Industry & Product News
Fully Self-Contained Raspberry Pi Audio HAT Board with MERUS Class-D Multilevel Amplifier Now Available
Infineon Technologies developed the world's first fully self-contained Raspberry Pi audio amplifier Hardware Attached on Top (HAT) board. It offers high-definition audio at boombox power levels in a small form factor. The Infineon proprietary multilevel technology ensures minimum size and consumption, state-of-the-art power efficiency, and high-resolution audio quality for Raspberry Pi users and makers. Target applications include active speakers with wireless music streaming .    Read More
DSP Concepts Launches AWE Core OS Audio-Processing Engine Optimized for Multi-Core Development
DSP Concepts launched AWE Core OS, a new variant of the audio-processing engine powering its Audio Weaver platform, optimized for multi-core development. The Audio Weaver platform that already powers more than 40 million devices worldwide is now optimized for multi-core development to dramatically reduce the costs and components typically required to build new audio features. DSP Concepts built this solution specifically for automotive brands to address complexities and costs associated with creating new audio experiences in that space .    Read More  


Dolby Introduces New Dolby Voice Huddle Conferencing Solution with Automatic Acoustic Optimization
Dolby Laboratories announced a new Dolby Voice Huddle, a conferencing solution specifically designed to address the challenges of video meetings in smaller - and often custom - spaces. This compact solution features Dolby intelligent acoustic technology, which calibrates based on the TV and room space to deliver optimum audio quality without the need for additional speakers and soundbars. Dolby Voice Huddle joins the previously released Dolby Voice Room and Dolby Voice Room Pro solutions to complete the Rooms with Dolby Voice video conferencing product portfolio .    Read More

 
Telenav and Alpine Electronics Partner to Enable OEMs and Car Owners to Instantly Upgrade In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems
Telenav, a leading provider of connected-car and location-based services, and Alpine Electronics, one of the world's premier manufacturers of automotive electronic components, announced they are teaming up to develop an easy, low-cost way to quickly upgrade existing in-vehicle infotainment systems by simply inserting Alpine's infotainment device with Telenav's VIVID infotainment system into a vehicle's USB port.    Read More  


Loudsoft Updates FINE R+D 2020 Acoustic Audio Analyzer System
Loudsoft's FINE R+D is an acoustic measurement system for research and development of loudspeaker, headphone, and microspeaker transducers and systems. The Danish company founded by Peter Larsen continues to expand and improve the possibilities of this Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analyzer, packaged with a 1U rack hardware front-end, and popular for both R&D and Q&C applications. The updated FINE R+D 2020 solution now supports multi-microphone measurements with three microphones .    Read More  


Klippel Expands Managing Board with General Manager Appointment
Klippel GmbH, one of the global leading companies in the field of measurement technology for loudspeakers and audio systems, founded in 1997 by Dr. Wolfgang Klippel, announced that Benjamin Barth has been appointed general manager to its managing board. Barth has worked with Klippel for the past eight years and his appointment will allow Wolfgang Klippel to focus more on research and education, while the company aims to expand its portfolio of products and services .    Read More  

    
New Razer Opus THX Headphones with Advanced Active Noise Cancellation
Razer, a global lifestyle brand for gamers, announced the launch of the Razer Opus wireless headphones, combining THX-Certified audio and advanced hybrid Active Noise Cancellation. According to the company, the Razer Opus delivers high-quality sound reproduction without the background noise of daily life interfering with the experience in a simple, practical, and understated design that resists the temptation of using any of the ugly "gaming culture" aesthetics .    Read More

Headphones Q1 Update: Headphones Global Market Value Continues to Surge Despite Pandemic
The CE Team at Futuresource Consulting has shared Q1 Market Tracker highlights from the headphone market, showing that the global value continues to surge. The global headphones market has posted a strong Q1, achieving revenues of $7.2 billion and year-on-year growth of 22% despite the impact of Coronavirus. With consumers restricted to shopping online, the true wireless stereo category continued to lead the way across all regions .    Read More  

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



Online Events Business
What's the Alternative to a Trade Show?
As a magazine and content publisher, I always believed in staying away from event production (not talking about award ceremonies here). Over the last two decades, I have seen large and small media companies - particularly B2B publishers - entering the event sector as a sort of diversification strategy for their ailing businesses. They were wrong. Clearly, the managers in those companies never truly understood what being a publisher is, they never understood why they did what they did, what the business value was, and they mostly were looking for an exit strategy. The "successful" stories I've witnessed are of publishers that have fully converted to event producers and marketing agencies, and are no longer media companies. Yes, no one ever said that publishing was easy...
 
