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High-End Audio Industry News

03 / 30 / 01

  This coming Tuesday, April 3rd, will have an unprecedented showing on music industry personnel testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning "Online Entertainment and Copyright Law: Coming Soon to a Digital Device Near You." Advocate and musician Don Henley who co-founded the Recording Artists Coalition will be joined by musician Ted Nugent who boasts about personally confiscating bootleg t-shirts from street vendors at his own concerts. As for corporate, the big guns will be in full force as scheduled to appear are Michael Robertson who is the CEO of MP3.com, Bob Kohn of EMusic.com and Gerry Kearby, Co-Founder and CEO of Liquid Audio. Add to that COO of AOL - Time Warner Richard Parsons and it looks like a real battle is set to appear on Tuesday at the Senate Judiciary Committee. Noticeably absent is Hilary Rosen, CEO and President of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) whose organization has been a very active advocate representing the major recording labels, but not for the rights of musical artists.

 

03 / 29 / 01

JBL Pro  At the recent National Systems Contractors Asociation (NSCA) Convention JBL Professional released two new speaker lines under the MPro banner. Their new MPro 200 Series and MPro 400 Series both include full-range two-way loudspeakers plus matching active and passive subwoofers. In the MPro 200 Series are an MP215 15", two-way loudspeaker system and MPro MP255S dual 15" subwoofer in dual-tuned band-pass enclosure. JBL Professional's low-frequency transducers employ edge-wound voice coils to achieve high power handling and output plus a 1" JBL compression drivers with titanium diaphragms and ferrofluid cooling. The 1" compression driver is horn loaded via a 70x70-degree horn said to enhance midrange performance and for controlling dispersion. The MPro Series 400 models include an MP410 10" two-way compact loudspeaker system. The new MP418S uses a single 18" compact bass-reflex subwoofer while the sister of this unit, the MP418SP, includes a built-in Crown amplifier. Al cabinets in these new series are made of 18mm plywood using tongue-and-groove construction. "In developing the MPro line, we looked at the changes in the way music professionals--DJs as well as musicians--are using live sound speakers," stated Michael MacDonald, president of JBL Professional. "Many MPro attributes, such as extended frequency response, compact size and easy handling are a direct result."

 

 

Microsoft, owners of the popular audiophile HDCD technology, have announced their Windows Media Audio and Video 8 format said to offer higher compression for ever smaller file size, yet keeping high-quality audio and video encoding/decoding comparable to currently available much larger file sizes. Hoping to dethrone the king of media MP3 format, Microsoft's new media scheme is said to achieve "near-CD quality audio" formatting from a very small 96 kilobits per second file size. Most consider MP3's over five-fold sized 256 kbs to be somewhat near CD-quality sound while rival RealNetwork's RealAudio 8 claims to offer boasts 128 kbps as its standard. Microsoft is not directly claiming their 48 kbps is perfect CD-quality, yet they do say it comes close. As for video, a 250 kbps file is said to be "near-VHS quality" whole at 500 kbps it "rivals DVD quality".

 

03 / 28 / 01

CEA  According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), audio sales from manufacturers to dealers increased by 3% in January 2001. Hitting just over $500 million ($503.4 million to be exact), complete systems and portable audio were said to be responsible for the overall increase. While audio system sales grew 28% reaching just over $140 million for January 2001, the "home-theater-in-a-box" subcategory accounted for $50 million of the sales. Portable audio's 7% growth accounted for $133 million while headset portable CD players gained a whopping 53% to $48 million for the month.

 

 


As reported on the Enjoy the Music.com News Page on February 9th, 2001, many music labels are deeply concerned of pirating their music through the use of Napster and bit for bit copies on to CD-R media. With high speed broadband Internet availability, sending a complete CD only takes a few minutes. Enter country music record label Fahrenheit Entertainment who announced their first copy-protected CD release. Specifically, the release of Charley Pride's Tribute to Jim Reeves included a protection scheme that should appear in stores in May.
"'As I was negotiating with Charley, I learned that (protecting CDs) was important to him,"' says Bob Heatherly, head of Music City Records. '"I've seen songwriters myself who have been close to homeless before they finally got the two or three hits that let them survive. And so when I realized how important this was to Charley, I said, 'Let's find a way to make this happen.' '" While various tests have been made to insure the music will play on CD players, the problem is that the same protection scheme that thwarts "ripping" the music also may stop the music CDs from playing on computer CD-Rom drivers including laptops and many car radios that use CD-Roms for playing CDs. This will make many consumers very angry and possibly cause the whole protected CD format back to the drawing board. While this reporter feels the industry can never fully make CDs playable on all drives yet unrippable, the legal fair rights clause allowing legal owners of software to make copies of music for personal use will be infringed. Therefore we may see various consumer rights groups suing labels over the new protected CD media scheme. In the end it seems the labels are in a futile fight to protect their material.

