Industry & Product News
How Many Headphones Can You Sell? Harman Claims 200 Million JBL Headphones Milestone
We all know that sales of headphones are booming and that volumes are very significant, in particular, true wireless earbuds. We just don't know how many exactly are sold. Just by looking at Amazon and large physical stores we can quickly identify brands that are certain to move volumes in the low, and mid-price mainstream categories. Harman International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics says that it has achieved a significant new milestone, as its JBL-branded headphones have reached 200 million units sold. Read More
Parasound Founder Richard Schram Sells Company to Entrepreneur David Sheriff
Richard Schram, who founded the prestigious audio equipment brand Parasound in 1981, has announced his retirement and the sale of his company to David Sheriff, an entrepreneur active in product growth and supply-chain management. Audio amplifiers and other home audio and installation components from Parasound are recognized for their exceptional build quality, value, and sonic fidelity. Following the ownership transition, David Sheriff intends to reinforce that reputation and growth. Read More
HearUSA to Carry Sony’s Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
Responding to the Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, HearUSA announced that it will offer Sony’s new OTC hearing aids. The first two models – the Sony CRE-C10 and the Sony CRE-E10 – will be available for clients to purchase early next year in all HearUSA centers and online. These solutions result from Sony's joint development with WS Audiology Denmark with the aim of supplying products and services in the OTC self-fitting hearing aid space. Read More
Heritage Audio Acquires Rights to Historic Audio Equipment Brand Lang Electronics
Spanish company Heritage Audio has acquired the rights to Lang Electronics, Inc. — the audio equipment brand originally from New York, known primarily for the various upgrades and support equipment that it manufactured for Ampex tape machines in the 1950s, and the 1960s. Among the many studio products in its catalog, Lang offered audio mixers and equalizers, including a solid-state equalizer similar in function to the popular Pultec units of the era, which eventually gained recognition in studios all over the world and is still admired today. Read More
Creative Sensemore Air True Wireless Earbuds Focus on Hearing More
Unlike other products that feature active noise cancellation, the new Creative Sensemore Air true wireless earbuds are promoted for allowing users to hear more of their surroundings than ever before, without compromising on audio quality. The lightweight and sweatproof Sensemore Air earbuds debut Creative Technology's newest innovation, the built-in Sensemore technology, which serves as a hearing amplifier. Read More
FORCE Technology Partners with Sound Hub Denmark to Support Sound Quality Testing
FORCE Technology, a large technology consultancy and service company and one of the large certification institutes in Denmark, providing on-site inspections, measurements, and calibration laboratories, established a partnership on product sound quality testing with Sound Hub Denmark. The goal is to reinforce the work of the many audio companies that are already using the resources offered by Sound Hub, while also expanding the range of services available. Read More
Campfire Audio Announces Orbit True Wireless Earbuds
The audible advantages of high-quality in-earphones with the best available drivers, cables, and connectors have generated a sizable enthusiast market that continues to thrive, even while consumer electronics moved rapidly toward wireless. Campfire Audio is a renowned designer and brand in the in-ear space and has now decided to go true wireless with the Orbit, a truly different design that makes fun of mainstream references. Read More
MPEG-H Audio Tested on World Cup Live Transmissions
Fans around the world that are following the football/soccer World Cup games are probably not aware that those transmissions are creating a new test bed for the possibilities of immersive sound and different personalization options using MPEG-H audio technology. Fraunhofer is supporting its partners worldwide in setting up live transmissions of the tournament in Brazil and South Korea, the two countries that already adopted MPEG-H. Read More
Editor's Desk
J. Martins
A Word About Our Mission
I never repeat what I write in the editorial of a printed issue of audioXpress magazine in this newsletter or elsewhere. But since the January 2023 issue of audioXpress is now distributed (and we couldn't be prouder of it!) and there's a common announcement we need to share, I thought I would also use this opportunity to reinstate our mission statement.

This publication was originally born from what was considered once a very niche market segment of people who preferred a hands-on approach to audio systems and reproduction and liked to modify and (hopefully) improve existing equipment, as well as design and build their own gear from scratch.

That spirit inspired the late Edward T. Dell, Jr. (1923–2013) to devote decades of his life to the DIY audio passion, leading to the creation of hallmark publications including Audio Amateur (1970), Audio Electronics, Glass Audio, Speaker Builder, Multimedia Manufacturer, and finally audioXpress, starting in January 2001. What many people recognized was that their passion for audio electronics and speaker building, among other things, fostered many ideas that led to the foundation of new companies, business careers, and audio innovation. Many of the original audioXpress readers were active members of the industry and others got involved because of it. All over the world, the pages of Ed Dell’s publications and the valuable article contributions by many hundreds of experts inspired new ventures globally.

