Archives for March 2003

Harman Expands Use of Peak Audio’s CobraNet to Full Range of Pro Group Brands

The Harman Pro Group – which includes JBL Professional, Soundcraft, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, DOD, and DigiTech under its umbrella – has extended its license with Cirrus Logic’s Peak Audio division, to cover the use of Peak’s CobraNet technology in all of Harman Pro’s brands.

CobraNet is enabling technology for distributing uncompressed digital audio in real time over a Fast Ethernet network, aimed at professional audio applications.

Harman Pro’s BSS and Crown International brands currently offer products using CobraNet technology. By adding the remaining Pro Group brands to the license, Harman can expand its implementation of CobraNet, and provide for an expanded range of products and devices to be interfaced via CobraNet.

“We are very pleased to expand our relationship with one of the premier names in the audio industry, and to see CobraNet technology represented in the some of the finest audio products available worldwide,” said Rich Zwiebel, vice president, Commercial Audio, Cirrus Logic.

“CobraNet utilization in such products as Prosys PS-8810 from BSS and the Crown IQ PIP USP2/CN has helped to raise the standard for distributed, real-time digital audio, and we are hopeful that this agreement is the beginning of more world-class applications of CobraNet technology worldwide.”

Cirrus Logic acquired the assets of Peak Audio in 2001.

Harman International Web Site

Elliot Scheiner Develops Signature 5.1 Surround Audio System With Panasonic for 2004 Japanese Luxury Vehicle

“Surround sound in cars is going to drive the market for DVD-Audio and 5.1 surround, the same way car systems did for the cassette and the CD,” says multiple Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Elliot Scheiner.

Mr. Scheiner is putting his words into action, by working with U.S. Panasonic (Southfield, MI) to develop an OEM car sound system that will appear in a Japanese luxury car for the 2004 model year (appearing September or October of this year).

“Surround sound in a vehicle sounds great,” Mr. Scheiner said with enthusiasm, speaking to a meeting of the Audio Engineering Society in Banff, Canada earlier this week. “When people hear it, they get it right away, they want it for their own car.”

Elliot Scheiner knows what he’s talking about. Over a 36-year career as a popular music engineer, producer and mixer, he has worked on releases by a who’s who of the music industry, including Steely Dan, Van Morrison, Sting, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and many more. He has won Grammy Awards for “Best Engineered Recording” twice, and received nearly 20 nonimations in all.

For the past three years, Mr. Scheiner has devoted himself almost exclusively to surround audio production and re-mixes, winning praise and awards for more than a dozen key titles including Queen’s A Night at the Opera, Faith Hill’s Cry, Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature, R.E.M.’s Document and Automatic for the People, and Beck’s Sea Change.

Panasonic announced its collaboration with Elliot Scheiner at the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week. Speaking in Banff, Mr. Scheiner indicated that the new in-car system will be a fully discrete 5.1 multichannel system – and that it will be branded with his name.

“Ours will be the first car surround system with true discrete multichannel,” explains Mr. Scheiner. “Mercedes is coming out with a DVD-Audio-based surround system [developed by Harman], but it isn’t true multichannel. It uses Logic7 [a proprietary Harman International DSP processing algorithm] to simulate 5.1 channels, after down-mixing the DVD-Audio to stereo.”

“It makes all the difference in the world,” he continues. “I demo’ed my system in Detroit for a couple of Mercedes execs, with one of the R.E.M. DVD-Audio’s, and then let them take the disc over and try it in their system. They came back and said – ‘hey it doesn’t sound the same at all, we can’t hear the voices in the back and all those details.’ ”

Mr. Scheiner says the specific car model that will offer his new signature surround audio system will not be announced until sometime in April at the earliest. However, reports that the car in question will be the new Honda Acura TL, and also indicates that other automakers are considering the system for their own luxury models.

More About Elliot Scheiner

Sony Targets High-End Audiophile Performance with Firewire-Connected 9000 Series Components

At Sony Europe’s roll-out of consumer audio products for 2003 in Berlin last week, Sony addressed the high-end of its range with three new components, designated as the 9000 Series.

