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Enjoy the Music.com High-End Audio Equipment Reviews & News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High-End Audio Industry News

01 / 31 / 01

Napster  The big question: Can you sell what millions of people once enjoyed for free? After all, why buy the cow if the milk can be enjoyed for free? While the "oldest profession in the world" seems to be strong on sales, will music be able to also succeed as well? Peer to peer music website Napster will be asking for a fee to use their service by June of this year. Their new subscription model will also bring with it the legal downloading of music which websites like mp3.com enjoys today. Addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff said, "I'm convinced we can introduce in June or July of this year a subscription model, with a real working digital rights management system."

 

 

TDK MOJOSpeaking of mp3, TDK will soon release their new mp3 player called the MOJO ($179.99) that for the first time offers full artist, song title, album and musical genre navigation plus on-the-go play list creation. The MOJO combines the "unlimited storage" capacity of CD-based MP3 players with the navigational flexibility of expensive solid-state and hard-disk based devices. The problem with many mass storage mp3 players is that the hundreds of files stored on them are hard to organize and find. The MOJO will quickly enable users to hear the music they love by Artist, Album, Song Title and Musical Genre. MOJO plays for up to 10 hours on the included two rechargeable Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) AA batteries.

 

01 / 30 / 01

Hafler  Longstanding audiophile and recording studio equipment manufacture Hafler now offers their new vinyl clad encased TRM10.1s and TRM12.1s self-powered subwoofers. The TRM12.1s subwoofer offers a claimed "free field" frequency response of 25-110Hz (+/- 2dB) at less than 3% THD. Capable of delivering 25-110Hz at 96dB/2-meter, the TRM12.1s uses Hafler's VFET Transoana G 200 watt rms. (at 4 Ohms) power amplifier to deliver acoustic output greater than 115dB. The down-firing 12" cellulose fiber cone driver with 2.5" voice coil is mounted in a 2.0 cubic foot vented cabinet. The input panel offers stereo balanced XLR and stereo unbalanced RCA connectors with balanced/unbalanced and selectable phase and variable low pass 40Hz to 110Hz filter. Outputs are balanced XLR. Cabinet size measures 19.5" x 18" x 19.25" (WxHxD). The down-firing, ported TRM10.1s system also includes a 200 watt amplifier and is said to perfectly mate with Hafler's own TRM6 Active Monitor System or any small monitor where a frequency response down to 25Hz is vital. "In keeping with the new cosmetic's in Hafler's TRM line, the TRM subs have also adopted the new vinyl clad enclosure," says Brad Tabor, Hafler's national Sales manager. "In addition to the new enclosures, the Hafler TRM subs now employ an XLR output passthrough in the sub's amplifier."

 

 

Projected to have been completed by the end of 2000 yet taking a few months longer, Harman International is selling its Studer Professional AG brand to VCS Nachrichtentechnik GmbH. The president of Harman Professional Group International, Philip Hart, said, "Bringing together VCS' skills in computer-aided broadcast systems with Studer's international broadcast systems ability will enhance the potential for both companies to provide customers with a complete turnkey solution in any scale of broadcast environment."

 

 

Long rumored for many years of price fixing pre-recorded compact disc music in Europe,the European Commission is only now waging a full-scale investigation targeting the major five companies (AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann Music Group, EMI Music Distribution, Sony Corporation of America and Universal Music and Video Distribution). Various business arrangements between five media companies and their distributors are being closely scrutinized as Europe pays approximately 30% more for music than their American counterpart. Fines and penalties could reach the hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

 

As reported on the Enjoy the Music.com News Page on October 18th 2000, EMI sought copyright protection and sued Global Music One's www.YourMobile.com over their music being offered to mobile phone users as an alternative to the standard ringer melodies. After various legalities, EMI Music Publishing has settled the $45 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Global Music One. While no details were given concerning the settlement, YourMobile.com was accused of offering approximately 300 EMI Music Publishing songs.

 

01 / 29 / 01

ExactPower 2000  Electrical filtration specialist ExactPower has selected AV123.com as their exclusive distributor for their high performance regenerator device. The ExactPower 2000 ($2,500) is claimed to be capable of delivering 2,000 watts of ultra-low distortion AC power through six rear-mounted hospital-grade outlets. Weighing in at onlt 35 pounds, the ExactPower unit uses an " error-free feed forward technique". A sophisticated differential comparator circuit monitors incoming AC power from a wall socket, instantaneously compares it to an internal amplitude-stabilized AC reference source, and corrects any imperfections in the incoming AC signal. This design is said to correct ultra-high frequency sub-cycle disturbances without the instabilities that can cause oscillation problems in functionally comparable but far less sophisticated products. The ExactPower 2000 provides 120 volt output with up to 40 amps of peak current capability even when wall socket AC voltage varies from 80 through 140 volts of power. Being a high-current design, power amplifiers will rarely tax the ExactPower 2000's capabilities.

