Precision Digital-to-Analog Converter. The Fidelice range was designed specifically as a response to the attention generated in the high-end segment by products such as the RNHP Precision Headphone Amplifier .    Read More

Dayton Audio Announces New Indoor/Outdoor Speaker Models
The new Dayton Audio IO65XT 6-1/2" IP65 speakers, together with the new IOSUB 10" IP66 subwoofer are a perfect proposition for increasing audio fidelity outdoors in both commercial and residential installs. The IO65XT weather-resistant speakers are available in black or white finishes, with both 70/100 V taps and 8-ohm bypass, adding a passive radiator to extend the low-end response. When more bass response is needed, the new IOSUB2 10" high excursion subwoofer with exclusive acoustic tuning will extend the response even more .    Read More

Silicon Labs Enhances Popular Si479xx Automotive Tuner Family with Software-Defined Radio Technology  
Silicon Labs, a leading provider of automotive radio solutions, has introduced new hybrid software-defined radio (SDR) tuners, expanding its portfolio to meet the growing need of automotive radio manufacturers to support all global digital radio standards with a common platform. In addition to introducing new DRM-capable tuners, Silicon Labs is enhancing its Si4790x/1x/5x/6x automotive tuners with unique "SDR-friendly" technology, effectively transforming these devices into hybrid SDR tuners.    Read More

Audioburst Launches Real-Time Talk-Audio App for Android Auto Platform
Audioburst Auto is an app created for the Android Auto platform, designed to provide expertly curated playlists, a personalized news feed, and search capabilities to drivers. Having until now promoted the platform and API for developers, Audioburst Auto is the company's first consumer-oriented product. All features are built using Audioburst's own short-format approach and are completely accessible via voice commands .    Read More

IsoAcoustics Introduces DELOS Series of Isolation Wood Blocks for Turntables and Hi-Fi Components
IsoAcoustics is recognized worldwide for its speaker isolation solutions both for professional studio and high-end applications. In the high-end space, the company was repeatedly asked to provide a solution for turntables, which they did with the OREA Isolator series. Now, IsoAcoustics has expanded the approach with a complete platform solution. The new DELOS series of solid-wood isolation platforms, was designed specifically to isolate turntables and audio components from any interference caused by external vibrations and resonances .    Read More

Vesper Announces New VM3000 Digital Piezoelectric MEMS Microphone Optimized for Smart Speakers
Vesper launched its newest, high performance, low power digital piezoelectric MEMS microphone for smart speakers: the VM3000. According to the Boston, MA-based company, this new MEMS microphone is also the most robust and reliable for consumer products. Enabling widespread use of piezo microphones in applications such as smart speakers, headsets, hearables, TV remote controls, smart home appliances, and smartphones (just to name a few), the VM3000 extends Vesper's portfolio in consumer electronics .    Read More

Editor's Desk
J. Martins

Gibson Cleans Up Its Act
Making Good on a Troubled Past

I guess you have seen already DHL's brilliant 50th Anniversary Celebration TV ad where Bryan Adams orders a Gibson guitar from Nashville, TN and the guitar is delivered in London the next day, just before he enters on stage? If you didn't it, click here to see it!

This is just another of those brilliant examples of synergistic-marketing, created by advertising agency 180 Kingsday and director Scott Lyon. The message is clear throughout - DHL celebrates 50 years. It delivers your package the next day. But also, Gibson - another great American company - is back in business in Nashville.

DHL celebrates its 50th Anniversary and produces a brilliant TV spot involving a storyline with Bryan Adams singing "Summer of '69" and playing a custom Gibson.

This is the more impressive component, since it would be very hard for Gibson Brands, a company still struggling with a messy bankruptcy, to devise a similar global advertising campaign. But the DHL ad does just that for the iconic American guitar brand: Gibson is Back in Business!

The recent return of Gibson is one of those great case-studies for any marketing professional and a story that I am certain will be taught for years in marketing schools. How to "Clean Up Your Act" and restore the value of a brand that has been on a slow-burning destructive process for decades.

Gibson is a legendary company, an American icon, and possibly one of the world's most valuable brands. I mean, it is hard to accept that someone could possible break a valuable business and a valuable brand like Gibson. But that is exactly what Henry Juszkiewicz and Co. have done over the years, with their foolish plan of global expansion, blindly buying and burning valuable brands in the musical instrument and pro audio markets. In particular over the last five years, while trying to foolishly expand into consumer electronics, and starting to sell off their own core assets in order to acquire other businesses in the home audio space...

But Juszkiewicz's problems started much earlier. Apparently because he never understood how, over the years, he was simply making enemies in his own core market: musicians. For me, as a bass player, it all started when I learned Gibson had acquired and buried legendary bass brands like Steinberger and Tobias. For friends of mine, it was the closing of legendary software house Opcode Systems, founded by Dave Oppenheim, and the fact that they never cared for the Oberheim brand, founded by Tom Oberheim, that they acquired in 1988, and so on... Or even the more recent example of the disastrous handling of Cakewalk. It's true that many times Gibson actually acquired companies that were already about to close and were looking for a way out of bankruptcy. Maybe the story is much more complicated, but the fact is, over the last few decades, musicians have learned to associate the name "Gibson" with aggressive acquisitions, and the destruction of companies.

It was like they couldn't do anything right, even when they had apparently good ideas, like with the Gibson's Les Paul Reference Monitors.

More important, in recent years, it was as though they didn't even care for their own foundational market: the guitars. I still remember, back in the 90s, when I was the editor of a musical instruments magazine and we had to interview a new guitar player we knew little about, our opening line for loosening them up was: "Strat or Les Paul"? That's it. The world of guitars, with hundreds of brands, is boiled down to Fender and Gibson and all their respective famous models, particularly those Made in USA.

