Industry Watch: February 2014

New President Heads MartinLogan, Paradigm, and Anthem

Rocco Melchione recently accepted the position of president/CEO for the Paradigm, MartinLogan, and Anthem brands. He replaces Tim Valters, who held that title for the last four years. Melchione has more than 20 years of experience at the senior executive level in global manufacturing and sales, the company said. His experience includes global supply-chain management, process improvement, and quality practices,

Melchione also had a leadership role in the expansion of a global division of Panasonic and helped integrate Baldwin Piano into Gibson Guitar Corp. as a Gibson subsidiary, the company added. Senior management teams for all three brands report directly to him.

ShoreView Industries, the parent company for the three brands, ShoreView Industries, owns 100% of MartinLogan and more than 50% of Paradigm Electronics, which includes the Paradigm and Anthem brands. The remaining percentage of Paradigm Electronics is owned by Scott Bagby, one of the company’s founding partners. Despite the change, the company said it will continue to focus on its specialty audio retailing.

 

 


 

Fujitsu Ten’s Eclipse Brand Returns to CE

Fujitsu Ten’s Eclipse brand, which left the car audio aftermarket in 2010 after 21 years, is making a US comeback in the home-audio market (see Photo 1). The Japanese company displayed its current range of stand-mounted, tapered, sphere-shaped home speakers ($490/pair to $11,200/pair) at the 2014 International CES (January 7–10 in Las Vegas, NV).

Fujitsu Ten Eclipse

Fujitsu Ten’s Eclipse brand now offers the TD-M1 speakers
($1,300/pair) with Wi-Fi, AirPlay, AirPlay Direct, DLNA, USB B to connect to a PC/Mac, USB A to connect to an iPhone/iPod touch, and a 192-kHz/24-bit DAC.

Fujitsu Ten also introduced a pair of high-end powered subwoofers—the TD725SW MK2 ($7,000) and the TD520SW ($4,500)—and a wireless Airplay speaker. The AirPlay speaker, shaped like the company’s other tapered spherical speakers, is called the TD-M1 ($1,300/pair). The new products ship in February 2014. The company’s current speakers became available in January 2014.

The new audio Eclipse brand entered the home speaker market in Japan in 2001 and has expanded its line to Asia and Europe. Although the brand was briefly in the US some years ago, the Eclipse home audio brand is ready to “properly” enter the US home market in February 2014. Both subwoofers are said to combine power and speed. They use two small-diameter drivers in a back-to-back configuration linked by an aluminum bar. The configuration combines small-diameter driver speed with large-diameter driver power.

Both subwoofers feature Class-D amplifiers, a low-pass filter bypass, an IR remote, and a selector to switch between 5.1- or 2.1-channel inputs. They deliver 500 W and 250 W, respectively, of nominal output with 1% total harmonic distortion (THD). The playback range is 20–150 Hz and 25–150 Hz, respectively. The larger model measures 21.5” × 19.7” × 20.6”.

The AirPlay speaker, which also features time-domain technology, comes with Wi-Fi, AirPlay, AirPlay Direct, DLNA, USB B to connect to a PC/Mac, USB A to connect to an iPhone/iPod touch, and a 192-kHz/24-bit DAC. An iPhone app is available for remote control of power, volume, and input switching.

The DAC provides users the option to remove the oversampling filter during the playback process. Oversampling filters remove noise that occurs when digital sound is converted into analog. The speaker’s oversampling-free mode removes the oversampling filter for enhanced clarity, the company noted.

The speaker features a Class-D amplifier, touch-sensor controls, and a speaker-angle adjustment, which enables users to choose different angles (0°–20°) with a single touch to optimize imaging for a given listening location.

A 3.5-mm input enables connection to TVs and other devices. The speaker measures 6.1” × 8.6” × 9.5” and features ring 3” drivers, a 70-Hz-to-30-kHz frequency response, and 20-W nominal output at 1% THD.

 


 

Atlantic Technology Adds Bluetooth to Its Powered H-PAS Soundbar

While Atlantic Technology (AT) has lowered the price of its PowerBar from $799 to $699, the big news is that the PowerBar now includes Bluetooth capability. The included Bluetooth receiver features nearfield communications (NFC) for tap-to-connect functionality and streams the aptX codec over Bluetooth. The Bluetooth 4.0 receiver connects to the soundbar via the bar’s analog audio input.
The AT product stands out because of its unique H-PAS technology that delivers bass to 47 Hz at “theater-level sound pressure levels (SPLs).” Typical soundbars usually have 150-to-200-Hz capabilities. The H-PAS also improves dialog clarity because of the low woofer excursion that produces less bass distortion. The AT PowerBar also incorporates DSP with Dolby Digital and DTS to deliver a two-to-five-channel experience.

