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High-End Audio / Hi-Res Audio (HRA) Audiophile Industry News


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05 / 24 / 17

HIGH END 2017 Show Coverage
HIGH END 2017 Munich Audiophile Show Report

HIGH END Background And Pre-Game Action

Harmon's Mark Levinson, Revel & And JBL Bring Musical Jams To HIGH END 2017

More HIGH END 2017 coverage coming soon, so check back daily.

 

05 / 23 / 17

The Recording Academy P&E Wing Hi-Res Music Prod. Recommendation
The Recording Academy P&E Wing Hi-Res Music Prod. RecommendationCoinciding with "Stream the Studio" panel featuring leading executives from the music and technology industries, The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing has released their "Recommendations for Hi-Resolution Music Production" paper. As the result of three years of extensive research, this new set of technical guidelines joins other influential papers previously published by the P&E Wing promoting best practices in audio recording. The Recommendations were developed by a group of leading Recording Academy members, including numerous multiple Grammy Award-winning engineers and producers, and included input from a wide cross section of the recording industry. Covered in the document are a variety of topics including Hi-Res Audio definitions; hardware and software considerations; recording and mixing parameters; the pros and cons of upsampling; provenance; and other important issues. "The release of this new set of recommendations is a milestone," states Maureen Droney, The Recording Academy Managing Director, P&E Wing. "We are extremely excited by the collaborative efforts and shared vision of our industry towards the goal of providing consumers with studio-quality music listening. We are proud to be a partner in this initiative and also very grateful to all of the recording professionals who contributed their thoughts and expertise to this important document." The debut of this new reference document coincides with "Stream the Studio – The Next Wave in Subscription Music," a panel sponsored by The DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, held at the Music Biz 2017 conference in Nashville. In addition to Droney, the panel featured leading music and technology executives including Richard Burgess, A2IM; Ty Roberts, Universal Music Group; Howie Singer, Warner Music Group; and Darren Stupak, Sony Music Entertainment. It was moderated by Marc Finer, Sr. Director, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. For more information on the "Recommendations for Hi-Res Music Production" you can see the details within their PDF at this link.

 

Pro-Ject And Ortofon Team Up With Triangle For Their LN01A Pack
Pro-Ject And Ortofon Team Up With Triangle For Their LN01A PackTriangle's special LN01A pack (€899) is a ready-to-listen to system featuring a Pro-Ject turntable, Triangle tonearm, Ortofon OM-10 E cartridge and LN01A powered speakers. The active LN01A two-way bass reflex speakers have a multitude of connectors enabling you to listen to your music from virtually any source including Bluetooth AptX, RCA, 3.5 jack, TosLink optical, phono, plus it has a subwoofer output. This pack brings vinyl records in the spotlight and is offered in black or white finish. The powered speakers are driven by 50 Wpc of internal amplification. Designed by Pro-Ject, the Triangle tonearm/turntable is compatible with 33 and 45 rpm records. It features a belt drive, an aluminum tonearm with sapphire bearings and a low vibration motor. The tonearm and the cartridge are pre-mounted to allow a relatively simple setup. This turntable is specifically developed to pair with the LN01A speakers, thanks to its Ortofon OM-10 E cartridge and its high sensitivity (output voltage is 4 mV). The included Pro-Ject Connect It E phono cable to ensure excellent signal quality up to the dedicated phono jack of the LN01A speakers. A dust cover for the turntable is included.

 

05 / 22 / 17

Pass Labs New XP-12 Preamplifier And Low Noise XP-17 Phono Stage
Pass Labs XP-12 Preamplifier And XP-17 Phono StagePass Labs rarely makes changes to their lineup, and so they felt it was time due to "significant improvements over previous versions". Pass Labs XP-12 Preamplifier and XP-17 Phono Stage ($5800 and $4300 respectively) bring higher quality music within your home audio system. Pass Labs' XP-12 is a single chassis line level preamplifier that includes a great new power supply. It uses an efficient toroidal design with both an electrostatic and Mu metal shield, along with vacuum impregnating and epoxy fill. This gives us a very quiet transformer both electrically and mechanically. While this new power supply circuitry has lower noise over previous designs, the additional filtering was a little more complicated yet worth it according to the company. Pass Labs' XP-12 uses the single stage volume control borrowed from the Xs line preamp. This gives us one hundred 1 dB steps with lower noise and distortion, while removing some signal path parts. The gain circuitry continues to use our favorite transistors from Toshiba, but has a larger, higher biased output stage like the Xs preamplifier’s auto bias. This makes longer and multiple cable runs easier to drive and provides the advantage of simplifying our single-ended output circuitry while increasing performance. Gain is 9.3dB in XLR balanced, with an overall frequency response of 10Hz to 20kHz. Dimensions are 17" x 12.5" x 4" (WxDxH). Pass Labs has done great work with their new XP-17 single chassis Phono Preamplifier. A new-shielded low noise toroidal and input filter module, like the XP-12, is joined by an extra stage of RC filtering allowing for lower radiated and mechanical noise. The XP-17 Phono Stage has an all new input circuit that is symmetrical and lower in noise and distortion, with greater drive capability. Noise being the most prominent part of THD+N (0.004%) in the first section of a phono stage; by lowering noise we get better resolution and dynamics. It was designed with a split EQ network, like the XP-25 and XI Phono, that is more accurate and can handle greater signal levels. The secondary stage runs a higher bias output stage with auto bias. The numerous loading options from the XP-15 are all still available, plus three gain settings to accommodate both low output MC and MM cartridges. Gain settings are 76, 66, and 56 dB in XLR balanced and 70, 60, 50 dB RCA unbalanced. Input impedance is from 10 to 47 kOhms with more than 200 values to choose from. Capacitive loading is from 10 to 750 pF. Pass Labs' XP-17 Phono Stage has dimensions of 17" x 12.5" x 4" (WxDxH).

 

Outlaw Audio Introduces New Retro RR2160 Hi-Res Audio Stereo Receiver
Outlaw Audio Introduces New Retro RR2160 Hi-Res Audio Stereo ReceiverOutlaw Audio's new RR2160 hi-res audio stereo receiver ($799) preserves the analog signal purity of its predecessor while adding DLNA and high-resolution capabilities via a multitude of digital audio inputs. The RR2160 also offers both HD Radio and internet radio, a new, more powerful 110-watt stereo amplifier, and an updated phono input. The Outlaw Audio RR2160 uses a high-end Burr Brown 24-bit/192kHz DAC for playing high-resolution music files. DNLA-capable servers can connect over a home network when the RR2160 is wired via Ethernet or a wireless bridge, while front- and rear-panel USB-A jacks support flash drives, and a rear-panel USB-B jack supports music stored on computers. Vinyl enthusiasts will enjoy the low-noise switchable MC/MM phono input, while radio lovers benefit from a high-quality FM stereo/AM tuner that supports digital HD-Radio technology. In addition, the RR2160 also offers Internet Radio capabilities via the network connection. Outlaw Audio's Retro Receiver has four stereo RCA analog line level inputs, a record output, an external processor loop, and removable preamp-out/amp-in jumpers to allow use with an external power amplifier. A front-panel 3.5mm analog input accommodates the outputs of phones and tablets. Output power is rated at 110 Watts @ 8 Ohms per channel stereo and 165 Watts per channel @ 4 Ohms, both channels driven. There are separate A and B speaker terminals for main and second-room options. There is a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack with level control. Other useful features include two rear-panel 5V USB-A charging ports, two 12V triggers, plus IR input and output connections. Operating firmware is upgradeable via the rear USB A jack. The aluminum bodied remote control is back-lighted and provides full access to all functions. Bass management is adjustable 60/80/100/Bypass with a high-pass slope of 12dB/octave (2nd order) and a low-pass slope of 12dB/octave (2nd order). Tone control include bass with a center frequency of 50Hz +/-10dB and treble with a center frequency of 10kHz +/-10dB. Dimensions are 5.75" x 17.1" x 15" (HxWxD) and it weighs 27 lbs.

