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L.A.W.N. operation made easier by new network control platform



GTX24HHB

STOW, OHIO — Alteros, an Audio-Technica company, has introduced two new handheld transmitters — the GTX24HHP live performer handheld and GTX24HHB broadcast handheld (shown) — along with remote and network control software platform that makes it easier to set up and operate the GTX Series L.A.W.N. (Local Area Wireless microphone Network) Ultra-Wideband (UWB) wireless microphone system.

WIRELESS MIC SYSTEM

A 6.5 GHz digital system, the GTX Series L.A.W.N. UWB system offers immunity to radio frequency spectrum regulatory changes, bandwidth loss and channel crowding, resulting in interference-free performance, even in the most demanding live broadcast settings, the company says.

The L.A.W.N. system enables operation outside the crowded UHF spectrum, free from database registration, licensing, complex support equipment, and even RF frequency coordination. It supports repeated deployment, from studio-to-studio and location-to-location, of 24 simultaneous, low latency (<3ms), 48 kHz/24-bit audio channels in any indoor or outdoor broadcast or performance environment, according to A-T.

HANDHELD MIC TRANSMITTERS

Available this summer, the GTX24HHP “performer” and GTX24HHB “broadcaster” microphone transmitters join a product line that includes the GTX3224 control unit, GTX24 bodypack transmitter, and GTX32 transceiver.

Intended for live performance, the GTX24HHP “performer” wireless handheld mic features a lightweight, ergonomic design that accepts popular thread-on microphone capsules using a 1.25-inch /28-thread pitch. This allows performers to select their preferred mic sound and performance from a wide range of manufacturers, including new Audio-Technica capsules.

The GTX24HHB “broadcaster” wireless handheld mic includes a dedicated “flag mount” section and incorporated “talkback button,” while incorporating interchangeable mic capsule mounts for maximum sound and performance flexibility.

According to Alteros President and CTO Jackie Green, “Modern facilities and systems are taking advantage of IP-based networking technology to reduce operational costs, simplify workflows, ensure … production quality, and even simplify equipment setup and operation.”

The Alteros R&D team worked closely with key professionals in the live, touring and broadcast markets to identify their desired workflows, interfaces and functionality.

The resulting Ethernet-based system allows easier setup, control, monitoring, naming, and network and clock management via a sophisticated user interface that can be accessed directly or remotely on multiple device platforms.

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Retails for $99.99 and has both FM and AM digital reception


Sangean is out with a new pocket HD Radio that has provides both AM and FM digital reception.

The company calls it the first AM/FM Pocket HD Radio. It retails for $99.99; it shows up via online dealers for around $83.

Features include 40 memory presets, multicast capability, clock and alarm, low-battery indicator and FM antenna; it runs on three AA batteries or the included AC adapter.

It also displays PAD and RDS info.


The FM and AM frequencies including HD Radio are listed on the back.

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Neutrik Goes Outdoors

Develops new weather-resistant connectors

Connectors specialist Neutrik has announced a line of weather-resistant connectors based on currently available offerings.

The True Outdoor Protection — TOP — series consists of weatherized versions of powerCON True1, etherCON and XLR connectors. These toughened-up connectors are IP65-rated and UV-resistant and are certified to connector standards IEC 61076-2-103, IEC 60320, UL 1977 and UL 498 as well as UL 50E.

The powerCON TRUE1 TOP offers the same input and output cable and chassis connectors as the standard powerCON TRUE1 series and has the same features including breaking capacity under load, IP65 weather resistance, direct cable-to-cable coupling, and a variety of input, output, and duplex in/out chassis connectors.

The etherCON TOP products feature RJ45 cable carriers in two colors; Cat-5 chassis connectors for vertical PCB mounting, horizontal PCB mounting, and D-size feedthrough; and an SE8FD-TOP outdoor assembly kit

The XLR connectors come in three-pin and five-pin versions along with male and female D-size chassis connectors and a UV resistant chassis connector protection cap and gold-plated contacts.

Neutrik USA President Peter Milbery said, “Weather influences — particularly moisture, dust, and the sun’s ultraviolet rays — can have a profound impact on the quality of signals commonly found in live event production.”

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Applications include STLs and low-power transmitters

Here’s an item from Pasternack that could find a use in protecting your STL, TRL, RPU or low-power FM transmitter.

The California-based RF equipment maker has launched a new series of coaxial surge protectors to guard valuable communications equipment from power surges and indirect lightning strikes.

There are 46 new coaxial lightning and surge protectors , also suitable for use in cellular base stations, public safety systems, Wi-Fi networks, active antenna systems and GPS system applications.