Light, Sound, and Wireless Magic from AwoX

Building on the success of its Awox StriimLIGHT Bluetooth light bulb, AwoX launched the AwoX StriimLIGHT Wi-Fi LED bulb, which is equipped with a 10-W speaker

Building on the success of its Awox StriimLIGHT Bluetooth light bulb, AwoX launched the AwoX StriimLIGHT Wi-Fi LED bulb, which is equipped with a 10-W speaker

After causing a market sensation earlier in 2013, French-based AwoX has expanded its AwoX StriimLIGHT range of innovative “musical light bulbs.” The company designed the world’s first LED light bulb with a built-in 10-W speaker. This revolutionary device enables users to play music from their smartphones, tablets, and computers via a Bluetooth connection.

Following the device’s market success, AwoX introduced two new musical light bulbs: the AwoX StriimLIGHT mini and the AwoX StriimLIGHT Wi-Fi. The latter has a much greater range than the Bluetooth version and supports a dimming function, enabling finer control of lighting and mood. With the device’s audio synchronization capability, users will also be able to add as many bulbs as they wish, creating a congenial multiroom solution with powerful sound.

On the lighting side, AwoX StriimLIGHT Wi-Fi has a dimmer switch to control the ambience. AwoX has also announced the launch of the AwoX StriimLIGHT mini to fit an E14 socket, which shares the same characteristics as the Awox StriimLIGHT Bluetooth. Equipped with a 3-W speaker, AwoX StriimLIGHT mini is easy to install.

The company is currently selling its products in Europe and plans to make its three products available in the US and Canada.

striimLIGHT_mini_1146

AwoX is a board member of the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), the audio/video interconnection standards organization, and holds several major international patents for its connected technologies and multimedia products.

AwoX
www.awox.com

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.

Industry Watch: September

Dr. Amar Bose (1929–2013)

Amar Bose, founder of Bose, passed away on July 12, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Bose Corp.)

Amar Bose, founder of Bose, passed away on July 12, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Bose Corp.)

Amar Gopal Bose (Amar Gopal Boshu) died recently at his home in Wayland, MA.

He was born November 2, 1929, and became the chairman and founder of Bose Corp. (see Photo 1). An American electrical engineer of Bengali descent, he was listed on the 2007 Forbes 400 list with a $1.8 billion net worth. The child of an Indian Bengali father and an American mother, Bose was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. His father, Noni Gopal Bose, was an Indian freedom revolutionary from Bengal who, having been imprisoned for his political activities, fled Kolkata (Calcutta) in the 1920s to avoid further prosecution by the British colonial police.

Amar Bose first displayed his entrepreneurial skills and interest in electronics at age 13, when, during the World War II years, he enlisted school friends as co-workers in a small home business, repairing model trains and home radios to supplement his family’s income. Bose graduated from Abington Senior High School and entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating with a BS in Electrical Engineering in the early 1950s.

Bose spent a year in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in the research labs at NV Philips Electronics and a year in Delhi, India, as a Fulbright student. In India, he met his wife, Prema, from whom he later divorced. He completed his PhD in electrical engineering from MIT, and wrote a highly mathematical thesis on nonlinear systems. Following graduation, Bose took a position at MIT as an assistant professor. He focused his research on acoustics, which led him to invent a stereo loudspeaker that would reproduce, in a domestic setting, the dominantly reflected soundfield that characterizes the listening space of the audience in a concert hall.

Bose was awarded significant patents in two fields, which, to this day, remain important to the Bose Corp. These patents were in the area of loudspeaker design and nonlinear, two-state modulated, Class D power processing.

During his early years as a MIT professor, Bose bought a high-end stereo speaker system at a RadioShack in 1956. He was reportedly underwhelmed by its performance. This would eventually pave the way for his extensive speaker technology research, which concentrated on key weaknesses in the high-end speaker systems available during his time and focused on psychoacoustics, which would become a hallmark of the company’s audio products. Bose Corp. was founded in 1964 with initial capital from several investors, including his MIT thesis adviser and professor, Dr. Y. W. Lee, who invested his life savings in the effort.

