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Hi-Res Audio: Discover the audio formats behind digital music

Posted: 19 May 2015
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This is the first instalment of a two part blog, which provides a brief introduction of audio formats that have emerged since the 1980s.

audio-format_graphic.png

Why the 1980s? Nothing to do with frilly shirts and leg-warmers, it was when the tide firmly changed from analog to digital audio. Sure, analog audio still existed in the 1980s (and continues even now) but the focus of technology development switched firmly to digital.

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Customer Focus: OPPO Digital

Posted: 06 May 2015
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Welcome to the first in our series of featured guest blogs, where XMOS customers discuss their experiences of using xCORE multicore microcontrollers.

First up we talk with Jason Liao, CTO and VP Product Development of OPPO Digital, Inc. OPPO Digital designs and market high quality digital electronics that deliver style, performance, innovation, and value to A/V enthusiasts and savvy consumers alike. OPPO’s attention to core product performance and strong customer focus distinguishes it from traditional consumer-electronics brands.

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Is 2015 the year of Hi-Res music streaming?

Posted: 22 April 2015
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Emphatically yes! Here we will take a quick tour of the streaming landscape and which service providers are on track to deliver true high resolution streaming not just souped up MP3 at 320kbps, this year.

What is Hi-Res Audio?

High-resolution audio has been formally defined as: "Lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources."

Typically hi-res downloads are a minimum of 96kHz/24-bit with 192kHz/24-bit becoming popular.

First some background. The way music is consumed has undergone a seismic shift, and 2015 is likely to see another momentum shift with the rise of Hi-Res Audio (see our 5 Key Trends blog for more on this) and the launch of the first true Hi-Res Audio streaming service.

In the last decade the music industry has seen the decline of the CD, the rise (and fall?) of digital downloads and the emergence of on-demand streaming.

On-demand streaming has grown exponentially since the first service was launched, and the latest reports estimate that streaming accounts for more than a quarter of digital music revenues compared to just 3% in 2007. And this trend is expected to continue.

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What is an audio DAC?

Posted: 14 April 2015
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So you love your music. You value those immersive moments in sound. You’ve got the high end headphones. But still something is missing. The music lacks the depth and clarity of a live performance. Could a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) be the answer? In this blog we explore the world of DACs, what they are and why you should consider using one.

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5 Key Trends in Hi-Res Audio

Posted: 08 April 2015
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Is the audio market finally getting to grips with Hi-Res Audio (HRA)?

Here are 5 key trends emerging in this competitve and fast paced market.

  1. Entering the mainstream
  2. Going mobile
  3. Increasing Hi-Res content
  4. Cross-industry collaboration & support
  5. Consumer demand for sound fidelity
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Hi-Res Audio – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posted: 31 March 2015
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Some of us are old enough to remember going to record stores and looking through the racks of LPs. Occasionally we would even be able to afford to buy one of these precious vinyl discs.

The age of vinyl and Hi-Fi hardware

In the days of vinyl, audiophiles would spend their money on Hi-Fi equipment that could reproduce the music exactly – looking to match the sound that was first heard in the recording studio when the track was originally created. This first wave of Hi-Fi enthusiasts focused on the speakers – purchasing the same type of professional reference monitors that the studio engineers used.

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Next Generation xCORE

Posted: 23 March 2015
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xCORE-200

As you may have read, after several months of hard work, we are pleased to announce the arrival of a new member to the XMOS xCORE family; xCORE-200.

Delivering up to twice the performance and four times the on-chip SRAM memory compared to our first generation xCORE multicore microcontrollers the xCORE-200 also adds a Gigabit Ethernet port, high performance and programmable XMOS USB 2.0 interface and up to 2Mb’s of on-chip Flash memory.

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Eurohaptics shows the advantages of touch

Posted: 01 December 2014
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The annual Eurohaptics conference earlier this year in Versailles saw experts from around the world gather to discuss their research in this field; 2014 marked the ninth occasion this conference has run.

There was a wide spectrum of interest ranging from academic research into human perception, to industrial applications of haptic devices that will ultimately enhance our world.

Daimler Benz, in association with Continental, was showing the haptic interface that is central to the new Mercedes C class.

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Multicore programming: XMOS shows how at electronica '14

Posted: 26 November 2014
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This was my first time at electronica... it is a large show, to say the least! That said, once you’re in the right area, there are many relevant stands conveniently placed close by. That area for me, and the rest of the XMOS team, was on our distributor’s stands Macnica and Topas. Some of the notable discussions we had related to AVB and its adoption in automotive networks. This was a common theme with many other stands presenting information on Automotive Networking. In addition to the automotive applications, I also found out about a really interesting AVB application, implemented using XMOS, involving a network with hundreds of endpoints. Watch this space for more details!

On the Thursday of the show, Elektor Magazine had invited us to present a couple of workshops on multicore

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