The April 2014 Issue of audioXpress is Now Online

AX-2014-04This month’s audioXpress reviews the different approaches in microphone placement techniques for capturing and recording unamplified acoustic music, particularly classical music. A recent study and AES presentation has reignited this issue and our author Gary Galo decided an historical perspective was needed in his article “Stereophonic Recording: What Do Listeners Prefer?”

In our usual review section, we give a listen to the new Focal Spirit Professional Headphones, the first effort of this kind from the prestigious French manufacturer. Miguel Marques tested the Focal Spirit Pros in a quest to discover what this new model brings to an already crowded and very competitive headphone market.

Interested in high-resolution audio? Then you might want to check our Standards Review column, where we examine the recently announced HDMI 2.0 specification. HDMI 2.0 introduces bandwidth support for Ultra HD/4K televisions, adds up to 32 audio channels and 1,536-kHz audio sample frequency with simultaneous delivery of video and audio streams to multiple users.

In this edition, we interview Craig Bernabeu, founder and chief designer of SBS Designs. He created the company with a former colleague to explore “different approaches to record or play back music that would suit my needs” and realize his vision of “US-made high-end designs with a left-field approach available to users,” as he describes it.

Get ready to shake. Mike Klasco’s and Steve Tatarunis’s article discusses structure-borne vibrational energy with “Bass Shakers: Enhancing the Deep Bass Experience with Tactile Energy.”
This month’s Hollow-State Electronics column is dedicated to the “Effects Of Guitar-Amplifier Design On Distortion Sound.” Richard Honeycutt looks closely at one particular amplifier’s design to determine at what stages most of the distortion occurs.

For those interested in DIY projects, you will enjoy a great concept from Michael Rothacher with his LuminAria: A SIT Preamplifier. The author intended this preamplifier to be “compact enough to fit in a suitcase” and a “good-sounding, unusual preamplifier with a spiffy set of performance specifications.” He completed the project in two months, and it was one of the highlights at the Burning Amp Festival in San Francisco.

In our Audio Electronics column, we have Bill Reeve’s take on “An Alternative to Linear Regulators.” In the article, he searches for equivalent power-line ripple rejection with less power dissipation, because no one wants to listen to an audio amplifier that hums.

We also included a book review and this month we share what we can learn from a master by reading The Bruce Swedien Recording Method.

Your new issue of audioXpress is now available at www.gotomyxpress.com

Linx Fusion Headphones Receive Best of Innovations Recognition at CES 2014 Design and Engineering Awards.

Linx Fusion HeadphonesThe Linx Fusion is the first multisensory, active noise canceling set of headphones to fuse patented Linx Audio with ViviTouch electroactive polymer (EAP) technology to simultaneously transmit sound through the skin, bone, and ear to enhance comprehension in noisy environments and to address specific tonal sensitivities.

Audiology expert Able Planet Incorporated introduced the Linx Fusion patented multisensory technology in 2013, working with Bayer MaterialScience’s ViviTouch 4D Sound technology to create accurate reproduction and intelligibility. ViviTouch 4D Sound uses EAP technology that enhances the perception of loudness without increasing volume. It also enhances the bass response without overemphasizing annoying, high-frequency acoustic elements. Simultaneously transmitting sound through three distinct and separate audio delivery channels (skin, bone and ear) results in a clear separation of the audio.

www.ableplanet.com

Prescient Audio Awarded at CES 2014 For Its Revolutionary ThinDriver TD-12

Prescient Audio ThinDriver

Prescient Audio ThinDriver

Prescient Audio, from Rockford, IL, a consumer and professional audio manufacturer of high-performance loudspeaker technology, was named an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for its ThinDriver TD-12, in the High Performance Home Audio product category.

Prescient Audio’s TD-12 is the thinnest and lightest 12″ subwoofer available on the market, boasting an energy-efficient design. The TD-12 is a high-performance, 1,000-W loudspeaker that repositions the components from behind the loudspeaker to its perimeter. With a mounted depth of 2.25″, the TD-12 is the shallowest subwoofer available.

