Kick-off 2018 with audioXpress and The Best in Audio Development and Design!

December 11 2017, 05:00
A great first 2018 issue of audioXpress is now available to download! audioXpress January 2018 reviews the surprising Vanatoo Transparent Zero powered, wireless, and inexpensive speakers. We report on what sounded good at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2017 show, and Robert Nance Dee returns with the 6922 tube hybrid amplifier, a complete design in his series on buffered preamps. This issue also explains what we need to know about improving the user experience and audio design rules for smart speakers, how to repair switching mode power supplies, and much more!
On our January 2018 cover, audioXpress highlights Stuart Yaniger's review of the Vanatoo Transparent Zero powered speakers. As we explain, during the AXPONA 2017 show in Chicago, IL, Yaniger visited the Vanatoo room and was greatly impressed with the small and inexpensive proposition of the Transparent Zeros. As he noted in his first report for our Audio Voice newsletter, they “seemed to punch far out of their weight class. I’d love to get a pair into my lab for extended listening and measurement.” And that’s precisely what he did, and accounts for in this review, which will be probably the most extensive and detailed these extremely affordable speakers will get, because, as Yaniger writes, "I think the engineering is enough to merit the high ratio of words to price."
And because every R&D department in the planet is currently looking at implementing voice, and everyone's looking at audioXpress for guidance on how to design a smart speaker, in this edition Kevin Connor, shares his insider knowledge on the topic. Connor, a Cirrus Logic engineer, explains how to provide audio and voice solutions, and design products that sound great and respond reliably to voice commands, regardless of backend service. His article, "Audio Design Rules for Voice-Enabled Devices," also explains what we need to know about ICs and software for mic capture, front-end processing, and loudspeaker playback.
In this edition we report on the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2017 show, which took place in Denver, CO, from October 6–8, 2017. This year, the Denver Marriott Tech Center had completed the renovations that affected last year's RMAF edition, and it seems that everyone was happier with the show, from exhibitors to visitors. Oliver Masciarotte was busy discovering great-sounding speakers and electronics, not forgetting many new headphones, earphones, portable players, and accessories. Read about what impressed him at the show.
And from great sound experiences directly to the best DIY audio projects, in this edition Robert Nance Dee returns with the 6922 Project, the final complete design in his series on buffered preamps. “Willow,” which ran in audioXpress, December 2011, was the first buffered preamp to use this typology, followed by an updated design on “Willow Revisited,” which ran in audioXpress, February 2016. As Nance Dee explains, he saved the best for last in this tube hybrid design. Just to excite anyone's curiosity, the author says that this low-cost design sounds "refined, and smooth as silk with an exceptional sound stage and depth. It’s my go to amp now."
And for anyone who likes to go hands-on, either to construct complete projects or repairing existing ones, Scott Dorsey tells us how to repair Switching Mode power supplies. As he explains, "there are a lot of books and articles out there about how to design a switching supply, but not many on fixing them. As switching supplies become ubiquitous in electronic devices today, it becomes that much more important to understand how they work and just as importantly how they fail."
This month, Richard Honeycutt discusses Layout and Grounding of Hollow-State Circuits, revisiting some established classic tube designs to recap on the importance of a device’s wiring and component layout. In this article, part of his monthly Hollow-State Electronics column, Honeycutt also offers a few suggestions as to how to improve the layout.
In his monthly column about sound reproduction, Ron Tipton addresses the topic of Music Streaming Services with Volume Normalization. Now that streaming has become the most popular way to listen to music, the services have looking at existing initiatives (and each other) to adopt volume (loudness) normalization, because online polls indicate that “having to constantly adjust the playback volume control” is the most frequent complaint among users. The article examines Spotify Premium and TIDAL HiFi, which started to implement loudness normalization changes as this issue of audioXpress was going to print.
And finally, for those readers who have already started to follow Fernando Rodrigues' evaluation of Audio Editing Software, in this edition he continues the roundup with another set of tools, many of which are extremely affordable or even free. This month, he discusses the merits of Iced Audio's AudioFinder, Aurchitect's Triumph, TwistedWave, 2nd Sense Audio's ReSample, and Wavosaur. If these names don't sound familiar to you, then we recommend you read the article, and download the trials to test them. You'll find valuable ways to edit, convert, and restore audio files, among many possibilities.
We think this is a great way to start the year. You can access and download audioXpress January 2018 right now. Just visit:
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And you can also buy a single printed issue or the complete audioXpress issue archive on USB at
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