 

 

Diva by Swans LoudspeakersWinning the Enjoy the Music.com "Exceptional Value Award" at the 2000 CES, Diva by Swans Audio has chosen AV123.com as their exclusive worldwide marketing and distribution company. Produced in China by Swans Audio, this product line focuses on delivering high performance loudspeakers at a low price. Massive manufacturing capabilities though their 500,000 sq. ft. facility, Swans produces more than 120,000 raw drivers per month in addition to complete loudspeaker systems. Its research complex includes China's largest anechoic chamber (a reflection-free room needed for accurate measurement and evaluation of loudspeakers). All four Diva by Swans Audio speakers, from the compact 2.1 through the floorstanding 6.1, share a common engineering and design approach. High frequencies for all models are handled by a German-made 1.1" silk dome tweeter. The tweeter's separate low-diffraction acoustically tuned chamber is designed to dampen, extend, and smooth this driver's frequency response. For midrange and bass frequencies, one-piece drawn metal-alloy cones with high-excursion butyl rubber surrounds are employed.
The flagship 6.1 adds a Kevlar-reinforced midrange driver for added high resolution music reproduction. All Diva products feature enclosures finished in hand rubbed, furniture-grade, book matched rosewood veneers. The Diva by Swans line consists of five models, all available now (all prices are direct to consumer:

2.1: Compact two-way, two driver system with 6.5” alloy woofer for stand or shelf mounting. $399/pr.

4.1: Floorstanding two-way, three-driver system with two 5.25” alloy woofers. $699/pr.

5.1: High sensitivity floorstanding two-way, three-driver system with two 6.5” alloy woofers. $899/pr.

6.1: High sensitivity floorstanding three-way, four-driver system with two 8” alloy woofers and one 6.5” Kevlar-reinforced midrange. $1,299/pr.

Matching Diva stands for the 2.1 are available at $199/pr.

In addition to the above models, Diva by Swans will soon offer dedicated surround and center channel loudspeakers.

 

01 / 28 / 01

1304 Trade Association  As the industry is gearing towards a high speed standard for communications between all our home audio, video, and appliance devices, the 1394 Trade Association is looking for a strong adoption of their 1394/FireWire/i/Link multimedia standard this year as the upcoming newer, faster, 1394b version (800 Megabits per second to a super fast 1.6 Gigabits/second) is adopted by more consumer, computer and peripherals manufacturers. This also includes a new standard in implementation of wireless remote controls as the group is aiming towards ways to take advantage of existing wireless protocols and standards alongside 1394. “1394 is now at the inflection point,” said Snider of Texas Instruments, Inc. “We are now estimating, conservatively, that there will be more than 25 million 1394-equipped PCs shipped in the year 2001. We also expect to hear more about 1394’s leading role in home networking, in automotive electronics and telematics, and of the advancement of the standard to 800 megabits per second speeds.” Snider also announced the formation of the Wireless Working Group inside the 1394 Trade Association. Initial members include Intel, Microsoft, Sony, Matsushita, NEC, Texas Instruments and Philips with many others planned on coming aboard shortly.

 

 

Maxwell UltracapacitorWill the high performance audio market look towards Maxwell Technologies for better power capacitors as they have introduced their new ultracapacitor energy storage cells. While focusing on power storage for the automotive industry's electric vehicles, these new ultracapacitors ($150-175 each for this application size) are highly efficient electrical energy storage devices with a very rapid discharge/recharge capability. The ultracapacitor stores energy electrostatically by polarizing an electrolytic solution. Though it is an electrochemical device (also known as an electrochemical double-layer capacitor) there are no chemical reactions involved in its energy storage mechanism. This mechanism is highly reversible, allowing the ultracapacitor to be charged and discharged hundreds of thousands of times. An ultracapacitor gets its storage area from a porous carbon-based electrode material. The porous structure of this material allow its surface area to approach 2000 square meters per gram, much greater than can be accomplished using flat or textured films and plates.

An ultracapacitor's charge separation distance is determined by the size of the ions in the electrolyte, which are attracted to the charged electrode. This charge separation (less than 10 angstroms) is much smaller than can be accomplished using conventional dielectric materials. Having an inherent low resistance is a pre-requisite for the high power capabilities required in many of today's applications. Maxwell Technologies uses proprietary processes in the manufacture of their PowerCache ultracapacitors which provide an equivalent series resistance (ESR) significantly lower than any other ultracapacitor. The low ESR of PowerCache ultracapacitors means greater power capability for high rate charging and discharging. Of course an ultracapacitor stores much more energy than a conventional capacitor of similar size, though a battery will store much more energy than the same size ultracapacitor. Still, the ultracapacitor is able to deliver frequent pulses of energy without any detrimental effects. Many batteries experience reduced life if exposed to frequent high power pulses. Unlike batteries, the ultracapacitor can be charged extremely quickly while may types of batteries are damaged by a fast charging system. The ultracapacitor can be cycled hundreds of thousands of times while battery systems are capable of only a few hundred cycles. 