Its futuristic design allows for a smaller cabinet, requiring only 0.5 cubic feet of box volume. It can easily fit between standard wall joints within a wall cavity or underneath furniture or car seats. While it’s the thinnest loudspeaker profile in the industry, it still provides a rich, superior true-to-signal sound and incredible bass throughout all audible levels, all while offering the largest power-to-weight ratio in the industry at 120-W per pound.

According to Paul Niedermann, CEO of Prescient Audio, the ThinDriver TD-12 has been three years in the making and is now available.

www.prescientaudio.com

The January 2014 Edition of audioXpress is Now Available Online!

Our first issue for the New Year highlights the main technologies and product launches at the 135th Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention, one of the best audio engineering-related events in the US. While there, AES celebrated its 65th anniversary. And, of course, the convention was also a special event for us, marking the official presentation of the redesigned and reenergized audioXpress magazine!

In our What’s News section, we discuss HARMAN’s acquisition of Duran Audio, which was announced during the 135th AES Convention, and we detail the Dutch company’s valuable technologies and its history.

Our review for the month reveals a great stereo compressor in a 500-series format from the Polish company IGS Audio. Miguel Marques enjoyed his examination of the S-Type 500 VCA compressor and details the features and circuitry of this remake of a classic.

AX_012014Jan_360pxIn the final article of our three-part series “Tips to Resurrect a Classic Speaker or Design a New System,” Thomas Perazella confirms that a new woofer and a few DSP corrections can significantly improve the original Heil air motion transformer’s sound quality.

And for those who enjoy DIY audio, we have The Twin-T Oscillator, an audio oscillator and stereo VU meter design by Larry Cicchinelli. The easy-to-use unit combines a calibrated audio source with a level display.

In our Standards Review column, we discuss the new AES67-2013 Networked Audio-Over-IP (AoIP) Interoperability Standard and all the implications for the audio industry.

The issue also includes the third article in the series “The Lowdown on Woofers, Subwoofers, and Bass Shakers,” in which Mike Klasco and Steve Tatarunis look inside a few drivers and compare subwoofers and woofers.

For those audiophiles who follow Richard Honeycutt’s column, Sound Control, you will be glad to know that he addresses the difficult question of “Sound Isolation” and discusses the options when acousticians are asked the cost to “soundproof” a certain room.

Richard Honeycutt also begins a new series of articles dedicated to “The Development of Tube Guitar Amplifiers” in his respected Hollow-State Electronics column.

Finally, our own Shannon Becker interviews entrepreneurs Jason Lucash and Mike Szymczak, founders of OrigAudio, a really interesting company with great concepts for “foldable” speakers and other unique ideas.

Check it out at: www.gotomyxpress.com or visit audioxpress.com for information on how you can receive a monthly copy wherever you go.

Powersoft D-Cell504 IS Modules Drive Unique “Wall of Bass”

Wall Of Bass

Wall Of Bass

Powersoft D-Cell504 IS high-power amplifier modules have been designed to drive a unique “Wall of Bass” (as low as 7 Hz) in an Austrian nightclub.

The newly-reconstructed Club SUB, in the city of Wiener Neustadt, set out to integrate a perfect low-frequency solution, capable of reproducing a wide range of live and DJ-derived music (e.g., Drum ‘n’ Bass, Dubstep, and Techno) and arts presentations, as well as workshops and theatrical performance in a completely revolutionary way.

And since the 300-capacity club is located in a heavily populated residential area emphasis needed to be placed on acoustic isolation.

Project managers, Wolfgang Sauter (from Pro Performance) and Reinhard Nell (from Lambda Labs), were equal to the challenge.

Lambda Labs German-based director, Steffen Kroschel, said, “The owners’ goal was to achieve a similar sound performance as it had in the Grelle Forelle Club in Vienna. Given the concerns of local residents, when Mr. Sauter surveyed the building, with its tube like architecture, the abstract idea of a ‘vibrating wall’ became more logical.”

He contacted Lambda Labs where Richard Nell supported the concept with simulation data, parameters, and measurements— applying his knowledge of high-performance concrete “closed box” enclosures and amping. The drivers were developed especially for this application, going through 10 prototype stages, while the club owners helped with casting the concrete loudspeaker enclosures.

