Industry & Product News
Qualcomm Offers New Ultra-Low Power Bluetooth Audio SoCs for Truly Wireless ANC Development
With its previous generation of QCC SoCs for Bluetooth true wireless earbuds development, Qualcomm enabled virtually every single mobile and CE brand to finally create products able to compete with Apple's massively successful AirPods, still the market leader by a wide margin. Then Apple introduced its AirPods Pro with ANC and its market share expanded even more. Now Qualcomm launched a new generation of SoCs combining hybrid ANC and other technologies to enable brands to design new competitive TWS products .   Read More
Samsung Introduces Industry's First All-in-One Power ICs Optimized for Wireless Earbuds
Showing its importance to the CE industry as one of the world's largest advanced semiconductor manufacturers, Samsung Electronics announced the first all-in-one power management integrated circuits (PMIC), MUA01, and MUB01, optimized for True Wireless Stereo (TWS) devices. The new Samsung PMICs integrate multiple discrete components in one chip to make room for longer battery life and more efficient designs in today's true wireless earbuds and other very low power designs .    Read More  


CEVA Announces DSP and Voice Neural Networks Integration for Power-Efficient Edge Processors
CEVA announced that its CEVA-BX DSP cores and WhisPro speech recognition software now also support TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers, a production-ready, cross-platform framework for deploying tiny machine learning on power-efficient processors in edge devices. WhisPro is CEVA's speech recognition software for voice wake words and custom command models. TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers is a solution from Google for implementing machine learning at the edge, already optimized and available for CEVA-BX DSP cores .    Read More
 
Home Audio Products Achieve Highest Year-on-Year Growth Rate
Futuresource Consulting announced the availability of its latest Home Audio Tracking Report with smart speakers continuing to drive the market followed by home automation, immersive smart soundbars and smart displays. In the company's global Home Audio quarterly market analysis and commentary, Futuresource confirmed that smart speakers achieved a 53% growth since Q4 of 2018. Until now, heavily concentrated in English and Chinese speaker markets, smart speakers are starting to expand to other language markets .    Read More  


Atlantic Technology is Shipping New Patented Quad Driver Closed-Back Headphones
For more than 30 years, Atlantic Technology has delivered premium speakers for home theater and home audio. Now, the company has launched its third new headphone, part of a dramatic 30+ new product expansion revealed late in 2019 and rolling out in 2020. The new FS-HR280 is a premium headphone with sound quality and ergonomic design that rival more expensive products. Developed for music lovers seeking a major headphone upgrade, the FS-HR280 features a unique patented Quad-Driver system in a lightweight noise-isolating closed-back over-ear design .    Read More  

New Features and Updates from Klippel for Speaker Designers and Manufacturers
The specialists in electro-acoustical transducers and audio systems test equipment at Klippel GmbH continue to work hard on updating their range of products, recently expanded with the Klippel Controlled Sound Technology (KCS) and adding on the existing features for the Klippel Analyzer System. Here is a summary of the main things that the company implemented recently, including updates to its dB-Lab software and the QC Software Framework .    Read More  

    
Subwoofer Pros Release Ultra Compact Studio Sub 10 with Response Down to 16 Hz
TransAudio Group announced the new Subwoofer Pros Studio Sub 10, an ultra-compact 12" x 14" x 11.5" subwoofer with low distortion, an even frequency response, and an adjustable high-frequency cut-off to work seamlessly with any size near-field monitor. According to the Las Vegas, NV, company, the sealed and self-powered Studio Sub 10 produces high-fidelity bass reproduction down to 16 Hz, and it is small enough to place anywhere in the control room in singles or multiples for different output volume and/or room mode taming .    Read More


Studio Six Digital Announces 50% Discount on AudioTools and One-Third Reduction on Module Upgrades
For all the audio professionals who are confined to working from home or working on a limited basis, Studio Six Digital has announced that it is cutting the price of its AudioTools app in half, and reducing the in-app Full Module upgrades by one-third. To see the special pricing, which will depend on what users have already purchased, you just have to open AudioTools and go to the Support & Upgrades menu, AudioTools Store. Then click on the Check Upgrade Cost button .    Read More  

Editor's Desk
 
J. Martins
(Editor-in-Chief)


Dealing with COVID-19 (Part 2)
Working From Home, Pointless Statistics, and Unoriginal Thoughts
In these days of stay-at-home self-isolation - or mandated shelter in place as California has called it - we've been focusing on producing the best possible monthly magazines for our readers and updating the website daily with relevant news and content. It keeps our minds focused and our spirits higher. Not surprisingly, our website traffic is peaking.

I also have to thank the messages of appreciation for our recent The Audio Voice articles about cancelled trade shows and Dealing with COVID-19. Those came naturally from many concerned executives looking for a word of confidence and strategic guidance. You're welcome. Really glad it's useful.


For this week, I would like to share a few thoughts and notes, not necessarily audio related, but which I'm certain everyone can relate to - even if you have to find the audio industry connection for yourself.

Yes, Of Course Everyone's Worried
With the barrage of negative news that continues to pour in from everywhere, no wonder. Also, there's a lot of useless analysis and limited perspectives when trying to characterize this crisis. This is no one's fault. Some companies were really caught off guard by this, with lots of debt resulting from investments, which might look senseless today (today I was reading about Xerox' hostile takeover offer for HP...). Others have plenty of money on hand and will wait for the best moment to leverage "opportunities." 

A report from International Data Corp. (IDC) on the impact of COVID-19 on the semiconductor market says there is "an 80% chance for significant contraction in worldwide semiconductor revenues in 2020, instead of a previously expected minor overall growth of 2%. There is still a one-in-five chance that a fast, strong bounce back from COVID-19 in 2020 is possible." This is so pointless... As pointless as saying "carbon dioxide emissions have seen the biggest drop ever," or that "people are spending more time with their children." 