 

01 / 27 / 01

Rotel RR-1090  More new goodies from Rotel as  Enjoy the Music.com reported on January 17th, 2001 about their new amplifiers and DVD player, Rotel has just announced an all new RR-1090 ($299) wireless remote control unit. With the ability to replace and consolidate virtually all other remote controls in your home to one unit, the RR-1090 offers a backlit LCD screen plus twelve menu commands that can activate up to 48 different commands for each device (DVD player, pre-amplifier, VCR, etc.). The RR-1090 is also a "teachable" (learn/use) unit and can copy program codes from your existing remote controls. There are also four macro keys that can be preprogrammed to send up to ten commands with the push of a single button. The RR-1090 includes the ability to be linked to a personal computer for ease of programming and to back up your preferred settings in case of a memory glitch or accidental damage to your unit.

 

 

As reported by Enjoy the Music.com on March 29th, 2000, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) seems to be getting a bit greedy by asking radio stations to double pay for the music they deliver. Radio stations in America pay once for sending music over the airwaves, but now the RIAA wants more money for those who also beam their content over the internet through live streaming. The battle begins as radio stations are fighting back with CBS's Infinity Broadcasting and other radio station owners suing in the U.S. District Court of Philadelphia to overturn a recent U.S. Copyright Office ruling that now requires thousands of broadcasters to pay for web streaming their broadcasted over the airwaves content. The final decision of this case could have far reaching affect on paying royalties to music publishers and copyright holders.

 

 

SDMIAfter their meeting earlier this week, the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) is giving in and reworking their digital music delivery security system after two solid years of development. This includes eliminating the ability to detect if a digital music file was compressed without authorization. This includes the ability for detecting SDMI watermarked song appearing on file-swapping websites such as Napster. Of course once broadband reaches more homes, uncompressed songs taken directly from CDs could be as easily exchanged as MP3 files are today over a 56kb modem. "We continue to evaluate the proposed approaches for a content protection standard, while also bearing in mind the need for making decisions consistent with the rules of a rapidly moving marketplace," executive director of SDMI Leonardo Chiariglione said in a statement. 

 

01 / 26 / 01

Atma-Spehere 208  OTL gurus Atma-Sphere have released their new 208 turntable that uses some of the historic Empire 208 design. The newly designed plinth is made from solid 3/4" thick machined billet aluminum high rigidity and to reduce resonance. Additional dampening is provided by the platter and pad. The retail pricing of the turntable varies as the availability of original Empire 208 turntables vary. Still, the cost of the plinth and machine work is $3,200.

 

 

Fosgate AudionicsAfter approximately five years of absence in the home audio field, Rockford-Fosgate is spinning into the speciality audio field with their new Fosgate Audionics division. While Rockford-Fosgate has been known for many years in the mobile audio sector, the Fosgate Audionics division will concentrate on making top quality home audio and video products. It was over ten years ago that Rockford-Fosgate bought our the Hafler brand of home audio products and will soon be offering a 150 wpc. six-channel amplifier ($2,999) and a 200 wpc. five-channel unit ($2,499). As for pre-amplifier/processors, their new unit will decode Dolby Pro-Logic II, THX EX, DTS ES Discrete and Matrix decoding ($3,499). Tube audio buffs will likely look for their new, limited-edition vacuum-tube Dolby Pro Logic II surround processor ($7,499). Rounding out their new product will be four bookshelf speakers priced at up to $449 each plus three self-powered subwoofers priced as high as $899.

 

 

AOL-Time Warner Inc. claims to now have over 27 million members. On December 12, 2000 they had accrued 26 million subscribers while the holiday season saw a huge leap in new subscribers to the point of adding an additional million members in approximately a month's time. AOL members average over 65 minutes per day using their service. With the recent merger and hopes of selling their branded music and video on the internet, having 27 million members gives a huge advantage for marketing and sales purposes.

 

01 / 25 / 01

  In the wake of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) encryption being broken by many companies late in 2000, their executive director Leonardo Chiariglione is quitting his job with SDMI to join CSELT, a research division of Telcom Italia. While no replacement has been named, there is still much turmoil within the SDMI and there may be more high ranking officials quitting shortly.

 

 

Looking to improve upon the sound quality of .mp3 files, electronics manufacture Thompson and the Fraunhofer Institute are working on the next generation mp3 file called mp3PRO. While the mp3PRO files will play on existing mp3 players, the increased sound quality offered by the PRO version will need to be decoded by players with the PRO capabilities. This is along the same lines as the HDCD compact discs many audiophile are familiar with. The goal is to enhance the sound quality while also allowing for backwards compatibility with existing mp3 devices.

