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Intel Ships First 10nm Agilex FPGAs

Intel today announced that it has begun shipments of the first Intel Agilex field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to early access program customers. Participants in the early access program include Colorado Engineering Inc., Mantaro Networks, Microsoft and Silicom. These customers are using Agilex FPGAs to develop advanced solutions for networking, 5G and accelerated data analytics.

"The Intel Agilex FPGA product family leverages the breadth of Intel innovation and technology leadership, including architecture, packaging, process technology, developer tools and a fast path to power reduction with eASIC technology. These unmatched assets enable new levels of heterogeneous computing, system integration and processor connectivity and will be the first 10nm FPGA to provide cache-coherent and low latency connectivity to Intel Xeon processors with the upcoming Compute Express Link," said Dan McNamara, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Networking and Custom Logic Group.

Kanto Audio Shows TUK Powered Speakers at CES 2019

We were invited to take a look at the Kanto Audio suite at CES by their PR firm, and the brand itself has been on my mind for a while now- offering good quality powered monitor speakers at various price points. This year they are bringing out their new high-end TUK powered speakers, which were first shown off last year, and the entire spec sheet reads like a must-have for many audio enthusiasts, including yours truly. The TUK comes in white or black color schemes, is rated at 130 W RMS for the pair, and features AMT tweeters with 5.25" aluminium concave cone drivers coupled with an on-board DSP and a Class D amp.

I/O includes Bluetooth 4.2 with Qualcoom AptX HD and AAC codec support for those who need it, but most will end up using one of the several wired options encompassing optical TOSLINK, RCA and Phone inputs, a USB DAC for us PC users, subwoofer out, and a headphone jack. So if you fancy connecting a turntable to it to play some old vinyls, go for it! Oh, it also has a USB charger to use with portable media players as well. Read past the break for more on the TUK and other Kanto Audio products we saw this past week.

HyperX Cloud Orbit S Headset with Audeze Drivers and Head-tracking Pictured

HyperX is bringing in a large selection of gaming peripherals to CES 2019, beginning with its new flagship gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Orbit S. This headset implements two killer features - Audeze planar-magnetic drivers; and Waves Nx head-tracking. Audeze is a well-known brand among audiophiles and music composers, and makes audio monitors for studios. HyperX is sourcing 50 mm planar-magnetic drivers from the company that provide an extremely wide frequency-response range, and high SNR. This is probably the first gaming headset to feature audiophile-grade drivers, which are probably re-tuned by HyperX with a gaming-focused soundstage.

The next killer feature, Waves Nx, is a combination of positional audio DSPs, and hardware head-tracking, similar to VR HMDs, which in real-time moves the audio perspective of your game, and emulates a virtual 7.1 setup over the stereo drivers. This would help even if your display is static and your head is turning to track opponents in a competitive online shooter. You get three detachable cables based on cord length, type, and usage scenario. HyperX is developing two variants of this headset. The full-featured one is priced at USD $329, and the one without Waves Nx head-tracking goes for $299.

1MORE Intros Spearhead VRX H1006 Gaming Headset

1MORE introduced the Spearhead VRX H1006, its new flagship around-the-ear gaming headset. The headset is characterized by an industrial design with two metal tubes pointing downward, on which the two cans are suspended. The retractable microphone is drawn out of one of the tubes, and embellished with RGB LED, just like the ring accents bracketing the cans themselves. The headset uses USB to drive an in-stock DAC and power the RGB LED lighting. The DAC packs Waves Nx, a usage-specific DSP designed by Gammy Award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi. The headset features 50 mm graphene synchronized vibrating drivers, with 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency response range, 32Ω impedance, and 20 mW RMS power output. Available now, the Spearhead VRX H1006 is priced at USD $220, excluding taxes.

NVIDIA Does a TrueAudio: RT Cores Also Compute Sound Ray-tracing

Positional audio, like Socialism, follows a cycle of glamorization and investment every few years. Back in 2011-12 when AMD maintained a relatively stronger position in the discrete GPU market, and held GPGPU superiority, it gave a lot of money to GenAudio and Tensilica to co-develop the TrueAudio technology, a GPU-accelerated positional audio DSP, which had a whopping four game title implementations, including and limited to "Thief," "Star Citizen," "Lichdom: Battlemage," and "Murdered: Soul Suspect." The TrueAudio Next DSP which debuted with "Polaris," introduced GPU-accelerated "audio ray-casting" technology, which assumes that audio waves interact differently with different surfaces, much like light; and hence positional audio could be made more realistic. There were a grand total of zero takers for TrueAudio Next. Riding on the presumed success of its RTX technology, NVIDIA wants to develop audio ray-tracing further.

A very curious sentence caught our eye in NVIDIA's micro-site for Turing. The description of RT cores reads that they are specialized components that "accelerate the computation of how light and sound travel in 3D environments at up to 10 Giga Rays per second." This is an ominous sign that NVIDIA is developing a full-blown positional audio programming model that's part of RTX, with an implementation through GameWorks. Such a technology, like TrueAudio Next, could improve positional audio realism by treating sound waves like light and tracing their paths from their origin (think speech from an NPC in a game), to the listener as the sound bounces off the various surfaces in the 3D scene. Real-time ray-tracing(-ish) has captured the entirety of imagination at NVIDIA marketing to the extent that it is allegedly willing to replace "GTX" with "RTX" in its GeForce GPU nomenclature. We don't mean to doomsay emerging technology, but 20 years of development in positional audio has shown that it's better left to game developers to create their own technology that sounds somewhat real; and that initiatives from makers of discrete sound cards (a device on the brink of extinction) and GPUs makers bore no fruit.

Edifier Launches Their Elegant S2000 Pro Speakers

Edifier, a leading global designer and manufacturer of award-winning audio systems has brought cutting edge sound technology to a classic style with its latest 2.0 speaker. Edifier's S2000 Pro pays tribute to speakers from the past with its elegant wood side panelling, however the components inside are state-of-the-art high-end audio. From new electro-acoustic technology to a specialty tweeter and woofer, and four on-board equalizer settings the S2000 Pro elevates the listening experience across all music genres.

The S2000 Pro features a rich low-distorted flat diaphragm tweeter. This flat diaphragm provides a fast response rate that gives benefits such as excellent high frequencies that lower tiered bookshelf speakers do not provide. An aluminium cone woofer with Digital Sound Processing digital electronic crossover makes sounds unique and clear with high-strength, low-distortion and achieves incredibly loud and heavy bass.
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