Juniper Research predicts that Coronavirus can cause "around a $42 billion revenue gap over the next 9 months" for verticals including smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, and wearables, as "delays to the delivery of components (e.g., batteries, processors, and displays) will each have the potential to disrupt production rates from device vendors." Direct consequences also include delaying new product launches and rethinking "just-in-time manufacturing" strategies. Yes, a lot will change in manufacturing after this, including strategic stock reserves. But these predictions apply to only a few.

"COVID-19 pandemic will force companies around the world to radically rethink how they operate and embrace technological investment." Or maybe they should do it every year? I say.

One possible angle was the recent announcement by Lenovo, which owns operations all over the world and recently "resumed operations at its Shenzhen manufacturing facility," and is "getting ready to supply the global market as needed." Lenovo cites "early planning and adequate preparation," stocking up "as many components as possible, including product packaging." Lenovo also cites "a global supply chain" as a strong unique advantage. Not having its suppliers all located in the same affected area is a sensible idea then?

Thinking about that from the manufacturing perspective, I can't resist quoting another Lenovo press release statement: "The resumption speed and safe production reflect the direction of Chinese manufacturing industry's transformation and upgrading in the future. 
"Lenovo wants to prove that Chinese manufacturers have the responsibility and capability to ensure China's normal economic operation and secure China's position as the world's factory, making contributions to the Chinese economy's rapid recovery and the world economy's stability." I'm starting to feel better now.

And speaking of Lenovo (it does all the IBM-branded PCs these days...), the moment countries received the "lockdown" mandates from governments, and in particular, since schools are shut down and children sent home, sales of PCs peaked immediately. Not tablets. Computers. (And I think again about HP for some reason...)

We're All in This Together
Of course, there's the more pressing human perspective. It's absolutely tragic how the creative, event, and entertainment professional communities were forced to stop activities, how the millions of independent professionals are forced to shelter at home and face the perspective of no income for weeks and maybe months. At the same time, company owners and managers struggle to keep up with business and maintain their valuable employees working from home with largely reduced or no revenue. Yes, these things might seem overwhelming. But just look around.

This is the same for everyone. Governments, corporations, institutions, and citizens. And more importantly, this is a temporary situation. Things are getting better in the countries first affected by coronavirus, while the situation is critical in countries trying to contain the pandemic, like most countries in Europe, and in the US. But, no matter if it will take 100 days or more, we will get through this (we've done it before).

And when we do, leave the macroeconomics to economists and politicians. The real challenge is going to be quickly getting back to our lives and businesses and recover the loss of revenue. The smartphone market dropped 8%, 30%, or 60%? Who cares? We will get back to buying smartphones once we're able to get out to watch a concert and be with friends. And if I really need to feel optimistic about the future, I certainly don't need to know that Video-on-Demand subscriptions have grown 200% since the coronavirus pandemic started.

We could show you a graphic of the coronavirus, but we've chosen to show this home audio system instead, courtesy of Cambridge Audio. Hope you have one of these while "working from home."

And to end with more unoriginal thoughts, this COVID-19 situation serves to show us all how precious and fragile are those things that we depend upon and took for granted. And even with meaningless borders closing again, how people all over the world are feeling more connected and interdependent than ever. There's a sense of vulnerability that I can only hope will contribute to a better future.

But until then, we'll need to survive somehow dealing with the pettiness of household management and WFH (is it just me, or that acronym was already being used before by teenagers with a totally different meaning?) Anyway, I promise next week I'll address more audio-related things... hopefully.  

Speakers: Parts is Parts
Tweeter History. Styles, Dome Tweeter Variations and a Balanced Drive Tweeter
By  Mike Klasco and Steve Tatarunis
 
For several years, Mike Klasco and Steve Tatarunis wrote a series of articles under the header Parts is Parts where they explored loudspeaker drivers, how they work, and all the different parts and components. In this specific article, the two audio industry experts provide an excellent introduction to high-frequency drivers, revisiting some key historical designs. This first of the article focusing on Tweeter History was originally published in audioXpress, January 2013 (and is available here https://audioxpress.com/article/speakers-parts-is-parts-tweeter-history-cones-and-domes). After discussing the cone tweeter, and introducing the common dome tweeter, the article explores dome tweeter variations and introduces the balanced drive tweeter .    Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Voice Coil  Test Bench
LaVoce DF10.172K 1" Compression Driver
By  Vance Dickason
 
In his first Test Bench of 2020, Vance Dickason welcomes a new company that, for the first time, submitted products for characterization. The DF10.172K is a new 1" compression driver from LaVoce, an Italian company founded in 2008 by Elettromedia, with its R&D center located in Potenza Picena, Italy, and manufacturing based in Jiashan, China (near Shanghai), its own purpose-built ISO 9001-certified production facility. LaVoce submitted the 1" DF10.172K compression driver combined with its own HD1003 cast aluminum 90°×40° exponential horn. Designed for use with 1" throat horns, the DF10.172K has a 25.4 mm (1") throat diameter driven by a 44.4 mm (1.75") diameter voice coil would with edgewound copper clad aluminum wire (CCAW) on a Kapton former, driving a single-piece polyimide diaphragm and vented polyimide surround. Other features include a FEA-optimized ferrite magnet motor structure, phase plug, and diaphragm, a continuous AES-rated power handling of 60 W with (120 W program material), a 1.6 kHz recommended crossover frequency (12 dB/octave second-order high-pass), and a 2.83 V/1 m 108.5 dB sensitivity measured on the horn. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, January 2020 .    Read the Full Article Now Available Here
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