 

05 / 18   Though   05 / 21

HIGH END 2017 Munich Audiophile Show Report
HIGH END 2017 Munich Audiophile Show Report
Our HIGH END 2017 show report will be online soon!

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
Napster Online Music Sharing Platform Goes From 'Hero' To Zero

NapsterFrom dot com to dot bomb, Napster seemingly had the world in their hands with millions of users, today it not only loses their CEO Konrad Hilbers, but also founder Shawn Fanning in the midst of bankruptcy talk. The peer to peer file exchange websites have been a hot ticket, yet legalities of freely posting copyrighted music received the attention of the RIAA and major music labels. With various lawsuits in 2001 costing Napster millions of dollars, their website was ordered by the United States judicial system to shut down until a proper, legal way of file exchange could be conducted. With Napster virtually dead for many months during this transitional period they have expended much of their resources to become a legal resource. Meanwhile websites such as Gnutella, KaZaA, Morpheus and others have been thriving during the demise of Napster. With Napster's last hope of selling their services to German media giant Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) falling through, Napster may be on their last breath as they owe BMG millions of dollars due to a previous financial bail out. "We regret that the Napster shareholders were unable to reach an agreement regarding the offer from Bertelsmann," the company said in a statement. "However, we continue to believe in the value of peer-to-peer technology. We are hopeful that Napster's brand and technology will be able to realize its potential as a compelling consumer proposition... We deeply regret that we have not yet been able to find a funding solution that would allow Napster to launch a service to benefit artists and consumers alike. We will be looking at additional steps in the coming week to further reduce expenses."

 

05 / 16 / 17

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine's May / June Issue Is Now Available Online
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine May / June 2017This issue of Australian Hi-Fi features sound bites of the Klipsch wireless audio, Cyrus One App, Sugden Grande, Densen Cast, IsoAcoustics Aperta, Audio Research DAC8 upgrade, KEF Space One, Pioneer XDP-300R, Benchmark DAC3, Amina Edge, NAD M50.2, and Marten Mingus Quintet. High-end gear reviews include the HiFiMAN Edition X V2 headphones, Harbeth Monitor 30.1 loudspeakers, Denon DCD-2500NE SACD player, Questyle Reference System Golden Edition, Torus AVR2 power conditioner, and Krix Epicentrix Mk2 center channel speaker. Within his editorial "Zen And The Art Of The Ear-Bud", Greg Borrowman says "As I was walking past a Coles supermarket at the time, I thought to myself: 'No problem, I'll just pick up a pair of cheap ear-buds and throw them away at the end of the day.' At the airport I unpacked the buds, which were branded 'Liquid Ears', and plugged them into my recorder to check everything was working. Doing so, I immediately discovered the plug was just a little under-sized, presumably to compensate for poor quality control during manufacture, so that the plugs would always fit, even if some were accidentally made bigger than usual... At the end of the day, after landing back in Sydney, I had to walk past the same Coles store, so I stopped by with my dead buds and my sales receipt to request a refund. 'No problems', said the manager, 'we also sell Sony ones, so maybe you should have bought one of those.' As I walked out, I looked down at my computerised refund docket and in the spot marked 'Reason for return', he'd written 'Quality'." See what's within this issue of Australian Hi-Fi at this link.

 

05 / 15 / 17

Cool Cleveland Interviews Enjoy the Music.com's Steven R. Rochlin
Cool Cleveland Interviews Enjoy the Music.com's Steven R. Rochlin"For a guy who's got all 10 fingers on the pulse of high-end audio, testing equipment is no laughing matter, " says Cool Clevlands's Tom Mulready. "Wait, who are we kidding? With Steve Rochlin of Enjoy The Music, everything's a laughing matter. That's why we love him." Steven thanks Thomas for his wonderful interview during the recent AXPONA show in Chicago. Keen-eyed viewers will note Steven is wearing an original, now vintage, Rush Signals 1983 concert t-shirt. Enjoy the video below and of course, as always, in the end what really matters is that you... enjoy the music.

 

 

Fraunhofer Institute Has Officially 'Killed' Their MP3 Format Licensing
Fraunhofer Institute Has Officially 'Killed' The MP3 Format LicensingGermany's Fraunhofer Institute, early developers and licensers of the mp3 format, has announced that it has has terminated Technicolor's mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software. The Fraunhofer Institute thanks all of their licensees "for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades. The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3." And so there we have it, the decades old lossy audio compression tech called mp3 is now reaching it's commercial end-life. We hope that the newly promoted lossless FLAC and the like will bring about Hi-Res Audio gear that handles Hi-Res Music files, which are 24-bit/48kHz or higher.

 

05 / 12 / 17

Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 Stereo Int. Tube Amp Celebrates Both Old And New
Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 Stereo Integrated Tube AmplifierDynaco (a division of Radial Engineering Ltd.) presents the re-launch of a legendary tube amplifier, the ST-70 Series 3 tube amplifier, that was first shown worldwide during Enjoy the Music.com's HIGH END Munich event last year. Dynaco's ST-70 Series 3 stereo tube amplifier prodices 35 Watts per channel stereo and switchable between both 4 and 8 Ohm outputs. Using Class-A push-pull stereo topography, versions of this amplifier in the past have been characterized as a robust, with a reliable design of exceptional value. The ST-70 Series 3 builds upon the proven design philosophies of the original David Hafler-designed Stereo 70, with contemporary design techniques resulting in exceptional performance improvements that meet the requirements of modern audiophiles. Dynaco engineers have made extensive use of high-quality parts that were unavailable at the time of the original design including precision metal-film resistors, poly-composition capacitors and miniaturized high-capacity power supply electrolytic capacitors. In addition, many of the newer parts are also built to tighter specifications than the originals. For instance, the PCB is constructed of military-grade, double-sided epoxy fiberglass PC material. In compliance with modern practices, the speaker binding posts have been updated, and a heavy-duty three-pin detachable grounded power cord is provided. Signal ground is the same as electrical ground and chassis, and all signal connectors are gold-plated. The latest rendition has seen a substantially overhauled power supply from the original version, employing a larger dual-primary power transformer with improved line regulation, increased filter capacitance, and a solid-state rectifier that results in a much more articulate response. The resulting bottom end is a dramatic improvement over the original Stereo 70's low-end response. This is augmented with a three-position high-pass filter switch to allow listeners to tailor the low-end response of the amplifier to their personal tastes. Using a redesigned front end of the Series 3 amplifier, the company replaces the 'obsolete' 7199 pentode signal tubes from the original Stereo 70 with more commonly-used 12AU7 dual-triode tubes as part of a configuration that harkens back to the classic Williamson amplifier - this in itself has a long-storied history in the audiophile community. The output stage and EL34/6CA7 output tubes retain the same elements as the original Stereo 70 yet with the new design, the bias adjustment for the output tubes can be individually set using a front-panel recessed trimmer for each tube. After a warm up period (and with no input signal present), the bias is easily set by matching the brightness of the front-panel LEDs. Tremendous effort was applied to improving upon the original output transformers in an effort to increase damping and tighten up the low frequency response . A rear-panel switch allows the listener to select between 4 and 8 Ohm speaker loads. The feedback location is also configured by this switch, and the gain is adjusted accordingly. This results in an improved transient response when compared to older Stereo 70 implementations. Learn more about the Dynaco ST-70 Series 3 stereo integrated tube amplifier within our HIGH END 2016 show report. Pricing is TBA and delivery is anticipated to begin summer 2017.

