Industry & Product News
Amazon Introduces New 2019 Echo Devices Including the Company's First True Wireless Earbuds
During a special event promoted to announce a new generation of Amazon Alexa products, technologies and solutions, Amazon introduced an all-new line-up of Echo devices to expand its Alexa voice assistant ecosystem in the home and now also on-the-go. The all-new Echo Buds, using ANC technology licensed from Bose, join the Echo Auto as another option to take Alexa outside the home. The new Echo speakers also include the Echo Studio, engineered in collaboration with Dolby and supporting HRA and immersive audio reproduction .    Read More

Dirac and RHA Announce Commitment to Explore Next-Generation of Headphone Sound
Sound processing pioneer Dirac announced a commercial agreement with RHA to explore the integration of Dirac's latest audio algorithms into the British manufacturer's headphones. According to the Swedish company, "the collaboration with RHA marks an important step for Dirac as it establishes itself as a global leader in digital sound optimization solutions for the headphone market - as it has for the luxury automotive, home theater, and mobile markets." RHA says this relationship with Dirac reinforces the company's mission to deliver the best possible audio quality .    Read More

Marantz Introduces New High-Performance Integrated Two-Channel Amplifier with Wireless Streaming Capabilities
It seems the audio industry is once again pushing two-channel high-quality components, hoping to appeal to the growing market of consumers who are rediscovering vinyl, while simultaneously enjoying wireless streaming and access to Digital Music Libraries. Being one of the leading hi-fi brands in the world, Marantz announced the PM7000N, the company's first fully discrete integrated hi-hi amplifier with HEOS wireless music streaming capabilities .    Read More

Spectral Measurement Adds Loudspeaker Test Chambers to Its Product Portfolio
Spectral Measurement (formerly the Test & Measurement division of Prism Sound) has signed a licensing deal with UK-based Hill Acoustics enabling it to manufacturer and sell the company's Loudspeaker Test Chambers. Hill Acoustics' LTC range includes a selection of Tetrahedral Test Chambers (TTCs) as well as other geometries that provide test and measurement solutions for loudspeaker cabinets, providing an effective, low-cost solution that removes the need for large anechoic chambers .    Read More

Orchard Audio Launches Kickstarter Campaign for BOSC Monoblock GaN Audio Amplifier  
There is a very interesting new audio project being promoted on Kickstarter. Coming from Orchard Audio, the BOSC is a well-engineered hi-fi monoblock audio amplifier that explores the latest gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor technology to achieve ultra-high performance in a small package. This compact and affordable 150 W amplifier shows a lot of potential, with an impressive circuit design and high-quality sound, and is available in 3 ohm to 4 ohm (13.8 dB gain) or 6 ohm to 8 ohm (16.8 dB gain) versions .    Read More

Headphone Shipments to Reach Record 365 Million Units in 2019
The retail headphone market continues to show strength, with 365 million units shipped in 2019, according to SAR Insight & Consulting's Latest Headphone and Headset Forecast DATAbase. Wireless headphones and in particular true wireless stereo (TWS) models continue to be the fastest growing categories, with shipments of gaming headphones doubling from a year ago. Consequences for the electronics component industry are also visible, such as the growth in the sales of MEMS microphones .    Read More

Bowers & Wilkins Introduces 2019 Line of Wireless Headphones with Cutting-Edge Specifications
With consumers increasingly aware of active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, more robust Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and fast charging via USB-C, manufacturers are feeling the need to upgrade their existing models. And Bowers & Wilkins decided to do it all at once with two new in-ear, one over-ear, and one on-ear model, adopting the latest available platform and technologies from Qualcomm, including the latest aptX Adaptive Bluetooth transmission .    Read More

B&C Speakers Expands High-Energy DS Subwoofer Family
B&C Speakers has expanded its DS Series of high motor strength subwoofers to include 4" coil motor options. The DS Series are the next evolution in professional subwoofers, using a new, longer, four-layer aluminum voice coil. The result is more energy in the gap, higher sensitivity, lower distortion, and better overall performance. The two new models, 15DS100 and 18DS100, are now available .    Read More

Guest Editorial
Nora Wong 
and Mike Klasco
(Menlo Scientific)

Hong Kong Electronics Shows?
Better Get Out Your Helmets!

Hong Kong is a magical shining star of democracy, sophistication, and an engine for wealth generation and the doorway to trade with China. Whether you are in New York City, Dubai, Tel Aviv, or Rome, Cathay Pacific's non-stops to Hong Kong are the more civilized and safest route to Asia. Hong Kong is what most of us hoped China would eventually mature into. 

Mike, who prefers the Korean food in Hong Kong's Korea town in Kowloon to Seoul, is experiencing the déjà vu of South Korea 30 years ago. Back in the 1980s, South Korea was ruled by an oppressive dictatorship that had the sense and timing to evolve into a real democracy before it all hit the fan. As in China today, South Korea had amassed a highly sophisticated and all too well-educated population. Seoul has the highest density of PhDs in the world, hard for a government to fool this kind of this population for long!