I joined audioXpress as editor-in-chief in 2013, and I was one of those people who these magazines had touched, so when invited I accepted the challenge of leading this publication with the inspiration and conviction that there was a lot more that we could do to serve our audio product development and design readership.
October 2013. Introducing the new face of audioXpress at the AES convention in New York. As all authors who work to make this publication every month (and this newsletter every week) already know, this is the audioXpress core team with Shannon Becker (Associate Editor), Jan Didden (Technical Editor), and J. Martins (Editor-in-Chief).
We are now entering a new expansion phase in the trajectory that was initiated in 2013, when we embraced our mission to follow audio innovation, true to our motto, Advancing the Evolution of Audio Technology. And we continue to expand on our mission to offer the leading Audio Development and Design Magazine and Website. For that, you will note the important contributions from new authors and audio experts in almost every issue. The January 2023 issue that we just published is no different, and I am particularly pleased to welcome Andrew Bellavia and René Christensen, who I hope will be regular contributors to this publication. When you read their articles, I am certain you will agree.

A fundamental contributor to this project, as many of our authors recognize, has been the work of Jan Didden, who for many years has been listed as our Technical Editor, although his involvement was mostly voluntary. As we aim to meet the evolving needs of our audience, I reached out to him to become more closely involved with the publication, essentially expanding on what he always did brilliantly.

I am extremely pleased to announce that Jan Didden has agreed to take on the formal duties as Technical Editor of audioXpress (we decided that there wasn’t a better title for what he does), expanding his involvement and contributions to this publication. And appropriately, I leave you with a word from him.
There is a new issue of audioXpress already available to read. audioXpress January 2023 offers multiple perspectives to inspire you in the new year. Now available in print, to download, or read online.
Editor's Desk
Jan Didden
(Technical Editor)
To Inform, Educate, and Inspire
It is a privilege for me to be part of the audioXpress team. I cut my writing teeth many, many years ago producing articles for The Audio Amateur, the precursor to this title, founded by Ed Dell. Then, in 2010 I struck out on my own and started Linear Audio, publishing a 200-page "bookzine" with some 10 technical audio articles every six months. Linear Audio’s author roster grew to more than 100; experienced designers, well-known names in audio, as well as accomplished amateurs. You know who you are. In 2017, I decided I wanted to spend more time on research and equipment design and stopped publishing new Linear Audio issues. Occasionally I hooked up a prospective author with audioXpress, and this activity will now expand. I believe that design and/or construction articles are an indispensable part of a technical audio journal. It is important to know what is out there, what’s available, who offers what, how it performs, and how it tests. But at the start of it all, there is an engineer or designer who creates the equipment that is proposed, tested, offered, and advertised. I want to give this part of the community the visibility it deserves, to inform and educate and hopefully inspire technically inclined persons to take up audio design.

I am looking forward to once again interacting with established and budding authors and designers to explore this great vocation of ours! So, get in touch with me at [email protected]
Guest Editorial
Adam Honig
(CEO, Spiro.AI)
Countering the Amazon Effect
How Pioneer Music Differentiates and Personalizes
Regardless of the supply chain disruptions everyone is facing, your customers likely still want to receive their orders much in the same way they would receive products from Amazon. Fast. Easy. No hassle. “Give me the option to purchase my products on my own, please.” “Ship it to me the next day, please.” "Give me an instant refund on my returns, please."

Let’s face it. You’ll never outcompete Amazon. You need a better strategy. And what is that strategy? First, you need to develop your differentiation. Next, set expectations with your customers. Lastly, personalize their journey and you’ll set yourself apart with your customers.

Spiro.AI combines automated CRM capabilities, sales enablement, analytics, and integrated voice-over-IP all into one powerful platform, driven by an AI Engine which makes proactive recommendations to decision makers in real-time
I’ve always believed in differentiation and have been in tech for my entire career. I started in sales and then went on to be a consultant for different sales teams, finding ways to make them better. I went on to start three companies, one of them becoming one of the largest salesforce consultancies in the world focused on helping companies get the most out of customer relationship management (CRM). You know that terrible system that no one likes because of all of the manual work required to use it? However, even IT never "solved" the problem.

Before I started Spiro, I went to see the movie “Her” where Joaquin Phoenix, in the future, downloads a new version of his phone’s software, which is played by the voice of Scarlett Johansson. In the movie, Johansson is a computerized bot that gives the main character advice and helps him navigate the world more intelligently.

That movie changed my life. I thought to myself: salespeople don’t need CRM. Salespeople need Scarlett Johansson telling them what to do - through artificial intelligence!

Determined to make life better for sales teams, the Spiro.AI team got really excited at the idea of solving this problem of companies spending millions of dollars on CRM projects that were doomed. We built a broad platform from the ground up on AI, committed to the mission of killing CRM, and proactive relationship management was born. So many of our customers are experiencing the benefits of how Spiro.AI enables them to reach their differentiation, customer expectation, and personalization goals.
Spiro Fulfillment: Spiro helps teams go beyond sales and tracks the status of orders all the way through fulfillment. The power of Spiro’s platform is the proactive recommendations prompting users to take action, like alerting a customer to a fulfillment delay or reaching out about a missed order.
A great example of differentiation and personalization comes from our Spiro.AI customer, Pioneer Music, and its business model. Pioneer Music Company is a Midwest regional wholesaler that sells in Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska. The company has been in business for 150 years and prides itself in having products that have evolved, but a sales and service process that has not.