 

MQA Adds Hardware Partnerships To Further Playback Hardware Options
MQA Adds Hardware Partnerships To Further Playback Hardware OptionsMQA (Master Quality Authenticated) once again boosts the availability of MQA-enabled products and software. MQA seeks to improve the sound quality of physical format releases plus online music streams and downloads. A few months back MQA was debuted on TIDAL's global streaming service and is available to premium subscribers. The list of MQA-enabled hardware partners continues to grow, from boutique to big brands. The list includes AudioQuest, CanEVER Audio, dCS, Esoteric, IAG, Krell, Lumin, Mark Levinson, MOON by Simaudio, Pro-Ject Audio Systems, TEAC and Wadax. "We are proud to announce the addition of MQA playback support to our Mark Levinson No. 519 Audio Player," said Jim Garrett, Director, Marketing & Product Management at Harmon's Mark Levinson. "The ability to offer our customers the highest level of fidelity is paramount to our brand and MQA is a natural extension of that approach." Also in the news for MQA is that on May 17th AudioQuest will be releasing the long-awaited free firmware update for their DragonFly Black and DragonFly Red portable USB DACs. This update will enable playback of all MQA files including TIDAL.

 

NOVO Magazine Is Free For Download Featuring Reviews And More
NOVO Magazine May / June 2017High-tech Canadian magazine NOVO (was CANADA HIFI) new issue is available free for download and features a special article concerning wearable technology. NOVO's May/June issue also includes the rise of robots, artificial intelligence and smart machines plus a beginner's guide to building a hi-fi system. Why Virtual Reality brings the latest realizations to this virtual world. High-end audio gear reviews include Unison Research Unico 90 integrated amplifier, Hafler PH50 solid-state moving coil phono stage, Mundorf MA30 custom made speaker kit, and SilverGold Series Focal Utopia headphones. Within his editorial titled Shows, VR Enjoyment, And Tech Tales, Suave Kajko says, "Spring is in full bloom and as the temperature continues to climb everyone is beginning to emerge from winter hibernation. And what better way to enjoy spring than by walking to a local record store and sifting for treasures through crates of vinyl or visiting a technology event. Check out ww.recordstoreday.com to learn about the top record stores in your city and hit up www.novo.press to see a list of upcoming technology events. One upcoming technology event I'm looking forward to is called Future World, an event focusing on robotics and artificial intelligence. Check out the preview of this show on page 16." See what's in this issue of NOVO and download the magazine for free at this link.

 

Magico's New $172,000 Per Pair M6 Floorstanding Loudspeakers
Magico's New $172,000/pair Per Pair M6 Floorstanding SpeakersMagico's M6 floorstanding three-way, five-driver loudspeaker establishes a new pinnacle of engineering and design vision at the company. Since the release of the M-Project in 2014, Alon Wolf and his engineering team have worked to expand upon the ground breaking designs that were first introduced in the critically acclaimed product which included the application of carbon side panels. The new M6 represents the culmination of such efforts and a major advance in loudspeaker design. The most compelling aspect is the six-sided, monocoque enclosure sculpted of 0.5" carbon fiber, leveraging the latest Aerospace materials and technologies. Similar to the external shell of an F-35 fighter jet, this method of construction increases the structural strength-to-weight ratio by a factor of 60, while reducing overall weight by 50% and yielding outer dimensions that are 30% smaller without compromising internal volume. The curved interior and exterior walls minimize internal standing waves and eliminate external diffractions. Magico's new M6 also incorporates a more efficient version of the revolutionary tweeter found in the M-Project. A 28mm diamond-coated beryllium diaphragm with optimized geometry, created using state-of-the-art Finite Element Analysis modeling tools, is said to bring the M6's high-frequency reproduction one step closer to perfection. Their new 6" midrange driver features Magico's Graphene-based cone material which is 30% lighter and 300% stiffer than that of its predecessors. This driver utilizes an underhung neodymium-based motor system that leverages an extra-large magnet and a top-stabilizing magnet to ensure a perfectly stabilized magnetic field of 1.7 Tesla in a 15mm air gap, culminating in a pure vented titanium voice coil. For lowermost frequency production, three newly designed 10.5" Magico bass drivers are produced with advanced manufacturing techniques using a new multi-wall carbon, Nanographene cone. A powerful magnet structure controls a 5" pure titanium voice coil that has 1" of linear excursion to produce clean, undistorted sound pressure levels up to 120dB @ 50Hz/meter. All five drivers in the M6 are acoustically integrated using Magico's exclusive Elliptical Symmetry Crossover topology that utilizes state-of-the-art components from Mundorf of Germany. Magico's M6 sensitivity is 91dB/W/m, it presents a 4 Ohm load, and has an overall frequency response from 22Hz to 50kHz. Dimensions are 57" x 26" x 20" (HxDxW) and each unit weighs 390 lbs.

 

05 / 11 / 17

HelloEar Launches World's First Metal Custom In-Ear Monitor (CIEM)
HelloEar Metal Custom In-Ear Monitor (CIEM)HelloEar debuts its platinum and rose gold custom range for professional musicians and audiophiles. Every pair of HelloEar Wonderland PROs are unique to their wearer and provide the most comfortable and secure fit when listening to music. The sleek design and metal construction combine in an elegant platinum or rose gold shell guaranteed to make an impression whether on the stage or in the recording studio. HelloEar encourages customization on the outside too. For all PRO ranges, which includes the resin shelled CIEMs, musicians can choose from 100 designs, which includes artwork and symbols. With 26dB of noise cancellation, the Wonderland range promises its wearer an enviable focus on audio quality. HelloEar pioneered a unique production process that uses 3D scanning, model rebuilding and laser sintering technology - usually used in jewelry making - to print a perfect metal replica of each inner ear. Using this standard HelloEar professional earphones are crafted with pinpoint accuracy to sit firmly inside ears, without causing any discomfort, enabling non-stop immersive usage. Weighing 15 grams the HelloEar PRO Wonderland range is the most comfortable musical experience. Powered by two world leading miniature acoustics experts Knowles and Sonion, each set of PROs feature high-quality speakers tuned by a "rockstar team of audio engineers and electro-acoustic doctors from Goertek, Horn Audio, Cosonic, and General Electric Company". HelloEar PRO Wonderland collection comes in two versions: the Monet, with six balanced armature drivers, and the Gauguin with 12. Both have multiple moving-iron speakers and a strong frequency range for a clear and rich sound. HelloEar has also launched a PRO series using resin rather than metal. This range comes in three versions: Daisy, the primary monitoring version with three speakers, Kurt the musical version with four speakers or Vera, the supreme monitoring version with six speakers. Both the metal and resin shell CIEMs can be custom designed to a wearer’s personal design specification. Wonderland Monet (six drivers) $2499, Gauguin (12 drivers) $3699, resin body Daisy (three drivers) $599, Kurt (four drivers) $699 and Vera (six drivers) $1099 round out this series of IEMs. A wide variety of other custom in-ear monitors are also available.