More curious is the relationship between professional associations - particularly non-profit entities and trade shows. Those are almost always the publishers' best partners. And the reason why I never wanted to "diversify" from publishing into event or trade show production was precisely because I always respected the work of those associations. We all should try to do one thing well, and stick to it.

There is a difference...

And it's funny that the largest trade show organizers in the world always were the first to respect media, and the first to partner with publishers for the promotion of those events - especially at the most critical stages, like early years, or a rebound after some type of disruption. Yes, publishers know their industry sectors, market segments, and audience better than anyone else. And that's why their support is so important.

The Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) show was a great example of that successful relationship. From early on, they partnered with all the industry publications and publishers, and at a later stage they did their best to integrate those publications into their activities - always in a creative and open way - magazine publishers could promote whatever activities they wanted and could carry, inside the show. 

I am mentioning this apparent interdependency or dichotomy because, with the COVID-19 pandemic situation, we are now at a stage where in-person events are not possible at all, for all the well-known reasons. And obviously, professional industry associations, trade show operators globally, and even small show promoters are all looking for a solution to their business models.

Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest 2020 was cancelled: "The very worst thing that we can envision is for someone to fall ill because they came to our show, whether as an exhibitor, a journalist, an attendee, or a volunteer," wisely stated Marjorie Baumert, RMAF Director, and Marcie Miller, Operations Director.

Event and trade show promoters still have a business - and it has nothing to do with media, content, or education. They are not supposed to try and do what companies should do themselves, much less become a sort of "closed-circuit broadcaster," social media booster, or podcast promoter. Talking to a closed circuit is exactly the reason why companies need a trade show: to break the loop. That is also the reason why companies need media - to amplify their messages and reach new buyers and markets.

Much as I never saw any reason for publishers to "cross the line" and promote events or trade shows, now is the time when event organizers need publishers more than ever. They need their established channels and organically nurtured audiences. Show promoters have an audience during the show. After the show is over, they have nearly nothing. But they still have a business, as long as they understand their role and unique value proposition.

Value Proposition
A trade show is an event where companies and entrepreneurs can launch, demonstrate, and promote their latest products and services. Shows, fairs, exhibitions, or expositions are promoted to connect sellers with buyers - and that's why most trade shows have access reserved to professionals and industry members. 
Trade shows provide exhibit spaces where potential buyers can easily locate relevant vendors, plus additional facilities for workshops, presentations, and private meetings, as well as press conference facilities, and promote direct access to trade press and media, plus additional networking events.
IFA 2020 in Berlin has been given the go-ahead to take place as a real-life B2B event - by invitation only - from September 3-5. I'll be waiting for the invitation and private jet to take me to Berlin.

Exhibitors participate in the hopes of connecting with potential new customers, reinforcing relationships with dealers and distributors, and networking with influencers and the media. Remember, even Apple and Steve Jobs attended trade shows in the company's early years, or whenever they expanded to new markets. 
People attend shows to better understand an industry - to get a clear vision of the industry and the players - and be the first to learn about new products and technologies.

So, trade show and event promoters just need to find a way to expand this unique value proposition - generating a balanced RoI - from an alternative, online model, knowing they are temporarily unable to produce a trade show, attract people from all over the world, and sell thousands of square meters of show floor. They can do exactly what a trade show or event is intended to do: promote networking and business opportunities. It was never about square meters.

And no, this is not about promoting more webinars, Zoom meetings, YouTube channels, glorified websites, or the like. Companies in every industry can do that by themselves. Yes, promoting education opportunities and online training repositories makes sense for associations such as the Audio Engineering Society (AES), CEDIA, AVIXA, and others. That is part of their missions - and that is why they are sustained by the industry itself. But they could do it because there was a show going on to pay the bills of renting and opening a congress/event center. So, what is the alternative to a trade show and where is the money?