For the rear wall, behind the 6 m × 5 m stage, 400-kg special concrete blocks were cast and set into a 6 m × 3 m wall, using 13 tons of heavy concrete and a further 35 tons for the foundation—requiring a monumental effort. “It was extremely difficult to handle these enclosures with small forklift trucks and build the 50 cm deep low-frequency absorber,” said Kroschel. “Behind the wall is sand, and under the wall, Mr. Sauter chose material that is used for highway construction.”

Wall Of Bass raw concrete castings

Wall Of Bass raw concrete castings

Each concrete block serves as a loudspeaker enclosure with a pressure-resistant rear chamber that implements the perfect impulse response of a “closed-box” design and maximizes the radiation resistance of the woofers through the acoustically hard surface. A self-enveloped 15” speaker was produced and adapted to the unusual demands of this project. The single chassis are designed to act together like one single swinging wall—in a similar principle to a piston in a cylinder.

Kroschel explained, “A perfect plane wave is created in the interior of the club, which naturally moves along the side walls and doesn’t induce any room modes. The rear of the main floor was converted into a single bass trap to absorb the incoming wave. The SUB thereby achieves an acoustical result that could never be reached even outdoors.”

Outside, virtually no noise escapes. And Nell and Sauter, agree that “such an operating range and evenness of the low frequencies is overwhelming.”

But to achieve this optimum performance, every driver needed be powered by its own dedicated amplifier module to take advantage of the shortest cable runs, matching power supplies, and impedance data. Nell chose Powersoft, a longtime partner of Lambda Labs, to provide amping for the “Wall of Bass.” Lambda Labs supported the installation with items like amplifier mounting frames.

The 32 Lambda Labs OEM CX 15” ultra-long excursion drivers, with ± 25-mm linear excursion capability, are set in housings made from special concrete. Each is driven by 800-W amplifying modules, with the maximum desired sound pressure level (SPL) reached at an excursion of only ±3 mm. Therefore, the “Wall of Bass” only uses 500-W peak music power during operation, which sets new standards of energy efficiency.

Via their two-channel 32 D-Cell504 IS amp modules, Powersoft delivered 25,600-W amping power, including four-in voice coil with a custom-made venting system that has a hardened membrane.

Integrated within an aluminum heatsink panel, the D-Cell504 IS provides an interface panel with input volume potentiometer, double XLR for mono input and link out or stereo input operation, four LEDs for limit, clip, signal, and ready, with a four-LED preset selection button to show the preset in use. Easy access to the DSP mounted on board, is further facilitated via remote control capabilities provided by Powersoft’s proprietary Armonía Pro Audio Suite.

For more information, visit www.powersoft-audio.com

Wall Of Bass

Wall Of Bass

Focal Professional Launches Spirit Professional Headphones

Casque_pro_headband“Listen to your music, not to your headphones!” embodies the “spirit” for Focal’s new product entry. The Spirit Professional headphones are the direct result of Focal’s historical expertise in the high-performance transducer design, promising neutrality and transparency for total control. In line with the French manufacturer’s monitoring loudspeakers, the Spirit Professional headphones ensure high-quality control of monitoring activities without exception, freeing professionals from the acoustic constraints related to their workstation’s size.

Focal chose the circumaural design for the Spirit Professional headphones to optimize the acoustic coupling to the ear. This monitoring tool, typically used in professional recording studios, is also suitable for broadcasting or home studios, where the noise level is much higher.

The frequency of use and amount of time used are two of the most important aspects to consider when designing professional headphones. Comfort optimization was essential for Focal. The choice to use memory foam for the ear pieces and the headband ensures a perfect fit regardless of user’s morphology. What’s more, the ear pieces’ dimensions have been increased to reduce the pressure level. The size increase guarantees insulation and prevents fatigue. Finally, the black textured finish gives the headphones a simplistic look and a shock-and-scratch-resistant quality.

FocalSpiritHeaphonesAccording to Focal, the Spirit Professional headphones use mylar/titanium alloy drivers to achieve strong dynamics without distortion and neutrality of tonal balance combined with high definition of audio signals, even at low listening volumes. Finally, work on the acoustical load of the transducers has resulted in articulated bass worthy of open-style headphones, but with the advantages of insulation. The low-impedance OFC coiled cable (13’/4 m) also enhances the sound transparency, an important concept for the brand. Focal also provides a straight cable (4.6’/1.4 m) with a built-in track selector and microphone for receiving calls as an accessory to ensure mobility. The Spirit Professional headphones cost approximately $300.