 

03 / 26 / 01

  AOL - Time Warner is marching onward to becoming the proverbial 900 lbs. gorilla as plans of a new music TV channel are in the works. Countering Viacom's MTV and VH1, the upcoming AOL Music channel will feature various music artists in an MTV/VH1-like style to further promote the Warner Music label musical artists. The company hopes to make viewers aware of AOL's online service including their chat boards, download areas and, of course, e-commerce for CD/DVD purchases. According to a report by Reuters, the Warner Music Group is going to revamp their Warner Classics International division by closing their European home offices. Labels such as Teldec and Erato will, in turn, lay off thirty employees. The headquarters of Eraot in France and Teldec in Germany are also going to be closed. Both Erato and Telarc will still be releasing new media, yet all main business functions will be handled by the London office.

 

03 / 23 / 01

K-Tel  In sad news, longstanding record label K-TEL International is closing their USA distribution and has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While K-TEL is best known for the off beat compilation records such as their very first release in 1971 titled 25 Polka Greats, they also offered records such as 24 Great Tearjerkers and 20 Irish Party Songs before claiming bankruptcy in 1985. Reborn again years later, K-TEL diversified internationally with sister labels such as AJK, Arrival, Bare Bones, Dominion and Noveau. As reported on Enjoy the Music.com on April 27, 2000, K-TEL also began offering their music via digital download online. After the rebirth K-TEL still offered new titles on their own label such as Kooky Kountry, The 80's: Rock On, Ella Fitzgerald -- Ella, Songs for Your Wedding and many other titles. While the music in and of itself is considered at time hokey at best, it never the less filled a unique segment of the music marketplace. The closing of their USA distribution facility is said to be due to retailer Trans World Entertainment's repeated failure to pay for goods. K-TEL International and subsidiaries Dominion Entertainment, K-TEL Entertainment and K-TEL DVD still continue operating without interruption.

 

 

Enjoy the Music.com begins their Le Festival Son et Image virtually live show coverage today. The Canadian show is generally filled with dealers more than manufactures, it offers a very diverse showing of products from all around the world. Please click here to see the Le Festival Son et Image show coverage.

 

03 / 22 / 01

Clarion Joride  Car audio manufacture Blaupunkt is playing catch up as they just announced their new car audio DVD/MP3 player. The DVD-ME1 ($449.95) will be available in April 2001 and operates with both standard screen aspect rations of 4:3 and "letterbox" 16:9 (NTSC and PAL). As car audio DVD players by other manufactures have been available for over a year, those in the know as is Enjoy the Music.com™'s own head editor and International Auto Sound Challenge Association (IASCA) judge Steven R. Rochlin, are awaiting the release of the real next step in mobile entertainment. Specifically, the Clarion Joyride ($2,999 on up, pictured right) which is the next generation of Clarion's AutoPC system (currently installed in editor Steven R. Rochlin's vehicle). The Joyride also operates multiple screens (three total), a six disc changer, wireless remote control, DVD-Video/DTS/Dolby Digital/MP3 and many other formats. The Joyride is a full fledged Windows CE system with a fast Intel Pentium Processor (including MMX) capable of integrating with multi-satellite GPS systems with automatic dead reckoning when loss of satellite links occur. Furthermore, the Clarions Joyride integrates with various hands-free cell phone cradles while the Windows CE address book and Joyride's voice recognition allows for hands free dialing simply by saying the person's name that you would like dialed. A wireless receiver for local traffic and weather updates is also available. Expected release date for the Clarion Joyride is mid 2001. Please see our CES bonus coverage for more information.

 

03 / 21 / 01

Gill Audio Design Elise  Gill Audio Design, distributed worldwide by Art Audio, has released their new Elise digital to analog (DAC) converter ($6000). Featuring top-grade components and an all vacuum tube output stage, there are no transistors or op-amps within the signal's path to achieve what Gill claims to be a dynamic yet natural sound.

Features include:

· 24-bit/96kHz compatible Digital to Analog Converter.
· Latest top grade D/A chips from Burr-Brown.
· Front panel selectable inputs, each input with its own individual input transformer.
· Front panel Phase inversion switch.
· Burr-Brown directional couplers between digital sections for noise reduction and complete isolation of the power supplies.
· Four fully independent power supplies with eleven regulators.
· Extensive use of Hovland, Axon, and Wima capacitors and Roderstein resistors
· Linear Technology regulators and Telefunken ultra fast, soft recovery diodes
· Tube rectified high voltage supply with choke input
· Individual polypropylene filter capacitors for each tube section
· Gold pin ceramic tube sockets and silver Teflon wiring
· Heavy gage powder coated steel chassis
· Triple polished chrome plated faceplate 
· Full length shield between the power transformers and audio sections

 

03 / 20 / 01

  On Tuesday March 27th, from 2:00pm to 8:00pm, Fidelis Audio will host a seminar given by Jim Smith and Casey McKee of Avantgarde, USA. The Avantgarde Acoustics manufacturers the well regarded horn loudspeakers that are precision made in Germany. In addition, Joe Fratus of Art Audio will also be on hand with his Diavolo single-ended tube amplifier and their new DX25 model. Formal presentations will begin at 6:00pm and at 7:30pm. Door prizes and refreshments will be available.

