Capture All the Excitement of Audio with audioXpress February 2020!

January 10 2020, 05:10

The February 2020 edition of audioXpress, heading for the NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, features our second Market Update on Microphones, where we address the latest technology and application trends in this expanding product segment, which is being heavily disrupted and on the verge of great changes. Following an extremely busy year, the feature discusses the main trends with stats and product examples. 

With the professional microphone market exceeding $1.8 billion USD in 2019 and growing at an annual growth rate of 6%, according to Futuresource Consulting's latest market report, the segment is more competitive than ever, and technologically speaking just as vibrant. And the convergence with consumer technology (e.g., USB and wireless transmission over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) are the reason why the industry is seeing larger volumes and expanding market reach in new application areas like home studio, podcasting, gaming, 3D audio recording, and conferencing. Meanwhile, the corporate segment continues to create the largest opportunities, followed by the live sound and venue installation verticals. On the consumer front, propelled by the popularity of smartphones, smart speakers, and smart soundbars, we now have new products and applications benefiting from capacitive microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) to mic arrays, and constant improvement in signal-to-noise ratio. All this and more, is explored in this extensive market update.

Still on the topic of microphones is an article written by Erica Yorga and Rich Ferguson from Nureva, a conferencing and collaboration-solutions company from Calgary, Alberta that was recently granted three new patents for its Microphone Mist technology. The duo explain how the company developed a groundbreaking approach to gain control that cuts conference call annoyance, and the thought process behind the innovative solution.

In his Sound Control column, Richard Honeycutt explains everything we need to know about choosing and positioning Choir Microphones, one of the most challenging aspects of sound-system design and installation for traditional auditoriums and worship centers.

And for the audioXpress readers who have already started following Michael Steffes' Audio Scope column, this month the topic is about Interfacing Measurement Mics to Delta-Sigma ADCs. Measurement microphones provide a 2 Hz to 50 kHz audio span stretching the limits of legacy amplifier solutions to deliver a low power interface to 24-bit ADCs with the requisite <-130 dBc harmonics at the ADC inputs. Newer solutions, using the latest fully differential amplifiers (FDAs), can easily fill this gap using very low power - but they bring with them some new and subtle issues that can trip up even the most experienced designers. Subsequent Audio Scope articles will detail active filtering options and phase margin improvements.

Next, Stuart Yaniger reviews the Vanatoo Transparent One Encore speakers, the company’s second successful design since the Vanatoo’s Transparent Zero, which our author discovered and reviewed a few years ago. The Transparent One was Vanatoo’s initial product, and although it was a powered speaker, it still used as a conventional passive crossover to the drivers, driven by a single amplifier per channel. The Transparent Zero went a step further and contained separate tweeter and woofer amplifiers in each channel, the crossover being done in the digital domain. This allowed for crossover slopes that can be much steeper to reduce distortion, delay and phase correction between drivers that can result in improved polar patterns, driver/cabinet frequency response errors that can be easily corrected digitally, and the crossovers can be modified and updated without changing components. The new Transparent One Encore speakers clearly benefited from this Transparent Zero development effort to create a much improved version, retailing for just $599 per pair.

In Questions & Answers, Shannon Becker interviews Charlie Laub, a DIY expert that enjoys the challenge of speaker design, and he applied his practical experience to create the FRD Blender software, developed in cooperation with fellow DIYer Jeff Bagby. And in Audio Electronics, Ed Simon returns to the pages of audioXpress with a six-part article series that details ways to power circuits. In this first article, he discusses the positives and negatives of battery power use.

In his Hollow-State Electronics column, Richard Honeycutt tells us why the effect of load resistance on maximum amplifier output power is different for hollow-state versus solid-state amplifiers.

We also include two book reviews that we definitely recommend. The first is Sensory Evaluation of Sound, edited by Nick Zacharov. Sensory evaluation is a field of study that bridges physical measurement and human perception, helping us to improve product design and aural environments. Richard Honeycutt reviews this extended work, exploring the latest sensory evaluation techniques, specifically applied to the evaluation of sound and audio.

The second review, by Mike Klasco, explores High-Quality Horn Loudspeaker Systems — History, Theory and Design, written by Bjørn Kolbrek and Thomas Dunker, available in a limited first edition. The massive 1,070-page hardcover book caused quite an impression among Audio Engineering Society (AES) members and audioXpress authors, and Klasco took the review copy. This month, he submitted a “first impressions” review.

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