Industry & Product News
IK Multimedia Launches ARC System 3 Acoustic Correction System
IK Multimedia announced ARC System 3, the third generation of its innovative acoustic correction system that corrects poor room acoustics, improving the audio monitoring accuracy of studios. The solution, which combines an ultra-accurate measurement microphone, room analysis software, and a correction plug-in, is a simple-to-use package that delivers professional results. The third generation offers an all-new 3D room analysis algorithm, easier setup, and superior results, plus compatibility with more measurement microphones .   Read More
CMA Audio Acquires Lake People and Plans Future Catalog Expansion
CMA Audio acquired audio manufacturer Lake People Electronic. For 2020, CMA Audio plans to invest in the extension of research and development in the company's headquarters in Constance, in the South of Germany, to overhaul the entire product catalog, which includes Lake People, Violectric, and Niimbus brands, and to establish a new cable manufacturing operation in cooperation with Japanese manufacturer Mogami. Target markets continue to be professional audio, hi-fi, and high-end audio enthusiasts .    Read More  

Audeze Announces Update 1.3.1 for Reveal+ Plugin
Audeze, the high-end audio headphone manufacturer from California, together with Embody, a company focused on personalized spatial audio technology and HRTF profiles, has launched new features to the Audeze Reveal+ spatial audio plug-in. Based on feedback from users over the past few months, the Audeze Reveal+ has been updated (version 1.3.1) to provide an improved reference target response when mixing and mastering with Audeze headphones, in virtually any location .    Read More
HEAD acoustics Promotes Webinar on Audio Conferencing Solutions and Voice Quality
"How to Optimize Audio Conferencing Solutions to Improve Communication Quality" is the topic of the next three webinars promoted by HEAD acoustics, one of the world's leading companies for integrated acoustics solutions as well as sound and vibration analysis. The webinar will discuss factors determining communication quality and how to deal with associated artifacts such as interrupted and distorted voice, delay, echo, and howling effects, especially in multi-party conferences .    Read More  

COVID-19 Drives Opportunities for Office Hearables in the Workplace
As part of its COVID-19 Tech Briefing Series, Futuresource Consulting shared interesting insights on how the major shift in behavior caused by the pandemic could drive opportunities for hearables in the work place. At a moment when worldwide, end-users are working from home and using remote communication more than ever before, key brands have reported a significant surge in sales from businesses equipping their workforces during lockdown, and many anticipate significant changes in communication culture .    Read More  

Mayht New Speaker Driver Technology Attracts Multi-Million Investment
Mayht, a technology company from the Netherlands, has developed a highly compact, powerful speaker driver technology, and raised a multi-million Euro follow-on investment from Venture Capital. Mayht is determined to bring to market a new and smaller form factor, targeting high volume consumer applications such as Bluetooth speakers and soundbars. In previous investment rounds, Mayht also received funding from UNIIQ and Delft Enterprises .    Read More  

Discover the York High-Fidelity Phono Preamp by Six Acoustic on Kickstarter
It must be difficult to have a product ready, a Kickstarter campaign planned, and then be faced with a global shutdown. That is what happened with Canadian company, Six Acoustic, who recently launched the York, an "ultra" high-fidelity phono preamplifier targeting new generations of vinyl enthusiasts looking for an extra level of audio performance that doesn't cost a fortune. And what is "ultra" high fidelity you might ask? According to Steve Meszlenyi, the company founder, it's a level of transparency where noise and distortion are "undetectable to the human ear and nearly impossible to measure with the most sophisticated instrumentation."    Read More

Dirac Closes $6 Million Financing Round to Boost New Consumer Digital Audio Processing Solution for Headphones and Smartphones
Swedish sound pioneer Dirac strengthened its position as a leading one-stop source for digital audio signal processing solutions with the announcement that it has completed a new $6 million (60 MSEK) round of financing. Jonathan Forster, former Spotify executive and current angel investor, joins Dirac's Board of Directors to help catalyze the company's expansion into the streaming market and the launch of the company's first consumer-facing product .    Read More  

Guest Editorial
Stuart Yaniger

Fun Things About Contributing to audioXpress
Jan and Stuart's Most Excellent Adventure
One of the fun things about contributing to audioXpress is the people I get to work with. audioXpress' Technical Editor Jan Didden and I have been close friends for more than 15 years, and we started a yearly ritual where Jan would come visit wherever I was living and spend a couple of weeks. That took him to Austin, TX, Lake County, IL, and most recently the suburbs of Phoenix, AZ. This year, we did it a bit differently - we set up a room for him, moved the lab into a bigger space (my saintly wife gave up the master bedroom to us for electronics and music), and Jan and I spent two months in there playing uber geeks. I now know much more about low distortion fixed-frequency oscillators, notch filters, and SMD board geometry than I ever did before - stay tuned for a microphone preamp project we worked out.

J an Didden, Stuart Yaniger and Mike Steffes discussing common mode voltages on transducer interfaces.