Focal Professional
www.focal.com

KRK Systems Launches New Rokit Generation 3 Monitors

KRK Systems, now part of the Gibson Pro Audio division, claims it is the leader in the worldwide home studio market when it comes to powered monitors. KRK Systems is certainly one of the world’s most respected studio reference monitor manufacturers. So, when the company decided to refresh its popular Rokits, now in its third generation, there must have been a good reason.

KRKg3-familyWithout dramatic changes, the new Rokit G3 family shows a cleaner more refined look and finishing, with “radiused” edges that help reduce distortion from diffraction. The monitors now offer a new 1” soft dome tweeter and new glass-Aramid composite woofers. The changes expand the Rokit’s frequency response up to 35 kHz, with better vocal clarity and extended bass response from 35 Hz. The proprietary bi-amped, Class-A/B amplifier provides SPL up to 109 dB and the waveguide design helps achieve the detailed imaging, while the front-firing bass port reduces boundary coupling to enable flexible room positioning. One of the key changes is in the back of the monitors, where high-frequency adjustments can be found to tailor the system to the user’s personal taste. The low-frequency adjustments compensate for room acoustics.

KRK Sytems, Inc.
www.krksys.com

LSR 3 Series: Affordable Studio Monitors From Jbl Professional

The 3 Series studio monitors leverage the new technology developed for JBL’s flagship M2 Master Reference Monitor.

The 3 Series studio monitors leverage the new technology developed for JBL’s flagship M2 Master Reference Monitor.

JBL Professional introduced a new professional studio monitoring range at an affordable price. The 3 Series studio monitors leverage the new technology developed for JBL’s flagship M2 Master Reference Monitor, which was launched earlier this year. This is also the first studio monitor line to incorporate JBL’s patent-pending Image Control Waveguide, with a distinctive appearance and rugged build.

The JBL 3 Series features two models: the LSR305, 5” powered studio monitor and the LSR308, 8” powered studio monitor. The LSR305 responds from 43 Hz to 24 kHz and a 108-dB peak sound pressure level (SPL). The LSR308 features a 37-Hz-to-24-kHz response and a 112-dB peak SPL.

Surrounding the high-frequency tweeter and located directly above the woofer, the new Image Control Waveguide precisely controls the sound emanating from the monitor in the vertical and horizontal planes. With a complex contour employing tiny, meticulously engineered ridges, the waveguide optimizes the loudspeakers’ phase relationship, and the blend of directed and reflecting sound arriving at the listening position. In addition, the waveguide enables 3 Series models to deliver neutral sound across a large working space.

The 3 Series’s long-throw woofer and damped woven composite tweeter are designed to reproduce the powerful transients and microdynamics of any mix. JBL’s patented Slip Stream low-frequency port design works with the woofer to produce deep bass response at all playback levels. The port’s double-flared shape is precisely engineered for greater low-frequency extension and reduced turbulence. Efficient Class D amplifiers provide enough power to the drivers to deliver the output and dynamic headroom needed for the most demanding production styles.

Each 3 Series model incorporates a range of features to integrate the loudspeakers into a variety of environments including multiple inputs, a detented volume control, and an input sensitivity switch for compatibility with professional and consumer equipment.

The loudspeakers cost $199.99 and $325 for the LSR305 and LSR308, respectively.

JBL Professional
www.jblpro.com/3series

Industry Watch: October

CEDIA 2013 Manufacturers’ Excellence Awards

The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) has announced the 2013 Manufacturers’ Excellence Awards finalists. Thirty-one product finalists were named in the Best New Product category and two product finalists were named in the Sustainable Lifestyle Product Innovation category. The award winners were announced at a press conference on Friday, September 27, at the 2013 CEDIA EXPO.