It said the surge protectors are available with 7/16 DIN, Type-N and 4.3-10 connectors and feature VSWR as low as 1.1:1, max power as high as 2 kW, multi-strike capability and low insertion loss.

“Additionally, these models support a frequency range of DC to 6 GHz and are CE and RoHS compliant,” the company stated. “Most of these new surge protectors are IP67-rated for outdoor use and some models offer low-PIM performance. Furthermore, models are available with bracket mounting options and flexible bulkhead designs.”

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Easy fast setup is a selling point

Ahead of the InfoComm show in Las Vegas next month, Barix is highlighting an expanded suite of low-cost, multi-site audio contribution and streaming solutions.

While some of the announcement is focused on retailers, the discussion also pertains to temporary live internet radio services for houses of worship, corporate and other specialty “broadcast” applications.

Barix will demonstrate Instreamer ICE and Retail Player. It said it is pursuing a “unified strategy across its music streaming solutions” to provide users with new options to serve larger audiences.

“InfoComm marks the global debut of Instreamer ICE , which combines the bandwidth efficiency of AAC+ encoding with streamlined integration, thanks to a built-in Icecast server that supports up to 50 simultaneous listeners,” the company said. It’s suitable for specialized online broadcasters. “The enhanced compression of AAC+ encoding allows end users to deliver the same audio quality as mp3 at half the bandwidth, or double the audio quality using the same bandwidth.”

It said Instreamer ICE is believed to be the first product of this nature to combine an Icecast server with the encoding platform.

“This removes the need to download and configure an Icecast server on a separate machine, a time-consuming and often complex process, that enables listeners to receive live streams on their connected devices.” The integrated solution enables setup times of less than five minutes, Barix said.

A partner product, Barix’s Retail Player , combines hardware receivers with a web-based management portal for large-scale retail, hospitality and corporate music applications. Instreamer ICE customers can scale beyond 50 streams with Retail Player, it said. “The combined solution is ideal for private internet radio networks, as well as for businesses that previously turned to less reliable, consumer-grade players due to budget restrictions.”

Listeners can consume live streams on mobiles, laptops and connected devices while Retail Player provides a robust, network-configurable device with automatic playout for business applications.

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Apple’s grip on the market expected to loosen, but the trend is gaining traction



Bragi Dash Pro wireless headphones

MOUNTAINVIEW, Calif. — Anyone traversing sidewalks, trains, buses and running paths have noticed the white sticks sticking out of the ears of a growing number of people. Apple’s completely wireless AirPods — a type of completely wire-free earbuds that wirelessly connect via Bluetooth not only to a smartphone or music player but to each other — are ever-present, a new cultural must-have.

Yes, Apple dominates this new “true” wireless category, also referred to as “hearables” to differentiate them from more traditional behind-the-neck wireless Bluetooth earphones. According to The NPD Group, Apple accounts for 86 percent of the dollar volume in this nascent headphone sub-category category.

But Apple’s early dominance of the true wireless market doesn’t mean other manufacturers — and non-Apple retailers — can’t or won’t get involved.

“Apple has earned its large share for now by leading the pack in two features consumers really like: tight integration with the iPhone and Siri, and its development of the W1 chipset that has offered easy and highly reliable pairing,” explained Robert Heiblim, principal of BlueSalve Consulting. “Many other headphones on the market have lagged Apple in both these elements, but we know this will change rapidly as Alexa and Google Assistant integration is coming full strength and newer Bluetooth chipsets improve and simplify connections.”

Thanks to the buzz generated by Apple and its AirPods, true wireless buds are quickly transforming from a “what if I lose one” curiosity niche into a mainstream category. According to Futuresource Consulting’s latest “Worldwide Headphone Report,” true wireless earphones accumulated only .4 million in unit sales worldwide in 2016, but ballooned to 11.5 million last year, a tiny but growing portion of the 350 million headphones sold. In the US, NPD’s U.S. Retail Tracking Service reports that truly wireless ear buds saw a 17-point dollar share growth and 11-point unit share growth in 2017 vs. 2016.

Like AirPods, all true wireless buds include a battery pack to triple, quadruple and even quintuple their relatively meager three- to five-hour battery life. Most incorporate noise-suppression technology and modes to hear ambient noise and even conduct conversations without removing one or both buds, and either sweat- or waterproofing.

“As more traditional audio companies enter this market, I think we will see an added emphasis on sound quality in truly wireless earbuds,” noted Ben Arnold, NPD executive director and consumer electronics industry analyst. “Already, we’ve seen sub-segments in the market emerge around fitness via heart rate sensors and hearing assistance and augmentation via adaptive noise canceling.”

