Archives for August 2003

New Ultrasone Beatmaster Headphones Safely Deliver High Output Level and Focused Lows for Studio Drummers and Bass Players

German headphone maker Ultrasone is offering a new model for professional musicians and recording engineers. The Ultrasone HFI-550 Beatmaster (price TBA) is now available in the North American market (United States, Canada, and Mexico) through EARS Audio Distribution.

The Beatmaster is designed to satisfy the needs of studio engineers and musicians alike through its focused low frequency response, precise and detailed instrument placement, and impressive power handling.

EARS Audio proprietor Linda Albright notes that the Ultrasone HFI-550 will be particularly suitable useful for bass players and drummers laying down tracks in the studio. It specs out with frequency response of 15Hz – 22kHz, impedance of 32 ohms, and it can deliver sound pressure levels up to 100dB.

The HFI-550 Beatmaster is a foldable, closed-back, circum-aural studio headphone featuring Ultrasone’s patented S-Logic(tm) Natural Surround Sound technology. It is available in reduced magnetic field emissions versions, incorporating ULE(tm) Ultra Low Emissions technology.

Ultrasone’s unique S-Logic technology uses decentralized transducer positioning to create a natural three-dimensional sensation, without the use of processing. These headphones produce a broad, stereophonic surround soundfield that is located in front of the listener.

An added benefit of the S-Logic system is that listeners perceive the same volume with sound pressure levels at the eardrum reduced by up to 40 percent. This reduces the risk of hearing damage, while also ensuring hours of fatigue-free listening.

Ultrasone also employs patented ULE™ (Ultra Low Emission) technology to protect users from low frequency EMF emissions. All Ultrasone headphones are available in versions that offer two levels of shielding against EMF radiation, in accordance with international and German standards. Ultrasone LE Low Emissions versions offer a reduction of up to 60 percent while ULE Ultra Low Emissions models reduce EMF radiation by as much as 98 percent.

Based near Munich, Germany, Ultrasone AG has been manufacturing headphones for the professional audio market for over 12 years, during which time the company has developed and applied for more than 60 patents for its innovative technology. The company’s unique, patented S-Logic™ technology creates natural surround sound without the use of additional electronic devices. Ultrasone headphones additionally represent a safer listening experience, not only by generating a 40 percent lower SPL for the same perceived loudness but also by offering reduced EMF radiation through the use of patented ULE(tm) (Ultra Low Emissions) technology.

EARS Audio Distribution Web Site

TerraTec Delivers Aureon 5.1 Surround Audio USB Interface for PCs and Laptops

Creative Labs has had the market for 5.1 surround audio add-ons for Windows computers to itself for a while now, with its Audigy 2 series of cards and interfaces. No longer: rival developer TerraTec has come up with a competing product that will be especially appealing to laptop users.

TerraTec‘s new Aureon 5.1 USB audio interface will be available early in September. According to TerraTec, the Aureon 5.1 USB doesn’t require complicated installation or configuration – no special drivers or separate power supply: just plug the compact device into a USB port on your PC, and you’re ready to go with multichannel audio.

The Aureon supports “genuine” surround sound over 5.1 channels (with 6 analog outputs and 2 inputs). It has gold-plated connections, digital inputs/outputs, as well as a microphone input and headphones output. This little sound machine also offers everything else you expect from a good audio card. For pure listening pleasure, particularly for your DVD software, current standards such as Dolby Digital, AC3, DTS and Dolby Pro-Logic II are supported (but not built in).

TerraTec bundles the Aureon 5.1 USB with a couple of useful software packages. Remix your MP3 and audio CD collection like a professional DJ with Native Instruments Traktor DJ, and convert your PC into a genuine home theater with InterVideo WinDVD.

Key Features

  • 6 analog outputs (cinch)
  • 2 analog inputs (cinch)
  • Combination microphone / optical digital input
  • Combination headphone / optical digital output
  • 16 bit/48 kHz signal processing of the analog and digital inputs and outputs
  • USB 1.1 port Plug&Play support without driver installation

TerraTec Web Site

Dolby Labs Offers Free Downloadable Guide to 5.1 Surround Music Production Techniques

Three years after the launch of the new multichannel music delivery formats, many artists, engineers, and producers are still looking for fundamental information on how to best mix and manage music in the multichannel environment.

To assist the professional music production community with the transition to surround, Dolby Laboratories has authored a primer detailing best practices for this rapidly-developing market.

Dolby 5.1-Channel Music Production Guidelines is available immediately as a free PDF download from the Dolby Laboratories Web site. Dolby says its guide is the first such document to clearly present a technical blueprint for creating music in 5.1 channels.