Fidelis Audio
200 Lafayette Road (Rte. 1)
North Hampton, NH 03862

1 hour North of Boston (via 95)

Please RSVP to info@fidelisav.com or call (603) 964-8383. Space is limited.

 

 

As the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas begins today, Logica has just showcased their first live, wireless multimedia content. As one of the leading supplier of messaging systems to over 100 of the world's top operators, Logica now supplies services to well over 150 million subscribers. The ability to deliver music and movies via a wireless network is the next step beyond internet music delivery. With many devices capable of playing audio, it is only natural to take the next step in music delivery. The system, based on Logica's Multimedia Messaging Service Centre, delivers e-mail, fax, video and audio download and streaming plus electronic postcard and animated graphics exchange.

 

 

XM Satellite RadioAs announced here at Enjoy the Music.com on December 1st, XM Satellite Radio will employ two Boeing 702 satellites (world's most powerful commercial satellites built by Boeing) to deliver digital radio to America. The first satellite, named "Rock" was successfully launched on Sunday, March 18th from the Sea-Launch floating platform located on the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The second satellite nicknamed ''Roll'' was set for launch in January yet was scrubbed due to what was eventually discovered to be a false alarm. Digital radio has been available in Europe for years while here in America, XM Satellite Radio is on their way and has already signed on hardware partners such as Alpine, Pioneer Electronics Corporation, Sony and others. Investors behind there system include Motient (formerly American Mobile), General Motors, DIRECTV, Clear Channel Communications plus a group of various other financial investors.

 

03 / 19  /01

New York Noise  Enjoy the Music.com, in concert with JC Morrison of Sovtek and Blackie Pagano of Tubesville, are proud to announce the Third Annual N.Y. Noise festival. This show is dedicated to the edges of the art and the personal expression of audio. There are no lines drawn between professional or amateur designers and simply to provide a place to showcase innovations and self expression. Above all, it is an opportunity to learn and to have fun in our hobby. The show will be held on Sunday, April 1, 2001 from 12:00pm until 7:00pm at Arlene's Grocery (a notorious rock and roll club). Arlene's Grocery's address is 95 Stanton Street in New York City (between Ludlow & Orchard Streets, one block south of Houston Street). A nominal admission fee of $10.00 is suggested.

This year's participants at the show include:

Steve Berger
Fran Blanche
Pete Boser
Bob Danielak
Hugh Dean (in absentia)
John Devore
Dan Dicker
Jeremy Epstein
Michael Greene
S.E. Han (in absentia)
Nick McKinney
Larry Moore
Blackie Pagano
Herb Reichert
Joe Roberts
Dave Slagle

As with many shows, Enjoy the Music.com will be providing virtually live coverage as the official website of the N.Y. Noise festival. See you there... or here on the web!

 

03 / 17 / 01

RIAA  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in combination with the U.S. Secret Service has broken up yet another piracy outfit. Executing two separate search and seizure warrants in New York, one in Queens and the other in Manhattan, resulted in confiscating nearly 20,000 recorded CD-Rs and 1,200 masters in total. According to the RIAA, "The Queens piracy location included 102 eight-speed CD-R burners, nine computer monitors, four computers, three thermal imprinters, two paper-cutting machines, two laptops, two industrial color copiers, and two industrial shrink-wrap machines. The music genre seized was primarily Urban Contemporary, Latin, and Pop, and included artists such as Tito Puente, Julio Iglesias, Santana, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, and the Beatles." The RIAA estimates that the illegal piracy operations had the potential to produce nearly three million illicit CD-Rs yearly with a loss of revenue to the record labels reaching in excess of $47,000,000.

 

 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released the past decade's complete consumer profile. Year 2000 statistics further proves how diverse the consumer's musical tastes are as more and more musical artists cross over to other genres of music and reach those who appreciate such diversity. "It's encouraging to see a consumer profile as diverse as the vast array of works that were released in 2000," said Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the RIAA. Hilary continues "It comes as no surprise to see the gain that Rap/Hip Hop has made when you consider that all of our major record labels produced many successful multi-platinum albums of that genre throughout the year." Prerecorded cassette sales have reached a new low of almost 5%, down from approximately 50% in 1991. Rock music sales are slowly going down while Hip-Hop/Rap makes a very slow gain over the years. Jazz and classical music, both of which were less that 4% in 1991, are now lower than 3% of the marketplace. Instead of going further with the above comparisons, please click here to see the complete 1991-2000 statistics in Adobe Acrobat format .

 

03 / 16 / 01

Apex MD-200  Apex Digital Inc. has successfully beaten all the majors to the finish line as their new $299 street priced MD-200 DVD unit plays not only DVD-Video, VCD, SVCD, DTS, Dolby Digital and PCM, it also plays the new high resolution audio standards DVD-Audio and Sony's proprietary SACD format! Add to that the capability of playing MP3 CD-R/RW discs and you have a single DVD player that can handle virtually every current 5" digital disc format for under $300! The unit is also AC/DC capable for both home and automobile use. While the new Apex is more flexible that virtually all high-end units, do not expect it to appear there anytime soon. Instead, head towards your local Circuit City or K-Mart store (or Future Shop Stores in Canada). Expected availability is May 2001. You heard about it here first.