As a result of the bankruptcy process, Gibson Brands - the guitar business plus the remaining pro audio brands (for now) - is under a new management that seems to understand everything that was wrong with their business and they seem determined to save it and restore its legacy. That was visible from Gibson's attendance at the 2019 Winter NAMM Show and again at the recent Summer NAMM, where they had a larger Gibson exhibit space just showing guitars, with a stage for musicians to play and tables where the company's expert luthiers would explain everything about guitar building and care. Brilliant! 

And meanwhile the campaign to restore the company's values continued with a series of refreshing new guitar model announcements, new artist endorsements, new updated signature models, repeated appearances at music shows, and much more. All artfully planned and executed, not forgetting to spread the message. 

In a recent press release, titled "Gibson Pivots From Confrontation To Collaboration," James 'JC' Curleigh, the new President and CEO of Gibson said: "While new management is building on the legacy, quality, and craftsmanship that guitarists have come to love and expect from Gibson, they will also continue to manage and attempt to resolve the conflicts of the past." This included settling long disputes with other companies, while also being more aggressive in going after counterfeit and 'knock-off' guitars, and suing companies infringing on its trademarks. "It is time to make the modern-day shift from confrontation towards collaboration, whilst still protecting our brands, and we are committed to making this happen starting now," Curleigh stated.

An immediate example of that new "collaboration" attitude was the announcement of the transfer of the Oberheim brand and intellectual property back to its original owner and company founder, synthesizer pioneer Tom Oberheim. "Of the many stories I have heard and decisions I have made since joining Gibson, this situation seemed simple," says Curleigh. "Let's do the right thing by putting the Oberheim brand back in the hands of its namesake founder Tom Oberheim."

With a clear focus on quality, new refreshed guitars and a more confident dealer and artist base, the new team at Gibson are proving they can listen to the market.

This positive attitude was also reflected at the recent 2019 Summer NAMM show, in the company's own home town of Nashville, where Gibson had a massive presence, showcased exciting new collections, hosted parties, launched boutique builder collaborations, and announced new artist programs for musicians worldwide. Curleigh also introduced the new Gibson Foundation, Gibson Alliance and Gibson Generation Group artist programs.

At the massive Gibson exhibit, there were not only products from Gibson and Epiphone, but also new instruments from "neglected brands" (their words) Kramer, Steinberger. And Gibson also confirmed their intentions for their new global headquarters to be located at Cummins Station, a historic property in the heart of downtown Nashville, and a new investment in both the Gibson USA and Gibson Custom Shop factories located in Nashville. "For the past 30 years, Gibson's headquarters has been located on the outskirts of Nashville proper. Gibson plans to expand into their new HQ by the end of 2019 and states it will be home to 100+ employees," the company announced."

The company is not off the hook as yet. Far from it.
After all, the same fundamental problems in the guitar business still remain, where musicians continue to value more any 1970s models of Gibson Made in USA guitars, and the large majority of its potential new clients continue to be confronted with much cheaper alternatives Made In Asia. And Gibson still needs to decide what to do with many of the brands it owns - some of them also valuable, while others not so much.

With newly released 2019 Gibson Original, Modern, and Custom Shop Collections, Gibson introduces new and exciting Les Paul, SG, Firebird, Flying V and Explorer models...

For any marketing professional this is one of the greatest challenges imaginable - but also possibly a marketing professional's dream job! After all, much like vinyl is back, anything that has to do with music remains a strong emotional connection with consumers, and that is precisely one of the most valuable assets for any brand. Gibson could easily create a valuable business by restoring the brand and exploring licensing deals in fashion and lifestyle product categories - Gibson apparel anyone?

And there's so much that Gibson can do in audio in today's market, focusing on its own brand. That was possibly one of Juszkiewicz's greatest mistakes. Not understanding that there's nothing that Gibson needs from Onkyo, TEAC, or maybe even KRK and Cerwin Vega! There's a lesson in the way the famous guitar amp brand Marshall was marketed in headphones and Bluetooth speakers. Nothing is impossible when a brand is cherished. But first, there's a lot of work ahead.

R&D Storie s
AoIP Delivers on Flexibility, Is Controllability Next?
By  Matt Hardy (DeusO GmbH)
audioXpress always looks at the future, and strives to highlight the research and development efforts in all important areas to the audio industry. In this R&D Stories article, Matt Hardy (Business Development Manager, DeusO GmbH) looks at the evolution of Audio Control Interfaces. Looking beyond the transportation of audio over IP, the article discusses why the ability to retain controllability over IP connected devices remains a frontier for discussion. The article considers approaches to matching the flexibility of an AoIP network structure with new technologies and standards for control and monitoring user interfaces. This article was originally published in audioXpress, July 2019 .   Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Voice  Coil Focus
Loudspeaker Enclosure Materials (Part 2)
New and Improved Enclosure Materials
By Mike Klasco (Menlo Scientific, Ltd.)
In this article for Voice Coil, Mike Klasco (Menlo Scientific, Ltd.) reviews and looks ahead at all the materials and design approaches for loudspeaker enclosures. In the first part of this article (Voice Coil March 2019), the author discussed the contribution of the enclosure on perceived overall product quality as well as sonic clarity. Noise reduction and damping, characterized as noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) is a core consideration in automotive, aircraft, and appliance design as well as selection of materials. Rattles and buzzes are not just distracting but quietly operating moving parts tend to have less wear and tear. This second part of the article looks closely at material testing, evaluation and manufacturability, and other more recent approaches to enclosure materials, including Thermosets and Thermoplastics, Bulk-Molded and Sheet-Molded Thermosets. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, May 2019 .   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 August 2019: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More