The line includes a multi-channel digital amplifier (TA-DA9000ES), a multi-channel Super Audio CD (SACD) player (SCD-XA9000ES), and a 1000 Watt powered subwoofer (SA-WX900).

The 9000 Series components are presented in the characteristic gold-toned Sony ES (Extremely High Standard) family style. They are scheduled for availability throughout Europe in August (the subwoofer) and October (amplifier and SACD player) of this year.

Both the TA-DA9000ES amplifier and the SCD-XA9000ES SACD player will include i.LINK, Sony’s name for the IEEE-1384 digital connection standard (branded as Firewire by Apple Computer and others).

The new top-of-the-line Sony SACD player will provide an i.LINK (IEEE-1394) interface for easy connection to other 9000 Series components

In Sony’s scheme of things, the i.LINK interface will be used to carry digital data streams between player and processor, including the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) signal of the SACD format. This means you get a high-quality, single-cable connection between the units, without the need for a 6-line analog connection as on typical SACD and DVD-Audio set-ups available today.

The SCD-XA9000ES will be Sony’s new flagship SACD player, representing the state-of-the-art in multi-channel and stereo Super Audio CD, as well as conventional CD playback technology. The new player will use a tri-powered D/A converter system, promising optimal reproduction of the wide frequency range associated with Super Audio CD, and significantly reduced noise levels.

A new dual-laser pick-up, developed to read the different Super Audio CD and CD layers, will also handle CD-R and CD-RW discs. The player also features Sony’s Multi-Channel Speaker Management System (bass management), gold-plated line-out jacks, and a dedicated headphone jack. A dual R-core transformer takes care of the separate power supply requirements of the audio and digital circuits. The output specification includes one optical and one coaxial digital output as well as a 5.1 multi-channel analogue output.

The TA-DA9000ES processor/amplifier will offer seven independent channels of amplification, each with a power output of 200 Watts. It will be equipped to decode Dolby ProLogic II, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, and DTS 96/24 used on DVD-Video.

The new top-of-the-line Sony SA-WX900 subwoofer speaker will be powered by a 1000 Watt digital amplifier “designed to ensure the ultimate bass performance for every type of music from reggae to the emotion of the most complex orchestral works.”

Sony Europe Web Site

Sony’s New Slimline L500 Series Components Will Featuring Hard Disk Audio Recorder, Compact Size, Stylish Design

Sony Europe is planning to release a new series of home A/V components in September 2003, for integration within its WEGA Theater concept (Sony Europe’s marketing concept that emphasizes the breadth and style of Sony’s offerings for all aspects of home theater, including TV, DVD, AV receivers, and surround speaker systems).

The new L500 Series will include a hard disk audio recorder, designated the HAR-LH500, as well as the DVP-LS500 DVD-video player, and the STR-LV500 A/V receiver.

L500 components are aimed at the design-driven consumer. They will make use of miniaturized components and innovative construction methods to create some of Sony’s slimmest-ever home entertainment products.

Sony Europe's new L500 Series A/V receiver and DVD player emphasize compact size and stylish appearance, to fit the WEGA Theatre concept

“The L500 Series provides high-end facilities in an exceptionally stylish format,” explains Jeffry van Ede, director of Sony Home Audio Video Europe.

“This range is specifically designed to meet the discerning tastes of the European market. Whether its Stockholm, Paris or Madrid, these models look great in the design-influenced European home.”

HAR-LH500 Hard Disk Audio Recorder

The HAR-LH500 will be a 60GB mass-storage recorder, providing capacity for up to 1000 albums on a compact device.

As might be expected from Sony, the recorder uses Sony’s own ATRAC 3 audio compression, rather than a more commonplace stnadard such as MP3, to maximize the storage capacity of the drive. Sony claims ATRAC 3 will provide superior playback quality and optimum data compression.

Numerous input options on the HAR-LH500 will include a built-in CD tray, providing 12x high speed copying direct from CD. Also on-board – optical and analog inputs to accommodate other feeds such as tape players and record decks.