 

03 / 15 / 01

Pioneer DVR-S201  With recordable DVD units beginning to reach consumers in a more mainstream quantity, Pioneer's deal with Apple and Compaq to bundle their DVR-AO3 ($995) combination DVD-/CD-RW drives into various upper end units. As reported by Enjoy the Music.com™ on September 1, 2000, Pioneer's groundbreaking DVR-S201 ($5,400, pictured right) with its then new 2.0 firmware enabled it to make DVD discs that could be played in home DVD players (or used within the recording/replication field to make "press cut master discs"). This drastic price reduction from the previous model is said to be based on lower costs due to mass production. While the older DVR-S201 read at 2x speed and writes at 1x, the new DVR-AO3 reads DVD discs at a 4x speed with a 2x write speed for DVD-R. As an added bonus, the new Pioneer drive is also a 8x4x24 CD-RW drive. DVD re-write ability might be added to the DVR-A03 drive pending approval by the DVD WG-4. Soon music lovers/audiophiles will be making their own super high resolution DVD audio discs within their home studios or to make copies of their vinyl (to name a few uses).

 

03 / 14 / 01

  Sony, makers of the proprietary super audio compact disc (SACD) format and one of the big five music labels, have not complied with the recent court order to supply Napster with a list of matching artist names and songs that would be used to assist Napster in filtering out Sony's copyrighted music from their service. While Sony did submit a list to Napster on Friday March 9th, the list did not comply with the court ordered rules. CEO of Napster, Hank Barry, said to reporters during a conference call that 46,037 songs within the Sony list were supplied to Napster without the court ordered matching file names and songs. A spokesperson from Sony could not be reached for comment at this time.

 

 

With the upcoming Le Festival Son et Image Montréal show begins on March 23rd, Enjoy the Music.com™ has begun our pre-show report including a complete listing with web links to various show attendees. The show report can be seen by clicking here.

 

03 / 13 / 01

CEA  Yesterday the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) released DVD player sales for February 2001. According to CEA, sales grew an outstanding 39% as compared to February 2000 to reach 556,000 units in February 2001. With many experts predicting the demise of Sony's proprietary SACD due to strong DVD sales, CEA did not provide figures for DVD-Audio related sales at this time as the focus seemed to be more on the video side of the format. "Consumer concerns about the economy, coupled with continued inventory trimming at retail has slowed sales in the first quarter for mature categories," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. "Despite these factors, consumer interest in video is still very high and strong sales of DVD, analog and digital large screen TVs, and digital camcorders are proof the industry will post solid growth in the long run."

 

 

EMusicWhile online music distributors are looking to make big dollars, they also seem to not care about "small dollar" copyright infringements in which they are guilty of! Online music website EMusic has recently suffered a lawsuit against itself by legendary Frank Zappa's widowed wife Gail Zappa. Filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles claiming that EMusic illegally distributed Frank Zappa songs without proper licensing, EMusic seems to not be that concerned over the matter as an e-mail from a representative of EMusic said "It is unfortunate that the Zappa estate has chosen to pursue legal action on an issue that represents such an extremely small dollar amount." This recent lawsuit seeks damages due to copyright infringement of 37 "musical compositions written, composed, arranged and/or performed by the late Frank Zappa".

 

 

MedeaMore and more professional recording studios are switching to hard disc recording systems for their music projects, effective replacing their legacy analog tape system. It has long been known that analog tape, while robust if stored correctly, suffers from degrations due to age and also from repeated playbacks. Enter modern, lower priced digital solutions... Medéa Corperation's new lower-priced SCSI AudioRaid system for digital audio workstations (DAWs) has reached a new low of $1999 (street prices lower) for their 120GB four drive unit. The AudioRaid disc array employs Medéa's proprietary Audio Stripe Technology (AST) and integrated RAID hardware that enables the AudioRaid and AudioRack SCSI to support up to 128 tracks of 24-bit/96kHz audio. Medéa's top range model is their 240GB 8/240 unit with a suggested list price of $4899 (street prices lower).

 

03 / 12 / 01

DataPlay  With new, smaller and high-density discs by DataPlay reaching the marketplace soon, the third major music label has signed on to offering their copyrighted music on the DataPlay format. Joining the EMI Group and the Universal Music Group is the Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) who will also provide prerecorded music on the DataPlay format. With three of the top five major labels onboard, DataPlay is positioning itself to offer consumers a wide variety of music choices on their new, compact format during the fourth quarter of 2001. With 250MB and 500MB quarter-sized discs, the DataPlay digital system is very compact and also supports both user-recorded and secure pre-recorded content. Also see our December 21, 2000 news article announcing the format. 

