ALMAgrams April, 2014 April Showers.... (at least it isn't snow!) __ by Barry Vogel It has been a rough winter for many in the upper half of the co

ALMAgrams April, 2014

Barry 11-10

April Showers.... (at least it isn't snow!) __
by Barry Vogel

It has been a rough winter for many in the upper half of the country. As I write this in March, the news is tracking one more (last?) possible winter storm to hit the north eastern U.S. I hope the report is wrong! In getting ready for spring, your friends at ALMA want you to know that we have been busy since our successful Winter Symposium 2014.
Plans are already going full speed ahead for Winter Symposium 2015. The theme will be: "Digitally Driven Loudspeakers. A New Paradigm Demands New Designs." __We are very excited about the very timely and relevant theme and the great amount of information this can encompass. More information will be coming soon, including a call for speakers and content. Presenting at Winter Symposium is a great way to increase exposure and raise awareness in the loudspeaker industry. Winter Symposium always gets press coverage, and the 2015 event is poised to get even more attention. We will also be sending out a prospectus for exhibitors soon with some great incentives to sign up early. This show will be bigger, and have more content, yet we will also be focusing on "quality time" for our exhibitors. Early bird exhibitor registration will open June 1st. Information will be coming to you soon.

ALMA is also in the midst of a complete redesign of our website with easier user interface and better accessibility including from smart phones and tablets. It is a very big undertaking, but one which we know will benefit our members and our association in general. We are planning a roll out for the new site in June. We will also be updating our Buyers Guide and active members listings. Watch for emails about this coming soon.

Starting this month, we present the first of a 3 part series about Designing With Plastics by Solvay Advanced Polymers. A pertinent piece at a time when saving space, weight, and increased temperature issues are vitally important in many applications.

This will be the last totally open newsletter from ALMA. While some parts of the newsletter will remain open to anyone, our tech sections and articles will become password protected by the next regular issue in June. Your regular ALMA member password is all it will take. Our renewed efforts to provide continuing education and pertinent tech data is targeted to keep ALMA members on top of the field. If you are not yet a member, pay a visit to our website and sign up. Or miss out.

Last, also in this issue you will find a press release regarding a cooperative agreement between ALMA and WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association). This new relationship demonstrates ALMA's commitment to serve the industry by working for our membership and through building constructive cooperative relationships where possible. See the press release for more details.

As you can see, ALMA is working hard to build an association that is your year round resource and business partner. As always, we invite comments, suggestions, and your involvement in committees and planning. Reach out at
Enjoy this issue! And welcome to spring! Finally....

Designing With Plastics Courtesy of Solvay Specialty Polymers

Designing With Plastics for full article click here!

----------Part 1 of a 3 part series. Special thanks to Pat Neel of Solvay Specialty Polymers.

ALMAInternational logo forum

The Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics and the Association Wireless Speaker and Audio, Team Up To Bring Greater Focus on Issues that Affect Both Memberships and the Industry

Phoenix, AZ., March 27, 2014, The Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics International (ALMA®), a not-for-profit trade association, dedicated to improving the design and manufacture of loudspeakers, and the Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA™) Association, an industry group dedicated to bringing reliable, high-resolution, interoperable, wireless, surround sound audio products to the home theater market and the today announce the signing of membership agreements in each other’s organizations. ALMA International and the WiSA Association are both dedicated to the advancement and growth of the loudspeaker industry while focusing on different yet complementary areas of technology. The relationship will serve to address those common interests such as, the requirements for designing and manufacturing high-resolution digital audio.
The WiSA Association delivered the industry’s first and only interoperability and compliance test specification (CTS) for ensuring the quality of the wireless link between transmitting devices such as, HDTVs, AVRs, DVD/Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and receiving devices like speakers and subwoofers. WiSA-compliant systems deliver cinema quality sound with 24bit, up to 96 KHz uncompressed, interference-free audio. ALMA International, in its 50-plus year history has set numerous standards addressing loudspeaker design, components, performance and testing.

"There is a great deal of synergy in our two associations,” said ALMA Association Manager, Barry Vogel. “ALMA and WiSA are both dedicated to the loudspeaker industry, but we come at it from different angles. We look forward to exploring areas of mutual interest and benefit to our memberships, several of whom are members of both organizations."
“As the leader in the wireless high-resolution audio category, one of our objectives is to engage with other standards bodies and organizations that work on similar issues affecting our members as well as set the direction for the industry,” said Jim Venable, president of the WiSA Association. “We are excited to partner with ALMA, an organization who, throughout its long history, has been setting standards for the loudspeaker market.”

About the WiSA Association:
Established in 2011 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, the Wireless Speaker & Audio (WiSA) Association is an industry group dedicated to bringing reliable, high-resolution interoperable wireless audio products to the consumer. The Association is responsible for developing specifications and performing testing and interoperability certification of WiSA-certified products, Association administrative management, and outbound marketing campaigns to promote the broad adoption of WiSA interoperability. For more information about the WiSA Association, visit

ALMA – the Association for Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics International is a not-for-profit trade association, dedicated to improving the design and manufacture of loudspeakers. Our membership is made up of loudspeaker designers and manufacturers, suppliers of components, test and measurement equipment and other products, consultants and other service providers to the industry. Individuals, academic institutions and full-time students participating in this field are also eligible to join. Our membership is global. Founded in 1961 as the American Loudspeaker Manufacturers Association, in 2001 changed its name to ALMA International to reflect its new, geographically diverse membership base. For more information about ALMA visit

Media Contact:
Linda Ferguson, PR Counsel
WiSA Association

Media Contact:
Barry Vogel, Association Manager
ALMA International

Member News

News Release

MISCO celebrates 65 years of delivering the sound customers want.
Loudspeaker and audio systems manufacturer MISCO is celebrating two milestones this year: The remarkable achievement of 65 years in business. And the dramatic transformation the company has undergone over the past five years. At an age when most people retire and many companies have faded away, MISCO has renewed itself with expanded product lines and capabilities.
“It seems like we celebrated our 60th anniversary just yesterday, but the last five years have really been blockbusters for us,” says Dan Digre, MISCO president. Dan says the company stepped back and assessed its situation from top to bottom. Then it retooled operations for 21st century technology, customers, and competition.
Rebuilding what already worked
By all measures, MISCO has been a successful leader in the loudspeaker industry for all of its 65 years. So why did Dan Digre rebuild the company’s structure?
One goal was to maintain the company’s competitive edge, especially against global competition. MISCO’s custom loudspeakers have a great reputation among OEMs in more than a dozen industries. Dan says customers depend on MISCO for speakers and systems that deliver exactly the right sound for each customer.
“Most companies churn out commodity speakers by the millions,” Dan says. “But that’s not us. We built our business by finding customers and applications where can apply our knowledge and solve their audio problems.”
MISCO also wanted to keep delivering value. Dan says that MISCO has adopted lean manufacturing processes and higher quality standards so it can continue to deliver superior products at competitive prices. “It’s not enough to say ‘buy from us because we’re an American company. ’ We have to deliver value that’s recognized around the world.”
Most importantly, MISCO had to find ways to maintain growth. The company historically has manufactured loudspeakers. (Its original name, in fact, was Minneapolis Speaker Company.) Speakers are still a major part of the MISCO product line, but it has expanded into amplifiers, accessories, and turn-key systems. By following this strategy, MISCO not only serves as a
one-stop audio resource for its customers, it can ensure sound and performance quality
throughout an application.
Staying focused
MISCO has grown over the past five years while staying focused on what it does best: engineering and manufacturing sound systems for OEMs in a wide range of industries, from gaming to medical devices to aerospace. All of the company’s changes have helped MISCO sharpen that focus. More engineers, plus advanced software tools for designing and simulating speakers. New manufacturing equipment, including automated end-of-line testing equipment and a state-of-the-art magnetizer for energizing powerful magnet assemblies. More testing of both prototypes and production units. And a new quality assurance department.
“We’re always focused on producing high-quality, defect-free products,” Dan says, “and now we have dedicated quality and continuous improvement teams. They’re responsible for making sure our quality management system, and the entire MISCO operation, meet ISO 9001 standards.”
Receiving full ISO 9001 certification is on the agenda for this year. Dan says that the formal certification will help it retain and grow customers in markets, such as aerospace, that increasingly require ISO certification from their vendors. “We’re building on all the process improvements we’ve made to date, while preserving what has made us successful thus far.”
Global perspective
When MISCO began, founder Cliff Digre (Dan’s dad) probably never dreamed of building speakers in the both the US and Asia. And yet, MISCO now does exactly that, with manufacturing facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota and in Dong Guan, China. The China operation was not created so MISCO could knock out cheap speakers. It was established so MISCO can cost-effectively serve its customers who manufacture in China. MISCO’s China and US operations both meet the same high product quality and performance standards.
Building on a legacy
A big advantage of growing a business like MISCO over 65 years is that the company generates a huge foundation of knowledge and expertise along the way. Cliff Digre alone was awarded three patents for loudspeaker-related innovations. That legacy of creative thinking sustains MISCO to this day. Today, the company has expanded into markets such as
pro- sound, military, aerospace, mass transit, and medical devices.
In every instance, the MISCO team puts the company’s vast knowledge to work: Understanding the needs of each application, then custom engineering and manufacturing the solution. This, Dan Digre says, is the one thing that hasn’t changed during MISCO’s 65-year history, or the retooling of the past five years: An unwavering commitment to provide customers with “the sound you want.”
More information about MISCO -


President Dan Digre of MISCO, in the Minneapolis plant, featured in the Star Tribune business section.
Read The Star Tribune Article at

MISCO has expanded the product line to include amplifiers, accessories and complete systems.

MISCO’s 21” high-power, pro-audio, subwoofer.

End-of-Line testing validates customer specified product parameters.

Founder, Cliff Digre, a pioneer in the industry, began reconing speakers in 1949.

MISCO’s 2.1 Channel turn-key Audio System for an OEM product.