 

Industry News 15 Years Ago
USA Federal Court Orders User Spying Within Consumer Electronics
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)The following statement was issued by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary Shapiro in response to a federal court order forcing consumer electronics manufacturer SonicBlue to develop and install new software in consumers' personal video recorders (PVRs) that would collect all information about what shows the users watch, record or send to a select and limited group. SonicBlue would then be forced to provide the information to the studios suing the company for allegedly contributing to copyright infringement:

"The court's order is highly troubling. It forces SonicBlue to violate the trust of its customers and commit an incredible invasion of privacy. By court order, SonicBlue would be forced to spy on consumers and record every 'click' of their remote control, noting how they watch and record television shows. The data collection would include monitoring if the user chooses to skip commercials, watch the same program more than once or delete a program. While the order mandates the data be collected on an 'anonymous' basis, it does require SonicBlue to track individual users. Furthermore, it does not allow for users to 'opt out' of the data collection.
We also are concerned with the concept that a court can impose an order forcing consumer electronics manufacturers' to conduct surveillance activities on consumers. If the order stands, it will have a chilling effect on technological innovation and consumers' buying habits. Through lawsuits, proposed legislation, and the power of their influence, the studios' agenda remains clear: to curtail home recording and fair use rights in the name of preserving intellectual property. Our industry continues to seek and fight for an approach to copy protection that balances legitimate concerns about piracy and preserving intellectual property with established home recording and fair use rights."

 

05 / 10 / 17

HIGH END 2017 Show In Munich Begins Next Week At The M.O.C.
HIGH END 2017 Show Report MunichApproximately 500 exhibitors will be showcasing their products during HIGH END's Munich 2017 show in Germany. As one of high-end audio's most important European event, exhibitor space at Munich's large M.O.C. is completely sold out. To be held from May 18th through 21st, HIGH END 2017 is Europe's most prominent and largest audio show of the year. The first day of the exhibition is exclusively reserved for trade visitors and media from all over the world. There is no other place in Europe where the entire range of audio products is presented as impressively and emotionally as HIGH END. The diversity of services in the industry reflects both the big players as well as the many smaller, more specialized and niche providers. Visitors will be immersed in analog high-precision art as well as in the latest digital audio and visual soundscapes. Exquisite analog equipment blends in harmoniously with the latest multimedia equipment. Perfectly processed loudspeakers, traditional tube amplifiers and cult turntables stand side by side with networked audio systems, audio streaming solutions, digital wireless systems and multimedia stations. Visitors can find everything their music-loving heart's desire, regardless of age and lifestyle. See this year's HIGH END show report and all of our previous reports starting in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

 

05 / 09 / 17

Bob Marley & The Wailers 40th Anniversary Box Set On Vinyl And CD
Bob Marley & The Wailers 40th Anniversary Box Set On Vinyl And CDBob Marley & the Wailers' classic Exodus album, the ninth studio album of the band, was released on June 3, 1977, featuring a new backing band including brothers Carlton and Aston "Family Man" Barrett on drums and bass, Tyrone Downie on keyboards, Alvin "Seeco" Patterson on percussion, and the I Threes, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley on backing vocals, and newest member Julian "Junior Marvin" on guitar. The album was released on June 3, 1977, just six months after an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley's life in Jamaica in December, forcing him to flee to London, where Exodus was recorded. This June, The Marley Family, Island Records and UMe will mark the 40th anniversary of Exodus – named the "Best Album of the 20th Century" by Time magazine in 1999 – with a series of four separate reissues, three of which will feature Exodus 40 - The Movement Continues, son Ziggy Marley's newly curated "restatement" of the original album. As part of the celebration, Ziggy Marley has intimately revisited the original session recordings, uncovering unused and never-before-heard vocals, lyric phrasing and instrumentation, incorporating and transforming these various elements into brand-new session takes. On June 2, UMe will release a version of Exodus 40 - The Movement Continues in a two-CD package that includes the original album and the Ziggy Marley "restatement"; a three-CD set (and digital equivalent) that includes the original Exodus, Exodus 40 - The Movement Continues and Exodus Live. A limited edition gold vinyl version of the original 1977 album will also be available. The Super Deluxe, four-LP, two-7" single vinyl version includes the original LP, Ziggy Marley's restatement Exodus 40 – The Movement Continues, an Exodus Live set recorded at London's Rainbow Theatre the week of the album's release, Punky Reggae Party LP which includes a previously unreleased extended mix of "Keep On Moving", and a pair of vinyl 7" singles, including "Waiting in Vain" b/w "Roots" and "Smile Jamaica (Part One)" b/w "Smile Jamaica (Part Two)." You can preorder Bob Marley & the Wailers Exodus 40 Super Deluxe Package Vinyl and/or CD set at this link.

 

05 / 08 / 17


AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show Report
Audio Expo North America Coverage by Steven R. Rochlin, Part 3

 

KEF Announces Their New Q Series 2017 Loudspeaker Line
KEF Announces Their New Q Series 2017 Loudspeaker LineKEF has proudly announced the launch of their Q Series loudspeakers, which boast significant engineering milestones designed to enhance the Q Series' reputation even further while building on the award-winning qualities of its previous iteration. Q 2017 consists of two bookshelf speakers – Q150 and Q350 – three floorstanding speakers – Q550, Q750 and Q950 – and a center speaker – Q650c. Q 2017 boast a revamped Uni-Q driver array with a newly engineered damped tweeter loading tube design which significantly enhances performance of the lower treble. The lineup also features a new low-distortion inductor in the crossovers to provide cleaner and more accurate bass. The Q150 and Q350 benefit from a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamic) port design, which has been moved to the rear of the speaker to improve clarity. Additionally, the Uni-Q driver array in the Q150 and Q350 has been relocated to the middle of the cabinet to reduce unwanted internal resonances. The Q550, Q750 and Q950 floorstanding speakers are equipped with larger roll surrounds and new spiders in their low-frequency drivers for immaculate bass no matter the volume, while a new paper cone provides robust midrange clarity. In addition, the floorstanders' ABR (Auxiliary Bass Radiator) is now supported by a new surround and rear suspension, aiding in delivering more controlled bass at high volumes. The Q 2017 floorstanding speakers greatly benefit from a new closed box midrange cabinet, which helps increase clarity and delivers a cleaner, punchier bass. The floorstanding speakers also feature an altered mid-bass driver, which improves midrange clarity and produces a more natural bass roll-off between drivers for a more natural sound. For home theater enthusiasts, KEF's Q650c center channel speaker also features the closed-box midrange cabinet, which reduces midrange excursion and eliminates bass distortion. Available in both black and white finishes, the design of KEF's Q 2017 is both elegant and modern, with its contemporary matte satin finishes (and match hardware) that give the speakers an elegant presence. Pricing is as follows:
Q150 Bookshelf: $550.00 / pair
Q350 Bookshelf: $650.00 / pair
Q550 Floorstander: $550.00 / each
Q750 Floorstander: $750.00 / each
Q950 Floorstander: $900.00 / each

 

05 / 05 / 17

10 Systems that Impressed At AXPONA 2017 Show Report By Dave Hanson
10 Systems That Impressed At AXPONA 2017
AXPONA Show Report By Dave Hanson