"DataPlay is a great opportunity for our industry to support the introduction of a new highly portable format to the marketplace," noted Pete Jones, President and CEO of BMG Distribution and Associated Labels. "The feedback from both retail and our labels to DataPlay has been overwhelmingly positive, and the consumer benefits are many, so we very much look forward to DataPlay launching its digital medium successfully."

 

 

Test and measuring system manufacture Gold Line has introduced a new 5.1 Audio Toolkit DVD to assist with system setup and tuning within recording studios, theaters, home theaters and other venues. The Audio Toolkit DVD is a new joint-venture between the company and the Tony Grimani who has worked for both Dolby Labs and Lucasfilm THX. The toolkit itself includes over eight test signals and music tracks that aid in fast yet precise calibration of a 5.1 channel sound system.

 

 

In parts news Seacor Inc. has released a new line of high insulation resistance, high pulse handling precision film/foil KP-44 polypropylene capacitors. Characteristics of these new capacitors include low dissipation factors and capacity as low as 47pF. Secor Inc. are currently offering values ranging from 47pF to 0.22mfd. and operating voltages from 160 VDC to 1,000 VDC with overall tolerances from +-1% on up.

 

 

Bourns Inc. has just released their new Model 3046 linear motion potentiometer. Said to be the smallest linear motion potentiometer in the marketplace, this also aids to keep the signal path as short as possible within a linear potentiometer package. The shaft is sealed from external moisture while flexible wire leads helps with installation and mounting flexibility. Travel ranges of 0.15", 0.25" and 0.35" are coupled with a 500,000 life cycle. Pricing is $5.35 in quantities of 500 pieces.

 

03 / 11/ 01

  Enjoy the Music.com has updated the audiophile voice section of our website. This new issue includes the editorial by owner/editor Gene Pitts concerning the surround sound conference held at the CES in January 2001. Gene wrote "The best-attended press conferences were perhaps those put on in a large auditorium in the Alexis Park by Tom Holman and billed as "the Surround Sound Roundtable Supersession." Rather than touting one format or another, SACD vs. DVD-A for example, Holman's panelists gave several startling glimpses of what might be sonically achieved with BIG computers, FAST internet connections, and STRONG imaginations." To see what is in the latest edition of the audiophile voice please click here.

 

03 / 10 / 01

RIAA  The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have announced their 365 "Songs of the Century" project in hopes of adding to music education and "a better understanding of America's musical and cultural heritage in our schools". The songs chosen came from a master list of over 1,100 records and were voted on by a wide range of individuals including musicians, local, state and federal elected officials, the music industry, teachers, members of the media and students. In the inaugural phase of the "Songs of the Century" project a special curricular program will be given without costs to 10,000 fifth grade teachers within the U.S.A. in hopes to further music education within schools. The highly regarded within the education field Scholastic Inc. will be producing the curriculum for teachers, students and families for their 2001-2002 school year. Issues covered include the cultural, historical, social and technical aspects of music as it has evolved through the past century.

"American music has touched everyone’s lives throughout its short history. It’s the perfect educational tool," said Hilary Rosen, President and CEO of the RIAA. "Our list represents many different genres throughout all parts of the 20th century. And our hope is that each song will help tell a very different story," Rosen concluded.

"This project demonstrates that the recording industry takes seriously its role as a caretaker of our nation’s cultural heritage," stated National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Bill Ivey. "This partnership is an important example of industry’s willingness to make positive contributions to the lives and education of our country’s young citizens."

For a complete listing of the 365 songs within the "Songs of the Century" please click here.

 

03 / 09 / 01

Art Audio Opus X  Tube specialists Art Audio have released their new 190 watt Opus X monoblock amplifier ($13,500) for those who found their popular lower power single-ended products to be of high quality yet not providing enough power for their inefficient loudspeakers. Using a total of ten KT90 tubes that were invented by David Manley of Manley Labs over a decade ago, the Opux X also includes output transformer taps for 4 and 8 ohm loads. Meanwhile a single 12AU7/5814 is employed for phase splitting while the popular 6922 compliments the cascade driver stage. Frequency response is claimed to be from 10Hz to 50kHz @ 1 watt with a signal to noise rating of -85dB.

 

 

Klipsch ProMedia 2.1Proving that THX certification as it relates to true quality of sonics is as fleeting and unpredictable as marketing dictates, the new computer THX certification is hitting an interesting level of audio quality. On that note, the new Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 multi-media loudspeaker system receives THX certification by employing a pair of two way satellites with a 6.5" long-throw woofer. All drivers are powered by the included three channel, 200 watt total amplifier. The sealed elliptical upper frequency enclosure two way system includes a 0.75" polymer dome tweeter mated to Micro-Tractrix horn while the 3" long throw midrange/midbass is constructed of an advanced fiber-composite cone and black urethane surround. For bass duties the MDF enclosure with front flared port has a side-firing active long throw 6.5" driver. The included 200 watt total, three channel amplifier, is a digital-linear hybrid design. Overall frequency response is clamed as 31Hz to 20kHz with a maximum output of 106 dB. Satellite dimensions (including bracket) is 8.5" x 4.2" x 5.67" while the subwoofer module is 9.5" x 9.8" x 10.2" (HxWxD).