The free publication covers a range of topics such as:

  • proper equipment and speaker placement
  • calibration for proper monitoring
  • metadata planning and implementation
  • program interchange guidelines
  • explanation of new terminology associated with 5.1-channel production

Of particular interest to mix engineers approaching surround mixdown for the first time, the Dolby publication also provides accurate information that dispels myths concerning both center-channel and LFE-channel usage.

Mix and mastering data sheet templates for 5.1-channel projects are also included.

“This document gives a well-rounded technical overview for those producing music for 5.1-channel delivery to consumers,” comments John Kellogg, General Manager for Multichannel Music, Dolby Laboratories.

“Dolby will update it regularly as new and better techniques for creating surround music mixes evolve.”

Dolby Labs Web Site

MartinLogan Announces Grotto, Compact, High-Resolution Subwoofer

MartinLogan Announces Grotto, Compact, High-Resolution Subwoofer

High-end loudspeaker maker MartinLogan®, known for pricey, high-performance hybrid electrostatic speakers, has introduced the Grotto™, a reference-standard, powered, servo-control subwoofer system.

The new Grotto builds on the success of MartinLogan’s Descent and Depth subwoofers, delivering dramatic bass detail and attack using a proprietary low-mass, high-excursion, high-resolution driver, advanced servo monitoring and control, a precision crossover and an intuitive 25Hz level control.

The Grotto model is available immediately at a suggested retail price of $995 (US).

High-Resolution Driver Provides Powerful Bass

The heart of the Grotto subwoofer is a proprietary MartinLogan, 10-inch, high-resolution driver – identical to those used in the more expensive Descent subwoofer. The combination of Grotto’s extreme low mass aluminum cone and the tremendous field strength generated by the magnet motor structure results in huge excursions and massive cubic displacement capability.

Advanced Servo Monitoring Provides Control and Low-Distortion

Grotto’s advanced servo monitoring and control system, combined with state-of-the-art driver and cabinet technologies, dramatically reduce intermodulated and harmonic distortions found in most subwoofers. By constantly monitoring and correcting for any deviation from the original audio signal, MartinLogan’s control system yields literally a 3- to 10-fold distortion reduction. This results in highly resolved, tight fisted and dynamic bass.

Seamless System Integration in Any Setting

Grotto is suitable for use in all stereo- and multi-channel applications, and it is designed to excel in all installation configurations: in corners, inside cabinets, underneath or behind furniture.

Intuitive control functions allow the Grotto to be easily tuned for any installation. MartinLogan designed the Grotto with a robust input/output architecture that easily integrates in both stereo- and multi-channel audiophile systems. Additionally, RCA output allows multiple Grottos to operate in a serial configuration.

Extreme care has been focused on the group delay (phase) characteristics for each of Grotto’s 6 discrete crossover settings (ranging from 30-80Hz) to deliver precise contouring in both the amplitude and time domain. The result? Seamless and cohesive integration with any system.

The handy and intuitive 25Hz level control allows easy correction of bass problems common to most rooms. It also permits increased deep bass if you desire a subsonic sense of energy at the lowest frequencies.

MartinLogan Web Site

Also see: MartinLogan Mosaic Floor Standing Loudspeaker

Key Features and Benefits

  • High-Excursion Aluminum Driver: massive cubic displacement
  • Advanced Servo Control: dramatically reduces distortion
  • 25 Hz Level Control: tames your rooms Most problematic frequency
  • Low Distortion, Ultra-Fast Amplifier: provides precision and power in a small package

System Frequency Response: 22-150 Hz ± 3 dB. Anechoic through the LFE effects input.
Low Pass Filter Frequencies: 30, 35, 45, 55, 65, 80Hz
High Pass Filter Frequency: 70Hz
Phase: 0°, 90°, 180°
25Hz Level Control: ±12dB
Components: 10″ (25.4cm) high excursion, aluminum element woofer with extend throw drive assembly
Amplifier: 250 watts (350 watts peak)
Inputs: RCA Line Level; RCA LFE; Speaker Level
Outputs: RCA for Multiple Subwoofer Connection
Weight: 40 lbs. each (18.2 kg)
Size: 15″ W × 12.9″ D × 15.38″ H (38.1 cm W × 32.8 cm D × 39 cm H)

MartinLogan Announces Mosaic Floor Standing Main/Surround Hybrid Electrostatic Loudspeaker

Electrostatic loudspeaker technology company MartinLogan® has announced the introduction of its compact new Mosaic™ floor standing loudspeaker.