 

The Absolute Sound's May High-End Audio Review Magazine
The Absolute Sound Issue 273 May 2017The Absolute Sound's May 2017 issue features reviews of the Rotel A14 integrated amplifier and CD14 CD player, Astell&Kern AK70 portable music player, Grace Design m9XX portable DAC, MrSpeakers Ether C headphones, Pass Labs HPA-1 headphone amplifier, Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000R power amplifier, Audio by Van Alstine DVA 850 hybrid power amplifier, Linear Tube Audio ZOTL40 Mk. II power amplifier, NuPrime STA-9 preamplifier, HPA-9 power amplifier, DAC-9 DAC, AVM Ovation SD 6.2 preamplifier/DAC, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil DAC, Audience ClairAudient 1+1 V2+ loudspeaker, Starke Sound IC-H3 Halo Elite loudspeaker, Stein Music Harmonizer, plus Crystal Cable Minissimo loudspeaker and Submissimo subwoofers. Within his editorial, Robert Harley says "It's no secret that my dear friend and esteemed colleague Jonathan Valin favors analog over digital music reproduction. But his screed in the previous issue's guest editorial excoriating digital audio in general, and music servers in particular, laid bare the depth of his disdain. Jonathan's objection to digital isn't only about sound quality; he thinks listeners will disengage from the hi-fi hobby if participation requires no more involvement than pressing buttons on a touchscreen. Without hands-on tactile experience playing LPs, setting up turntables, and caring for records and styli — and the expertise and connoisseurship those rituals develop — high-end audio as a hobby is doomed." See what's within this issue of The Absolute Sound magazine at this link.

 

05 / 04 / 17

Dolby AC-4 Hi-Res Audio Streaming Via Widely Accepted Standard
Dolby AC-4 Hi-Res Audio Streaming Via Widely Accepted StandardToday consumers want high fidelity audio and cinematic entertainment experiences — including the highest-quality audio—across a range of devices. Content providers want the opportunity to add additional services to their broadcasts plus a simplified workflow that eliminates the need to create different audio assets for mobile devices and living room delivery. The industry solution is Dolby AC-4, which has been chosen as the audio standard for terrestrial broadcast in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. With Dolby AC-4, broadcasters can create a single stream of high-quality audio for all audiences and devices. Dolby AC-4 also uses less bandwidth to deliver more entertainment. Dolby AC-4, which is four times as efficient as Dolby Digital, lowers data transmission costs for broadcasters and creates bandwidth to add new channels and additional audio options consumers want. For consumers who watch video or listen to Hi-Res Audio on mobile devices, lower bandwidth rates matter both to data plans and to streaming over less-than-ideal Internet connections. The entertainment industry needs a complete, cost-effective, end-to-end audio solution that spans content creation, distribution, and playback. Dolby AC-4 meets those requirements. Because Dolby AC-4 works across platforms and devices, it no longer matters whether content is sent via satellite to a TV or streamed over the Internet to a mobile phone. This simplified workflow lowers production costs, reduces complexity, and assures consumers get a consistent audio experience. Dolby AC-4 not only improves sound quality, consistency, and ubiquity across devices, it also opens up new possibilities for broadcasters and consumers. Dolby AC-4 enables consumers to switch between different audio experiences, including announcers, languages, and even the ambient sound in the stands to make the living room feel like the stadium. Broadcasters have the opportunity to add these and other consumer options to drive revenue and brand loyalty. A powerful new audio format in the Dolby Audio family, Dolby AC-4 addresses the current and future needs of next-generation video and audio entertainment services including broadcast and Internet streaming. The core elements of Dolby AC-4 have been standardized with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute as TS 103 190 and adopted by DVB in TS 101 154, and they are ready for adoption for next-generation services and specifications. Rooted in generations of broadcast audio experience, Dolby AC-4 provides the content and device industries a strong foundation to collaboratively build leading-edge audio experiences that meet the needs of consumers.

 

Industry News 10 Years Ago
IFPI Brings Clarity To Fair Online Streaming Music Licensing Fees
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)While the United States is battling the heated debate concerning increased fees for streaming music online, as reported months ago on Enjoy the Music.com's Industry News page, there is now a brief reprieve while today a truly global organization may be taking the lead. Fees will slowly ramp upward for online radio stations per United States law, yet with the Internet being truly worldwide one can only wonder how the United States government plans to collect and account for the wide diversity of listeners. To the rescue, as it were, may not be the United States government more than the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization that promotes the international recording industry worldwide with membership including over 1400 companies in more than 70 countries. This international organization has claimed to make "major step forward in cross border music licensing regime." Online music services and broadcasting organizations "should find it easier from today to gain licenses to stream music across several territories, thanks to an arrangement put in place between IFPI - which represents the recording industry worldwide - and record company collecting societies" says the press release. Basically, a pair of licensing agreements will create the framework licensing of producers' rights for various streaming and podcast services. This will make life easier for those who desire obtaining cross-border online rights licenses instead of obtaining legal rights from each territory separately or approaching the right holders directly. The IFPI says, "It is expected that more than 40 collecting societies, covering most of the key music markets worldwide, will sign up to these two agreements." Frances Moore, IFPI's regional director for Europe, says, "The record industry's mantra is to license, license, license. We want consumers to be able to listen to our music anywhere, any time through any device as long as it is legal. These landmark agreements will further streamline the licensing process and help broadcasters and online music services deliver music across boundaries. We only hope that other music right holders will follow suit."

 

05 / 03  /17

Record Attendance At AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show In Chicago
Record Attendance At AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show In ChicagoJD Events' recent AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) 2017 show held in April welcomed 6,723 attendees and 400 exhibitors. Exhibitors and attendees alike were excited to hear about the plans to make the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center AXPONA's new home starting April 13th through 15th, 2018. With this year's record attendance numbers and an increased interest from worldwide manufacturers to exhibit at AXPONA, the 2018 show will be able to meet the needs of the high-end audio industry. In addition to a series of special events, live concerts and educational seminars, attendees had the opportunity to experience the very best in sound in 140 listening rooms by top manufacturers and dealers in the industry. In all, more than 400 manufacturers and retailers gathered at AXPONA and boasted rave reviews. "The 2017 show was a huge success with 6,723 attendees from around the globe, world class exhibitors and big names in the audio industry including Magico, Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems, Wilson Audio Legacy Audio, Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, Acoustic Sounds Inc., and Nordost, among others," said Joel Davis, President and CEO of JD Events. "We look forward to welcoming audio enthusiasts, music lovers and all the manufacturers, distributors and dealers in this great industry to the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center next year as we continue to build AXPONA into a premier international destination." AXPONA attendees enjoyed an all-star line-up for its weekend live concert series including the Frank Catalano Band on Friday night, and a benefit concert hosted by the Jazz Foundation of America featuring Ronnie Baker Brooks, Billy Branch and Mud Morganfield on Saturday night.