In addition, winners were also recognized at the annual Electronic Lifestyles Awards Celebration on Saturday, September 28. Both events occurred after this issue was printed. Winners will be announced in Voice Coil’s November issue. The loudspeaker-related finalists included:

  • Core Brands (CEDIA founding member)—Niles Cynema Soundfield In-Wall Soundbar (see Photo 1)

    Photo 1: Niles Cynema’s Soundfield in-wall soundbar received the CEDIA Manufacturers’ Excellence Award

    Photo 1: Niles Cynema’s Soundfield in-wall soundbar received the CEDIA Manufacturers’ Excellence Award

  • Sonance (CEDIA founding member)—Sonarray SR1 System outdoor speaker system (see Photo 2)

    Photo 2: Sonance’s Sonarray outdoor system also received the CEDIA Manufacturers’ Excellence Award.

    Photo 2: Sonance’s Sonarray outdoor system also received the CEDIA Manufacturers’ Excellence Award.

  • Sonance—SLS High Output outdoor speaker system
  • Sonance—Visual Performance VP66 In-Wall Speaker

 


CEDIA Benchmarking Surveys

If you manufacture loudspeaker products for the custom install market, it is important to stay informed with the installer network. CEDIA has released key findings from its 2013 Benchmarking Surveys, which evaluate the performance and the state of home technology professional companies for 2012 and reports on 2013 expectations.

The results conclude that home technology professional companies continue to experience moderate growth, focusing on operational efficiencies (historically, one of the largest prohibitors of profitability) and are ready to bring in additional staff to accommodate a growing workload.

The 2012 survey participants expected a revenue increase of 12% from 2011. The 2013 participants reported a 10% actual increase and an 18% expected increase in 2013.

The median number of employees stayed flat from 2010, 2011, and 2012 with six employees per company (full- and part-time), while revenue per employee rose from $135,000 in 2011 to $145,950 in 2012. However, participants indicated they will increase their staff by 14% in 2013.

In 2012, there was a stronger commitment to operational efficiencies with 80% of the participants reporting that they focused on standardizing operational practices in 2012 for increased profitability. This was the most applied tactic out of the 10 presented.

Of the participants offering recurring monthly revenue services, the percentage of companies offering remote network monitoring and diagnostic services continues on a strong positive trend (e.g., 16% in 2011, 32% in 2012, and 41% in 2013).

The survey report, compiled by Profit Planning Group, provides detailed benchmarks, best practices, and trend analysis based on data collected from home technology professional companies. All the survey participants received a customized report comparing their companies to similar-size companies, the industry median, and the most profitable industry companies. This custom report also included a suggested action plan for increasing profitability and trend analysis for participants of more than one year. The estimated value of this custom analysis is $2,500.

For the first time, CEDIA is also offering free condensed versions of the reports to all CEDIA members as a membership benefit. The full survey reports are available for purchase through the CEDIA Marketplace at the following rates:

  • 2013 CEDIA Benchmarking Survey—Finance, Project Management, & Marketing: $700 for members/$1,200 for non-members
  • 2013 CEDIA Benchmarking Survey—Staffing, Benefits, & Compensation: $300 for members/$800 for non-members

For more information about the CEDIA Benchmarking Surveys and member report access, visit www.cedia.net/benchmarking or e-mail research@cedia.org.

 


First Annual TWICE VIP Awards

The nominations were submitted, the voting took place, and the selections were made for TWICE magazine’s first-ever products awards—the TWICE VIP (Very Important Product) Awards.

Retailers and distributors voted online for the TWICE VIPs, honoring the products that have made the biggest differences in their businesses.

Retailers and distributors voted on products in specific categories based on product features, product design, and consumer value. The eligible products retailed in the US, or were scheduled to be sold at retail, from fall 2012 to spring 2013.