Bragi, for instance, calls its Dash Pro an “in-ear assistant.” Designed with hearing aid maker Starkey, the Dash Pro includes not only an array of workout and fitness features, but iTranslate, a built-in language translator sort of like “Star Trek’s” universal translator. In April Nuheara started shipping its second-gen IQbuds Boost designed to also aid the hearing impaired thanks to its proprietary Ear ID that automatically calibrates varying listening and hearing settings. And Jabra’s pending third-generation Elite 65t and Elite Active 65t buds have added smart voice assistant access.

“Look for an avalanche of new products closing the gap with Apple,” adds Heiblim. “Consumers can be sure they will have plenty to choose from .”

NPD’s Arnold echoed this, addressing the challenges non-Apple CE retailers may face when selling this category. “I think one way retailers can compete is if the rest of market outside of AirPods develops interesting and compelling products,” he said. “We could also see segments of this market that cater to specific users such as fitness — via embedded sensors — or audio enthusiasts with high-end audio that can play to the strengths of other retailers.”

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RME Speaks Dante

I/O box gets digital signals onto Dante networks


Audio interface manufacturer RME is bringing its attention to Dante networks.

The latest in its Digiface series of digital audio interfaces is the Digiface Dante . Not surprisingly, this box is a Dante interface bringing in and converting a wide variety of digital flavors for use on Dante digital networks.

Capable of handling up to 128 bidirectional channels at 192 kHz, 64 channels of MADI Digiface Dante interfaces with USB 3 and MADI on the high end for Dante networks. There are multiple/redundant Dante ports for bidirectional signal routing.

There is also word clock I/O. The Digiface Dante can operate via a power supply or USB.

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It’s the first time smart speakers have been used for music research


LOS ANGELES — It was only a matter of time. The meteoric sales of smart speakers has brought radio — and music back into the home and made listening a social experience again. Someone was bound to figure out a way to use smart speakers to do music research. That day has apparently arrived.

Los Angeles-based technology developer Vipology  claims to have put all the pieces together for a new type of online research. By combining Amazon Alexa, the AI power of IBM Watson and proprietary software, the company claims to have created a platform that will deliver consumer emotional analysis to music testing. The system will be demonstrated at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood, Calif., on May 3-4.

Vipology says it has combined its own VS3 smart speaker system with software from recently acquired MusicTesting.com. The company also partnered with Benztown in developing the VS3+MusicTesting.com platform, with Benztown providing a library of thousands of song hooks covering 14 formats.

Vipology recently introduced its smart speaker skills product, Vipology Smart Speaker System (“VS3”) to radio stations, as consumer adoption of smart speakers continues to grow at record levels. That product launched across 100 U.S. radio stations. VS3 deliverables include quickly securing the stations’ brands on smart speakers, as well as working with stations in a customer-informed process to maximize their placement on smart speakers for cash or barter.

Vipology claims that its VS3 + MusicTesting.com platform can bring music research into listeners’ homes and enable them to share their passion through emotional responses, thereby scoring listeners’ emotional feedback in ways legacy music testing cannot.

It will be interesting to see how this new testing fares in the already competitive music testing ecosphere. Privacy concerns surrounding smart speakers are already being raised. How will the privacy of research subjects be protected? And, isn’t most listener’s response to music emotional? How will this be different, and how well will it track with existing music research methodology?

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New features include external termination


LAS VEGAS — At the NAB Show Electronics Research/ERI introduced a series of directional couplers.

This line of coaxial directional couplers is adjustable and externally terminated. The orientation of any sampling port can easily be changed from forward to reflected by reposition the external termination load on the coupler.

These couplers are available in 3-1/8-inch, 4-1/16-inch, and 6-1/8-inch, 50-ohm, models, with flanged input and output connections. The 3-1/8-inch and 4-1/16-inch models are also available with an unflanged male connection at the coupler input.

Models available with one to five adjustable couplers with Type N sample ports. One external termination load is supplied for each sample port. Directivity and coupling level are dependent on operating frequency. The design of this new product family is complete, and all items mentioned in this release are in current production.

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Adds MPX-over-AES digital audio feature


MIAMI — WorldCast’s Audemat marque is releasing a new RDS encoder called, simply, Audemat RDS Encoder .

Besides the expected RDS/RDBS tools (e.g. artist name, song titles, traffic message, EAS, etc.), the encoder adds an MPX-over-AES digital audio function. Furthermore, it can insert the encoding directly into the digital chain. In addition it is compatible RDS2 standards.

Being a WorldCast product it is conversant with the company’s ScriptEasy Apps and Manager for programming, control and management. It is fully networkable and remote controllable.

There’s also an onboard tuner for immediate monitoring.

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