 

The Absolute Sound's Buyer's Guide To Audiophile Electronics
The Absolute Sound's Buyer's Guide To Audiophile ElectronicsThe Absolute Sound's Buyer's Guide To Electronics is an easy-to-navigate PDF chock-full of brand-new products and full-length hi-fi reviews from TAS across all types of electronics — tube and solid-state amplifiers and preamplifiers and more across all price-points, from entry-level to reference-quality components. Their new 2017 guide is your essential one-stop resource for the scoop on the latest and greatest high-end electronics. Read about the latest new amplifiers, preamplifiers, and phonostages to enter the hi-fi market A Brief Guide To Today's Preamplifiers — Robert Harley discusses the latest preamplifier technologies, how they impact your system, his recommendations, and more. In total, 28 preamplifier and amplifier reviews from The Absolute Sound Top Picks — TAS editors select their favorites for all categories of electronics: amplifiers, linestages, phonostages, preamplifiers, and combinations of these — both tube and solid-state designs. No matter what your budget or sonic preferences, this Guide is designed to help you explore the wide range of electronics across all design categories and price-points. You can download the PDF of The Absolute Sound's Buyer's Guide To Electronics by clikcing here.

 

05 / 02 / 17

Hi-Fi+'s May Magazine Is Now Available Online
Hi-Fi+ Magazine 147 May 2017Hi-Fi+ Magazine's May 2017 issue features Headroom Show 2017 in London plus reviews of the Gryphon Audio Diablo 120 integrated stereo amplifier and Mojo S speaker, Linn Klimax DS digital controller and Klimax 350 speaker, Magico S1 MKII, 1More Quad-Driver, Leema Acoustics Tucana II Anniversary, MrSpeakers ÆON, Nordost Qkore1, Qkore3, and Qkore6, Audioplan Powerstar SIII, Finefilter S, And Powerplant 100S. Two systems are reviewed, one with the Mark Levinson No. 585, Vienna Acoustics Liszt, and Chord Sarum T. Another system features includes Hegel Mohican, Hegel H80, and Chartwell LS6. Within his editorial, Alan Sircom says "A few years ago, some parts of the audio industry noticed a marked change in the way people were buying separate audio components. While the best components for use in systems don’t necessarily come from one brand, many today do take a more systemic approach to component selection. Paradoxically, whether that system is from one brand, or put together with care from different brands is unimportant. What we mean by this is people are buying complete systems in one hit, and then not coming back for more. Where in the past, an audiophile might upgrade every component in their system over the course of a few years, and then go through the whole process again and again, there seems to be a return to buying a complete system and enjoying it for years without a single change." See what's within this issue of H-Fi+ Magazine at this link.

 

Nordost Introduces Their New QKORE Series Of Power Products
Nordost Introduces Their New QKORE Series Of Power ProductsNordost's newest addition to their line of QRT Power products, the QKORE series includes a comprehensive grounding device for the consumer electronics market (QKORE1 $2500, $3500, QKORE6 $5000, and QKORE Wire $360 with $150 per additional meter). These products present a simple solution to rid hi-fi systems of the incessant hum and relentless electrical noise that are caused by high frequency interference, noise, and stray magnetic fields contaminating AC lines. Nordost's QKORE offers an effective ground point, which is said to provides a solid foundation for your entire sound system. Nordost says this system will lowering the noise floor, increasing harmonic accuracy and clarity, and improving the overall musicality in performances. Nordost's QKORE is a parallel grounding device, which provides an artificial, "clean" earth for hifi audio systems using both an electrical and mechanical approach. This unique product combines Nordost's patented Mono-Filament technology with purpose-built, Low-Voltage Attractor Plates (LVAPs), constructed with a proprietary metal alloy and a passive electronic circuit, in order to draw stray high frequency noise and voltage-generated magnetic fields to a manufactured earth point, leaving a clean reference behind. This passive system is contained in a mechanically tuned housing, and outfitted with gold-plated, WBT binding posts, which easily connect each component to an artificial ground. The QKORE1 is specifically designed to serve as a parallel ground for use with Nordost's distribution block, the QBASE.

 

05 / 01 / 17

Enjoy the Music.com's May Review Magazine Is Now Available Online
Enjoy the Music.com's May Review Magazine features three high-end audio show reports, two world premiere reviews, two preamps, and an IEM review. We got you tubes-o-philes all happy with a world premiere review of the aurally ravishing VAC Renaissance Preamplifier Mk V with MM/MC phono stage. Reviewer Ron Nagle feels that it redefines the cutting edge of what is possible. Editor Tom Lyle goes solid-state with the Merrill Audio Christine Reference stereo preamplifier and says the sound of the unit is addictive!

Am proud to say we have the world premiere review of Elly Audio's upcoming loudspeaker. Soon to be available on Kickstarter, we're the first ones in the world to try 'em out! Rick LaFaver gushes, "If this is what these guys can deliver, I am going to get in on the ground floor." We haven't forgotten personal audio as Dave Hanson shares his thoughts on the Periodic Audio Beryllium in-ear monitors. So how good are these $299 IEMS you ask? i'll give you a hint: Dave feels they are loads of fun! You'll have to read his review for more details and a blow-by-blow review.

See Enjoy the Music.com's May Review Magazine at this link. As always, in the end what really matters is that you... enjoy the music!

CanJam SoCal, Montreal Audio Fest, AXPONA And HIGH END Munich Plus what does audio mean for 2017?
CanJam SoCal, Montreal Audio Fest, AXPONA And HIGH END Munich
Plus what does audio mean for 2017?
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Are We Ready For The Binaural Revolution?
Are We Ready For The Binaural Revolution?
Roger Skoff writes about what he thinks should be the next big thing.
Article By Roger Skoff

 

AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show Report
Updated April 26: AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show Report
Audio Expo North America Coverage By Enjoy the Music.com

 

CanJam SoCal 2017 Show Report By Dave Hanson
CanJam SoCal 2017 Show Report
Headphones, IEMs, headamps, DAPs, cables and more!
Show Report By Dave Hanson

 

Montreal Salon Audio Show 2017 Report
Montreal Salon Audio Show 2017
Montreal Audio Fest 2017 Show Report
Show Coverage By Rick Becker

 

Historic Video: A Dream Of Audio Perfection
Historic Video: A Dream Of Audio Perfection
Stereo: Three dimensional sound.
The biggest contribution to music since Barnum & Bailey.

 

VAC Renaissance Preamplifier Mk V With MM/MC Phono Stage Review
World Premiere Review!
VAC Renaissance Preamplifier Mk V With MM/MC Phono Stage
For serious music lovers living at the cutting edge of what is possible.
Review By Ron Nagle

 

Merrill Audio Christine Reference Stereo Preamplifier Review
Merrill Audio Christine Reference Stereo Preamplifier
Achieving sound quality competitive with the very best preamps available today!
Review By Tom Lyle

  

Elly Audio Loudspeaker Review
World Premiere Review!
Elly Audio Loudspeaker
Kickstart'in a very capable and well-designed speaker both sonically and aesthetically.
Review By Rick LaFaver

 

Periodic Audio Beryllium In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) Review
Periodic Audio Beryllium In-Ear Monitors (IEMs)
Periodic Beryllium IEMs are loads of fun for only $299!
Review By Dave Hanson

 

More Articles Available Online!
See all our show reports, articles, and gear reviews within the May 2017 edition of Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine now available online.