Pioneer Music sells high-end electronics from such companies as Samsung, Sony, and Yamaha as well as from QSC, LEA, Shure, Klipsch, Parasound, and Sonos. Their electronics are going into home theaters and in office buildings but are also used in commercial installations. Pioneer Music doesn’t supply the big box stores, but instead has an established network of custom integrators, who design and install the systems in a conference room or a house.

For Pioneer Music, local connections matter, and it proudly touts that face-to-face and handshakes is how it’s operated for six generations. Although it has some very long-standing relationships, it also has a number of new customers.

One way it is standing apart with its customers is by opening new locations. Pioneer Music was challenged by the Amazon effect, since as a retailer, Amazon has impacted its wholesale business. When Amazon offered two-day shipping, Pioneer realized it needed to be same day by opening pickup locations at its four warehouses as well as at all its major markets. By opening new locations - the most recent being in Minneapolis, MN, and Chicago, IL – it’s also seen an increase in its customer base.

Pioneer Music is the Midwest’s most recognized name in audio and video electronics.
Another way Pioneer Music is building customer confidence and personalizing their experiences is through its inventory portal on its website. Customers can buy online from its comprehensive website of more than 15,000 products but have grown to expect that when they need a person to assist with a purchase, the Pioneer Music team is there. Customers then can select their warehouse of choice and either pick up or have their equipment delivered.

Pioneer is also accepting orders through most other types of communication - it takes orders by phone, texting, and even fax! Pioneer jokes that if someone sent smoke signals, it would find a way to turn it into a sale too!

I know how important relationships are and so does Pioneer Music. The company knows its own customers better than anyone else and provides personalized service through its dedicated team of sales professionals who manage a fairly large territory, all thanks to Spiro's AI-driven sales platform. Its team can place orders for customers on the spot without any long lead times and has an experienced support team on hand. 

Pioneer Music has demonstrated that along with implementing technology and using a vast service knowledge to grow its business, it is able to set itself apart. By using Spiro, Pioneer adds value back to the people who are using it and ensure customer satisfaction.

About the Author:
Adam Honig is the CEO and co-founder of Spiro.AI, a manufacturing-focused SaaS company. He is passionate about helping companies grow using artificial intelligence and is the driving force behind Spiro’s pioneering new approach: proactive relationship management.
R&D Stories
The Story of aptX - An Epic Journey
By Jonny McClintock
Widely recognized as a high-quality audio compression algorithm, used in film sound to radio broadcast, studios, and in Bluetooth where its incorporated into billions of devices, the successful story of aptX technology is inextricably linked to the history of digital audio and a remarkable corporate journey, from APT to CSR and Qualcomm. This article offers an insider's overview of the aptX audio codec adoption and evolution, and how the technology was interlinked with the author's professional career for the past 28 years. Essential reading for those who want to understand how audio quality is conditioned not by codecs but by the enabling platforms. This article was originally published in audioXpress, October 2022. Read the Full Article Now Available Here
Voice Coil Test Bench
B&C Speakers DE111‑8 1” Pro Sound Compression Driver
By Vance Dickason
The DE111-8 pro audio high-frequency solution from B&C Speakers is an ultra-compact neodymium 1" compression driver, featuring an HT Polymer diaphragm driven by a 36mm (1.4") diameter voice coil wound with aluminum wire on a high Qm non-conducting former. With a 1.2kHz recommended crossover frequency (second-order or higher high-pass filter), the DE111 also features an updated Ketone polymer suspension and dome, rated for 50W continuous power handling and 2.83V/1m 107dB sensitivity. This set of features makes this tiny driver universally applicable for a variety of small monitor and PA applications, ideal for lighter, more compact line arrays. The horn supplied for use with the DE1118 by B&C Speakers was the ME10v2. This article was originally published in Voice Coil, August 2022.  Read the Full Article Now Available Here
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Advancing the Evolution
of Audio Technology

audioXpress provides unique articles on new audio developments, R&D Stories, valuable market updates, the most complete objective reviews on innovative products and software, and the best DIY audio projects from worldwide experts. The Leading Global Audio Engineering & Development Magazine and Website.

Voice Coil, the periodical for the loudspeaker industry, delivers product reviews, company profiles, industry news, and design tips straight to professional audio engineers and manufacturers who have the authority to make powerful purchasing decisions.

The Loudspeaker Industry Sourcebook is the most comprehensive collection of listings on loudspeaker material in the industry. Purchasers and decision makers refer to the guide for an entire year when making selections on drivers, finished systems, adhesives, domes, crossovers, voice coils, and everything in between.

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