Industry & Product News
Chirp and Linkplay Partner to Create Audio-Based Connectivity Solutions for Consumer Products
Combining the capabilities of embedded data-over-sound with Wi-Fi audio technology, Chirp and Linkplay Technology have delivered a software-defined connectivity solution that removes any device setup, pairing, or configuration requirements. Leveraging Chirp's ultrasonic audio protocol, smart-enabled devices integrated with Linkplay's Wi-Fi Audio modules enables seamless, secure network provisioning for consumer applications in close proximity, without the need for additional hardware .    Read More

Pascal Announces U-A1 Extension Modules for Studio Monitor Designs
Pascal announced availability of its latest U-A1 and U-A1D amplifier extension modules, which complement the company's solutions offering to include three-way studio monitor designs, augmenting its U-PRO series modules to provide an additional high-frequency channel power option. The U-A1 and U-A1D are single-channel amplifier modules without Switch Mode Power Supplies, directly interfacing with U-PRO series modules (from which they draw mains power) to offer three-channel amplification configurations .    Read More

Soundcore Unveils True Wireless Earbuds with New Coaxial Driver Design
Soundcore, Anker Innovations' premium audio brand, recently announced the Liberty 2 Pro, the flagship model in its next-generation Liberty true wireless lineup, which includes five other products targeting different usage profiles. The Liberty 2 Pro earbuds will appeal directly to users looking for the best possible audio quality, and are based on a first-of-its-kind coaxial driver design, where Soundcore's engineers successfully marry a custom-tuned balanced armature (BA) driver from Knowles with an oversized 11 mm dome dynamic driver .    Read More

From 1975 to a New Benchmark with the Luxman CL-1000 Tube Control Amplifier
Luxman's new flagship control amplifier, the CL-1000 is the spiritual heir to the legendary C-1000, launched in 1975. Yet even as it salutes the past, the new preamp looks forward with an all-new LECUTA volume control system, a nanocrystal core transformer, Luxman's proprietary oil-impregnated capacitors and more. "The CL-1000 represents everything Luxman knows about vacuum tube audio," says Jeff Sigmund, president of Luxman America. "It's not just our newest preamp, it's our new benchmark." .    Read More

WiSA Announces Commercial Launch of Klipsch's WiSA-Certified Reference Wireless Speaker Line
The Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA), comprised of more than 60 leading consumer electronics brands and founded by Summit Wireless Technologies, announced the commercial launch of the WiSA-Certified Klipsch Reference Wireless speaker series. This exciting new line of Klipsch speakers has already received multiple industry awards since its presentation at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and is finally available for purchase, working seamlessly with any WiSA-Ready products, including LG's OLED and NanoCell 4K and 8K TVs .    Read More

Audio Precision Introduces APx500 Flex Audio Analyzer with Support for Third-Party ASIO Audio Interfaces
Audio Precision unveiled its new APx500 Flex audio analyzer, a completely new class of test and measurement solutions designed to support the use of APx audio measurement software with ASIO-capable third-party audio interfaces or soundcards. With the introduction of APx500 Flex, manufacturers can cost-effectively deploy the measurement capabilities, flexibility, and quality of APx software to their production lines at a much lower price.    Read More

QSC Expands Media Networking Control with Acquisition of Attero Tech
QSC announced the acquisition of Attero Tech, effective September 30, 2019. The combination of the two leading companies in audio and media networking and connectivity expands the rapidly growing portfolio of the Q-SYS audio, video and control (AV&C) Ecosystem with Attero Tech's highly innovative portfolio of networked AV endpoints and I/O peripherals, as well as boosting QSC's development capabilities with Attero Tech's Fort Wayne, IN-based engineering staff joining the multi-national QSC team .    Read More

TIDAL Now Available on the Roku Platform with High-Resolution Audio Support
TIDAL announced its launch on the Roku platform, including support for TIDAL HiFi tiers - which includes Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) recordings. Members of the music streaming service can enjoy a custom TIDAL interface while searching for videos, albums, playlists, and exclusive content to stream directly on their Roku devices. The service allows access to more than music streaming, with premiere access to high-profile original content including music videos, documentaries, concert live streams, and more.    Read More

Editor's Desk
  J. Martins

Marketing Refresh
Magazines and Trade Publications

Dedicated magazine and websites remain the most effective media in the audio manufacturer's marketing toolkit.

Throughout the last 30 years, I have covered many different markets, from electronics to broadcast, and in all those industries, companies large and small care about reaching out to their existing trade press.

In terms of marketing strategy for audio brands, it's very important to plan promotions in sync with the product cycle, particularly at the pre-launch and launch stages. And on that front, using all available Internet channels is an effective way of promoting a product, including having a great presentation on e-commerce websites. But it's very important to distinguish Internet communication channels from "media." In your promotion plan, everything starts with getting the word out by working with media outlets - the more dedicated to your core market the better.

