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High-End Audio Industry News


04 / 26 / 06

High End Society Munich 2006 Audiophile SHow  Those looking to attend an audio show in May or June should place Germany's High End Society's Munich show on their calendar. As Europe's largest show, there will be over 200 exhibitors presenting approximately 600 brands over an area of 14,000 square meters (45,931 square feet). The show is so popular and productive that there are 22 percent more exhibitors than 2005, with a total of 15 countries being represented. Live music, technology stages, and a Software Village are only some of the many exciting events during the show. Enjoy the Music.com® will be there providing live reports each day online. See our 2005 show coverage by clicking here.

What: HIGH END 2006 Munich-Germany
When: May 25th to 28th
Where: M.O.C. Munich
Open: From 10am to 6pm
Entrance fee:
1. Trade Visitors: €25
2. Public: €10/ day

 

04 / 25 / 06

Stax Ltd.  STAX, said to be Japan's oldest and most honored manufacturer of specialized audio equipment, has announced their STAX SRS-4040II Signature electrostatic headphone system ($1800) that features the company's SRM-006tII Vacuum Tube Driver amplifier ($1500). The headphones have a frequency response from 7Hz to 41kHz and a maximum sound pressure level (SPL) of 100dB. Weight is 450 grams. The SRM-006tII vacuum tube driver is a pure balanced, DC amplifier driver. Tubed output stage employs a high resistance dual three-pole vacuum tube 6FQ7 (6CG7) and dual FET's.

 

04 / 24 / 06

  The battle of HD disc formats is heating up as TDK has begun shipping its first write-once and rewriteable Blu-Ray disc media to retailers in the United States. Also in the news is that Matsushita's Blu-ray support will never merge, nor will the company make a universal player that will support Toshiba's competing HD-DVD format. TDK's blank discs are rated at 2X speeds and priced at $20 each for a 25-Gbyte write-once (BD-R), $25 for a rewriteable (BD-RE) 25-Gbyte disc, and there are plans to offer larger quantity packaging and higher capacity discs. As for the competition between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, once again the consumer electronics manufacturers can not agree to a single standard, thereby adding confusion in what appears to be a very predatory market. It was reported that "The companies backing competing formats for next-generation DVD technology will never again talk about forming a unified standard," said an executive at Matsushita. "We are not talking and we will not talk," Kazuhiro Tsuga, an executive officer at Matsushita. In the end it appears consumers will decide who is the 'winner' and who is the 'loser.' Unlike DVD-A, that was an agreed upon industry standard, while Sony chose to ignore these standards and release their SACD format and causing confusion, DVD-Audio is an official standard by the group who decides formats for DVD. Now consumers will begin seeing predatory pricing and possibly marketing prose that will only add to making consumers wonder if they should bother investing into either format until a prevailing format is found. The possibility for a super resolution audio format could be in the future for either disc format, yet to date none has been made known as a standard.

 

04 / 21 / 06

Classé's Audio CDP-202  Classé Audio's reference model CDP-202 ($6,500) disc player utilizes a Teac DVD-Rom slot-loader mechanism for reading discs, Complex Programmable Logic Device(CPLD) and sample rate converter. A touchscreen control and video preview on the front panel allows for easy operation and track selection. The Classé CDP platform utilizes custom-made, vibration-absorbing feet, and a strong, rigid chassis. Careful routing of signals, power and ground ensure the optimum performance from selected component parts. Digital audio signals are routed through a CPLD and sample rate converter to be re-created as 24-bit/192kHz signals. These signals are re-clocked before being output to the DACs. The analog output is separately optimized for the single-ended (RCA) and, in the case of balanced (XLR), fed from a true differential circuitry for optimum sound fidelity. Disc compatibility includes CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, DualDisc, MP3, WMA, dts-CD, Video-CD and S-VCD formats. A concurrent IEC958 (SPDIF, AES/EBU and TOSLINK) output is provided while DVD-Audio is output as IEC958 (SPDIF, AES/EBU and TOSLINK) for external decoders. Other features include touchscreen control, variable analog outputs, two-channel down-mix of multi-channel recordings, bi-directional RS-232 control and preview capability for navigation of DVD-Audio or video discs.

 

04 / 20 / 06

Rotel RDV-1092 DVD Player  With HD DVD players now reaching market and flying off shelves fast, yet with only a small handful of HD DVD software available, Rotel has introduced their flagship RDV-1092 DVD player ($1,499). This 1080p (progressive-scan) DVD player has a built-in scaler and HDMI output for top-notch video quality, while audio is also kept in high regard. Advanced video scaling in the RDV-1092 is said to deliver better picture quality whether it be 480p, 720p or 1080i. Video outputs include HDMI, composite, S-, and component video. Multi-channel DVD-Audio, stereo MP3 and WMA lovers will enjoy the wideband digital to analog converter/analog sections. For more advanced installations, the RDV-1092 also features an RS-232 interface and discrete IR commands.