Integrating the HAR-LH500 alongside a PC is straightforward using the supplied PC Link kit. The recorder comes with Sony’s M-crew software, which can be used to edit, rearrange and shuffle the music recorded on to the hard disc, controlled by a PC.

The unit will come with a large factory-installed database of artist and album information, which can be linked to the music stored on the disc. This information will then appear on screen whenever a particular artist, album or track is played.

STR-LV500 A/V Receiver

Despite a profile of just 64.5mm, the STR-LV500 provides 5.1 multi-channel surround sound with 5 x 50W (DIN) power output. Sony’s integrated S-Master digital amplifier delivers powerful sound reproduction from a small chassis. The unit offers the usual complement of AV inputs and outputs, and handles the most popular surround sound formats, including Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby ProLogic II, as well as Sony’s Digital Cinema EX. The STR-LV500 also includes an RDS radio tuner with 30 pre-set channel settings.

DVP-LS500 DVD Player

Featuring a similarly slim profile, the DVP-LS500 DVD player is capable of playing back DVD-Video, Video CD, Super Video CD (SVCD), DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW and MP3-CD format discs – but not Sony’s Super Audio CD format (SACD).

Sony’s Precision Drive2 system compensates for disc warp and other disc imperfections ensuring reliable playback. The system includes a High-Speed Stepping motor, and a Dynamic Tilt Compensation mechanism provides faster and more accurate tracking of playback of DVDs, while a Twin Laser pick-up enhances playback of CD-R/RW discs. A range of outputs, including optical, S-Video and component video, enhances integration options to other AV equipment.

The STR-LV500, DVP-LS500 and HAR-LH500 will be available throughout Europe from September 2003.

Sony Europe Web Site

Nexo Launches GEO T Series Extreme High-Output Tangent Array Touring Sound System

Nexo unveiled its new GEO T touring sound system at the MusikMesse in Frankfurt last week. The system will also be on show at the NSCA Expo (National Systems Contractors Association) in Dallas, TX, later this week (March 13-15).

The new GEO T Tangent Array System was developed in conjunction with leading touring sound rental companies, and it has been successfully field tested by UK’s SSE Hire, on tour throughout Europe with Tori Amos; and by the Show Company in Singapore.

GEO T is designed for large venues and outdoor applications, engineered as a scalable system that can handle audiences from 1000 up to 100,000 or more. The series builds on Nexo’s experience gained from the development, testing and successful operation of the company’s first tangent array design, the GEO S.

“The larger-scale T Series was in mind from the outset,” explains Eric Vincenot, Nexo’s Technical Director. “The GEO T specification grew from the success of GEO S, which demonstrated that incredible results were achievable, providing that the physical rules were strictly obeyed. Software modelling showed that the penalties for even small compromises in design would be enormous; however, the no-compromise solution demanded extreme accuracy in construction of the cabinet and particularly the rigging system.”

The three key components of the GEO T line are the T4805 and T2820 full-range high-output loudspeakers, and the CD18 Controlled Directivity Subbass. The driver modules are complemented by newly-engineered flying hardware and GEOSoft Array Design Software for system configuration.

The GEO T4805 Vertical Tangent Array Module

Featuring a 2″ exit compression driver (HF), two front-firing 8″ long excursion neodymium cone drivers (MF/LF), and an additional pair of rear-firing 8″ long excursion neodymium cone drivers (LF only), the T4805 extends Nexo’s unique Controlled Directivity LF to the midbass region. The T4805 has a 5° HRW which allows variable curvature in a vertical coupling plane, adjustable in logarithmic steps from 0.125° to 5° with 0.01° precision. The system makes highly efficient use of amplifier power, with minimal cabling losses due to 32 Ohm impedance.

User Benefit: the GEO T4805 is a 3-way device which provides cardioid midbass using four long excursion high output neodymium 8″ cone drivers. Cardioid midbass improves control of long wavelengths in both the horizontal and vertical planes and allows shorter arrays to project low frequency energy as effectively as the higher frequencies. With Nexo’s NX241 digital controller generating a 90° x 90° cardioid pattern from 70 to 250 Hz, the T Series can control low frequencies with shorter lines than array modules based on horizontally spaced pairs of large-diaphragm cones.

