Archives for May 2003

Presonus Ships All New HP4 Headphone Amplifier / Speaker Controller

PreSonus Audio Electronics is now shipping the HP4™, a compact headphone amplifier and distribution controller. The HP4 has a suggested price of $129.95 (US).

The new distribution box provides four discrete headphone outputs on the front panel, its own volume potentiometer, and 250mW of amplification per channel. Presonus says the unit produces a very high output while maintaining low noise.

“When space and budget are a concern, I can’t fathom a better answer to the problem of headphone distribution,” says PreSonus president Jim Odom.

“This piece of gear is the same size as our new TubePRE™, so it fits into our soon-to-be-released MaxRack, which houses up to six 1/3 rack space units. Given the high performance and low price of $129.95, there really isn’t a better option on the market.”

The HP4 accepts balanced/unbalanced inputs (stereo or mono) and outputs (1/4″ TRS), and has a mono selector button on the front channel that copies both inputs to both sides. Extremely quiet, the HP4 has a -98 dB noise floor and wide frequency response.

The HP4 provides an extra pair of TRS outputs that can be used to link multiple units and feed control room monitors. The user can control the volume or mute the monitor speakers from the HP4’s front panel when using up to four sets of headphones. The HP4 is externally powered by a wall-mounted power supply.

Presonus Web Site

Legend Reborn: Altec Lansing Reintroduces Legacy A7 ‘Voice Of The Theatre’ Speaker

Altec Lansing® is joining the movement to revive and re-issue classic audio gear. This one really is a blast from the past: Altec has reintroduced the legendary A7 sound reinforcement loudspeaker, also known as the “Voice of the Theatre®.”

The new reproduction is named Legacy A7, and Altec is positioning it as an esoteric item for audiophiles and collectors who appreciate classic audio, as well as for the pro audio and studio applications filled by the original A7.

The Legacy A7 is available direct from Altec Lansing online, priced at $4,000 (US) per speaker, plus $300 (US) each for shipping. It is available immediately.

Altec Lansing’s “Voice of the Theatre” was the first and only speaker series to be approved by the Research Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making it the worldwide standard for motion picture playback. Introduced in the early 1950’s, the A7 was the pinnacle of the “Voice of the Theatre” line, defining an era of sound reproduction for movie theaters, recording studios, even rock groups lasting nearly 40 years.

The A7 was the culmination of Altec’s Voice of the Theatre line. It was soon in demand for use as a studio monitor and home reproducer. Over the years, the A7 established itself as an almost universal standard against which engineers and audio lovers judged the quality of recorded sound.

Altec Lansing says the new Legacy A7 is a meticulous re-issue of this classic speaker, precise in every engineering detail and offered in the most refined cabinetry the speaker has ever seen.

“The new A7 is a meticulous re-issue of our original product,” says Mark Lucas, president and CEO of Altec Lansing Technologies.

“Every detail, every specification is based on historic research and painstaking design analysis. For anyone from vacuum tube amplification fans to modern-day digital system lovers, the new A7 is a piece of history they can enjoy right in their own music room or home theater.”

For many audio engineers and other discriminating audio lovers, the A7’s unique sound was unmistakable: completely memorable, and totally unique. It quite probably has become the most listened-to speaker system in the world, thrilling millions of theater goers and others over its long and distinguished reign.

Manufactured in the USA using the same materials, the same specs and production drawings, even the same tools used in the original product, the A7 is once again ready to grace the homes and studios of consumers and other collectors who can appreciate an audio classic.

Meticulous Reproduction

Nothing has been left to chance in the re-issue of the A7. In fact, the company’s Golden Sample – the product “mother” upon which all manufacturing is based – was acoustically matched to an original A7 to ensure the distinctive “Voice of the Theatre” sound is re-created in its full expression.

Boasting outstanding efficiency as well as incredibly dynamic and accurate performance, the A7 features a number of components that were breakthroughs in the field. The product’s low frequency Model 515 Lansing(R) woofer, for example, is specifically designed to maximize the performance of the A7’s bass horn cabinet, and was one of the industry’s first drivers to use an edge-wound, copper-clad aluminum ribbon voice coil. Flat wire coils are a cornerstone of accuracy and efficiency, and were originally developed in 1924 by the group of Western Electric engineers who went on to found Altec Lansing. The Model 902 high frequency compression driver, also a part of the A7, features a 100% aluminum diaphragm for extended high frequency performance.

In some ways, performance of the A7 has actually been improved. Frequency response in the new product is now 35 Hz to 22 kHz (the first A7 achieved 20 kHz, generally regarded as the limit of human hearing); the crossover, while a match of the original, uses better components and techniques to accommodate modern media such as SACD or DVD-A.

Housing the A7’s drivers is an individually-numbered speaker cabinet constructed of 13-layer Baltic Birch, finished with the signature “Voice of the Theatre” black splatter finish. The durable, acoustically refined enclosures are handmade to the highest modern standards.