 

04 / 28 / 17

Hi-Fi World's June Issue Features Turntable, Speakers, Headphones, Etc.
Hi-Fi World June 2017Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the June 2017 issue of Hi-Fi World where you could win a pair of Wharfedale A2 loudspeakers worth £999! This issue features reviews of the Quad Z3 loudspeakers, Devialet Gold Phantom flagship wireless loudspeaker, Ovation 1501/1701 preamp/amp, Lindemann Audio musicbook 19, AURALiC Aries network streaming bridge, Isotek Evo3 Mosaic Genesis power regeneration unit, Tellurium Q Black II loudspeaker cable, Elsdon-Won For Audio MC-V power cable / QED Reference 40 audio interconnects, Sennheiser HD414 headphones, Lenco L-3808 turntable Focal headphones and more. Within his editorial, Noel Keywood says "Readers have asked us to review the confusing new flood of budget record decks now hitting the market. That, I thought, could be a problem, if they damage both invaluable test records as well as the music LPs we use for review purposes. Happily, budget pickup cartridges in particular have improved over the years, to a point where they track well and don't damage records. This has allowed budget decks from Pro-Ject, Audio Technica and Reloop we've tested to date to deliver superb results. Now Lenco have pitched into the market with their L-3808 Direct Drive turntable package we feature this month on p83. It shows just how competitive the vinyl market is becoming. Ironic that in its revival the LP is performing better than it ever has done in the past." See what's within this issue of Hi-Fi World at this link.

 

Introducing Wilson Benesch's Resolution Floorstanding Loudspeaker
Wilson Benesch's Resolution Floorstanding LoudspeakerResolution is the latest loudspeaker from the Wilson Benesch loudspeaker line Geometry Series (£35,500 per pair in standard finish). Designed and engineered at the Wilson Benesch manufacturing facility in England, the Resolution incorporates their state-of-the-art drive technology in a unique high-tech enclosure that is formed from a carbon fiber composite monocoque and precision machined metal-alloy components. Wilson Benesch's Geometry Series has been developed using advanced Dassault 3D CAD/CAM systems to ensure uncompromising design and ultimate performance. Combining complex geometry and component design with carbon composite – metal alloy materials, provides the Wilson Benesch team with a number of advantages. Principally, the enclosure is one of the stiffest, most highly damped loudspeaker enclosures ever created according to the company. Resolution floorstanding speaker is equipped with the latest Wilson Benesch drive technologies, which have been designed, developed, and manufactured by the company's design team. Both the Tactic-II dynamic drive unit and the Semisphere Tweeter are built using powerful NdFeb magnets. The magnets are assembled within highly engineered, low-profile alloy structures designed to extract maximum power from the exotic magnets. Wilson Benesch utilize Isotactic Polypropylene in the Tactic-II and a Silk-Carbon hybrid dome in the Semisphere. The Resolution is capable of producing a wide bandwidth frequency response from 30Hz to 30kHz, whilst remaining "transparent and integrated across the band, suspending belief and allowing the listener to disappear within a wide-open soundscape" says Wilson Benesch. With a complement of 12 Tactic-II dynamic drive units and 2 Semisphere Tweeters per pair, the Resolution is a complex loudspeaker design. Every Wilson Benesch Geometry Series loudspeaker is handmade to order and can be ordered with a range of bespoke high gloss polymers, stunning natural wood veneers, and P1 colored carbon fiber finishes to give the loudspeaker an identity unique to its owner.

 

Industry News 10 Years Ago
Hi-Res Audio Music Downloads Are Available From MusicGiants
Niveus Media and MusicGiantsNiveus Media, manufacturers of hardware and software digital media entertainment solutions, and MusicGiants, the leader in high-definition music downloads, have announced the availability of high definition 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound music downloadable on Niveus' 2007 Windows Vista-based media centers. Niveus' new HD Media Store provides an intuitive media center interface to access MusicGiants' extensive network of digital downloads from major and independent labels. Niveus' exclusively designed media store is the first high definition media portal that enables downloads and purchases through Windows Media Center via MusicGiants. The HD Media Store enables customers to easily browse, purchase, and download music from MusicGiants in the Windows Media Audio Lossless (WMA) format store, and seamlessly access this content from within the Windows Media Center 'Music' menu, providing a single location for one's entire music collection. "Niveus is excited to bring our dealers and customers into the world of HD Media downloads," states Tim Cutting, CEO of Niveus Media. "By working closely with MusicGiants, Niveus is the first to launch an integrated music shopping experience that delivers the best in high quality music downloads from the MusicGiants catalog." MusicGiants, which launched in 2005, is the only music download service to offer high-definition, digital recordings from the top music companies such as EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Their downloads deliver full resolution music at up to 1100 kbps for "true CD quality" sound. This WMA format boasts up to four times the sound quality of any other download service, including those expected to be available in May 2007 from EMI through Apple. MusicGiants also offers Super HD downloads (as in re-mastered DVD Audio or SACDs available in either 5.1 surround sound or 2.0 stereo) which play at sample rates up to 11,000 kbps. "We're pleased to have Niveus be our first hardware partner to deliver MusicGiants' integrated premium HD entertainment to their media centers," said Scott Bahneman, CEO of MusicGiants. "The combination of Niveus and the Vista platform now allows consumers to purchase their entertainment at the highest quality available for home use and also transcode it down for all of their portable devices."

 

04 / 27 / 17

AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show Report Part 2
AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show Report
Audio Expo North America coverage by Steven R. Rochlin, Part 2

 

04 / 26 / 17

IFPI Says Global Recorded Music Revenues Increase By 5.9% In 2016
IFPI Says Global Recorded Music Revenues Increase By 5.9%According to the IFPI, the voice of the recording industry worldwide. We represent the interests of 1300 record companies from across the globe, there are now 112 million users of paid streaming subscriptions. This brings streaming revenue growth of an outstanding 60.4%. Digital income now accounts for 50% of global revenues. The IFPI feels that 'Value Gap' remains biggest challenge to sustainable growth. "The global recorded music market grew by 5.9% in 2016, the highest rate since IFPI began tracking the market in 1997, according to the IFPI Global Music Report 2017, released today. Total revenues for 2016 were $15.7 billion. At the end of 2016 there were 112 million users of paid music streaming subscriptions driving year-on-year streaming revenue growth of 60.4%. Digital income last year accounted for half the global recorded music industry’s annual revenue for the first time. Growth in streaming more than offset a 20.5% decline in downloads and a 7.6% decline in physical revenue. Streaming is helping drive growth in developing music markets, with China (+20.3%), India (+26.2%) and Mexico (+23.6%) seeing strong revenue growth. Record companies have fuelled this revenue growth through ongoing investment, not only in artists, but also in the systems supporting digital platforms, which has allowed for the licensing of over 40 million tracks across hundreds of services. The industry is now working towards a return to sustainable growth following a 15-year period during which revenues dropped by nearly 40%. Success requires resolution of the market distortion known as the 'value gap' – the growing mismatch between the value that user upload services, such as YouTube, extract from music and the revenue returned to those who create and invest in music. User upload video streaming services, benefiting from the misapplication of 'safe harbors', comprise the world’s largest on-demand music audience, conservatively estimated at more than 900 million users. The revenue returning to rights holders through these services in 2016 amounted to US$553 million. By contrast, a much smaller user base of 212 million users of audio subscription services (both paid and ad-supported), that have negotiated licenses on fair terms, contributed more than US$3.9 billion."

