Audio News

Audio News for April 5, 2013

B & O Adds Spotify to BeoSound 5 Music System; Polk, Definitive & Boom Part of New Division; Triad Upgrades Their In-Wall Sub; Dolby Atmos Surround for Home Theater?

Published on April 5, 2013

B & O Adds Spotify to BeoSound 5 Music System – The on-demand music-streaming service of Spotify (with 20 million songs) has been added to Bang & Olufsen’s $6324 BeoSound 5 two-piece digital music system.  The units, which must be used with separately-sold active speakers, plays back music from multiple sources, including its own hard drive, 14,000 Internet radio stations, AirPlay, DLNA and stereo Bluetooth. Music may be ripped in various formats, including WMA and FLAC.  A 10.4-inch color display shows album art and menu choices around a large control wheel, which can spin thru albums, artists, songs, genres and album covers.

Polk, Definitive & Boom Part of New Division – DEI Holdings has announced it has formed a new division for its Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and Boom brands, to be called Sound United. The brands will remain separate and distinct from one another. A new Sopund United website has been launched, and the division will be based in Vista, CA, and Baltimore.

Triad Upgrades Their In-Wall Sub – Triad Speakers in Portland OR has improved its in-wall Bronze/4 SlimSub active subwoofer, which includes a 350-watt rack-mount amp. The enclosure is now flush with the wall rather than protruding, and a long-throw ten-inch aluminum driver and round steel backplate replace a thick MDF backplate, making more room for the driver to reach full extension. It comes with all three of Triad’s Acoustimesh grilles, which can be custom-painted by Triad before installation. SRP is $1400.

Dolby Atmos Surround for Home Theater? – Dolby Laboratories’ Atmos has now been used in over 30 theatrical features, has gained support of seven Hollywood studios, and has been implemented in more than 90 international movie theaters.  Atmos delivers indivisual “sound objects” to up to 64 different speakers, including overhead units, and the technology supports up to 128 simultaneous sounds. The current surround technology requires sound mixers to assign multiple sounds to an indivisual channel in the 5.1 system, masking many sounds which can enhance realism. With Atmos, studios attach specific X, Y and Z coordinates to each sound to describe that sound’s location in three-dimensional space at any given time. That solves the limitation of cramming many different sounds into a limited number of discrete channels.

According to Dolby, when combined with psycho-acoustic techniques, sound-object mixing creates a more life-like experience in which individual sounds are heard clearly and distinctly. Sound pans also move more smoothly around you. Atmos scales down to cinemas with fewer than 64 speakers, and could be scaled down to home theater systems with far fewer speakers. It could even be embedded in active soundbars to deliver surround sound that exceeds that of current soundbars with various virtual-surround processing. Atmos soundtracks could be placed on Blu-rays right now, but future AV receivers would be required to have embedded Atmos decoders. The Blu-ray Disc Association is now looking into adding new technologies to their standard. It is also considering 4K, expanded color space, and higher frame rates. And DTS also has a competing surround technology called Multi-Dimensional Audio (MDA).




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