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Audio News for July 15, 2016

A New Inexpensive Platform for Home & Business Automation –  Matrix, subject of KickStarter campaign where it can be pre-ordered for $299, looks to challenge single vendor approaches from Apple, Samsung and others by building a framework within which third-part open-source apps can co-exist. You can control it by speech, gesture or its mobile app. Matrix controls everything in your home: security, home control and intelligent assistance. It has built-in secure communication protocols and is chock-full of sensors detecting everything from movement to temperature. Certain elements of the platform are only accessible via special means that make the data even more secure. There is a customisable LED ring with over a million color options which can be controlled.

New Partnership to Add Voice and Sound-Activation to Home Applications – As a spin-out from Philips, StreamUnlimited will add streaming abilities to audio devices, plus sound recognition. Under the terms of the agreement, Audio Analytic’s ai3 sound recognition software will be integrated with StreamUnlimited’s product.

Another KickStarter Audio Device:  the Billie Amp – Named after singer Billie Holliday, the new amp (currently available for a pledge of $690) claims to combine the warmth of analog audio with digital precision, enabling listeners to reconnect with their music thru enhanced audio. Two small tubes stick up from the plain-looking case. It works with vinyl, Bluetooth, CD PC or TV and is stereo only.  It’s not designed to be used with a computer, and outputs 125 watts to the stereo speakers. There is also a headphone jack and line level subwoofer output. The built-in DAC is an ESS Sabre handling rates up to 384K/32-bit. A reviewer who generally raves about the new unit says “It’s not a purist’s solution but will likely do the job.”

Kids at Classical Music Concerts – can be a problem. One couple in Monterey, CA, took their two-year-old to a Carmel Bach Festival concert. They sat in the back pews. At one point during the concert, the two-year-old said loudly “Ooh. Big.”  As the choir walked down the aisle at intermission, its director turned to the couple and audibly and visibly shushed the son. Then an usher asked them to take their child out, and they left.

Classical music and arts organizations everywhere claim they want to attract young and newer audiences, including families and novices. But what is to be done about the few noisy little critters? It’s true that some parents don’t seem to notice any of the ruckus their offspring cause in public places. A leading music educator said the best way was to keep the arts alive, especially music, “is to expose our children to them at an early age. If [arts] organizations hope to survive, they must find a way to attract younger audiences.” But how young is appropriate? The expert says: “Only the parents know.”  I think that sums it up.

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