Back to the future - every October we make a choice between attending the Hong Kong electronics shows and the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention in New York City. Both inconveniently overlap making it impossible to attend both events. Hong Kong kicks off its marathon of 10 days of fall shows with the Global Sources Consumer Electronics show October 11-14 at the airport AsiaWorld-Expo with more than 600 booths in The Audio Products Hall alone. That's followed by the HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition) and the 23rd electronicAsia, which will be held concurrently on the island at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from October 13-16, extending to The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show 2019, October 18-20 at the Nansha Grand Hotel in nearby Guangzhou, China, and finishing off with the Mobile Electronics show October 18-21 back at the airport.

The Loudspeaker Sourcing Show, always scheduled to coincide with the Fall Hong Kong shows won't be directly affected by the protests but surely by the lack of attendees dropping by from Hong Kong.

Meanwhile the 800 lb. gorilla in Hong Kong is the city's last 16 weeks of violent protests, with the start of the Hong Kong shows only two weeks away. Hong Kong (really Beijing) does not have an easy path out of this - additional concessions to the protesters will send a message not just to the locals, but also to Macau, Mongolia, and the Muslims in the west. A hard line response with the potential for another Tiananmen Square event taking place - but this time in Hong Kong - cannot be obscured and would be disastrous - foreshadowing what the future holds for considering becoming a Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR). Truly a chilling but already all too clear message for Taiwanese.

Booking a hotel room during the Hong Kong shows is usually arduous and expensive. Not since the SARS epidemic 15 years ago has the town been so empty, cheap... and dangerous. As I write this in late September, rooms are plentiful and on sale at half the usual price even during the show season.
Trade magazines should not be political, but anyone with access to the news has seen enough videos of the protesters and police on the streets, trains, and at the airport, to know when not to join the fray. Back in 2014, we were at the Hong Kong shows during the last round of protests, but these were stationary and far less intense than the present situation.

Recently, in August, many exhibitors and attendees from the Advanced Audiovisual Exhibition found themselves struggling to fly out of the Hong Kong airport for a couple of miserable days. Shortly afterward, even the roads to the airport were blocked. Last night on the news I watched the protesters setting the streets on fire while getting tear gassed, and gangs of police beating passengers on the trains. Bad enough, but then there are the black shirt (triad) gangs attacking protesters on the trains not to mention the irony of the "People's Liberation Army" military tanks lining up on the border in Shenzhen, China ready to bring its brand of freedom to the Hong Kong population.

Of course if you do show up, you are assured of getting a lot of attention from exhibitors and getting quickly seated at the usually hard to book restaurants. But staying out of the action may not be easy as the protests move around and the convention centers are obvious targets as providing the media attention desired by the protesters. The thought of coming back from the convention center on the airport express and getting your head split open by rampaging police or warring gangs is "out of range" for my travel plans.

The next two weeks leading up to the shows will be pivotal as to what to expect. Today's news carried the rumor of protesters killed and that will surely be the catalyst to all-out mayhem.  With Hong Kong's tenuous position as the gateway to China and considering the recent tariff war, we all may be in for a bit of change in our travel plans .

You Can DIY!
Swans Speakers DIY Kits. Everything You Need Is Inside the Box!
By  Ken Bird
For this review, Ken Bird details his experience in building a set of speakers from the new Swans Speakers Kits catalog. This speaker-builder enthusiast and regular audioXpress DIY contributor assembled and reviewed one of the latest speaker kits in the market. The Swans Speakers DIY Kits are part of a new catalog created by HiVi Acoustics and Swan Speakers (HiVi's consumer brand), and so far include two kits: a two-way bookshelf design, the DIY 2.2A, and the slightly larger three-way design, the DIY 3.1A, the model sent to audioXpress. Both models incorporate HiVi drivers. This article was originally published in audioXpress, August 2019 .   Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Voice  Coil Test Bench
Faital Pro 6RS140 Midwoofer/Midrange
By Vance Dickason
This Test Bench article examines a new pro sound woofer from Faital Pro. The Faital Pro 6" 6RS140 pro sound woofer has a power handling rating of 200 W (AES) and targets applications as a midbass or midrange in three-way stage or studio monitors, as well as midrange arrays in large PA systems. The frame is a proprietary four-spoke cast-aluminum frame, and like many small diameter drivers, it does not have a venting below the spider mounting area. Cooling for this driver is provided by a 20 mm diameter pole vent with a 22 mm flared exit. It features a curvilinear paper cone with a pressed and treated polycotton half-roll surround, and a 4" diameter flat black cloth spider with constant height waves. The motor design on the Faital Pro 6RS140 utilizes a FEA-designed neodymium ring magnet fitted with an aluminum shorting ring, using a 44 mm (1.73") diameter voice coil wound with round aluminum wire on a nonconducting glass fiber former. The neodymium ring magnet is sandwiched between a milled and polished front plate and a cast shaped T-yoke with a 15 mm bump-out. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, July 2019 .   Check it out here!

AX October 2019: Digital Login
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VC October 2019: Digital Login
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