Audio Industry News
6 / 30 / 99
It has finally
happened. A highly acclaimed high-end company finally admitted to selling computers
and is even saying in their press release "Built like a computer because it is
a computer" (italics theirs!). Although Theta has long been telling people they
are a computer company, Meridian is now saying it to the public as well (or at least in
their press release). Meridian's
new 800 Reference CD/DVD player is now their top-of-the-line statement piece. Using
a DVD-ROM drive, the 800 also make use of upgradeable plug-in cards to decode the audio
and video signals. The software on the cards are upgradeable by downloading updated
version(s) from Meridian's website! This is the same as we all update the Bios or
other software in our home computers. This guarantees that the most up-to-date
decoding is available to their worldwide customers. No need to take the computer
into the store as this upgrade can be done in the customer's home via a standard RS-232
jack which virtually all home and laptop computers have. As for processing, three
levels of memory-based "de-jittering" and error correction are included to
insure the most precise signal to the digital-to-analog stage(s) which i believe tops out
at 24-bit/96kHz as there was no mention of the better 192kHz decoding rate on the press
release. The new 800 is claimed to decode many formats yet seems to omit the popular
MPEG 1 Layer 3 decoding (also known as MP3). Still, the 800 also uses its powerful
DSP engine to to upsample data! Therefore a CD's 16-bit/44.1kHz signal is upsampled
to 24-bit/88kHz! To learn more simply see the 800's owners manual (Adobe Acrobat needed) by simply clicking here (1,172 KB file).
Because of various available configurations, retail pricing is between $12,000 and
6 / 27 / 99
court ruled earlier this week that the Diamond
Multimedia Rio, which plays MP3 files, is a legal product. This now
paves the road for many other companies to join in on the high-demand MP3 playback device
market! Of course as expected the losing Recording
Industry Association of America (RIAA) played down the win. Of course
if the RIAA won and shot down MP3, you just know they would now be singing to the high
mountains. Fortunately the RIAA rightfully lost and now manufactures will soon be in
full swing releasing their own MP3 players. Thompson and others are already planning
their own MP3 playback device(s). Sony, on the other hand, has said they have no
interest in the MP3 hardware or marketing MP3 software at this time and will be streaming
media using the new Microsoft Windows Media Player file format. In a statement made
on the RIAA website about the loss of the lawsuit "Were obviously disappointed
we lost in the Appeals Court. The court appears to have concluded that, despite
Congressional intent, the Audio Home Recording Act has limited application in a world of
convergent technologies. We filed this lawsuit because unchecked piracy on the
Internet threatens the development of a legitimate marketplace for online music, a
marketplace that consumers want. Fortunately, the shared interest in such a
marketplace has overtaken the lawsuit; the technology and music industries have already
come together, in voluntary initiatives like the Secure Digital Music Initiative, to
create a secure environment in which consumers can access the music they love in new
Still, there is a joint venture to offer digital music online using the
Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). SDMI will create a secure environment in
delivering digitized audio on the web and is being supported by many manufacturers
including Diamond Multimedia.
6 / 23 / 99
New internet startup CoolAudio.com is launching what they
are calling a "revolutionary e-retailing venture". Both domestic and
foreign products from manufactures such as Toshiba, Harmon Kardon and Pioneer with
exclusives from manufacturers such as Wilson Benesch, Roksan, Chord, BC-Acoustique, and
Audes. CoolAudio has combined the convenience of the Internet with the added benefit
of an exclusive local dealer/installer network.
The exclusive brands serve as the linchpin to the development of CoolAudio.com's local
affiliate dealer/installer channel to service customers nationwide. Their website is
being developed by IXL ("IIXL" NASDAQ), will offer both real-time online and
telephone technical support with trained audio/video experts seven days a week.
"The home theatre experience seems to be relatively uncharted territory for the
majority of consumers,'' added Marco Protano, CoolAudio.com's President. "Our
new e-retailing model is designed to eliminate the widespread frustrations of today's
often ill-informed, under-serviced, audio and video equipment buyers. In sharp
contrast, our goal is to demystify the audio/video experience by bringing uniformity and
understanding to the audio and video retail environment.''
6 / 21 / 99
Again in the news,
Sony Music has now adopted the Microsoft Windows
Media Technology 4.0 for offering secure streaming audio. Microsoft and Sony are
working closely with the new Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) which is widely
accepted by many music labels as the best standard for delivering secure music over the
web. Microsoft's plans are to enhance their current Windows Media Technology 4.0 to
include SDMI this summer.