Applying similar psychoacoustic principles to headphone technology, Bose created the Tri-Port Earcup Drivers. Today, Bose Corp. is a multifaceted entity with more than 12,000 employees worldwide that produces products for home, car, and professional audio, and conducts basic research in acoustics, automotive systems, and other fields. As a privately held company, Bose Corp. does not publish its financial numbers; however a few hundred shareholders receive audited annual financial statements. In addition to running his company, Bose remained a professor at MIT until 2000.

Bose President Bob Maresca remembered the man behind the name, saying in a statement that the company is “deeply saddened” by his passing.

“It is impossible to put into words what Dr. Bose meant to each of us, and to [the company],” Maresca said. “He was more than our chairman. He was our teacher—always encouraging us, always believing that we could do great things, and that anything was possible.”

Dr. Bose is pictured with his mentors Dr. Y. W. Lee, far left, and Professor Norbert Wiener, right, at MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics in 1955. (Photo courtesy of Bose Corp.)

Dr. Bose is pictured with his mentors Dr. Y. W. Lee, far left, and Professor Norbert Wiener, right, at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics in 1955. (Photo courtesy of Bose Corp.)

Bose carried that mantra into his work as an MIT teacher, joining the faculty in 1956 and spending more than 45 years as an educator. He retired in 2001. According to MIT President L. Rafael Reif, “Amar Bose was an exceptional human being and an extraordinarily gifted leader. He made quality mentoring and a joyful pursuit of excellence, ideas, and possibilities the hallmark of his career in teaching, research, and business. I learned from him and was inspired by him, every single time I met with him.”

During his tenure at MIT, Bose started a research program in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics and received the Baker Teaching Award in 1963–1964, among other honors (see Photo 2). In 2011, Bose gave the school the majority of his company’s stock in the form of nonvoting shares, ensuring that all dividends would be used for the school’s education and research mission.

His son, Vanu Bose, is the founder and CEO of Vanu, a firm whose software-based radio technology provides a wireless infrastructure that enables individual base stations to simultaneously operate GSM, CDMA, and iDEN. Amar Bose’s daughter, Maiya, is a chiropractor.


 

Timothy Dorwart (1955–2013)

Timothy Dorwat, CEO of Community Professional Loudspeakers, passed away on July 15, 2013.

Timothy Dorwat, CEO of Community Professional Loudspeakers, passed away on July 15, 2013.

Timothy Dorwart, formerly of Whitehall, PA, passed away on July 15, 2013, after a valiant 10-year battle with cancer (see Photo 3). He was 58. An industry leader and a mentor to many, Dorwart was known as a warm and gentle man who loved his family and his friends. He had more than 30 years of sales, manufacturing, and management experience in the pro audio and music industries.

Dorwart had an impressive career. He spent 20 years as the Director of the Bose Professional Services Division, followed by four years as a Vice President for DMX Music. From 2007 to 2010, he led the Stanton Group through a successful turnaround as its CEO. He guided the acquisition of the Stanton Group to Gibson Guitar, forming its new Pro Audio Division. Dorwart served as the General Manager of the Gibson Guitar Pro Audio Division, until he accepted the position as CEO of Community Professional Loudspeakers in February 2013.


 

Pure Audio Ships New Jongo Products

Pure Audio, the Internet-radio and docking-speaker company, has shipped the first products in its Jongo wireless multi-room audio lineup. The Jongo series consists of two tabletop Bluetooth/Wi-Fi speakers, a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi adapter that connects to existing stereo systems, and a Pure Connect iOS and Android app.

The app uses Wi-Fi to act as a Jongo-system controller, simultaneously streams songs stored on a mobile device to multiple speakers, and concurrently streams Internet radio stations and music services to multiple speakers. The app accesses more than 20,000 radio stations, about 200,000 free on-demand programs and podcasts, and the Pure Music subscription-streaming service.

Two different songs can be simultaneously streamed to different speakers if two mobile devices are used at the same time. With Bluetooth, users can stream music stored on a mobile device and any app’s audio to one speaker at a time.

The Pure Connect app also enables users to direct PC-stored music to Jongo speakers. Only one song at a time can be streamed. The $199 Jongo S3 portable, rechargeable wireless speaker and the $129 A2 multiroom hi-fi adapter are available from several retailers, including Amazon, Target, OfficeMax, and Pure.

