AAC Technologies and Dirac Research Explore the ‘Future of Sound’ at CES 2018 After Two Years of Collaboration, the Audio Companies Unveiling Product Prototypes for ‘All Consumer Technology Categories’ By RS Staff Published: January 10, 2018 ⋅ Updated: April 15, 2019 For the past two years, AAC Technologies, a leader in micro-speakers, and Dirac Research, a leader in digitally optimized sound solutions, have worked closely to build audio subsystems that integrate the latest audio processing technology with state-of-the-art micro-speaker technology. This week at CES 2018, the companies are unveiling the first results of this collaboration: a series of product prototypes that they say deliver a new caliber of listening experience through a range of audio devices. [Get this kind of CE coverage all year long — subscribe to the free Residential Systems eNewsletter.] The AAC-Dirac product prototypes available for demo at CES 2018 include a smart speaker, smartphones, an augmented reality headset, and an ultra-thin automotive speaker, all of which are custom-configured with AAC-Dirac audio subsystems. The smart speaker and smartphone demos compare their audio performance against their corresponding market-available alternatives, in an attempt to demonstrate their performance upgrade. The augmented reality headset demo showcases a novel audio experience that, by positioning speakers just above the ears, produces immersive audio that effectively overlays the natural sound environment. The combination of advanced audio processing and high-performance micro-speaker arrays beam the sound to one’s ears and minimize the leakage to the surroundings. The automotive speaker demo explores how ultra-thin speakers, capable of embedment in headrests, headliners, and other areas, can be used to create individual soundstages within the vehicle. All demos feature AAC’s new high-performance Super Linear Speaker. “Milestone technology breakthroughs are often the result of collaboration between industry leaders, and our two-year relationship with AAC Technologies is an example of this,” stated Erik Rudolphi, Dirac’s GM of mobile. “Rather than continue to design our audio processing algorithms and micro-speaker technologies in isolation, we set out to design our technologies collaboratively. The performance upgrade achieved is revelatory, and we look forward to showcasing to the world a new caliber of listening experience at CES 2018.” AAC Technologies’ COO Jack Duan pointed to various emerging market trends and new product categories that place newfound importance on sound experience in small devices, and thus validate the need for a partnership that catalyzes radical innovation. “While the markets have prioritized visual experience over the aural experience, an industry-wide shift is now underway. Audio is no longer a secondary feature—but rather the feature that differentiates an exceptional user experience from one that’s underwhelming,” Duan said. “Together with Dirac Research we look forward to providing the world’s leading consumer technology brands with the audio subsystems they require to create products that will revolutionize our world.” The AAC-Dirac product prototypes are available for demo at CES 2018, from January 9 through 12, at Dirac’s Westgate Hotel Suite 630 and at AAC’s Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel Suite 1230 and 1232.