IBM, in their labs, have been able to produce a hard
drive that has the storage capacity of 20GB (20.3 billion bytes to be exact) per square
inch! While not appearing in your local computer store anytime soon, this shows that
soon the public will be able to very easily enjoy their all digital VCRs with vastly
larger hard drives then are available in today's "cutting edge" units. Of
course 20GB can store quite a bit of high resolution music as well.
Sega, not to be outdone by the upcoming Sony Playstation2
with DVD drive, are also going to add DVD capabilities in their upcoming 400mHz 3D graphic
chipped unit code-named "Dolphin".
Liquid Audio is on the move as
Tower Records will be using the Liquid Distribution system to sell "CD-Quality"
downloads from the internet. The new service for Tower's on-line sales is called
DigitalTower.com. Liquid Distribution has also been selected by Alligator Records,
Sub Pop, Vanguard, and Mammoth to sell their music on-line as well.
6 / 18 / 99
First Sony is offering music to retailers
through Digital-On-Demand (see story below) and now they are planning to offer their
hardware products on-line as well! Will they fall into the same trap Compaq did by
offering their products through e-commerce? Only time will tell, but Sony is obvious
on shaky ground here.
has released their new Sigma Retro Gold line. Using "ultra-pure" copper
and drawn to Monster's specifications, a special annealing and sealing process is then
used for the highest in signal transmission yet resisting detrimental corrosion.
Their patented Microfiber is employed as is their PEX-2 cross-linked polymer
dielectric. To quote their comments about the new speaker cable "PEX-2
dielectric reduces capacitive effort of insulation for better transmission of high
frequency. Super MultiTwist construction rejects audio bandwidth distortions for
greater clarity and imaging. Ultra High Purity 6x strand copper construction for the
purest and most detailed midrange." Pricing is $2,000 for an 8 foot pair of
speaker cable (SRGS 8/8FT) while a 3 foot length of the new interconnect (SRGI-3) is
Failing streaming media software company Liquid Audio is going for an IPO. Their
planned IPO of 3.6 million common shares is about 21 percent of the company. Initial
stock pricing should be between $10 and $12 according to our sources. This might be
the very last breath of air for Liquid Audio as many companies are finding their encoding
software not as easy to implement, or the Liquid Audio decoders as widely used as
RealNetworks RealPlayer which holds over 75% of the streaming media market. Meanwhile Rounder Records has selected Liquid Audio
for their on-line music distribution.
DIVX is dead. The public has spoken. MP3
is gaining in popularity while Sony's new SACD might be the next DIVX (or Betamax).
Is Sony's unapproved by the industry consortium (WG-4) SACD another Betamax/DIVX?
6 / 16 / 99
This just in:
EVEANNA MANLEY ACQUIRES MANLEY LABORATORIES, INC.
David Manley resigned as President of Manley Laboratories, Inc. and
assigned his total shares in the Company to EveAnna Manley as part of an agreement signed
on June 10, 1999.
EveAnna Manley has officially assumed the duties of President, CEO and sole owner of
Manley Laboratories, Inc.
David Manley is no longer associated or affiliated with Manley
Laboratories, Inc. Manley Laboratories, Inc., founded in 1993 by David and EveAnna Manley,
manufactures vacuum tube high fidelity and professional studio products under the MANLEY
and LANGEVIN brand names.
EveAnna Manley has been de facto operating CEO of Manley Laboratories, Inc. since David
Manley's departure in 1996.
New products released during this time by EveAnna Manley's design team headed by Craig
'Hutch' Hutchison and assisted by Baltazar Hernandez include the 1998 TEC award winner,
the Manley VOXBOX, The Stingray Integrated Amplifier, and the 1999 Studio Sound Industry
Recognition Award winner and 1999 TEC award nominee Manley Massive Passive Stereo
The success of these innovative products distributed by over 100 dealers worldwide have
contributed greatly to the 75% growth Manley Laboratories, Inc. has experienced under
EveAnna Manley's leadership.
We wish to thank all of the audio community for their continued
EveAnna Manley, President
Manley Laboratories, Inc. 13880 Magnolia Ave. Chino, CA. 91710
Tel: (909) 627-4256 Fax: (909) 628-2482
6 / 14 / 99
This just posted on the
Enjoy the Music.com discussion group: