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NXP's innovation in smart phone sound - any implication for the high-end?

Posted 2nd August 2012 at 05:13 AM by abraxalito

EET seems to be on a run of interesting articles of late - and here's the latest, about NXP's latest digital amp for smartphone speakers:

Achieving loud, rich sound from micro speakers

So yeah, smartphones are a long way from the high-end you say, so why talk about this at all? Well one sentence at the end caused me to pause and wonder how long before this kind of technology gets used where sound quality (rather than quantity) is paramount. I quote:

This leap in performance illustrates an important design trend. The days of stand-alone amplifiers and converters designed in isolation have gone.

The writer has put his finger on a major reason why the high-end of audio is a relatively stagnant pool for innovation. Pretty much everything's designed in isolation - players, amps, speakers. What if those days really are coming to an end, not just in smartphones but in quality audio too? Smartphones have the volume so there's economic...
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Old

Cirrus now Apple's poodle

Posted 1st August 2012 at 04:53 AM by abraxalito

Cirrus (familiar to us in the audio world as a major ADC/DAC and codec supplier, formerly Crystal Semiconductor) has engineered itself into a tight corner by having over half its sales come from Apple - but its not permitted to mention its largest customer by name due to Apple's draconian NDA.

I wouldn't say things are looking very bright for Cirrus - to be that dependent on one single customer who is that much more powerful than you and a known corporate bully strikes me as poor strategic thinking.

Apple captive Cirrus gagged
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Old

Insider story on Intel's FinFETs - allegedly...

Posted 27th July 2012 at 05:00 AM by abraxalito

Here's an interesting article where Warren East is commenting on ARM's competition with Intel. But for the sting in the tail, scroll down to the comments. The first one appears to be from an Intel insider - fascinating stuff. Let's hope it doesn't get pulled

ARM, TSMC lead Intel in SoC, says CEO East

He (nc3) says :

Intel's 22nm also has much higher leakage, cost, worse analog, worse RF, worse high V transistors in terms of specs and the type of devices offered.
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Old

Ceasar II 300B SE mono block upgrade Part #2

Posted 24th July 2012 at 06:01 PM by dvb projekt
Updated 21st October 2012 at 01:03 PM by dvb projekt (Review added)

A short quick upgrade for my Ceasar II Mono´s
to push the sq to the limit...



In the meantime...

As you could see in the Upgrade Part #1, the printing of the Sophia Electric Royal Princess 300B
is 90 degrees different to the Emission Labs 300B-XLS.

Not a big thing, but it´s not looking good!


Unfortunately i have only two holes for the Tube-Socket. Therefore i made two small adapter to rotate the Tube-Socket.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Now the printing faces to the front!

Click the image to open in full size.

Perfect!



2nd Upgrade


The three grid stopper resistors will be changed from AUDIO NOTE™ 2 Watt Tantalum to Texas Components TX2575
...
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Old

Nvidia wants a divorce from TSMC?

Posted 18th July 2012 at 03:08 AM by abraxalito

This article is a fascinating peep behind the curtain of the current economics of semiconductor production through the eyes of a major IP player - Nvidia. More evidence that Moore's Law is grinding to a screeching halt I suggest.

Nvidia deeply unhappy with TSMC, claims 20nm essentially worthless | ExtremeTech
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Old

Upgrade Fluke 510A AC voltage reference

Posted 16th July 2012 at 04:45 PM by 1audio

While doing some research on making an ultra low distortion analyzer I stopped to look at the Fluke 510A that has been siting on my shelf for years. Lots more on the 510a here: http://assets.fluke.com/manuals/510A_AD_imeng0000.pdf

In short a low distortion (.005% or better) 10V +/- .002% reference oscillator. There are very good numbers and by 1970 standards exceptional.

I was looking at it because I was researching AGC circuit for oscillators. This is an interesting implementation with its standards lab precision accuracy and stability. However its not simple and the critical parts are expensive (an ultra stable voltage reference, ultra stable resistors etc.)

In any case I was wondering if the distortion can be reduced still further. At the time it was built .002% was about as good as possible in practice and better would be hard to verify.

In short, after a number of experiments I got the distortion down to .0003% THD (30 KHz...
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Old

Audio heaven? No, not me, the other guy ...

Posted 12th July 2012 at 01:39 AM by fas42
Updated 16th July 2012 at 12:16 AM by fas42

This follows a suggestion from another member -- thanks, bear! -- to chronicle at least one journey in optimising sound. And, yes, it's not one of my efforts, because the way I do things is very messy: they look incredibly messy, full of false turnings and bits of "I wonder if this is actually doing anything positive now". Enough to get anyone watching closely thoroughly confused ...!!

The story is that a small music listening group kicked off, then faded away. But from that an ongoing exercise began, where a younger, very enthusiastic DIYer was happy to hear my feedback on what path to take with his system, and this has continued for a couple of years, with quite substantial, positive gains in sound quality, to this day.

So, to give a clearer picture of the angle I'm coming from I'll attempt, from memory, to list the steps taken, in fairly general terms, and what the various ups and downs in the process were ...

At the start, when I first...
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Old

miniDSP tools

Posted 9th July 2012 at 02:29 PM by DougL

If I ever have my DCX break and need another XO, these tools look like they make miniDSP a real choice.

the Active Crossover Designer web page
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Old

Musical monitor: Okay, what's this "musical" tag here mean, really??

Posted 8th July 2012 at 01:24 AM by fas42
Updated 16th July 2012 at 12:21 AM by fas42

I alluded to this in the first post on the thread, and it's worthwhile "defining" it a bit more.

Everybody would have a gut understanding as to what I mean, but what actually is it, and how do I measure it, to assess whether I've achieved it? There are the people who live and die by the conventional audio measurement yardsticks, and then there are the others who feel that these animals leave a lot to be desired. Again, look at the activity on the "Sound Quality Vs. Measurements" thread ...

Well, I'm pretty obviously in the latter camp, the standard numbers that an AP setup will pop up will mean very little, and since my project includes speakers the nightmare of getting meaningful distortion figures for the full path of the sound exists. So, I'll use the next best thing, my ears.

To make life easy here, I'll use a pretty accessible test object: the acoustic piano. We have one of those beasts in the listening area, my wife plays,...
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Old

Musical monitor: Some comments on the positive input in the original thread

Posted 7th July 2012 at 04:45 AM by fas42
Updated 16th July 2012 at 12:21 AM by fas42

By tnargs:

Quote:
I was assuming we were going to take something like a Behringer 2031A (2 way, 8", active, affordable) and see what tweaks are on the table.
Most perceptive ...

Quote:
Whenever I see a measured FR of a Behringer it looks nice and smooth and flat, off axis too, so it seems a decent start.
Exactly so.

Quote:
Although Lynno's post is true enough, I thought we would be keeping the drivers and looking at any gains from astute use of felt or resin (on or around the cone/dome), replacement of dust cap, stiffening or dampening the pressed steel driver frame... what else?
Possibly will improve the frame in some such fashion; and look at stronger coupling of the whole driver assembly to the carcase such that vibration is transferred in the most direct path to the surface the monitor is sitting on.

But these things will be only addressed after the electronics are sorted out, and I see how well the driver behaves itself at maximum SPLs.
...
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