Industry & Product News
Cirrus Logic Launches Advanced Haptic and Sensing IC Solutions for Richer, Immersive User Experiences
With the goal of elevating the user experience for a wide range of consumer devices, Cirrus Logic is leveraging its low-power, low-latency mixed-signal processing technology to develop an advanced product portfolio of haptic and sensing integrated circuits (ICs) that enable increased functionality and sleek buttonless designs for smartphones, PCs, wearables, gaming, virtual reality, and automotive applications. Cirrus Logic's haptic products and sophisticated haptic feedback technology enable sleeker, more robust end products with fewer mechanical controls for new responsive and immersive user experiences .    Read More and Steinway Lyngdorf Introduce Luxury Home Entertainment Experience continues to deliver on its vision to expand the power of artificial intelligence in the home, now establishing a partnership with Steinway Lyngdorf, a leading brand in luxury audio. Steinway Lyngdorf high-end stereo and surround sound systems will support the platform to control media content for immersive user experiences. The integration enables the convenience of's natural voice control and privacy-focused approach to home automation to fit into the design of the most refined residential projects .    Read More  

High-Res Streaming Content from Neil Young Archives Added to BluOS Devices in Canada and the United States
Lenbrook International, developer of the BluOS hi-res wireless premium distributed audio and music management platform, announced the integration of the Neil Young Archives (NYA) -the high-resolution, studio-quality streaming online archive of famed Canadian-born rock icon, Neil Young - into the BluOS platform. This unique fan-focused service comes to BluOS-enabled products via OraStream adaptive streaming protocol, as previously announced .    Read More

CEVA to Host Online Seminar Series for Wireless Connectivity, Bluetooth LE Audio, and Voice User Interfaces
CEVA, a leading licensor of cutting-edge wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies, announced that it will host a series of virtual seminars in June, exploring the benefits of including smart sensing and AI at the Edge in embedded designs, and the latest IoT and 5G cellular connectivity solutions. The "CEVA Technology Virtual Seminar 2020: Spring Edition" will be held over four dates, with each educational seminar focused on the challenges and trends in a specific technology domain, and hosted by CEVA product specialists and engineering experts .    Read More  

Beyma Raises Force Factor with New QLEX Woofer Series
While many other OEM pro audio driver manufacturers have temporarily retreated and quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic, others opted to stick to their original plans and albeit the cancellations of major trade shows, maintained their product schedule. Benefiting from some additional time to refine designs, Beyma continued its search to break the limits of acoustic technology and has now unveiled the latest QLEX woofer series, developed to offer the extra energy and performance that the latest generation of sound reinforcement systems demand .    Read More  

Hernon Autobonder 2101 Programmable Benchtop Dispensing System
A truly versatile tool for R&D, assembly, or maintenance, the new Autobonder 2101 from Hernon Manufacturing is a benchtop adhesive and sealant dispensing system supporting a wide range of viscosities of materials using different syringe sizes. The new Autobonder 2101 features a programmable controller that provides manual and timed modes, helping to make it into an efficient dispensing tool in multiple applications, from speaker design to electronics .    Read More  

Yamaha Expands Premium Hi-Fi Family of Audio Components with New A-S Series Integrated Amplifiers
With home audio sales showing promising growth, as consumers globally rethink their priorities and spend more time at home, Yamaha is reinforcing its classic premium Hi-Fi catalog for high-end audio reproduction with the introduction of a reengineered series of integrated amplifiers. The new models - A-S1200, A-S2200 and A-S3200 integrated amplifiers - join the recently introduced 5000 Series of speakers, amps, pre-amps, and turntable, offering music enthusiasts a complete family of premium Hi-Fi audio components .    Read More

Online COMSOL Conference 2020 North America Announced for October 7-8
The COMSOL Conference 2020 North America will be held online this year! The annual conference moved to an online format in order to better accommodate the uncertainty in travel and in-person meetings. Program highlights still include keynote talks, presentations, and panel discussions featuring speakers across all fields of engineering, apart from the traditional news announcements. There will still be Interactive Tech Café sessions on modeling topics, featuring questions from users, and lecture-based mini-courses for both new and experienced users .    Read More  

