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Audio News for September 16, 2016

The Loss of the Well-Rounded Musician – Mozart and his sister experienced many different styles of playing and composing around Europe, and Beethoven was known more as an improviser at the piano during his first years in Vienna. Today most musicians have become more specialized and strive for being note-perfect with perfect technical finish.  It is now rare for professional classical musicians also to be composers. Improvising is generally out of fashion. Some critics feel that the separation of composers and instrumentalists as professions is slowly killing the spirit of classical music.

Two New Smart Audio Technologies – Frontier Silicon, leaders in smart audio technologies, offered two new items at CECIA 2016: Minuet – a Googlecast-enabled speaker toolkit for Wi-Fi speakers, soundbars and hi-fi systems, and Venice 6.5 – a cost-optimized solution for multi-room speakers that includes Napster, Spotify Connect, and Deezer. The Minuet includes the entire design set needed to build an audio product and comes pre-certified for CE, FCC, the Wi-Fi Alliance and Bluetooth. It also handles the latest v. 4.2 of Bluetooth, the latest Wi-Fi, diversity antennas, a dual-core ARM A7 processor and multiple audio inputs and outputs. Venice 6.5 integrates with premium streaming music services, has advanced audio sync for multi-room, DLNA, support Aux In and Bluetooth inputs, plus a variety of user interface options.

Sony Offers Signature Series Hi-Res Audio Products – including new headphones, digital Walkman payers, and a headphone amp. The MDR-Z1R headphones have a magnesium dome HD driver for up to 120K, along with lightweight aluminum-coated LCP edge diaphragms and a powerful neodymium magnet ($2,299). The NW-WM1Z and WNW-WM1A Walkmans offer support up to DSD native playback, pus a new touch panel design. The TA-ZH1ES headphone amp ($2,200) has a new D.A. hybrid amp circuit and provides support for most hi-res formats, including native DSD and hi-res PCM.

Bluesound Introduces the World’s First Hi-Res Streaming Soundbar – which enables the room with the big TV to be the heart of a whole-home wireless music system delivering hi-res music thru an app available for smart devices. The Pulse soundbar will be $999 and supports 192/24 sampling rate as well as MQA audio streams – another first in the soundbar category. It has a three-way speaker configuration and is tri-amped. The stylish cabinet is made from extruded aluminum like really expensive speakers.

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