 

 

Compaq iPaq Music CenterComputer manufacture Compaq is releasing a dedicated music device called the iPaq Music Center (planned pricing under $1,000). Including a built-in CD player and the ability to play MP3 music files, this 20GB hard drive equipped device also offers broadband internet and home networking capabilities. These benefits bring the convenience of fast downloading of music and the ability to enjoy it throughout the users home. Compaq looks to go beyond the home PC and offer consumer more lifestyle devices.

 

 

As Enjoy the Music.com reported on January 18th about job slashing in within many companies, MTV has joined in the with laying off 125 employees at their Nashville office during the next six months time. MTV plans on moving its The National Network (TNN) operations to the home office in New York City to streamline their operations. Changing it's name month ago to from The Nashville Network to The National Network to reflect more diverse programming, MTV felt it no longer needs a major office in Nashville.

 

01 / 24 / 01

  The new AOL-Time Warner deal is looking to help their ailing Netscape subsidiary by turning the Netscape website into a content hub. Netscape has lost tremendous market share as Microsoft's Internet Explorer has become the more popular and much more stable than Netscape's buggy internet website browser. To help Netscape, they will become more of a portal for content such as streaming audio/video. Recently Netscape decided to remove "Netcenter" from its name and call it "Netscape." A new name is soon to be disclosed to better align its name with the new content soon to be on the website.

 

 

Investors have been cautious about the growth of online sales of music this past holiday season. Music, book and other consumer goods Amazon.com ranked #1 with 28.5 million unique users with a 13.9% buy rate. CDNow ranked third with 8.68 million unique users and a 10.9% buy rate. Music concert and event sales website Ticketmaster.com ranked ninth and had just over 5 million unique visitors with an 11.2% buy rate. Barnes and Noble with their brick and click support (both website and store locations) ranked second with 8.3 million unique visitors to their website and an 11.4% buy rate. Consumer electronic store with brick and click support BestBuy.com ranked twelfth with 6.8 million unique visitors and a low 5.1% sell through rate.

 

01 / 23 / 01

  The industry leader Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is working hard in forming a Wireless and Communications Division who will assist both manufacturers and retailers in developing standards for a wireless world. With more and more devices relying on the wireless web and wireless networking, the future of consumer electronics will one day link to complete home networks and broadband (high-speed) wireless internet. CEA will help with insuring non-proprietary standards, consumer research, marketing and training. One day we will all be able to enjoy better than "CD quality" sound from standard wireless devices. "CEA created this new division because wireless technology is one of the fastest growing consumer product categories," said the president of CEA, Gary Shapiro. "With more than 200 wireless companies exhibiting at CES, 50 companies already members, and many of our other members adding wireless applications to their existing products, there is substantial interest in CEA and CES from the wireless community."

 

 

According to Jupiter Media Metrix, during the week ending December 31, 2000 the top ranked online music/video website still remains to be RealNetworks Real.com who reach almost seven million unique visitors. Second ranked Macromedia's Shockwave.com acquired only three million visitors. Meanwhile WindowsMedia.com and CDNow.com both received approximately 210,000 visitors. Popular MP3 peer to peer music swap website Napster only reached 200,000 visitors. Struggling MP3.com who has been though the legal ringer reached 150,000 visitors.

Of those who enjoy music by listening to online radio over the internet, 32% enjoy alternative music, 28% enjoy good ol' rock n' roll, 27% like contemporary hits, 24% listen to urban music, news and talk radio. 22% like jazz and 16% seek out Spanish radio according to Arbitron/Edison Media research.

The average web user logs onto the internet five times a week, they visit five unique websites per visit according to the Neilson/Net Ratings. Americans spend four hours per week watching TV while surfing the web. Those who have broadband internet connections enjoy five hours per week.

 

01 / 22 / 01

Chesky DVD-Audio Disc  Audiophile recording label Chesky Records has officially been chosen by Japanese electronic manufacture Pioneer to supply a free DVD-Audio disc with selected Pioneer DVD-Audio players. This compilation DVD-Audio disc includes high resolution naturally recorded multi-channel music by artists such as Chuck Mangione, Paquito D'Rivera, The Conga Kings, Jon Faddis, The Coryells, Dave's True Story, Christy Baron, Carla Lother, Allison Brewster Franzetti, and David Chesky. As a special for Enjoy the Music.com Mailing List members, an upcoming contest planned for February 2001 includes giving away one of these not for sale discs to five lucky Mailing List members.

 

 

Record label BMG Entertainment has appointment Robert Jamieson as president and CEO of the company's North American operations. Robert Jamieson has been in high ranking positions with such labels as Arista Records, BMG Distribution, RCA Label Group Nashville and BMG Canada. BMG has also given David Kang a senior vice president of new technology and strategic development position. There has been much turnover since November 2000 when many positions were made available due to various resignations. BMG hopes to increase sales in the year 2001 with these new appointees.