 

03 / 08 / 01

  While the U.S. government's lackluster support for music in school has reached an all time high, the Swift Elementary School Band started only five months ago due to support from VH1's Save The Music Foundation and also AT&T Broadband Greater Chicago Market, will performing for the state legislators today at the State Capitol. This is to ask them for further support for music classes within schools as part of the Illinois Music Educators Association's Ninth Annual Music Education Day at the Capitol. Meanwhile the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (N.A.R.A.S.) who is the same organizations who provide the prestigious yearly Grammy Awards, also have their very own organizations called the MusiCares Foundation. MusiCares offers an emergency financial assistance program, an addictions recovery program plus also an outreach and leadership program that helps to educate members and the public. So while the U.S. government's support for music education in schools reaches new lows, various industries are stepping up to continue both financial and educational support for music in schools.

 

Napster is once again going to courtrooms as the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (N.A.R.A.S.) has filed a lawsuit against Napster for copyright infringement. Specifically, many of the live performances from N.A.R.A.S.'s recent 43rd Annual GRAMMY Awards have been illegally posted on Napster's service. "Every additional day that Napster users are allowed to infringe upon copyrighted material hurts songwriters, musicians, singers, labels, publishers, producers and others," said Recording Academy President/CEO Michael Greene. "This undermining of our copyright structure can stifle investment and has already had a chilling effect on this industry and especially on the artists whose financial well-being is dependent on getting paid for their work."

To add to Napster's legal battles, online music retailer EMusic has also recently filed a lawsuit alleging that Napster has conducted contributory and vicarious infringement with Napster carrying out unfair competition. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, EMusic's CEO Gene Hoffman said in a statement that Napster refused to block access to EMusic MP3s for over six months after repeated requests to remove their copyrighted music files.

 

 

And now some statistics:

Top Five Online Music Titles:

1. The Beatles 1
2. U2 All That You Can't Leave Behind
3. Various Artists Ken Burns Jazz
4. Dido No Angel
5. Various Artists Soundtrack: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

 

Most Popular Internet Radio Stations (unique visitors who listened in January 2001 for more than five minutes):

1. Mediamazing with 50,000 listeners
2. WABC-AM (New York) with 42,000 listeners
3. WLS-AM (Chicago) with 20,000 listeners
4. KSFO-Am (San Francisco) with 20,000 listeners
5. Radio Margarivaville with 18,000 listeners

 

Most visited Music Websites for December 2000 (unique visitors):

1. Napster 4,200,000
2. MP3.com 3,500,000
3. Launch.com 3,100,000
4. Artistdirect.com 2,300,000
5. Getmusic.com 1,100,000 

 

03 / 07 / 01

MP3.com  As online music websites are keeping the American courtrooms busy, New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff has ruled against MP3.com for infringing on the music copyright holder TVT Records. TVT Records is the U.S.'s biggest independent record label protecting the copyrights of many popular bands. While MP3.com has paid out approximately $133 million to settle similar legal battles with other major labels, no final costs have been set to end this recent lawsuit.

 

 

ApogeeApogee's new DDX-2000/DDX-2060 chipset provides digital to analog conversion (DAC) and amplification solutions in an easy to implement package. Furthermore, no heatsink or special cooling requirements are necessary as decoding sources such as DVD and MP3 are all contained within this chipset as it also includes a 30 wpc @ 8 ohm "Class D" amplification. This chipset also supports digital volume control, automatic muting, support for multiple audio serial interfaces and many other features. Cost of the chipset is only $6.98 in quantities of 1,000 or more.

 

 

etown.comWhile it is always hard for us to report on the virtual "death" of a consumer electronics website, etown.com has run out on money after successfully burning through over 32 million dollars in slightly over five years' time. While they helped sponsor many events, as AudioCafé did in their short life cycle, it seems etown.com has also had to shut it's virtual doors and has not been updated since the twelfth of February, 2001. For now all assets of etown.com have been transferred to consumer electronics retailer Best Buy who invested $10 million only fourteen months ago. All employees of etown.com have been laid off with no severance pay nor payment for their final two week's of work.

 

03 / 06 / 01

B&W CM Series  Highly regarded loudspeaker manufacture B&W has released three new popularly prices loudspeakers. The new CM series includes the small bookshelf/stand mountable CM2 ($900/pr.), Floorstanding CM 4 ($1,500/pr.) and center channel CM C ($550 each). All three units employ B&W's proprietary FlowPort enclosure venting that is said to reduce turbulence noise at their rear-firing cabinet ports and also aids the loudspeaker in producing deep, tight bass. All CM Series loudspeakers also use a 1" alloy-dome tweeter for high-frequency output while the 5.5" midrange/bass cone uses B&W's popular woven Kevlar cone technology. The CM 2 uses one of each driver while the CM 4 incorporates an additional aluminum-cone bass driver. The center channel CM C uses a single tweeter and two Kevlar midrange/bass drivers and is fully magnetically shielded to eliminate image distortion in CRT televisions. Available finishes include real-wood veneers consisting of Maple and Rosenut.