The Pure Connect app for iOS devices is available with an Android version to be released later this year. The company also plans availability of the 100-W AC-only tabletop T6 speaker. The A2, J3, and T6 incorporate built-in Wi-Fi 802.11b/g with WEP and WPA/WPA2 support; Ethernet port; and decoding of WMA, AAC, MP3, MP2, and FLAC audio files. The AC/DC J3 features a 3.5” neodymium upward-firing mid/bass driver and four 0.75” high-frequency drivers in 360° with a total 10-W RMS output. Its rechargeable battery pack delivers at least 10 h of listening per charge. The J3 and T6 come with color grille options. The A2 adapter incorporates 24-bit internal DAC and optical, coaxial, and dual (RCA) phono analog audio outputs.


 

Bowers & Wilkins Introduces the CM10

Bowers & Wilkins is replacing the flagship speaker in its CM series, bringing technologies used in its reference 800 series to the CM series for the first time. The CM10 replaces the CM9 and became available in August at a suggested price of $4,000 per pair.

The new CM10 is shown with a painted black-gloss finish. (Photo courtesy of Bowers & Wilkins)

The new CM10 is shown with a painted black-gloss finish. (Photo courtesy of Bowers & Wilkins)

The CM10 will be available in a painted black-gloss finish or in two real-wood veneers, rosewood or wenge. With the new technologies and other improvements, the CM10 plays louder than its predecessor, delivers more extended bass and delivers better imaging with lower distortion.

Technologies incorporated from the 800 series include a tweeter placed on the top of the speaker cabinet, which provides better imaging and dispersion and creates a more natural, spacious sound. The tweeter’s aluminum dome is strengthened using a second aluminum layer to stiffen the whole structure and prevent the voice coil from going “out of round” at higher frequencies. As a result, the double dome pushes the first break-up frequency up from the standard dome’s 30 to 38 kHz. This makes the tweeter “more piston-like” in the audible frequencies below 20 kHz and delivers greater clarity and control even at high volume levels. Putting the tweeter on top of the cabinet also helped open space for three bass drivers instead of two without increasing cabinet height. The result is increased sensitivity, deeper bass, lower distortion, and higher maximum output, the company said.

For the first time in a CM series speaker, the midrange driver, a Kevlar FST driver, is decoupled from the rest of the cabinet to reduce cabinet coloration. Moving the midrange closer to the top of the cabinet also improves dispersion and increases the sense of airiness.


 

Circuit City for Sale

Circuit City, the stores still empty with the Circuit City logo showing, is up for sale once again. Current owner Systemax has put the trademark and domain names of Circuit City and fellow former consumer electronics (CE) chain CompUSA up for sale after consolidating those businesses under its TigerDirect brand last year. The company acquired Circuit City’s intellectual property in a 2009 bankruptcy auction and purchased the CompUSA brand and 16 of its stores in 2008, as former Systemax retail executive Gilbert Fiorentino sought to fill a CE market vacuum.

Fiorentino later resigned and returned millions to Systemax amid charges of kickbacks and theft. He reached a separate settlement with the SEC last year. Last month, his brother, Carl Fiorentino, was indicted and now faces jail time for taking millions in bribes from Systemax suppliers. According to Hilco Streambank, which is handling the sale, the Circuit City and CompUSA websites drew “tens of millions” of annual visits under Systemax, while its co-branded chain of CompUSA and TigerDirect stores grew to 43 locations at its peak.


VOXX Sees Gain Despite Slower Sales

VOXX International turned a net profit and higher operating income, but sales were slightly off in its fiscal first quarter, which ended May 31. Its net income was $2.1 million in the quarter compared with a prior year’s net loss of $4.7 million. Operating income for the quarter was $3.4 million, an 11.6% gain over the year-ago period performance of $3.1 million. Net sales were $193 million, a decrease of $1 million, or 0.5%, compared with net sales of $194 million reported in the comparable year-ago period, VOXX reported.

Automotive sales for the quarter were $104.9 million, an increase of 4.5% over $100.4 million reported in the comparable period last year.

Premium audio sales for the fiscal 2014 first quarter were $40.2 million, an increase of approximately 1.7% as compared with $39.5 million reported in the comparable period last year. Voxx had growth in its domestic operations, primarily driven by higher sales of new soundbar products and premium wireless speakers. This growth was partially offset by lower international sales, predominantly in Europe.

