Industry Watch: August

By Vance Dickason

Jade Design Acquires Bob Carver Brand

Photo 1: Dan Laufman, of Jade Design, is shown with Bob Carver. Jade Design recently acquired the Bob Carver brand.

Jade Design, the parent company of Emotiva, Emotiva Pro, and Sherbourn, has finalized its acquisition of the Bob Carver brand and all its assets, including intellectual properties and exclusive design services (see Photo 1). Under the terms of the agreement, Jade Design will move the Bob Carver line’s manufacturing to Jade’s Franklin, TN, facilities, which will be expanded to accommodate the increased work. Jade will also manufacture future Emotiva and Sherbourn products.

Jade Design will implement a sales structure similar to the Sherbourn brand. This sales model focuses on direct-to-consumer sales with a companion dealer discount program. The company has also found ways to streamline Bob Carver’s operation and will pass along those cost savings to consumers. Jade is also working on a stereo preamplifier, another stereo tube amp, a smaller pair of monoblock amps, and, in the long term, a tube-based DAC.


ALMA Issues a Call for Papers

The Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics (ALMA) International has issued a “Call for Papers” for the 2014 Winter Symposium, “Suppliers Unchained: Maximizing Value from Your Acoustic Component Sources,” to be held at The Tuscany Suites & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, January 4–5, 2014. This symposium will focus on loudspeaker component suppliers (e.g., spiders, cones, baskets, voice coils, magnets, etc.). Additionally, a review of ALMA standards and test and measurement technologies will focus on cost-effective quality control and standardization. This year, there will be a one-day break between the Winter Symposium and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which runs January 7–10.

Papers, tutorials, seminars, and exhibits will demonstrate how the coordination and application of standards and measurements can achieve cost-effective quality control from suppliers worldwide. Papers, tutorials, and seminar topics are welcome. Abstracts will be evaluated on the basis of their overall quality and relevance to the symposium’s theme, value to the industry, and practical feasibility. Papers and tutorials are scheduled to last 30 min.

The ALMA Winter Symposium will be co-chaired by Mark Beach of Dyne Analytics and Peter Andrews of Materion Electrofusion. Contact Beach (mark@dyneanalytics.com) or Andrews (peter.andrews@materion.com) to discuss the program. The submissions closing date is October 15, 2013. Presenters must supply copies of their presentations in electronic format by December 15, 2013. Submissions should be e-mailed to management@almainternational.org. Visit www.almainternational.org for more information.


Shapiro Responds to Obama’s Patent Proposals

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), made the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s five executive orders and seven legislative suggestions aimed at curbing the influence of “patent trolls”:

“President Obama’s decisive action against Patent Assertion Entities (also known as patent trolls), is on the side of innovation and job creation and against the spineless parasites of society who ruin American businesses. Obama’s strong action specifically directs the Patent and Trademark Office to determine the ultimate corporate owner when patents are filed and allows the court greater discretion in awarding attorney fees for spurious patent litigation. The President also urges Congress to pursue legislative approaches to curbing patent trolls, including protection from end users and “loser pays” fee shifting.

“The President’s actions are appropriate and necessary given the rise in threats of lawsuits and actual suits against millions of American businesses who have done nothing wrong other than use common web tools or try to create and sell products incorporating common technology. Businesses ranging from the smallest startup to the largest Fortune 500 companies are suffering from the enormous waste that the threat of litigation and actual litigation are causing. Each one of these threats must be taken seriously by a company. The cost of fighting these suits comes directly off a company’s bottom line and requires time and resources to be taken away from research and the hiring of Americans.

“Patent troll litigation now dominates all patent litigation. Additionally, they are often brought by overseas investors and law firms who extort businesses that calculate that it is cheaper to settle rather than to pursue the six- or seven-figure costs against defending a patent claim. I applaud President Obama for today’s strong and decisive action against patent trolls, and also Congress as it is currently considering several bills to stop this extortion racket that is jeopardizing the health of American business.”


Triad Speakers Expands Soundbar Line

Photo 2: Triad Speaker’s OnWall MiniSat 3.0 soundbar provides a high-performance front speaker solution.

Triad Speakers, one of the few remaining US loudspeaker manufacturers that builds its own enclosures, expanded its passive soundbar lineup with the addition of a three-channel on-wall model to its MiniSat series (see Photo 2). The MiniSat Series already included a three-channel passive in-room soundbar and a three-channel in-wall soundbar.

The OnWall MiniSat 3.0 is less than 3” deep and available in widths up to 82”. Pricing for different finishes starts at a suggested $1,100 and $1,500, respectively. This soundbar features three 4” proprietary fiber-blended paper-cone drivers and three 1” cloth-dome tweeters. The organic fibers in the midrange/woofers are said to increase stiffness with lower mass to deliver greater accuracy and lower distortion.

The OnWall MiniSat 3.0 is Triad’s 11th soundbar, including its 3.0 models with three channels, 2.0 models with two channels, and 1.0 models with one channel. For its gloss finishes, Triad uses a proprietary EcoGloss process that uses multiple layers of water-based paint and hand polishing, adding four to five man-hours to the build process.


Soundcast Offers Its First Bluetooth Speaker

Soundcast Systems, a wireless speaker manufacturer, is entering a new market with the launch of its first Bluetooth speaker, an outdoor model called Melody. Priced at a $449, shipments started in July but the product will be on allocation until August. This product launch follows the June shipment of a BlueCast Bluetooth receiver adapter as an option for the company’s battery-operated outdoor speakers, which use proprietary 2.4-GHz wireless technology to stream music from a PC or a tabletop iPod/iPhone dock up to 300’ away.

The new Melody Bluetooth speaker is an all-weather splash-proof speaker that streams the AAC and AptX codecs over Bluetooth to improve sound quality. The weather- and UV-resistant cylindrical speaker features a built-in carrying handle, four 3” full-range drivers, and four passive bass radiators in a 360° array. It also includes 20-h built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery and Bluetooth AVRCP, which enables the speaker’s keypad controls to remotely control the play/pause and track up/down functions of a Bluetooth-connected tablet or smartphone whether the device is playing stored music or music from Internet music apps.

The speaker includes an AC adapter, a 12-V car adapter, a MicroUSB for charging, and auxiliary input. Weighing 9 lb, Melody measures 9” in diameter and is 9.5” high. Soundcast also offers wireless transmitters and receivers for use with subwoofers and surround speakers.

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Vance Dickason Vance Dickason (14 Posts)

Vance Dickason is a loudspeaker designer, consultant to a wide range of loudspeaker manufacturers, and a published author.


 

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