The categories included:

  • Accessories: gaming peripherals, HDMI cables, headphones less than $300, headphones more than $300, health and fitness technology products, mounting accessories, power and charging devices, projector screens, smartphone accessories, and tablet accessories
  • Camcorders: action video camcorders
  • Cameras: DSLRs (interchangeable lens) and point-and-shoot cameras
  • Car: connectivity to mobile device for in-dash head units, remote security/convenience system controlled from a smartphone, and car speakers
  • Computers and Tablets: tablets and laptops
  • Home Audio: A/V receivers $699 or less, A/V receivers more than $699, iPod/iPhone docking speakers, portable wireless speakers, soundbars at $499 or less, and soundbars more than $499
  • Major Appliances: bottom-mount refrigerators and high-efficiency (HE) washers
  • Video and TVs: big-screen flat-panel TVs (42” to 55”), big-screen flat-panel TVs (58” and larger), streaming IPTV set-top devices, and home-theater projectors

Loudspeaker-related winners were:

  • Headphones More Than $300: Polk UltraFocus 8000
  • Headphones Less Than $300: Skullcandy Crusher
  • Soundbars $499 or Less: Harman International JBL Cinema SB200
  • Car Speakers: Pioneer Electronics TS-A1605C 6.5” Component Speaker
  • Soundbars at More Than $499: Samsung Electronics HW-F750 2.1-Channel (see Photo 3)

    Photo 3: Samsung’s  HW-F870 soundbar received a Twice VIP award.

    Photo 3: Samsung’s HW-F870 soundbar received a Twice VIP award.

 


Klipsch History

Loudspeaker engineer Jim Hunter wears many “hats” at Klipsch, among them is company historian. Keeping the historical records of Paul Klipsch is important for Klipsch, and to the rest of us. Paul Klipsch was an important pioneer in the loudspeaker industry and knowing the “rest of the story” is fascinating. To that end, Hunter (who gave a great presentation on Klipsch history at the 2013 ALMA Symposium) has recently updated Paul Klipsch’s historical information on the Klipsch website (www.klipsch.com/founder).

 


Advanced Audio Systems Engineer Joins MISCO

Photo 4: Engineer Richard Field joins MISCO.

Photo 4: Engineer Richard Field joins MISCO.

Richard Field has joined MISCO, a US-based global manufacturer of speakers and audio systems, as a design engineer (see Photo 4). Field has a BS from Southern Illinois University in audio electronics. His loudspeaker engineering career spans more than 25 years. He was an automotive transducer specialist for Harman. He also designed transducers, loudspeakers, and active systems for Klipsch. One of Field’s noteworthy designs was the award-winning Klipsch ProMedia series of personal audio systems. Field also spent three years at Loudspeaker Component designing cones, tools, and processes.

“Richard’s love of loudspeakers shows in his long list of successful and profitable designs,” said Dan Digre, MISCO’s general manager. “[This] makes him a perfect fit for our seasoned engineering team. Richard had the good fortune to work directly with audio engineering luminaries such as John Eargle and Richard Small. And he has vast experience interacting with manufacturing facilities around the world. We’re really looking forward to working with Richard and everything he brings to the MISCO engineering team.”

 


Onkyo’s Active Soundbar

Onkyo has launched its first active soundbar and TV-speaker base. The new products join a 2.1-speaker home theater system in the Envision Cinema product series, which are designed to deliver home-theater audio with simple setup (see Photo 5).

Photo 5: Onkyo received the TWICE VIP award for its LS-B50 soundbar.

Photo 5: Onkyo received the TWICE VIP award for its LS-B50 soundbar.

The LS-B50 soundbar and wireless subwoofer has a $699 suggested retail price. The LS-B50 also doubles as a music system and will “talk” to Bluetooth and USB ports, which play audio from smartphones, tablets, and mass-storage devices. This soundbar features Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding, one optical input, one coaxial input, and one analog input.

As with the Onkyo Envision series’ $499 LS3100 2.1-speaker system, the LS-B50 is preprogrammed with the IR codes of nine major TV brands so it can be controlled from a TV remote. However, it is also equipped with its own remote. The LS-B50 also features a six-channel amplifier and proprietary AuraSphere DSP, which according to Onkyo, expands the traditional audio sweet spot from directly in front of the TV to the entire room. The technology manages equalization and sound pressure levels (SPL) in real time to create a “realistic 3-D immersion field” from PCM stereo and Dolby Digital audio sources, the company added.

The LS-B50 soundbar features six 2.75” diameter full-range drivers, two 1.19” diameter ring-radiator tweeters, and wireless 6.5” subwoofer. Three sound modes optimize playback of different audio content. The News mode cleans up and projects dialog more intelligibly. The Movie mode enhances the movie soundtracks’ impact. The Music mode delivers more balanced sound across the frequency range. The output is 40 W into 4 Ω. It comes with a wall-mounting kit and IR flashers for flexible placement options.

