Stay on the Edge of Audio Technology with audioXpress April 2017

March 10 2017, 05:00
The April 2017 edition of audioXpress is now available online and in print. This month, audioXpress tests some new products from Hafler (Radial) and CEntrance. In Fresh From the Bench, we start with the CEntrance DACportable High Resolution USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier, which Oliver A. Masciarotte experimented with during several days, including during his daily commute in Minneapolis, all the while listening to TIDAL or podcasts via Bluetooth from his phone. And to confirm Masciarotte’s positive impressions from this Chicago-based company, Stuart Yaniger does the full bench measurements of the CEntrance DACportable.
From a different lifestyle angle, Gary Galo thoroughly reviews the new Hafler PH50 (designed for moving magnet cartridges) and the PH60 (moving coil) Phono Preamps, as well as the Hafler PH44 Moving Coil Step-Up Transformer. All products come from Radial Engineering, a professional audio company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and now the owner of Jensen Transformers and the Hafler and Dynaco brands, which it bought in 2014. Galo not only reviews the phono preamps and transformer in detail but also discusses how Radial leveraged the technology and heritage from those companies.
Another cover highlight is also the start of a series of articles that audioXpress has been preparing for some time, analyzing the latest Class-D amplifier platforms currently reaching the market. For the first article in the Amplifier Series, our audio expert from The Netherlands, Ward Maas, visits ICEPower in Denmark—fresh from the recent management buyout from Bang & Olufsen and the recent decision to merge with Audio Bricks. The visit gave audioXpress the opportunity to look at several important new products coming from the Danish amplifier specialists, but in this edition we mainly focus on the new ICEedge platform. The ICEedge chipset consists of a dual-channel Controller IC and two Driver ICs, enabling amplifiers that range in power from 50 up to 7,000 W into 4 Ω. Truly cutting-edge stuff.
Of course, audioXpress features the usual monthly columns, including the increasingly popular Sound Control articles from Richard Honeycutt, which discuss everything in acoustic science. This month, Honeycutt revisits the topic of bass traps. "Finding a Better Bass Trap" discusses the features, effects, and application scenarios for applying these products and what exactly happens when they are correctly used.
This month’s edition also features two excellent DIY projects, starting with the conclusion of the DIM—A Device for Interfacing and Measuring with a Sound Card by George  Ntanavaras, which we started publishing in our Test and Measurement edition in March 2017. The second project comes from Gerhard Haas, detailing how to build a high-quality 6C33 Push Pull Amplifier. Two top notch and rewarding DIY projects from top audio experts.
In his monthly column, which currently addresses the quality of streaming music services, Ron Tipton puts the popular Spotify service to the test. In “Streaming Music Experiences (Part 4),” Tipton measures the streaming audio signal from Spotify Premium at different occasions and compares the results. The article also discusses the use of the Ogg Vorbis codec, adopted by the Swedish company.
This month’s Questions & Answers includes an interview with Drew Waters of SPARS, the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services. SPARS began as a Trade Group — an idea formed by a group of studio owners meeting at The Pacific Dining Car in downtown Los Angeles — during the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in the fall of 1979. The goals were to provide a way for studios to have a forum toward striving for excellence in the craft, evaluate gear, best practices, and educate members. Later, SPARS membership expanded also to manufacturers to create an effective dialogue with studio owners and operators from across the country.
audioXpress April 2017 also includes a complete Industry Calendar listing all trade shows, conventions, and events relevant to the audio community for the second half of the year.
This edition is now available to access and download online. Just visit:
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