The new model offers key MartinLogan technology and features, including ATF (advanced thin film) transducers, ultimate crossover design, high-excursion, high-resolution woofers, curvilinear wood cabinetry, and dipole radiation, in a small package (40 inches tall) and at an affordable price. The Mosaic falls at the low-cost end of the MartinLogan product spectrum, available immediately at a retail price of $1,995 per pair (US).

The Mosaic is designed for use as a stereo main loudspeaker, home theater main or effects channel speaker, in a wide range of room sizes and configurations. Compact and décor-friendly, the Mosaic is supplied with tool-less binding posts for effortless cable attachment and management.

In addition to ATF transducer technology, MartinLogan’s design team developed the Mosaic utilizing a new woofer and cabinet based on the MartinLogan Clarity loudspeaker (released January 2003).

ATF™ (Advanced Thin Film) Transducers Provide Clarity, Detail and Resolution

In order to achieve the rigorous MartinLogan standards for detail, clarity and resolution, and yet permit a compact cabinet, high-resolution ATF transducers became the first building block for the new Mosaic.

The MartinLogan ATF transducer consists of a micro-thin, low mass diaphragm with an ultra-light, etched conductive aluminum surface suspended between two high field strength neodymium super magnet arrays. When an electrical current (music signal) passes through the etched aluminum on the diaphragm’s surface it is simultaneously pulled towards one of the neodymium arrays and pushed away from the opposing. When the direction of current is reversed the diaphragm is simultaneously pushed and pulled in the opposite direction, thus producing sound. This concept is called push-pull, and is a major contributor to the linearity and sonic superiority of both ATF and electrostatic MartinLogan thin film transducers.

ATF diaphragms are constructed of extremely low mass Dupont Kaladex® PEN (polyethylene naphthalate), a material chemically similar to the low-mass PET (polyethylene terathylate) film used in MartinLogan’s generation 2 electrostatic transducers, yet capable of handling the high thermal requirements needed for stable magnetic thin film operation. Full surface drive capabilities allow this durable, low mass diaphragm to remain discretely sized, yet achieve extremely low-distortion levels with superior resolution.

Mosaic Shares Key Technologies from MartinLogan Ultimate Speaker Models

Mosaic’s state-of-the-art, 8-inch, high-resolution woofer uses the same motor, cone and chassis structure as the innovative Clarity loudspeaker to deliver a precise low-end with accuracy and authority.

Mosaic’s state-of-the-art Vojtko™ crossover is designed and manufactured with the same meticulous attention, care and precision as those found in MartinLogan’s ultimate loudspeaker products.

Mosaic’s cabinet consists of multiple laminates sonically welded for extreme rigidity. This acoustically inert curvilinear wood cabinet, provides not only audiophile grade high-performance, but also enhances visual integration with any home environment. It is available in three distinctive cabinet finishes (natural cherry, dark mahogany and black).

Dipole Design For A Realistic, Open Sound Stage

The audio industry has long recognized that late arrival reflective information significantly enhances the ambient nature of sound reproduction. This ambient reflective information dramatically contributes to a realistic, “you are there” listening experience. MartinLogan’s dipole radiation pattern (radiating out of phase information from both the front and back) ideally interacts with your listening environment to create this realistic sound stage. We have contoured Mosaic’s radiation pattern to emulate the same dipole characteristics as our world standard setting electrostatic technology, resulting in the same outstanding sound staging and 3-dimensionality.

MartinLogan Web Site

Also see: MartinLogan Grotto Subwoofer

Key Features And Benefits

  • ATF Transducers: efficient output with detail, clarity and resolution
  • Bass Reflex Aluminum Woofer: delivers an extended, accurate low-end
  • Cabinet Finish Options: Mosaic matches any decor
  • Dipole Radiation: outstanding sound staging and 3-dimensionality


Frequency response: 46-20,000 Hz, +- 3 dB
Sensitivity: 90 dB/2.83 volts/meter
Impedance: 5 ohms
Crossover Frequency:
450 Hz, 3200 Hz
Components: Air core coils, metal film and low dissipation electrolytic capacitors
High-frequency driver: 1.5″ x 2.25″ (3.8cm x 5.7cm) ATF Transducer
Mid-range driver: 1.5″ x 6″ (3.8cm x 15.2cm) ATF Transducer
Bass drivers: 8″ (20.3cm) high excursion, high rigidity aluminum cone with extended throw drive assembly, non-resonance asymmetrical chamber format; bass reflex
Power Handling: 175 watts/channel
Weight: 30 lbs. each (13.6 kg)
Size (without bracket): 9.44″ W × 11.69″ D × 40″ H (24cm W × 29.7cm D × 102cm H)