Before the lockdown hit here, we took a day trip down to Tucson, about two hours south of my home. Our first stop was at the former Burr-Brown headquarters, now part of Texas Instruments (TI), where we met up with John Caldwell, the surprisingly young and affable General Manager of TI's audio amplifiers business unit. John took us on an interesting tour through the facility, where both fabrication and packaging technologies are developed for the precision audio products. The large test and measurement clean room was stuffed with test equipment, environmental chambers, and small-scale packaging equipment, with at least a dozen engineers working heads-down into validating new products and verifying existing ones. They are very big on really pushing the testing to all corners of the specs, especially how the electrical parameters and reliability vary with different temperature cycling conditions.

Of course, one would expect top-of-the-line equipment in the applications labs, and that's what we found. Although most of the gear was highly specialized, there was some very familiar equipment from companies like Audio Precision.

Jan had recently been doing some work with the OPA1656 low-noise low-distortion audio op-amp. The novel aspect of this device is the CMOS input stage, which results in extremely low bias current and current noise. This is not at the expense of linearity, which at unity gain is in the area of 0.00003%, and that's with a 600 ohm load. The voltage noise density is specified at 2.7nV/√Hz, but the 1/f noise corner is a bit high in frequency (around 1 to 2 kHz). It also features a sturdy output current capability - this is a chip that's gaining wide popularity, and John has offered tech support and design guidance widely to hobbyists and professionals alike. 

John and the application guys were very enthusiastic about the relatively new OPA1637 fully differential amplifier, that is, differential in and differential out. Voltage noise density is extremely low (3. 7nV/√Hz with a 10Hz 1/f corner), with current noise and input bias current likewise being low enough for most audio sources (350fA/√Hz at midband). Common mode rejection is 120 dB with a common mode voltage range to 0.5 V of each rail. Development boards are available, and I'm thinking of several uses in my lab and recording setups.

Following a nice Vietnamese lunch, John gave Jan and me 50,000 each of the OPA1656 as a souvenir of a pleasant and informative day. That was a delightful gift, but unfortunately the usability of those particular samples was a bit low...

Believe it or not, this is a wafer with 50,000 OPA1656 op-amps.

After our visit to TI, Jan and I took a non-audio break and toured the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base aircraft boneyard, the largest aircraft boneyard in the world. It's attached to the Pima Air & Space Museum. If you have even the slightest aeronautics geek in you, it is a tour you absolutely must take (I'm a former private pilot and Jan is retired from the Dutch Air Force, so we qualify). Visiting requires an advance reservation and a security check, but there was no problem getting a non-US citizen through the process.  

The sheer scale of this place is more than you can imagine, and in fact, the satellite view was the only way we could see how little of it we had actually driven by compared to the entire facility. It's chock full of historic aircraft, mostly military but some civilian. Passing one particular airplane (a KC-135), our guide helpfully explained that this plane was NASA's infamous Vomit Comet, used to accustom people to zero g environments. And a common reaction was... well, the name says it all. And we were informed that more than 5,000 gallons of the eponymous liquid had been cleaned out of that aircraft before it was retired.

Most audioXpress readers will already be familiar with Michael Steffes, our in-house chip guru, now gracing us with his Audio Scope column, every month. Mike was one of the leading lights at Burr-Brown before its acquisition by TI, and was John Caldwell's predecessor in the management and business development of the Precision Amplifiers group. Jan and I had only known him from his articles, and vice versa, so we arranged to meet for dinner and drinks at an old-line Mexican restaurant in downtown Tucson.  

Mike regaled us with stories about the development of Burr-Brown products, life at TI, mutual friends, and many other things that would likely get us all sued if we repeated them; alcohol has a way of lubricating the conversation. But of course, we started digging into his current interest, the effects of common mode voltages on transducer interfaces. Mike is an insightful analog designer and I was fortunate to get a few hours' worth of commentary on the way designs ought to be done. It's a real honor for me to have my name in the same magazine where he publishes. I expect that we'll end up having more technical and personal overlaps once the current craziness subsides.
Fresh From the Bench
The Linear Audio Autoranger Mk II Measurement Interface
By  Stuart Yaniger
In the April 2020 edition, audioXpress published an expansion of the "Sound Cards for Data Acquisition in Audio" article series, which Stuart Yaniger wrote in 2014/2015, and which is still receiving considerable attention since all seven articles are available online at More specifically, Yaniger explores new possibilities in audio measurement systems, expanding on the basics of using sound cards combined with new accessible-to-all software tools, such as REW, and a recently improved measurement interface option. That option is the Linear Audio Autoranger Mk II Interface, which audioXpress' Technical Editor Jan Didden designed a few years ago and which is now available as an improved Mk II version. This article was originally published in audioXpress, April 2020 .    Read the Full Article Now Available Here

Voice Coil  Focus
Speaker Cones - Fabrication, Materials, and Performance
By  Mike Klasco (Menlo Scientific)
Mike Klasco wrote another essential industry update on Speaker Cones. This Voice Coil article explores the fabrication, materials, and performance aspects of this critical component in driver design. As Klasco writes in his introduction, "It is taken as a basic truth that most speaker factories can duplicate an existing design's frame and magnetic structure, but getting the soft parts right is an art. The cone, surround, spider, and dust cap contain many of the secret ingredients in speaker design." With his extensive experience dealing with innovative speaker designs and bringing concepts into production, Klasco details vital aspects of both paper pulp cone fabrication and polypropylene cones, addressing even the lesser known aspects, such as software simulation programs used to model results before starting tooling. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, February 2020 Read the Article Now Available Online Here
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