Before the Internet, blogs, social media, YouTube influencers, and "fake media," there was magazines. Now, there are all these things... and there are magazines. Yes, magazines went online, some gave up printing completely, but nothing essentially changed. For an audio manufacturer that is serious about its activities and products and is working for the long run, magazines are still the front line to get the message out, and eventually receive credible references. 

A magazine is published by a bunch of well-intentioned and hopefully seriously committed people, in particular, when it is a trade publication, which requires reasonable knowledge of the addressed topic and segment served. But more important, a magazine is also a brand to which a manufacturer can associate positively - particularly with a trade magazine with a credible technical level. Not to be confused with academic or scientific journals, a trade publication can be directly involved in the marketing process, including helping to characterize a company and product in the most critical stages of the product cycle.

Unfortunately, among consumer audio manufacturers (including the high-end segments) there's a misconception about the market. Most of the consumer audio companies think they are playing the mass-market game - and they dream of reaching hundreds of millions of consumers or millions of homes, ignoring the fact that their budget would hardly be able to even reach the actual thousands that could potentially buy their product.

Yes, nothing can beat user-endorsements and word-of-mouth. That's why reviews on Amazon or a positive comment on a discussion forum could have immense value. The problem is, those channels work both ways and can become highly unpredictable.

The promotional strategy for any manufacturer, and particularly for audio companies, should always start with an evaluation of their typical client profile: influencers, early-adopters, majority... and so on. If we consider the product adoption process, trade publications are essential in first three steps: awareness, interest, and evaluation (Read more). A simple analysis of the audience profile, its quality versus quantity, and the ability to positively influence the maximum number of potential buyers, immediately places trade publications at the front line.

Trade publications offer the maximum ability to influence the highest number of potential users in a way that offers a degree of control. Magazine editors do not publish bad reviews because they have to select the ones that are useful and appealing for its audience, leaving out the bad stuff. There's a natural selection that occurs during that process. So trade magazines are also a great channel to test proof a new product or technology in the early stages, where damage control is still possible. Unless a manufacturer insists upon launching a bad product without caring about expert opinions (some do...), working with the trade press is a great way to obtain market feedback. 

From trade press onward, the "media" value dilutes exponentially. Meaning, the level of investment for companies will be twice for half the reach, at best, but more often, 10x the cost, for 1% of the useful reach of the core audience (the people who are going to buy the product).

Most audio manufacturers cannot advertise on major TV networks, not even a major newspaper, and so many times they just "burn the budget" on unrelated things like driving traffic to their websites from search engines, sending "review samples" to "YouTube influencers" or bloggers, and work social media channels, which are also becoming too expensive to be effective in pure organic outreach. In the process, they completely miss the main channel that could bring essential results: the trade press and an audience eager for their products .

Fresh From the Bench
Meet the PureAudioProject Trio15 Heil AMT Speakers
By  Oliver A. Masciarotte and Kent Peterson
In this speaker review, Oliver Masciarotte and Kent Peterson (of Warkwyn) listen, measure, and listen again to the PureAudioProject Trio15 Heil AMT speaker system. This is a fascinating modular system, in this case designed using an ESS 6" Air Motion Transformer (AMT) and two Eminence 15" drivers, specifically optimized for use in open-baffle applications. A meeting with Ze'ev Schlik, founder of PureAudioProject , enable us to learn more about his company and to experiment with the Trio15 Heil AMT speakers. That's the brand's unique concept. Proposing a modular open-baffle architecture, with a carefully designed chassis and select components from which all models are born. User choices cover drivers, baffles, cables, even crossovers parts; all easily interchangeable and upgradeable giving the user the freedom to explore multiple models, and sonic options. This article was originally published in audioXpress, September 2019 .   Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Voice  Coil Test Bench
Tang Band Speaker W8-2314 High-End Coaxial Driver
By Vance Dickason
This Test Bench characterizes the W8-2314, a new 8" high-end home audio coaxial driver from Tang Band (TB) Speaker. As Vance Dickason describes, this is "as unique a design as I have encountered in quite some time." The TB Speaker W8-2314 is built on an eight-spoke two-part ABS injection-molded frame that incorporates a separate injection-molded trim ring. Cooling for this driver is provided primarily via the completely open area below the spider (damper) mounting shelf. Incorporated into the frame is the underhung-type woofer motor that consists of a circular array of six neodymium slugs - an arrangement that makes room for the concentrically mounted 25 mm tweeter and tweeter rear cavity. The multi-neodymium magnet underhung motor drives a 44.43 mm diameter voice coil wound with round copper wire on a conducting aluminum former, glued to a moderately curvilinear bamboo fiber paper cone. The tweeter dome is a 25 mm aluminum/magnesium alloy inverted type suspended with a black NBR/CBR surround that has similar oval reliefs around its perimeter. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, July 2019 .   Check it out here!

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