 

 

British audio magazine Hi-Fi Choice recent web poll garnished 3362 votes asking readers which genre of music they enjoyed most on their hi-fi. Modern rock/indie music received the highest vote with 37% by defeating dance music as it received 30% of the votes. Meanwhile classical, jazz and modern pop/vocal each received only 11% of the voting. Are the days of the strict classical and jazz music audiophile numbered? Possibly so it seems.

 

01 / 21 / 01

Sound Alignment Systems LG-120  New from Sound Alignment Systems (SAS) by Checkpoint is their LG-120 calibrated line generator laser tool that allows loudspeaker installers to see exactly where the sound will initially be directed. On the body of this tool is a calibrated angle of dispersion (120o, 90o, 60o, 45o, 30o and 15o). By dialing in the desired angle and aiming the LG-120 in the same direction as the speaker, the installers will clearly see the angle of sound dispersion and the area of coverage. The Magnetic End Switch incorporates three high quality neodymium magnet and momentary push-button and continuous on/off options. The magnetic end can be attached to standard SA-S Base Plates. The LG-120 is CNC machined from billet 6061-T6 aluminum alloy and anodized to aircraft standards with permanent laser engraved graphics. A must-have tool for any truly professional loudspeaker installer and loudspeaker reviewer.

 

 

According to the CEMA, for the year to date period ending November 24, DVD players sales are on the triple-digital rise as in the year 1999 approximately 3,426,000 units were sold while in the year 2000 approximately 7,196,000 units were sold. This accounts for an almost 110% increase from 1999 to the year 2000 sales.

 

01 / 20 / 01

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  Consumer Electronics sales are a hot sales ticket as the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported year-to-date numbers up 7% to make a grand total of $8 Billion in audio goods sold in 2000. "Home-theater-in-a-box" remained strong with a growth rate of 47 percent increase in November 2000. Overall for the year, audio systems are up 6 percent to $2 billion. Meanwhile the high demand for portable audio sales consisted of more than $2.5 billion in sales in 2000 (a 13% increase over the same period). Automotive sound brought in approximately $162 million in November alone! No reports yet on specialty audio given as the high-end bounces back after a huge fallout when the Asian market had financial troubles a few years ago.

 

 

McIntosh Laboratory MC2102As first seen worldwide on the Enjoy the Music.com Las Vegas 2001 show report, McIntosh Laboratory's new MC2102 stereo vacuum tube amplifier ($6,000) produces 100 wpc. into two channels or can be bridged for 200 watts into a single audio channel. Each channel of the MC2102 uses two 12AX7, two 12AT7 and four 6550 or KT88 tubes. One 12AX7 tube is for the balanced input while the second is assigned as a voltage amplifier and phase inverter. One of the 12AT7 tubes is employed for push-pull bootstrapped voltage amplifier and the other is the cathode follower driver for four 6550 or KT88 outputs that are connected in push-pull parallel configuration. The output transformer are unity coupled and uses two bifilar wound primaries. One winding is for the cathodes while the other if for the plates. Loudspeaker terminals on the rear of the MC2102 are gold plated five-way binding posts that accept spade connectors, banana plugs or bare wire up to 8 AWG. Of course it screams McIntosh with the front glass and blue illuminated output power meters.

 

01 / 19 / 01

Bryston SP 1  Canadian company Bryston has introduced their new SP 1 pre-amplifier. This analog and digital pre-amplifier features both stereo and surround sound capabilities. There are four DSP music modes plus the ability to decode Dolby Pro-Logic, Dolby Digital, dts, PCM and THX.

 

 

While not having a single song in the top ten for weeks, the Beatles collection album titled 1 has acclaimed top status on the Soundscan charts for the sixth week in a row. Below is this week's list of top ten album and single sales.

Top 10 Albums Top 10 Singles
1. 1
The Beatles (Apple)

2. Now 5
Various Artists (Sony/Zomba/Universal/EMI) 

3. Hotshot Shaggy (MCA)

4. Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water
Limp Bizkit (Flip)

5. Tha Last Meal
Snoop Dogg (No Limit)

6. Stankonia
OutKast (LaFace)

7. Human Clay
Creed (Wind-up) 

8. Country Grammar
Nelly (Fo' Reel)

9. Black & Blue
Backstreet Boys (Jive)

10. Lovers Rock
Sade (Epic)

1. Independent Women Part I
Destiny's Child (Columbia)

2. It Wasn't Me
Shaggy Featuring Ricardo "RikRok" Ducent (MCA)

3. He Loves U Not
Dream (Bad Boy)

4. Case Of The Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do)
Mya (University)

5. With Arms Wide Open
Creed (Wind-up)

6. The Way You Love Me
Faith Hill (Warner Bros.)

7. Ms. Jackson
OutKast (LaFace)

8. If You're Gone
matchbox twenty (Lava)

9. This I Promise You
'N Sync (Jive)

10. Dance With Me
Debelah Morgan (The DAS Label)

 