 

 

With the the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) pushing for making digital disc replicators, the companies that make CDs, DVDs and other media, accountable for innocently making what may be illegal discs through normal work orders, a newly developed and patent-pending process that will individually serialize replicated discs has been developed jointly by American company Apex Machine Company and the UK's Traxdata. This is a new security process to help track digital discs and also help to further thwart the illegal pirating of music and movies. The serial codes themselves are printed during the music/movie disc making process employing permanent ultra-violet cured inks that are printed on top of the artwork or can be printed beneath the artwork as a "ghosted" image.

 

03 / 05 / 01

Crystal  Cirrus Logic's Crystal division has released their new CS43122 high-performance 24-bit/192kHz stereo digital-to-analog conversion chip. This new chip includes a digital interpolation filter followed by an oversampled 5-bit delta-sigma modulator which drives second generation dynamic-element-matching (DEM) selection logic. The output from the DEM block controls the input to a multi-element switched capacitor DAC/low-pass filter, with fully-differential outputs. Offering lower out-of-band noise and higher resistance to jitter than traditional 1-bit designs, this second generation DEM is claimed to guarantee low noise and distortion at all signal levels. Applications for Crystal's new CS43122 include high-end consumer and professional audio products such as Universal DVD players, A/V receivers, Outboard D/A Converters, CD Players, and Mixing Consoles. The CS43122 features include:

· 24-Bit Conversion 
· Up to 192 kHz Sample Rates 
· 122 dB Dynamic Range 
· -102 dB THD+N 
· Second-Order Dynamic-Element Matching 
· Low Clock Jitter Sensitivity 
· 102 dB Stop-band attenuation 
· Single +5 V supply 
· Soft Mute Control 
· Digital De-Emphasis for 32, 44.1, and 48 kHz 
· External Reference Input 
· Pin-compatible with the CS4396

 

03 / 04 / 01

Ferrari  While Ferrari enjoyed finishing first and third in the opening race of the 2001 Formula One (F1) season, we here at Enjoy the Music.com would like to send our best thoughts and prayers to the crowd marshal who lost his life early on in the race. With a few laps into the first race of the season an incident between Canadian Jacques Villeneuve and German driver Ralf Schumacher caused debris to fly off the cars that killed the marshal. It is hard to celebrate a win due to this loss of life, though we do want to congratulate two time driver's world champion German driver Michael Schumacher of Ferrari for winning the Australian Grand Prix.

 

 

Becoming the second major label to release a DVD-Audio title after frontrunner Warner Music group (WMG), EMI has released both DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) titles under their Virgin label. Their first DVD-Audio is of the popular Blue Man Group who also performed at the recent Grammy Awards. EMI also released an SACD of Mike Oldfield's 1973 hit Tubular Bells. The Blue Man Group DVD-Audio title includes surround sound musical performances, photos and interview footage, The dual-layer Oldfield SACD offers a CD stereo mix plus a high-resolution stereo and multichannel mix that are created from the original four-track master tape.

 

03 / 03 / 01

  In court yesterday in San Francisco Napster informed U.S. District Court judge Marilyn Hall Patel that to help abide by copyright laws that the service will begin "blocking millions" of music files starting this weekend. Napster's lawyer David Boies alluded to the fact that removal of music files would commence with titles whose copyright owners have previously made requests to Napster to stop allowing their downloading of their copyrighted material such as Dr. Dre and Metallica. So far a documented listing of approximately 6,000 song titles and artists have been submitted to Napster by the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA). Looking to save itself a long and expensive legal batter, Napster had previously offered a $1 billion to the five major labels, BMG, EMI, Sony, Universal, and the Warner Music Group yet the deal was flatly refused. There are doubts as to if Napster will truly become a legal service as the RIAA president and CEO Hilary Rosen said "We have to give Napster the benefit of the doubt that they are trying to abide by the court order. When asked by Billboard Bulletin if she believes the new filtering technology will work, Hilary Rosen replied a resounding "No."

 

 

As DVD-Audio and other high quality surround sound formats are beginning to reach audiophile status, many recording and sound engineers are looking for ways to educate themselves to better serve their clients. Surround Professional magazine in conjunction with Entertainment Technology Network is conducting a one-day Surround Sound Seminar in Las Vegas on April 22, 2001, just prior to the NAB show. The seminar will be moderated by Bobby Owsinski who has authored such books as "The Mixing Engineer's Handbook" and "The Mastering Engineer's Handbook".

"Surround sound is making its impact known on the audio front," said Owsinski. "From DVD-Audio and DTV, to Dolby Digital and dts--every producer and engineer must now understand the creative and technical challenges that will change the way they mix, edit and produce their audio recordings. Surround production is the biggest new opportunity for audio facilities and audio professionals--from recording studios to broadcasters to post houses to sound designers and multimedia programmers."