 


Ear Gear At AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show

 

Noble Audio Releases Their New Lightning-To-2-Pin In-Ear Monitor Cable
Noble Audio Lightning-To-2-Pin In-Ear Monitor CableNoble Audio, a leading high-performance in-ear monitor (IEM) specialist, has launched a new Lightning-to-2-pin IEM cable designed to instantly connect the latest Apple iOS devices with all current and legacy Noble products ($80 for 1.2-meter length). Noble Audio's new Lightning-to-2-pin IEM cable allows consumers to instantly connect any Noble product ever produced, to the latest iOS devices. This dedicated cable has been designed to optimize sound quality from the latest Lightning iOS devices when used with Noble's universal fit and custom IEMs. Its industry-standard two-pin configuration allows it to enable a wide range of other compatible two-pin IEMs, too. The new Lightning cable is compatible with all current models in the Noble range and is also backwards-compatible with all products since the Californian company's inception, including its custom-fit models (CIEMs). This new high-performance cable also benefits from Noble Audio's new ear-hooks, which keep the cable ideally positioned behind the ear when in use. The new ear-hooks are pre-formed and increase comfortable (and style) compared to conventional memory wires.

 

04 / 25 / 17


AXPONA 2017 High-End Audio Show Report
Audio Expo North America 2017 coverage by Steven R. Rochlin, Part 1

 

OPPO UDP-205 Audiophile Universal Player Delivers A Performance Boost
OPPO UDP-205 Audiophile Universal Player Delivers A Performance BoostOPPO Digital just announced that their UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Disc player ($1299) is available for purchase. This is a step-up version of the recently released UDP-203, as the UDP-205 brings top-of-the-line audio performance to a universal player that supports 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and many other digital audio and video formats. The OPPO UDP-205 carries many of the same features as the UDP-203: playback of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, SACD, Audio CD and many other formats; High Dynamic Range (HDR10) and firmware upgradeable to Dolby Vision; dual HDMI outputs – HDMI 2.0 for UHD and HDMI 1.4 for audio; and an HDMI 2.0 input port for external streaming devices or set-top boxes. The audio performance of the OPPO UDP-205 is a significant upgrade over the UDP-203 and previous generation players. The UDP-205 provides reference level sound quality through the analog outputs, improves the clock precision of the HDMI audio output, and increases the power of the built-in headphone amplifier. For the analog output stages, the UDP-205 utilizes two ES9038PRO DACs, which are the flagship of the ESS Sabre Pro series, delivering best-in-class audio performance. Since stereo listening accounts for a large part of audiophile usage of a universal player, and that is why the UDP-205 offers a dedicated stereo output in addition to its 7.1-channel analog audio output. The stereo audio output is powered by a dedicated ES9038PRO DAC chip and specially designed buffer and driver stages. It provides both XLR balanced and RCA single-ended connectors. The balanced output features a true differential signal path all the way from the DAC to the 3-pin XLR connector. By transmitting a pair of differential signals, the balanced output provides better common-mode noise rejection and improves signal quality. For a more intimate listening experience, headphones can be connected directly to the UDP-205's built-in headphone amplifier. The headphone amplifier is connected directly to the ESS SABRE PRO DAC and offers a unique performance advantage over standalone headphone amplifiers. Compared to the built-in headphone amplifier in our previous generation BDP-105/105D players, the new design offers more power and higher performance. In addition to its playback capabilities, the UDP-205 adds a USB DAC, a coaxial and an optical digital audio input so users can take advantage of the excellent audio performance of the UDP-205 with other sources. The asynchronous USB DAC input supports sample rates up to 768 kHz PCM and DSD 512. By bypassing the low fidelity, poor quality DAC of traditional computer soundcards, the UDP-205 turns any computer into a high performing multi-media source by utilizing the ES9038PRO DAC. For additional convenience and flexibility, the UDP-205 can convert digital signals from cable and satellite boxes, televisions, video game consoles and other digital transports with coaxial and optical digital outputs to analog.

 

Chris Sommovigo's High Fidelity Partners AIRWAVE XLR & RCA Cable
Chris Sommovigo's High Fidelity Partners AIRWAVE XLR & RCA CableAIRWAVE cables have been named for a unique method that uniformly suspends signal conductors within an air-tube, such that air - and not plastic - constitutes the major portion of the dielectric behavior. This is said to diminish the overall influence that the dielectric may have on the audio signal, and elevates performance parameters such that AIRWAVE cables make very formidable high-performance competitors while being accessibly priced. Airwave cables are made in the same artisan workshop and on the same machines that Mr. Sommovigo manufactures his Black Cat Cable products, which he considers a point of pride and something that makes his products stand out from an otherwise crowded cable market. "My intention was to deliver AIRWAVE for regular-guy prices, and that's what I've tried to do here," remarked Chris Sommovigo, designer of the Airwave products. "I wanted to make sure that AIRWAVE cables were the kind of Giant Slayer that would pleasantly surprise anyone who uses them - and to do it without breaking the bank. These cables are not some thermoplastic industrial cable-sausage being squeezed out of an enormous industrial extruder at some sweat-shop factory, tens of miles at a time. They are made, layer by layer, in my workshop in Japan, on my machines and by my own hands." Mr. Sommovigo has released the first products from the AIRWAVE collection: RCA and XLR interconnects. Loudspeaker cables are said to be following soon, and power cords are being considered for release at a later date. AIRWAVE XLR and RCA stereo pair are priced at $249 on up depending on your desired length.

 

04 / 24 / 17


Montreal Salon Audio - Montreal Audio Fest 2017 Show Report
Part 4 By Rick Becker

 

Dr. Atsumi Ohno, Creator Of OCC Research Lab, Has Passed
Dr. Atsumi Ohno, Creator Of OCC Research Lab, Has PassedIt saddens us to report on the passing of Dr. Atsumi Ohno, who was the creator of Ohno Continuous Casting (OCC) Research Lab. OCC copper and OCC silver are used in many of the finest audio cables available in the industry. While there is an abundance of information on the Internet about the OCC process, there is little information about Dr. Ohno himself and the history of OCC. Dr. Ohno developed the OCC process at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan and patented the process in 1986. Dr. Ohno received his Ph.D. degree in Material Science (Metallurgical Engineering) from the University of Toronto, Canada in 1963. When Dr. Ohno returned to Japan in the mid 1960's, he took a position at the Chiba Institute with the simple goal of establishing a metal casting research program. The rapid development of the electronics industry in Japan in the 1970's led to the aggressive miniaturization of electronic components. This in turn drove the demand to draw wire of increasingly fine gauge. It became evident to Dr. Ohno that it would be necessary to develop metal materials with no casting defects or crystal grain boundaries to continue the miniaturization. (These metallurgical properties would also become advantageous for audio signal transfer applications.) This became the motivation for Dr. Ohno's research which led to the patent of the Ohno Continuous Casting process in 1986. By using a heated mold with the temperature profile carefully selected and drawing the material at a very slow rate it is possible to cause the solidification process to start from the inside-out resulting in the formation of very long crystals in the metal, rather than the many short crystals that form in conventional casting when the material cools from the outside-in. The OCC process was licensed to Furukawa Electric and Sumitomo (Japan) and Wan Lung Electric (Taiwan). Dr. Ohno worked very closely with these companies to move the OCC process from Lab to Production scale. Donations were made to the university as a way to thank them for their kindness over the years. The University of Toronto Department of Metallurgical Engineering established an OCC research lab in recognition of the donation. The Chiba Institute of Technology and University of Toronto became the leading OCC research centers in the world. Even into his eighties, Dr. Ohno remained a Professor Emeritus at both Chiba and Toronto, and continued to keep in touch with researchers at the two institutions. We thank Dr. Atsumi Ohno for his kindness, and immense contributions, within the electronics industry.

 

 

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