More Features & Details

Outstanding Efficiency

  • Perfect for the vacuum tube amplification lover or enthusiasts of the latest digital amplification technology – anyone who appreciates the benefits of truly classic audio engineering.
  • The A7 drivers contain powerful magnetic structures, precisely spaced magnetic gaps and optimal material selections.
  • Model 515 LF driver features edgewise wound copper-clad aluminum ribbon wire in its voice coil. Model 902 HF driver uses copper ribbon wire. Flat wire voice coils, a cornerstone of accuracy and efficiency, have been used by Altec longer than anyone else.

No-Compromise Design

  • Incredibly dynamic and accurate… the new Voice of the Theatre effortlessly achieves performance that will move you.
  • Only the finest American made components were qualified for the latest A7.
  • The 902 HF driver uses the Altec Tangerine™ Radial Phase Plug.
  • Hydraulically formed aluminum HF diaphragm with tangential compliance.

Handmade Construction

  • Durable, sonically excellent 13-layer Baltic Birch plywood cabinet, manufactured to the highest modern standards.
  • Combinations of the bass reflex and horn enclosure offer proven superior quality in sound reproduction. The advantages of the extended bass response of the bass reflex enclosure, coupled to a short, radiating exponentially formed front loaded horn without folds, further extends the low bass range.
  • Completed with a Voice of the Theatre rugged black splatter finish.

Faithful Engineering

  • Careful attention to the smallest details, capturing all the sonic excitement that made the original a legend.
  • Altec Lansing relied on original cabinet drawing.
  • Drivers and sectoral horns are cast off of original Altec Lansing tools.
  • Altec’s Golden Sample was acoustically matched to an original A7. All of our efforts were focused on achieving the same signature sound for which The Voice of the Theatre is famous.

Altec Lansing Web Site

D&R Electronica’s Lyra Introduces a New Generation of Digital Broadcast Console

The Lyra is a new, fully-digital desktop production mixer from D&R Electronica in The Netherlands. Its design is based on the requirements and wish lists of end users and distributors looking for a versatile compact small universal desktop mixer. It is built around a sophisticated Texas Instruments DSP engine.

Although the Lyra is a digital console, it operates like a conventional analog production mixer, with the same comfort and intuitive ease-of-use. No fundamental concessions have been made towards reliability, high speed controller-response and system stability.

The new digital console offers 18 inputs (7x digital, 7x analog, 4x mic ins), connected via a digital cross-point router that accepts multiple formats of audio. This router actually is an integrated programmable patch-bay that enables you to send any of the input signals to any desired processing channels.

The processing channels each offer a two-band parametric EQ section, and dynamics control. The signal output by the DSP channel can be routed to main stereo busses. Every main buss is stereo and has dedicated analog outputs, but the buss signals can also be routed to a digital output. Monitoring functions are analog, which makes the interface with other equipment very simple and easy to understand.

The Lyra has four processing channels with 100m faders (with large On and Cue switches) and a rotary encoder for multiple functions. A LCD per channel shows input selections and many other functions.
In the right hand section of the console are dedicated instant access functions for Source, Gain, EQ on/off, Dynamics on/off, Aux, Pan, Program and Sub selection.

The analog master section with 16 segment led bars and source select switches makes interfacing very easy with all sorts of monitoring devices. A CobraNet option is available for integration within our network solution to share more sources.

The Lyra is totally software-controlled, and you can configure it with your laptop (or any other external PC) via 100 base-TX networking (UTP connector). At the same time, Lyra’s custom DSP software ensures absolute stability.


  • 32 bit floating point processing
  • Less then 0,5 milliseconds propagation delay
  • Digital I/O’s are 16/20/24 bit and supports sample frequencies from 32KHz to 96KHz
  • Sample rate converters on all digital inputs
  • EQ and Dynamic on all processing channels
  • All faders are labeled
  • Real time info displayed on every module
  • Integrated digital patching system
  • All in/outputs with GPIO’s
  • Remotes with Start, Stop (pulse/continuously)
  • Auto Red light function
  • CobraNet option
  • Fader, Switch or Cue start
  • Word clock out
  • Card reader

D&R Electronica Web Site

Audi and Volkswagen Will Offer PhatNoise Digital Car Audio System as New Car Option

Audi and Volkswagen have emerged as the first automobile manufacturers to offer a digital media player as an option for all their new vehicles.

The PhatNoise® Digital Car Audio System, PhatBox™, is the first factory-approved, high-capacity digital music player that is fully integrated with Volkswagen and Audi cars. It provides 20 GB of storage (on removable DMS cartridges) for MP3, Audible and other formats of encoded audio files.

Beginning this month, more than 250 Audi and 600 Volkswagen dealerships across the U.S. will be offering new car buyers the option of having the dealer-installed PhatBox, which has a suggested retail price of $795 (US). The product is also available as an upgrade for most current Audi and Volkswagen owners.

PhatBox is currently available from PhatNoise as a 3rd-party add-on for numerous car models by Ford, Mercury, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Ferrari and Acura, as well as Volkswagon and Audi. It is also branded as the Kenwood CX-910 Music Keg.

The PhatNoise system is a digital music player that installs and operates very much like a CD changer. The system has a 20 GB hard drive that is able to store thousands of tracks, or up to 500 complete CDs.

The system also includes the PhatNoise Music Manager software and a USB 2.0 cradle for fast, easy organization and transfer of music from PCs or audio CDs onto a palm-sized portable digital media storage cartridge (DMS). The cartridge is then inserted into the trunk-mounted player for instant access to thousands of music tracks simply by turning on the vehicle sound system.

Because the system operates in a manner similar to a CD player, the user controls the system through the existing CD controls on their car stereo. An on-board voice-enabled music search lets users browse their music tracks by artist, album or genre for easy access to thousands of tracks while driving so they never have to take their eyes off the road to find their favorite song.

“We have brought the automobile, music and technology industries together all at once to extend the digital distribution of music into cars,” said Sharon Graves, Chief Executive Officer of PhatNoise.

“For the first time, consumers will be able to use a hard drive-based platform to move music off the PC and enjoy it in the car in a fully integrated way, bringing a seamless digital entertainment experience into their vehicles.”

The PhatBox overcomes long-standing barriers to introducing new technology and new content into the car by integrating directly with both the factory sound system and with the digital environment of the PC and the Internet.

The PhatNoise system also employs a solid digital rights management system that aims to make the PhatBox an attractive opportunity for digital music distribution by music labels.

“Getting our music to consumers in as many exciting new, secure platforms as possible is a major priority for EMI. A digital entertainment platform like PhatNoise, with a robust digital rights management system and designed exclusively for an automobile, is a perfect example,” said Adam Varon, vice president, EMI Music special markets.

EMI will offer selections by artists representing genres from jazz to current and classic rock, pre-loaded on the PhatBox. Owners who have the PhatBox installed in their vehicles will also receive a complementary one-month subscription to Audible, allowing them to download licensed best-selling audio books as well as content from media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and transfer it to their PhatBox for in-car listening.

PhatNoise Web Site

Onkyo Upgrades Entry-Level Home Theater Receiver With 6.1 Surround Capability

Onkyo USA has upgraded its budget home theater oriented TX-SR501 audio/video receiver ($300 US) by increasing the number of built-in 65-Watt amplifiers from five to six.

Onkyo has also added Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES 6.1-channel surround processing, to take advantage of the sixth amp channel and provide a center-rear signal.

Another new feature of interest in home theater applications is HDTV-capable component video switching.

The revised Onkyo TX-SR501 is already shipping, available in both black and new silver finish.

Onkyo’s upgraded TX-SR-501 makes an ideal entry-level home theater control center, though it lacks multichannel audio inputs to handle DVD-Audio or SACD multichannel sources

With the addition of the center-back surround channel, the Onkyo TX-SR501 can fully exploit the Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES soundtracks available on many modern DVD video discs. Sound effects can arrive at the listener’s ears from the front, sides, and, now, from directly behind the listener’s head. The receiver also includes Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 processing, which can derive 5.1 and 6.1 multichannel sound from two-channel sources.

The TX-SR501 also boasts 50 MHz component video switching, allowing the receiver to switch high definition video signals without degrading video quality. There are two component video inputs and one output, four A/V composite inputs and two outputs with alternate S-Video connections, plus front panel A/V composite and S-video inputs for convenient connection of portable devices.

The receiver has three assignable digital audio inputs with one coaxial and two optical connectors, RCA line-level connections for a CD player and audio recorder, and a subwoofer preamplifier output.

There are dual banana-plug-compatible multi-way speaker binding posts for all main channels with color-coding for simplified wiring, and front channel “B” terminals for a second set of stereo speakers.

The Onkyo TX-SR501 includes six internal power amplifier channels with high-current, low-impedance discrete output devices, to deliver a continuous power output of 65 Watts per channel into 8-ohm loads, and 80 Watts into 6 ohms.

Onkyo has incorporated several new refinements in the TX-SR501, including a new, more massive high current power supply (H.C.P.S.) transformer, an absolute ground plate (to eliminate ground hum), and heavy-duty bus bars to diminish fluctuations in electrical potential for reduced noise.

Onkyo’s WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology) gives the power stage a linear frequency response from 10 Hz to 100 kHz, well beyond the frequency limitations of the most demanding audio sources, such as SACD and DVD-Audio.

The dot-matrix fluorescent front panel display makes setup and operation of the receiver easy and fast, including variable speaker configuration and distance settings for simple optimization of any speaker arrangement. With the new adjustable crossover on the subwoofer pre-out channel, the LFE channel signal can be cutoff at 60, 80, 100, 120 or 150 Hz, for seamless integration of any satellite and subwoofer combination.

The receiver’s high quality AM/FM tuner section has 30 random presets, and FM automatic scan tuning. The included preprogrammed remote control makes system integration and control simple and convenient.

Onkyo USA Web Site