Audio News for October 27, 2009

by | Oct 27, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

Reduce Energy Use by Your Home Theater – Multichannel sound systems are terrific, but can be overkill if you’re only watching the news, a Charlie Rose interview or a classic silent film. Also, when you’re not using the system at all, the many wall-warts are drawing “vampire power” needlessly. Popular Mechanics hooked up a wattmeter to a typical HDTV and cable box, finding it used 172 watts. When they added a 5.1 home theater audio system, it went up to 244 watts, and when they also played a Blu-ray disc on a PS3, the total soared to 444 watts. Many users now use their multichannel AV preamp or amp as a HDMI router, with all their sources going into it and outputting to the HDTV with a single HDMI cable. This means the whole system is on whenever the TV is, even if you are watching something that doesn’t benefit from surround sound. The solution is to get an HDMI switch with a digital audio connection, allowing you to switch between just the TV and your whole system. You can also plug all your non-essential AV gear into a separate power strip that can be switched on and off – to completely kill the power to unused components.

Loudness and Peak Level Consistency for Telecasts
– German pro audio specialist Jünger Audio manufactures high-quality digital audio dynamics processors. Their Level Magic technology has been adopted by the company behind the Discovery Channels to deliver loudness consistency and peak level management across all their programs. Level Magic uses a sophisticated adaptive level control algorithm designed to adjust the level from any source at any time with no pumping, breathing or distortion. It uses any type of analog or digital source, including Dolby 5.1 and its related metadata. Discovery was one of the first in the U.S. to adopt dialnorm – Dolby’s standard to maintain consistent loudness across all broadcasts. With Level Magic the loudness peaks and valleys within a given show can ben reduced without affecting its overall dialnorm average.

New Wi-Fi Technology Coming in 2010
– A consortium of companies – including Apple, Microsoft, Intel and Cisco, and many audio and video manufacturers will launch a new wireless technology called Wi Fi Direct in mid-2010, to be introduced at the January CES Show in Las Vegas. Wi Fi Direct will turn a variety of consumer electronics into instant hot spots, able to create wireless connections with other Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets or modems with a radius of about 91 meters. It will be built directly into consumer electronics, but owners of most already existing Wi-Fi-enabled devices will be able to upgrade them to Wi Fi Direct with a simple software download. There will be some conflicts with Bluetooth technology used in some headsets and the Apple iPhone; Wi Fi Direct disrupts use of wireless Bluetooth, but some consumers may be able to switch over to Wi Fi Direct. It drains battery life faster than Bluetooth, but is also faster and allows transfer of richer multimedia content. There will be a major marketing blitz promoting the new technology.

Latest B&W & Bose iPod Docks – are battling it out for those looking for a fairly expensive but good-sounding dock for playing the data-reduced audio files on their iPods. B&W has launched a Mini Zeppelin iPod dock with an audiophile-grade DAC and speakers at a lower price than their acclaimed $600 Zeppelin – $400. At the same time Bose has brought out their Sounddock 10 at about $400. Most of the lower-priced competitors sound pretty bad.

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