 


Sony’s 7.1-Channel Soundbar

Sony has launched the HT-ST7, a new “high-end” $1,299 soundbar (see Photo 6). The 7.1-channel HT-ST7 soundbar, which does not carry the Sony ES high-performance series designation, is now sold at Sony Stores and electronics retailers nationwide (e.g., Best Buy).

The product, engineered in collaboration with sound engineers at Sony Pictures Studios, features an aluminum chassis that incorporates Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoders, nine independent speaker drivers, seven amplifier channels, three HDMI inputs, an HDMI output with audio return channel, three S/PDIF digital audio inputs, one analog-audio input, magnetic-fluid speakers, S-Master digital amplifiers, and S-Force Pro Front-Surround technology. The HT-ST7 also features built-in wireless Bluetooth and supports AAC and aptX streaming over Bluetooth. The soundbar’s nearfield communication (NFC) technology enables users to tap their mobile Bluetooth devices to establish Bluetooth connections and stream music.

 


Vizio Launches Three New Soundbars

Vizio has added three more soundbars, the S2929w, the S3820w, and the S3821w, with built-in Bluetooth to its 2013 lineup. The three new soundbars are in addition to the two models shipped earlier this year at suggested prices of $249 and $329. All the soundbars are wall mountable.

The $79 S2920w shipped in September and the $119 S3820w and the $179 S3821w were available in August. The $79 model is sized for 32” TVs. the other two soundbars are sized for 42” TVs. The two step-up models currently shipping are designed for 47” TVs.

Among the three new models, all but the S2920w feature Dolby Digital decoding. All three soundbars feature DTS TruVolume, DTS TruSurround technology, optical and coaxial digital inputs, and an analog RCA input. The S3821w model includes a wireless outboard 6” subwoofer. The S2920w delivers 95-dB SPL and 90-Hz bass response. The S3820w raises the output to 98 dB and deepens bass response to 65 Hz. The S3821w model delivers 100-dB SPL and 50-Hz bass response. All the soundbars share a design inspired by Vizio’s near-borderless M-Series Razor LED smart TVs.

Vizio’s top-end $329 S4251w is a 5.1 system that includes wireless surround speakers and a wireless subwoofer. Vizio uses its online social community, Vizio Fandemonium, to promote the products and give its fans exclusive access to a custom Pandora station and a chance to win a DTS-equipped soundbar.

 


CEA Consumer Confidence Study

Consumer confidence in the overall economy improved slightly, while sentiment toward technology spending remained flat in July, according to the latest figures from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The CEA’s Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE), which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, increased 2.3 points in July to reach 167.8. The ICE remains 5.1 points lower than in July of 2012. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE), which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, decreased 0.3 points in July to 86.2. However, the ICTE is 2.9 points higher than the July average over the last three years.

The CEA Indexes comprise the ICE and ICTE and are updated on a monthly basis through consumer surveys. New data is released on the fourth Tuesday of each month. CEA has been tracking index data since January 2007. To find current and past indexes, charts, methodology, and future release dates, visit CEAindexes.org.

TASCAM Supplies Professional-Grade Headphones

Tascam-TH2000

TASCAM’s TH-2000 professional-grade headphones are designed for serious audiophiles.

TASCAM, the Pro Audio Division of TEAC America, has been supplying and revolutionizing the market with professional-grade products for decades. Its most recent contribution is the TH-2000 headphones.

The TH-2000 headphones offer a powerful bass response, midranges that round out the mix, crystalline high-frequency ranges for a strong presence and clarity, comfort for hours of listening and use, durability, and TASCAM quality.

TASCAM, creator of the original TH-02 headphones is taking its professional-grade headphones a step further with the TH-2000. The TH-2000’s main features include: a foldable design for easy compact transport, circumaural ear cuffs with an industrial strength flexible headband, and a closed-back isolating design.

The headphone specifications include a 53-mm driver diameter, 60-Ω impedance, 101-dB ±3 sensitivity, 22-kHz-to-18-Hz frequency response, and 1,800-mW maximum power.

For more information, visit http://tascam.com.