 

Theta IntrepidDigital gurus Theta Digital is now offering their new five-channel Intrepid power amplifier ($3,500). This fully balanced amplifier incorporates several design concepts that were first introduced in Theta's Dreadnaught power amplifier. Producing 100 wpc. into an 8 ohm load with no global feedback, the Intrepid doubles its output power to 200 wpc into 4 ohms. Each of the five channels has both single-ended (RCA) and balanced (XLR) inputs. A front-panel Standby mode mutes and reduces idling current to all channels while a remote control jack on the back of the chassis accepts a turn-on trigger signal from another unit (from the Theta Casablanca II or Casa Nova for example). A bi-directional RS-232 port to a computer or other control device is also accommodated for to use with other units such as those by AMX or Crestron.

 

01 / 18 / 01

NHT SubTwoi  NHT (Now Hear This) has upgraded its three self-powered subwoofers, the SubTwoi ($1,200), the SubOnei ($800) and SuperSub ($500) yet with no price increase over the previous models. The new SubTwoi (seen right) incorporates two 12" high-excursion polypropylene drivers and a 500 watt Bob Carver/Sunfire high-efficiency amplifier. The included controller unit assist in fine tuning the woofers performance to mate with the pre-existing loudspeakers and room. The new SubOnei has been upgraded to include a 12" high excursion woofer and a built-in 250 watt amplifier utilizing 
proprietary Bob Carver/Sunfire technology. It also comes with an outboard controller. The SuperSubi employs a 10" front firing, high-excursion woofer with a built-in 150 watt amplifier. It also includes an audio/video mode switch, speaker and line level inputs and outputs, level control, and phase control.

 

 

Heavy slashing going on with entertainment groups as AOL- Time Warner looks to cut over $100 million in expenses while CNN demands pink slipping 400 staffers and New Line looks to cut 20% of its staff. With massive spending cuts happening in many companies who deliver music and movie entertainment, there will be a mass of well educated, experienced multimedia specialists soon to be out of work and looking for new jobs. Meanwhile broadband internet (high speed) entertainment demand by consumers is on the rise. With demand incresing from 3.6 million users in October 1999 to over 8 million in July of 2000, there are predictions of well over 30 million people enjoying broadband access to the internet by 2004 according to Arbitron and The Coleman Group. Of those who currently use broadband, more are likely to seek out unfamiliar music via download to enhance their musical enjoyment over the familiar popular hits. Add to this the obvious desire to enjoy music over the internet as Lycos listed the top 50 most searched phrases in the year 2000 and they include:

1. Britney Spears
5. 'N Sync
8. Napster
9. Jennifer Lopez
14. Backstreet Boys
15. Eminem
24. Christina Aguilera
30. Korn 
34. Metallica
36. Skateboarding
37. Madonna
39. NBA
40. Golf
42. Carmen Electra
43. Mariah Carey
45. Blink-182
47. Tupac Shakur
48. Limp Bizkit
49. DMX
50. Star Wars

 

 

Impact Airfoil VImpact Technology introduced their new Airfoil V loudspeaker system at T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas this month. While Enjoy the Music.com™ did report on it during our Las Vegas 2001 show report, we felt more information on this innovative design was in order. The Impact Airfoil V is their statement loudspeaker using new patented technology. The "Airfoil" is a unique bending wave driver that is also mated with Impact's "Balanced Force" compression subwoofer. The entire system consists of two towers with nine broad bandwidth Airfoil drivers in each, mated to a sealed box coupling woofer with two 6.5" drivers. A passive first order series network crossover (at 170 Hz) is employed for smooth transition between the units. Meanwhile a separate freestanding electronic crossover/controller handles the phasing and volume for the lower frequencies of the system and the crossover for the two Balanced Force subwoofers (with dual 12" drivers in each, powered by built-in 250-watt amplifiers). The model V retails for $38,500.

