Audio News for February 25, 2011

by | Feb 25, 2011 | Audio News | 0 comments

TV Maker Warns Against Internet TVs – An Australian TV manufacturer has said that consumers are better off buying a standalone Internet connection box similar to those offered by LG and Sony, rather than buying a new Internet-capable HDTV. They said this enables users to upgrade their existing TV without the cost of a new TV, or they can buy a cheaper current model HDTV without Internet built-in and then attach an Internet connection box.  They feel that IP TVs are in their infancy and much will change in the technology over the coming months.  3D TV was pointed to as starting out with a lot of hype which resulted in lower than expected sales. A company spokesman for the company, Bauman Myer, said “…we do not believe that consumers should dump a perfectly good TV for a new one just because certain manufacturers are hyping new Internet or Smart TVs.”

Car Rear Windows Become Subwoofers – Magna International is developing a technology called Acoustivision that converts car rear windows in subwoofers while simultaneously keeping the noise packed inside so you won’t bother neighbors. We had a item about all-glass loudspeakers recently, and now here is a design that eliminates a massive subwoofer taking up space in a car’s trunk. It uses a piezoelectric actuator – a bar-shaped device that receives the signal from the audio system and transmits it to highly sensitive springs that run along the bottom of the window, causing it to vibrate with music. Two exciters at the base of the window synthesize harmonics of low frequency signals to simulate deep bass. A small amplifier is required in the trunk to boost the stereo low-frequency signal from 12 volts to 200. However, we may not be seeing this technology in an actual product for a few years.

Do You Get The Best Sound With CD-quality Audio Files? – Not necessarily.  FLAC and Apple Lossless audio files have become very popular because they allow users to decode them to full 44.1K/16-bit just like standard compact discs, or to listen to them as WAV or AIFF files. But bear in mind the way the original music recording was made.  If it was a very early CD from just after the format’s introduction in 1982, chances are it might sound pretty bad. It wasn’t until the 1990s that improvements in A-D processors in the studios, enhancements in mastering and pressing CDs, and improvements in the D-A processors built into CD players made the format a more high fidelity product. But then after about 2000 the Loudness Wars ruined the gains in quality which digital had made, at least in the pop music area. Pop recordings today use dynamic range compression up the wazoo and generally are the worst sound the public has ever had.  No wonder many people cannot tell the difference between music at 44.1/16 vs. when it’s been crudely data-reduced down to say, a 128 kbps MP3 file!  So no matter what efforts you make to get actual CD-quality in playback, including various gadgets which claim to restore the losses caused by the MP3 process, it is useless if the original recording is compromised. The highest fidelity digital recordings begin with no compression, and are recorded and played back not at 44.1K/16bit, but at 88.2K, 96K, 176.4K or 192K and 24-bit, or SACD (DSD), DVD-Audio or Blu-ray lossless audio. (48K/24bit Blu-ray audio can squeak by because the increase to 24 bits causes more audible improvement than the very slightly higher sampling rate.)

iTunes to Offer 24-bit Audio Files for a Price – Apple iTunes has announced that will begin offering its music in 24bit format as well as 16bit to attract customers preferring studio sound quality and uncompressed tunes. Most high end format pop recordings are made at 24bit, but then downgraded to 16bit for CD market distribution. Then they are further degraded and compressed for online streaming services. Several Mac models allows recording at 24bit, but not iPhones or iPads.  Radiohead last week released its new album on a lossless 24bit file for a higher fee.

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