Consumer accessories sales were $47.6 million for the quarter, a decrease of approximately 11.8% as compared with $54 million reported in last year’s comparable period. This decline was related to lower international sales, mostly in Europe. The declines were partially offset by increased sales in domestic operations, driven primarily by higher sales of wireless speakers and personal sound amplifier products, VOXX said. As a percentage of sales for the fiscal first quarter, automotive represented 54.3%, premium audio represented 20.8%, and consumer accessories had a 24.7% share.

April New Products and News

AmpliVox Wireless PA Supports many Media Devices

Amplivox SW720 Wireless PA system

The updated SW720 Wireless PA system includes several practical accessories.

AmpliVox Sound Systems has unveiled its newly updated SW720 Wireless PA system, a versatile PA package that supports all types of external media. The SW720 PA enables audio or video to be played from MP3s, CDs, DVDs, or any iDevice from Apple (e.g., iPhones, iPads, or iPods), complemented by a wireless handheld mic for voice amplification. For audiences of up to 500 people and rooms as large as 2,500 ft2, the SW720 is an all-in-one solution for multimedia presentations.

The revamped SW720 Wireless PA system with a remote-controlled DVD player now includes AmpliVox’s S1732 cable and adapter, enabling iPads and other Apple devices to be simultaneously played and charged. The unit also contains an integrated DVD/CD/MP3 disc player with a USB/SD card reader and video output that enables DVDs to be viewed with a projector or other video display. For voice amplification, the SW720 features a built-in UHF selectable 16-channel wireless receiver with a 300’ range wireless handheld microphone.

The SW720’s straightforward controls customize presentations. A voice priority switch mutes music when the mic is in use, and separate bass/treble controls enable easy sound adjustments. Weighing 11.5 lb, the molded plastic enclosure is durable and portable. A protective cover offers many pockets for accessory storage. The SW720 can run for up to 6 h on its built-in rechargeable battery, or it can be powered with the included AC power cord.

For more information, visit www.ampli.com/ipod-pa-system.


Dayton Audio’s DVC Subwoofer

Dayton Audio Ultimax DVC

Dayton Audio’s DVC subwoofers are designed to improve power handling and reduce power compression.

Dayton Audio’s Ultimax Series DVC subwoofers are purpose-built to move air and create clean, articulate, and fast bass. To improve power handling, increase thermal management, and reduce power compression, Dayton Audio designed the Ultimax Series with large black anodized formers and vented pole pieces, under-spider ventilation, and two-layer copper voice coils.

The Ultimax’s “Tall-Boy” rubber surround is intended for extra-long linear excursion without reducing the Nomex honeycomb/woven glass-fiber laminated cone’s surface area. Copper shorting rings and a pole piece cap reduce inductance and distortion, while the Ultimax’s dual spiders maintain linearity at high drive levels.

Dayton Audio’s Ultimax Series dual voice coil subwoofers are engineered and built using the latest in subwoofer technology. They are now available in 10”, 12”, and 15” sizes. Dayton Audio products can be purchased in the US through Parts Express (www.parts-express.com).

For more information, visit www.daytonaudio.com.


DANLEY Improves SYNERGY HORNS SH Series

Danley Sound Labs SH-96 HO

Danley raises the sound pressure level (SPL) on its Synergy Horns SH Series

Danley Sound Labs recently announced improvements to many of its already highly-regarded SH Series full-range loudspeakers. The new versions are identified by the suffix “HO,” which stands for “high output.” For example, if someone wants to get the most performance out of the Danley SH-96, order the Danley SH-96 HO.

The new designs use a more powerful two-way high frequency. As a result, the low- and mid-frequency drivers can be used to their full potential yet maintain Danley’s characteristic frequency response, phase response, and fidelity. In conjunction, the HO designs use a new crossover and have additional options for bi-amping and for changing the low-frequency impedance. Because the cabinets themselves haven’t changed, the new versions retain the coverage and frequency loss patterns of the originals. The new models include the SH-95 HO, the SH-96 HO, and the SH-64 HO.

Because the new switch panel cannot operate reliably if left exposed to the elements, weatherized versions of the new high-output loudspeakers must be pre-ordered with specified biamping and impedance settings.

For more information, visit www.danleysoundlabs.com.