 

01 / 17 / 01

Krell LAT-1  Continuing their journey further into the home theater market, Krell is now shipping their KAV-200a5 five-channel amplifier. Also now shipping is their KAV-280cd CD player, KAV-300iL integrated amplifier and KAV-300rL stereo receiver. Also new from Krell is their "Lossless Acoustic Transducer" LAT-1 loudspeaker (seen right). Krell claims to have achieved in manufacturing a loudspeaker that is capable of reproducing music with the same accuracy as their components. The crossover has separate 1/8" fiberglass with four ounce copper traces boards for the woofer, midrange and tweeter networks. Air core inductors and potted WIMA capacitors are also employed in the crossover design. The LAT-1 has a separate "sub-enclosure" housing drivers for the midrange and tweeter for full isolation of the two drivers. As for the drivers themselves, a waveguide design is used to achieve a flat frequency response up to 50 kHz. Waveguides have been used in the card audio and other markets for many years. The midrange driver uses a segmented cone which is claimed to reduce self-induced resonances. A cast magnesium frame with low profile spars in a radial design holds the segmented cone and is said to help reduce reflections. The woofers are custom made for Krell. The LAT-1 is $35,000 per pair while the center channel version for home theater LAT-C is only $18,500 each. For subwoofer duties, the LAT-S ($14,500) employs two 10" woofers with an included 800 watt amplifier. For bookshelf speakers, the three-way LAT-3 is $19,500 per pair and should rock your wallet while the, eh hem, cheaper two-way LAT-2 is only $9,500 per pair.

 

 

RotelRotel has many new products including their RDV-1080 DVD-A player ($1,500), three new two-channel amplifiers, the RB-1050 ($399), RB-1070 ($699) and RB-1080 ($999). In addition, two new multi-channel units, the RMB-1075 ($1,199) and RB-976 ($599) have also been released. The RDV-1080 DVD-Audio player offers an advanced optical transport system featuring a high precision "airtight" disc tray to shield the disc from exterior vibration. It can play DVD-A, DVD-V, CD, and CD-V discs. Separate power supplies are used for video, servo/DSP, and audio circuit boards. The RDV-1080 employs the latest LSIs (large scale integrated circuits) and perfomas digital-to-analog conversion of 24-bit/192 kHz. The RDV-1080 easily handles stereo PCM, Dolby Digital, dts, or MPEG audio as well. 

The two channel RB-1080 features power output of 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms while the RB-1070 produces 130 watts per channel. RB-1050 combines audiophile sound quality and 65 watts per channel. As for the two new multi-channel models, Rotel's new RMB-1075 is THX certified and delivers 120 watts to five channels (into 8 ohms) while the RB-976 delivers 60 watts to six channels. Channels can be bridged for an output of three channels of 150 watts each if so desired.

 

 

Dave Matthews BandLegal copyrighted music downloading on Napster? You bet! Napster, with the blessing music label owner Bertelsmann, is making the very first music single from the upcoming Dave Matthews Band album available for download. While the Dave Matthews Band much-anticipated fourth studio album titled Everyday will be released on February 27th, members of Napster can download and listen to the song "I Did It" right now.

 

01 / 16 / 01

Wadia 27ix  Wadia, a company up for grabs for pennies on the dollar only a few short months ago, now has come alive again with three new products. Their new 27ix decoding engine ($8,950, seen right), 831 CD player (no price set) and 861 ($7,950) CD player. The 27ix features user-selectable 64x upsampling digital algorithms designed to optimize sonic performance based on system matching and personal musical priorities. A digital volume control is included for the ability to eliminate the need for a pre-amplifier. An included Temperature-Compensated Crystal Oscillator (TCXO) claims to be five-times more stable than conventional oscillators. With extensive software-configurable circuitry, separate circuit boards, and a modular rear panel, the Wadia 27ix is ready for upgrades as technology moves forward.

The new Wadia 861 CD player supercedes their 860 and performs sonically critical current-to-voltage conversion with no negative feedback which they claim provides for superior sound quality. The Teac CMK-3.2 transport mechanism is housed in a Wadia chassis that includes "enhanced" 24-bit Burr-Brown 1704 DACs and improved passive parts in sonically critical locations. The Wadia 831 CD player shares many of the features and performance qualities of the Wadia 861 CD Player at a more accessible price. The transport consist of the Pioneer stable platter transport while the same 24-bit Burr-Brown 1704 DACs are employed.

 

 

During the 2001 International Consumer Electronic Show a Surround Music Roundtable Supersession was held at the Alexis Park Hotel and Resort. In attendance were industry experts such as Tomlinson Holman, president of TMH Labs, Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer of Gateway Mastering and DVD who presented various perspectives regarding the effects of surround music on the audio industry. Herbie Hancock and guitarist Peter DiStefano (Porno for Pyros) discussed the many aspects of recording music and how it is then presented to consumers. Both DiStefano and Hancock treated the audience to musical samples of their work recorded in surround. Of the many subjects covered, the advantage of inexpensive in-home recording studios has greatly enhanced the ability for musicians to express and record their art.

 

 

As the hype and false inflation of the almighty "E" is beginning to experience a reality check, Emusic.com announced on Friday that 36% of its employees (66 people) will be laid off. Of the 66 leaving include high ranking staff members such as executive VP and CFO Joseph Howell, executive VP business development James Chapman and executive VP, COO and general counsel Peter Astiz. Meanwhile Emusic's shares have also been deflated by 94% since last year's high. How long will Emusic last is anyone's guess as their net loss for the quarter ended September 30th totaled $17.3 million leaving the company only $16 million as of late December.

