Essential Updates on Headphones, TWS, Hearables, Voice and More in audioXpress April 2020

March 9 2020, 12:20

audioXpress April 2020 provides updates on the latest headphone technology, components, and materials; a closer look at the most exciting category in personal audio, which is hearables and true wireless stereo; and finally another Market Update on voice capture solutions.

The editorial for this edition opens with a State of the Headphones Industry by J. Martins (Editor-in-Chief), followed by a Market Update feature "Headphones to Hearables - Actively Enhancing Our Hearing, by J. Martins and Mike Klasco. Truly wireless earbuds and voice assistants are two of the fastest growing product segments right now. And there's a lot to say about headphones, at a time when virtually every audio manufacturer in the consumer, prosumer, and professional audio spaces are considering new products and designs, or simply looking for a way to differentiate themselves in the increasingly competitive market. And wireless and ANC are a big part of that... Written from the developers’ and the manufacturers’ perspective, audioXpress sums up the main market trends, current approaches, industry challenges, and new technologies available.

As part of the feature, the next generation Bluetooth LE Audio specification recently announced by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), is also discussed. Two years in the making, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) Audio includes a new high-quality, low-power audio codec, called Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3), and introduces Audio Sharing, a new use case with the potential to once again change the way we experience audio and connect with the world around us.

The other Market Update for this edition "Tackling Voice Capture and Processing Technologies," examines what voice can do for audio development, focusing on voice recognition and what voice capture and processing technologies can do for audio manufacturers and the audio industry in general.

This edition also details how to assess the expanded effort for understanding speech under noisy conditions when benchmarking ANC headphones. The article, "Objective Listening Effort Evaluation" by Hans W. Gierlich and Jan Reimes, addresses the effort necessary to understand speech under noisy environmental conditions, in a new approach recently introduced by HEAD acoustics.

Another feature for this edition is an expansion of the article series "Sound Cards for Data Acquisition in Audio," which Stuart Yaniger wrote in 2014/2015, and which is still receiving considerable attention since all seven articles are available online at

More specifically, Yaniger explores new possibilities in audio measurement systems, expanding on the basics of using sound cards combined with new accessible-to-all software tools, such as REW, and a recently improved measurement interface option. That option is the Linear Audio Autoranger Mk II Interface, which audioXpress’ Technical Editor Jan Didden designed a few years ago and which is now available as an improved Mk II version.

For those following the fascinating teachings of Michael Steffes in his column Audio Scope, this edition discusses some of the design considerations when applying newer, low power, fully differential amplifiers (FDAs) to high dynamic range measurement mic interfaces to the delta-sigma analog-to-digital converters (ADCs).

In another insightful Audio Electronics feature, Ed Simon details ways to power circuits. After discussing battery power and AC power supplies, in "Powering Your Circuits (Part 3): AC Power Rectification and Smoothing," he expands the discussion to transformers and power rectification.

And finally, his column Hollow-State Electronics, Richard Honeycutt writes about "Triode Power Amplifiers." The article looks at the performance implications of some design features of a couple of generic triode power amplifiers, which were among the first tube amp designs and that many audio enthusiasts today still prefer for the sound.

The April 2020 edition of audioXpress is now available online, and on its way to those who subscribe to the print edition. To read it now, you will need to subscribe to audioXpress. Print and/or Digital subscriptions are available. Subscribe to the digital online version and get immediate access at:

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