B&K Precision Launches “pwrApp” for Apple Products

B&K Precision pwrApp

B&K Precision’s new “pwrApp” can be used on an iPad, an iPhone, and an iPod touch.

B&K Precision launched its new “pwrApp” for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Adding greater value to its DC power solutions, B&K Precision’s pwrApp enables full monitoring and control of a network-connected (via WLAN) XLN-GL series of power supplies over local wireless networks.

The pwrApp’s primary function is remote operation of all XLN-GL power supplies’ functions. The pwrApp’s features include live visual monitoring and interactive power supply control, visual data graphing, audible trigger alarms within the app, and data export.

Fully functional in-app demos of devices, monitoring, and programs are available with or without a connected XLN power supply. B&K Precision’s pwrApp for iPad and iPhone offers full interface control in English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and traditional Chinese via a simple selection menu. Future versions of pwrApp will offer control of additional select WLAN-enabled B&K Precision power supplies. Available for immediate download via iTunes, pwrApp is free of charge to all users.

For pwrApp and XLN information, as well as hardware/software requirements, visit www.bkprecision.com/pwrapp.


NUGEN Audio offers Stand-Alone LM-Correct Loudness Tool

NUGEN Audio LM Correct

NuGen Audio now offers a new stand-alone version of its LM-Correct loudness analysis and correction tool.

NUGEN Audio, a creator of intuitive tools for audio professionals, has released a new stand-alone version of its LM-Correct loudness analysis and correction tool, which was originally only available as an AudioSuite plug-in. For the first time, LM-Correct is available as a file-based program, taking its speed and simplicity beyond the Avid digital audio workstation (DAW) environment. LM-Correct provides EBU R128|ATSC A/85 (CALM Act)-compliant loudness correction with unmatched simplicity, providing users with a rapid two-click solution for loudness normalization and conformance.

Part of NUGEN Audio’s range of innovative and easy-to-use loudness correction tools, LM-Correct is a faster-than-real-time tool that calculates and corrects for integrated program loudness and short-term maximum loudness. LM-Correct includes an internal true-peak limiter that transparently handles any intersample peaks.

LM-Correct’s settings include presets for current loudness standards, short-term loudness, overall integrated program loudness measurement and correction, maximum true-peak level targeting, and “EBU Mode.” The software also supports mono through 5.1 audio.

LM-Correct is available immediately for OS X and Windows operating systems. For more information about LM-Correct and other NUGEN Audio products, visit www.nugenaudio.com.


Saelig Introduces Handheld RF Spectrum Analyzer

Saelig PSA2702

Saelig’s PSA Series II RF spectrum analyzers feature long, rechargeable battery life.

Saelig Company has introduced the PSA Series II RF spectrum analyzers. Available in 1.3- and 2.7-GHz versions, these new instruments are smaller, lighter, and have a longer battery life than other more expensive handheld RF products. PSA Series II analyzers incorporate a 4.3” (11 cm) backlit thin-film transistor (TFT) color touchscreen display, with a high-capacity rechargeable Lithium-ion battery to produce more than 8-h operation per charge. The PSA Series II PSA1302 has a 1-to-1,300-MHz frequency range, while the PSA Series II PSA2702 operates up to 2,700 MHz. Dynamic range is 80 dB with a noise floor at –100 dBm. Resolution bandwidth is selectable down to 15 kHz.

The PSA Series II’s features include sweep modes (e.g., continuous, single, peak hold, and sweep average), AM/FM audio demodulation with built-in speaker, and data logging for traces, data points, or screen images (with storage for 10,000 entries per file triggered from a key press, internal timer, external trigger, or the limits comparator). Traces or complete screen images can be saved to file and compensation tables for antennae or other external transducers can be created and loaded. USB host and device connectors enable the use of USB flash drives or direct connection to a PC.

PSA Series II analyzers are controlled via finger-operated touchscreen soft keys in a hierarchical menu system that provides rapid access to menu functions. All functions can also be operated using just the hard keys.

The ruggedized casing incorporates a rubber protection buffer, a bench stand, and screen protection. For bench-top use, the instrument can be operated from its AC charger. For portable use, its 8-h battery life can be further extended by selecting auto-off, which turns the instrument off (retaining all data) after a selectable delay of 5 to 60 min. from the last key press. The compact, handheld PSA Series II RF Spectrum analyzers weigh 20 oz, making them suitable for any portable RF service kit. For more information, visit www.saelig.com.