 

 

Le Festival Son et ImageThe Canadian Le Festival Son et Image will be held at the Delta and Four Points Hotels in Montreal, Quebec from March 23rd to 25th of 2001. Both audio and video products will be on display. Specific dates and show times are as follows:

Show hours:
1:00 to 9:00 PM, Friday March 23
10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Saturday March 24
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Sunday March 25

Admission: $ 10.00
2 day passport : $ 15.00
3 day passport : $ 20.00

www.hifiexpo.com  • info@hifiexpo.com

 

01 / 15 / 01

  DTS has changed distributors for their software titles. Starting January 15, 2001, Valley Entertainment will be the official distributor of DTS 5.1 music CDs and DVD-Audio music recordings. The current 115 DTS 5.1 music CDs include popular hits such as the Eagle’s Hell Freezes Over and Sting’s Brand New Day and classical masterpieces like Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #4 and Verdi’s Aida. DTS will also be releasing DVD-Audio music recordings that will include MLP multi-channel and stereo tracks for DVD-A players, plus a DTS "Master Quality" multi-channel soundtrack and a Dolby Digital stereo track. "Valley Entertainment is very excited to be working with DTS to help take their line of multi-channel recordings and DVD-Audio to the next level," said Barney Cohen, President of Valley Entertainment and acting CEO of Valley Media. "Valley has long been recognized to be on the forefront of technology, technological innovation and the changing marketplace. We look forward to presenting this exciting format to a wider audience."

 

 

Dynaudio and Gryphon Audio Designs, both hailing from Denmark, have entered into an agreement whereas Dynaudio North America will distribute the Gryphon line of electronics in the USA. Gryphon components are best known for their fabled half-lion and half-eagle creature of Greek mythology that appears on their logo. Gryphon Audio Designs has recently updated its product range for 2001 incuding the Tabu CDP-1 CD player ($5,400), the Callisto 2100 ($5,700) and Callisto 2200 ($7,000), dual-mono integrated amplifiers. Also new is their Sonata Allegro dual-mono Class A preamplifier ($11,500) and Legato Phono Stage ($4,300), the Antileon Signature Stereo 150 WPC Class A stereo amplifier ($19,800), and the flagship Antileon Signature Solo 175 WPC Class A monoblock amplifiers ($39,900 per pair). 

 

 

NAD's new C660 CD Recorder ($999) is a dual-tray CD-R/CD-RW deck that combines NAD sound quality with the convenience of the CD-R format plus the ability to replay MP3 CD-Roms discs. With the additional benefit of sophisticated built-in MP3 decoding capability, the C660 can deliver more than 20 hours of background music (10 hours per disc) without interruption when playing MP3 encoded CD-R’s at near CD sound quality. CD Recording (at up to 4X normal speed), the dual-tray C660 can make fast and accurate copies of CDs and MP3 discs. The C660 employs a separate Digital Signal Processing (DSP) IC to run the highly regarded "Fraunhofer" MP3 algorithm. There is also the ability to play the two transport sections either simultaneously (two zones) or sequentially, for extended playing time.

 

01 / 04  to  01 / 14

Enjoy the Music.comEnjoy the Music.com has once again delivered the most comprehensive Las Vegas CES / T.H.E. Show report. The show officially began on January 6th and ended on January 9th. Please click here to see our exclusive show report and bonus coverage.

 

01 / 03 / 01

Intel Pocket Concert Audio Player  The world's largest chip maker, Intel Corporation, announced they are getting into the portable MP3 player market. Providing up to four hours of music programming and more than 20 hours of spoken-word audio, their new product called the Intel Pocket Concert Audio Player ($299.99) is equipped with 128 MB of memory for storing digital audio in MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) formats. An optional Intel Audio Accessory Kit ($59.99) is available that includes a home stereo dock and car audio adapter so consumers have more ways to access, use and enjoy their music. The audio player is powered by two AAA batteries that deliver approximately 10 hours of continuous playback. The player's firmware is re-programmable, permitting compatibility with future music file formats and music purchased over the Internet. File transfer is via the Universal Serial Bus (USB) for fast transfer rates and quick connectivity and setup to the PC. FM Radio reception is also included for storing up to 10 preset stations.

 

01 / 02 / 01

  Over 1,800 companies will be attending the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) and hundreds of specialty audio companies will be at The Home Entertainment Show (T.H.E. Show) from January 6th through the 9th in Las Vegas, Nevada. New products and technologies such as digital audio and video, information technology (IT), home networking, broadband, home theater will be hoping to gain in market share. Enjoy the Music.com will be there as we offer more information on a virtually live daily basis. Until then, please see our pre-show report that has once again been updated.

 


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