The GEO T2820 Vertical/Horizontal Tangent Array Module

Featuring a 2” exit compression driver (HF) and two 8” long excursion neodymium cone drivers (MF). The T2820 has a HRW with a 20° curvature in a vertical or horizontal coupling plane, adjustable from 8° to 20°. The GEO T2820’s CDD™ (Configurable Directivity Device™) provides 120° dispersion in the non-coupling plane, enhancing its effectiveness as a downfill element in curved vertical tangent arrays.

User Benefit: The GEO HRW is the only dispersion control device that allows the array designer to vary the curvature of vertical arrays in inverse proportion to distance without compromising coherent coupling. This allows the imaging and definition to be as clear in the front rows as at the rear of the audience area.

The CD18 Subbass

The CD12 developed for the GEO S Series introduced Nexo’s unique Controlled Directivity Subbass. The new CD18 extends cardioid directional control to 31.5 Hz, thanks to its dual 18 inch woofers and the DSP algorithms of the Nexo NX241 digital controller. CD18s can be flown or stacked.

GEO T Flying Hardware

The GEO T system is very compact and lightweight compared to other high output line arrays. Designed from the start to be safe and easy to fly, the system incorporates Vertical Tangent Array top and bottom bumpers, which allow adjustment of the tilt angle and curvature of vertical tangent arrays using a two-motor chain hoist system. All GEO T hardware is designed and tested to maintain high load safety factors in curved vertical arrays, which introduce very high stress factors due to the change in angle from the vertical.

Innovative Design & Engineering

Innovative features of GEO technology, proven in the GEO S Series, are found in the new GEO T system, including:

  • The Hyperboloid Reflective Wavesource (HRW™) uses an acoustical reflector derived through rigorous mathematical transformations. It has a real source (the compression driver) and a virtual source which can be located outside the enclosure. The virtual source can be made coincident with or tangent to another HRW, producing coherent coupling between multiple speakers, even when they have different dispersion angles. The coupling plane can be either horizontal or vertical, making GEO array modules suitable for both curved vertical arrays that deliver equal power to equal areas, or for horizontal arrays that deliver equal power to equal angles. Patent pending.
  • The Directivity/Phase Device™ optimizes line source coupling between cone woofers in vertical tangent arrays. Long-throw 8 inch cones can handle low and mid frequencies with ease, but their acoustic centers are too far apart to couple as a line source at the crossover to the compression driver. The DPD™ divides the cone in two. This creates the equivalent of a closely spaced line of smaller drivers that couple as a line source at crossover, without compromising the low frequency output of the 8 inch driver. Patent pending.
  • The CDD™ Configurable Directivity Device lets the user select the dispersion. GEO wavesources use a diffraction slot and exponential flare to control dispersion in the non-coupling plane. Patent pending.

On Tour With Tori Amos

SSE Audio Group has been field testing GEO T full-range and sub-bass units since the summer of 2002, with the complete system fulfilling its potential most recently at the larger venues on Tori Amos’ European tour. At Le Zenith in Paris, before a crowd of 7,000, the SSE team flew single arrays of seventeen T4805s on each side of the stage, with four CD18 sub-bass units. The system was entirely powered by Camco Vortex 6 digital amplifiers, with Nexo 241 digital processing.

“In use, GEO T opens up new ways to address complex acoustic problems,” says Chris Beale of SSE. “Reverberant rooms can be tamed, environmental issues solved and new microphone techniques explored with results that were hitherto unobtainable.”

“In R&D terms, Nexo has really pushed the boat out, and they’ve been brave both in the use of materials and the overall design. The result cannot be compared directly with other line array loudspeaker systems because it is not a line array in many physical respects. It is rather a truly tangent array-able composite device, designed and built with extreme precision to propagate the most accurate sound field you will have ever experienced. Of all the systems I’ve worked with, this is by far the most capable.”

Nexo Web Site

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