Editor's Desk
Mike Klasco
(Menlo Scientific

The Future of Automotive Sound
Next-Generation Thinner Speakers for Personal Audio Arrays
With about 90 million new vehicles shipped in 2019 (a number that will be down in 2020, for sure) and very conservatively assuming an average of four speakers in each vehicle comes to more than 350 million speakers. The future may see very different numbers - with the pandemic far less vehicles but each with far more speakers. This new math is about in ultra-near-field microarrays for each seat. Traditionally speaker selection and layout has been configured by the design team for the entire passenger compartment as a whole cohesive space, but the new trend is "personal audio arrays" designed for each individual seat.

The "Ultra-near-field" concept uses clusters of small full-range speakers configured and tuned as phased-arrays to direct sound to individual seats. If only one person is driving the vehicle, then the arrays will be optimized for immersive audio for the driver. When kids are in the back, they can watch and listen to cartoons while the adults in the front seats can get the news or talk on the hands-free speakerphone. Bass can be somewhat contained by the use of haptic drivers (bass shakers) in each seat driven by the relevant program material.

Personalized sound zones inside the car have been previously attempted, but now speaker technology is allowing much more effective applications, combining clusters of small speakers with active noise cancelling (ANC) - a topic extensively covered in audioXpress ' June 2020 Market Update on Automotive Audio Solutions.

In the next model years, we will see innovative mounting locations for new form-factor compact speakers in these microarrays including center dashboard, visor areas, A and B pillars (front windshield supports and door pillar behind the driver position). Also in the front and back of the headrests. These next-generation autosound speakers will likely be in the 2.5" range (at least in the horizontal axis) both to fit and to function in a full-range array.

And, active noise canceling (ANC) systems are expected to enable effective drive train, road, and wind noise reduction up to 500 Hz or even higher (using the headrest speakers for ANC). The micro-arrays and close coupling to the listeners, such as through headrests, enable practical ANC with far more viable results than using existing autosound design practices. Aside from smaller speakers, expect to see higher thermal power handling in these drivers than what you would expect. ANC requires continuous operation, resulting in the need to re-scale for voice coil overheating and power compression. So larger voice coil diameters, ferrofluids (even in full-range drivers) and other design techniques will keep transducer engineers busy adopting techniques learned in pro-sound as well as past solutions from autosound aftermarket designs.

Installation of factory engineered systems using high power, compact, full-range drivers in micro-arrays will be extensive, including in-door speakers with clearance for full window roll-down, and most intriguing, the center stage in-dash, the A and B pillars, and head rests.

By bringing speakers closer to the listeners, there are significant weight savings, and anyone involved in the automotive industry knows that all vehicles designs are subject to strict diets. Part of the solution that the automotive industry has migrated to include lightweight and streamlined wiring harnesses (often with aluminum conductors instead of copper) with multi-pin termination, fiber optics, and Class-D amplifiers. Neodymium magnets on speakers has also contributed, but the pressure is on to go further.

Compared to current state-of-the-art automotive systems, micro-array and headrest systems offer weight savings of more than 50%, while still delivering an immersive audiophile-quality listening experience. This is achieved using small drivers in lightweight enclosures, and DSP-powered beamforming to deliver acoustic pressure to precisely defined sweet spots. Adding smart haptics leveraging DSP and tactile perception, significant further gains can be realized by lowering subwoofer amp and speaker weight. 

The next-generation autosound speaker micro-arrays has an impact on the transducers and their performance targets. While smaller speakers positioned near-field to each listener will enable personalized audio for each seat, with clean direct sound to each listener, they will also provide effective zonal ANC for reduction of road, tire, and wind noise to 500 Hz or higher. Yet, attempting this for extended freeway driving for hours will result in power compression to build up in typical mini-speakers.

Voice Coil featured the Prescient Audio TD-12 woofer in its Test Bench column, in August 2015 - now available online.