No. It's not "virtual trade shows" - using "Second Life" 3D experiences with visitors virtually "walking" to see virtual displays wearing VR goggles. Honestly, that's even worse than promoting more webinars...
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced that an estimated 40,000 industry professionals have accessed the inaugural NAB Show Express online event launched on May 13 to replace the actual massive event in Las Vegas, NV. Participants from around the world engaged with content through social media streams, partner programs and directly via nabshowexpress.com, where an exclusive marketplace features 1,479 exhibiting companies. The service will remain open until end of August 2020.

Show Map - A Meeting Place for Buyers and Sellers
When a show is ready to go, everyone flocks to visit the official show website map, download the show app, and navigate the exhibitors lists, locate potential vendors in areas of interest (by product category or application) organize a schedule, and increasingly, request a meeting or confirm a visit at a certain day/time.

In those same platforms, exhibitors can display their promotional messages for the event, and promote media events if they really want to stand out. This is still a valid proposition. Granted, doing it online doesn't generate as much revenue as selling actual booth space - but it also doesn't generate the expense of renting the convention center, hiring hundreds or thousands of people, and paying for all sorts of required logistical services. But there's still business to be made, while keeping the same show brand and the community alive.

Unfortunately, this might not be viable for smaller events, such as audio shows. In that model, there really isn't an alternative to real in-person events, where people can network, touch, and hear the products, establish relationships, and actually do business. But this is the model that is also easier to rethink, once people again feel confident to move around. It just needs to happen away from small hotel rooms and busy elevators. That was already an awful format anyway...

Event organizers are still so stunned from the COVID-19 crisis that they remain mostly paralyzed - and one of the reasons is that their own staff have been busy on Zoom meetings all the time - or worse, trying to learn what exactly Microsoft Team does.

I find it fantastic that out of all the major trade shows that were cancelled this year, nothing - or very little - was announced. Didn't the exhibitors have plans for product introductions at those shows, major technology announcements? Wasn't that the reason why they booked a booth in the first place? So, what happened to the press conferences? Where are the product press releases?

That is what the trade show organizers need to worry about and that's where they need to focus on. That's where the business is. Getting back in contact with those exhibiting companies and reminding them of the reason why they signed in the first place will be the first step to a solution.

From The Vault
A Simple LED Bias Meter and Supply for the Dynaco ST70 and Other Tube Amplifiers
By  Patrick Brunner
 
Recently, I got bitten by the nostalgia bug and picked up a pair of old factory-wired Dynaco ST70s in pretty nice condition. But, being an engineer, I couldn't leave well enough alone. On one of the Dynaco ST70s, I installed a new 6GH8 driver board instead of dealing with the rare 7199 issue. Next, the comparatively weak and remote bias supply also seemed like it could use an update. So, I designed a small (3" × 3") PCB to combine the bias supply and added the LED bias-setting circuit. Note: This DIY project assumes that your amp is working correctly. The total cost should be $25 or less, especially if your junk box is well supplied. This article was originally published in audioXpress, April 2013 .    Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Speakers - Parts Is Parts
High-Polymer Film, 
Headphones, Microphones, and Other Audio Applications (Part 2)
By  Mike Klasco and Steve Tatarunis
 
This two-part article explores Polyvinylidene Fluoride Film (PVDF), a piezoelectric polymer used in various transducers for headphones, microphones, and loudspeakers. In Part 1, we touched on PVDF's slow acceptance into mainstream audio, and the fact that the industry largely ignored this technology, which presents unique capabilities and design advantages. Lightweight and flexible, piezoelectric film transducers can serve as highly reliable low-cost alternatives to more expensive speakers, headphones, microphones, and even musical instrument sound pickups. In this second part, we will focus on the many other successful applications of this technology. We can only hope that this article will serve as a reintroduction to the technology. This article was originally published in audioXpress, May 2013 .    Read the Full Article Now Available Here

AX June 2020: Digital Login
Audio Product Design | DIY Audio Projects | Audio Electronics | Audio Show Reports | Interviews | And More 

Don't Have a Subscription?
VC May 2020: Digital Login
Industry News & Developments | Products & Services | Test Bench | Acoustic Patents | Industry Watch | And More