Topics covered during the seminar include:

·The different types of surround sound--which is right
   for your project?
·Equipment needed and how to choose it
·The truth about 96k and the traps to avoid when using it
·How to get extra surround mileage from your existing stereo console
· What you need to know about authoring, pre-mastering
   and digital encoding
·How to choose the right monitor system for your application
·Fast and easy monitor calibration that works every time
·The lowdown on bass management
·The monitor controller: the most important part
   of your surround system
·Why just any sub won't do
·Mixing in surround: how the program guides your placement
·Why different channel assignments exist
·Why proper documentation is more essential than ever before
·How to prepare your media to avoid problems down the line.

For those looking to attend this seminar, the fee is $245 per person in advance ($345 at the door) and you should contact the event promoter at (212) 378-0400.

 

03 / 02 / 01

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), audio sales are strong as manufacturer-to-dealer sales increased by 6% six percent for the year 2000 to an impressive $8.6 billion. The big winner was in the portable audio category, increasing 11% for a total of $2.7 as consumers were craving portable CD players and other devices. MP3-type units sold 587,000 units to reach $107 million in revenue. Audio separates also proved popular as a % increase yielded $1.5 billion in sales. With a whopping 45% increase in sales, Dolby Digital surround sound units accounted for $512 million. "2000 was a solid year for audio sales," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. "With the continued interest of consumers' in new surround sound formats, DVD-Audio and other digital products that complete the audio experience, we can expect 2001 to be another successful year for audio sales."

 

As heated debates over the protection of copyright holders as it pertains to digital downloads via the Internet continues, a recent survey by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) concluded that people desire free content as 89% of Internet users enjoy digitally downloaded multimedia content and information. In fact CEA's ”Digital Download” survey confirmed that "a good portion of respondents oppose any kind of Internet government fees or restrictions. Ninety-two percent oppose paying taxes for accessing the Internet, another 75 percent oppose paying sales tax for items purchased online and 61 percent oppose laws that prevent the usage of file sharing software such as Napster."

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of CEA said "This survey underscores that we are on a collision course between intellectual property owners who want consumers to pay by the bit for access and consumers who want free access, but will pay for better or more complete content. Public policy debates must shift to reflect the paradigm of the new economy as technology creates new ways for more consumers to access information and entertainment. We must protect the ability of technologies to evolve, especially those that allow personal, non-commercial recording. These new technologies vastly expand our collective knowledge base and ultimately benefit those most concerned-copyright owners."

 

 

As diversity is key to the success of parent companies and/or major share holders, Philips is Marantz's majority share holder (50.5%) yet Philips has announced that it will allow it's Marantz brand name to grow without intervention. In fact Philips will sell off some of their shares to reach a "minority stake" at 49%. While still being the true major share holder, Philips is attempting to spur the Marantz brand name into creating more opportunities for itself. While this event seems more of a formal matter than one of making a true change, the Marantz brand name was founded in the 1940's by Saul Marantz and decided to allow the Marantz name to make real changes when he sold it to Superscope in 1964. Sadly, there are some great Marantz "high-end" products only available in Europe that have not reached the US shores. Hopefully this event will see a change in this fact.

 

02 / 11 / 01   to   02 / 28 / 01 

(Website Maintenance)

 

02 / 10 / 01

  As strategic partnerships are formed within the audio and music industry, Enjoy the Music.com has  become the undisputed leader in forming alliances with the majority of America's most popular specialty audio magazines while also being the official website and virtual show coverage for the UK's leading print magazine Hi-Fi News. Yesterday's press release pertaining to print magazine Listener coming aboard Enjoy the Music.com™ also heralded the seventh partnership agreement that joins other leading magazine such as Ultimate Audio, Positive Feedback, The Audiophile Voice, Hi-Fi News, audioMUSINGS and Audiophile Audition.

 

02 / 09 / 01

  Has it really come to this? With the fear of high speed broadband internet connections and the soon to be widely available pure bit-for-bit CD music downloading/exchanging, country music record label Fahrenheit Entertainment announced their first copy-protected CD release. While no "golden eared reviewer" has compared this new technology, the March 20th release of Charley Pride's Tribute to Jim Reeves will have encryption developed by Phoenix-based SunnComm. SunnComm appears to be claiming that this watermarking makes it impossible to digitally copy CDs and DVDs. Odds are hackers will not rush to break this new watermarking system as it appears on a minor release and there is no big financial benefit in breaking the code... yet.

 

 

Liquid AudioThe longstanding pay-for-play online music vendor Liquid Audio has been increasing sales yet still operates at a financial loss. While fourth quarter 2000 revenues increased 25% to $1.8 million as compared to same period last year, so did the losses as it also increased 29% to $10.6 million. Liquid Audio's year ended with $123.8 million in cash in the bank. Looks as though they have some time to prosper as other online ventures are folding like a deck of cards. Speaking of companies that are folding, early 1993 adopter IUMA.com has officially laid off its staff and has now refused taking on any new artists due to the recent lack of funding from parent company EMusic.com (see yesterday's news concerning EMusic.com). As of now only the most minimum of services can be supported by IUMA.com until a new financial backer is found.

 


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