ThinDriver Technology
These transducer design changes do not come from thin air. A pioneering effort, the ThinDriver has been in development since 2008, and the first working prototype, under the Prescient brand, was presented in 2010. The concept was named an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree. Conceived of by Paul Niedermann with engineering support by speaker industry veteran Bob True, patents were applied for in 14 countries to protect the invention, granted in 2016, and more recently in 2019. The thin speakers can be made for anything from smartphones to laptops.

The first implementation was in 2016 with an autosound aftermarket 12" TD-12 woofer. The TD-12 had a physical mounting depth of only 2.25" to the bottom of the frame. The TD-12 had a stiff flat 12" cone that uses a carbon fiber surface sandwiched with a polyurethane composite formulation and a 9" diameter flat poly cotton spider. All this, driven by a 250-mm diameter (9.85") voice coil wound with flat copper-clad aluminum wire (CCAW) parallel wound.

The TD-12 was characterized by Vance Dickason, in the August 2015 edition of Voice Coil, but by the time the product was launched the remains of the autosound aftermarket evaporated. With 1000 W power handling and a retail price of $1,000, the autosound OEM business did not bat an eye.

Prescient faltered and Len Foxman, one of the investors, bought the assets and relaunched the company as Eagle Audio in Chicago, IL.  For branding and marketing, the new-generation ThinDriver products will use the Trulli Audio name.

The Trulli TD38S 2" (JAM5) micro-array speaker is a promising solution for automotive personal sound zones with ANC, due to its combination of high thermal power handling while maintaining a small footprint and shallow depth.

For autosound near-field arrays (and quite a few other applications) the Trulli TD38S 2" ("JAM5") is impressive, with its combination of high thermal power handling while maintaining a small footprint and shallow depth. The topology is a flat diaphragm, by repositioning and expanding the voice coil to the juncture of the diaphragm periphery and the juncture of the surround. This 2" speaker boasts a 1.3" voice coil. This configuration also enables more spider corrugations so both huge gains in excursion and thermal power handling are practical.

Stacked (double) spiders further enable enhanced coil centering and distortion reduction. The TD-38S increases the volume velocity (pumping power = piston x excursion) through a square diaphragm for over 20% more piston area than a round speaker.

This is the new-generation ThinDriver TD 200 woofer from Trulli Audio.

Also in late stage development is the TD200. This is a 10" woofer with a 7" diameter voice coil with less than 3" depth (which includes clearance in front of the speaker for excursion). Ideal for in-wall subs, underfloor autosound, and truck mount (or even in the spare tire), and other applications.

Trulli is looking for development partners and licensees, and will soon be launching a consumer audio product. For further information, contact Len Foxman.

Practical Test & Measurement
Stop Worrying About Coupling Capacitors!
By  Ethan Winer
Ethan Winer says he often sees arguments in hi-fi forums and Facebook audio groups about the importance of high-quality capacitors in the signal path. It's true that capacitor quality varies wildly among the various types, and the main problem with poor quality capacitors is they can add distortion to audio passing through them. But for inter-stage coupling capacitors, this may not be as big a problem as many people think. This is another great research article from Ethan Winer, where he designed a simple device that measures capacitor distortion using a USB sound card and free software to try and determine the importance of high-quality capacitors in the signal path. This article details the results of his tests with different capacitor types.  This article was originally published in audioXpress, May 2020 .    Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Voice Coil Spotlight
Audio Precision APx500 Flex Audio Analyzer - Hands-On
By  Vance Dickason
In this article, Vance Dickason writes about the Audio Precision APx500 Flex Audio Analyzer and shares his hands-on experience with this latest affordable analyzer solution, designed to work with third-party USB audio recording interfaces. And to make the experience even more complete and valuable for Voice Coil readers, Dan Knighten, AP's VP of Product Development, and Michael Martin, AP's Product Marketing Manager, brought a complete system to Dickason's place and assisted him in performing a series of R&D type measurements on the same driver featured in a Test Bench column. Which means, readers can compare the readings and results directly! This article was originally published in Voice Coil, March 2020 .    Read the Full Article Now Available Here

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