 

04 / 19 / 06

Practical Devices Corporation XM3 Headphone Amplifier  Practical Devices Corporation has recently released their XM3 Headphone Amplifier ($135) as the next-generation following in the footsteps of the company's XMoy2. The very sturdy anodized aluminum case contains high-end parts including military-precision resistors, oversized aluminum and tantalum capacitors, and an ultra-low distortion amplification chip. Features include auto power-off, an internal battery charger, and variable crossfeed (mono to stereo mix). Impressive specifications include a battery life of 50 hours, maximum gain of 23.1dB (gain jumpers in), frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz, and THD at a low 0.002 percent.

 

04 / 18 / 06

Pass LabsPass Labs has announced that Texas Instruments has purchased a non-exclusive license to United States patent 5,376,899. Specifically, the amplifier topology, marketed by Pass under the tradename "SuperSymmetry," which provides a means of achieving high performance with balanced symmetric feedback and minimal gain stages. SuperSymmetry has been the basis for amplifiers marketed by Pass since the 1998 introduction of the X-1000, a 1000 watt power amplifier using only two gain stages - differential input transistors driving complementary power output transistors. Inventor Nelson Pass said, "The beauty of the design lies in the combination of power and simplicity. We believe that the highest quality sound is achieved with a simple gain path, and SuperSymmetry gives us high performance with minimal complexity and negative feedback."

 

04 / 17 / 06

Apple Corps  With word on the street saying Michael Jackson is selling some of rights to the Beatles music library he purchased years ago, we now have word that Apple Corps will soon be allowing the sale of Beatles music online. Apple Corps, owned by Beatles Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and the estate of George Harrison, is also going to remaster the music using state-of-the-art equipment. Various Beatles songs will be online within various services. In a related story, Apple Computer may lose millions of dollars in a lawsuit brought against them by Apple Corps due to the computer company violating a 1991 agreement by using the Apple name and logo to sell music downloads via iTunes Music Store. With the formal trial having ended on April 6, Apple Corps and Apple Computer expect to receive the final judgment any day now.

 

04 / 14 / 06

Hagerman Technology Cornet Classic Tube Phonostage  Hagerman Technology is re-issuing their Cornet Classic tube phonostage in its original baby-blue chassis ($699). This unit features zero-feedback pure Class A triode gain sections with passive equalization plus an upgraded power transformer over the original version. Tube compliment is a pair of 12AX7, a 12AU7 and 5Y3 (or GZ34). The power transformer has taps for worldwide voltage operation while other details are polypropylene capacitors throughout, chassis damping, vacuum tube B+ rectification, DC heaters, constant current sink loading, and gold plated connectors. Gain is a healthy +43dB, input impedance is 47k ohm plus 40pF while output impedance is less that 1k ohm.

 

04 / 13 / 06

Enjoy the Music.com Audiophile Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com's midmonth update of our Review Magazine is now online! We have expanded our coverage of Le Festival Son et Image de Montréal show, with more reports coming online soon! Add to that, our reviewer Phil Gold takes a careful listen to a very historically significant recording of Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartets 1 through 13 plus APC's article concerning the Virtues of Good Power Protection and Conditioning. See the midmonth issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

04 / 12 / 06

Library Of Congress  The United States Library Of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the world's largest library with more than 132 million items, has chosen fifty recordings they feel are worthy of preserving this year as part of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. Of note is the Grammy Foundation (Recording Academy) are members of the deciding board, with Enjoy the Music.com being proud members of the Recording Academy and have reported upon the Grammy Awards for many years (see show reports here). At the same time of this announcement, the Library of Congress said it received 186 test pressings of records made in the late 1950s or early 1960s including those from such musicians as blues artist Robert Johnson. In related news the Library of Congress has announced reporting on current standards and best ways to capture sound from analog discs and tapes in hopes of long-term preservation. The report is titled "Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes." Within the report are facts about previous recording techniques and how to best store them for long-term retrieval and replay. An alarming amount of recorded media from America's past have become unplayable, or at least decayed, so that accurate retrieval of the sound becomes a challenge. Three of the highest priorities, according to the Library Of Congress, are were to develop core competencies in audio preservation engineering; develop arrangements among smaller institutions that allow for cooperative buying of esoteric materials and supplies; and pursue a research agenda for mitigating a variety of problems relating to magnetic tape.

 

04 / 11 / 06

EMM Labs  EMM Labs, a leading innovator and manufacturer of digital audio products, today introduced the next generation of their products. The DAC 6e Signature Edition, DCC2e Signature Edition and CDSD Signature Edition replace the previous generation DAC6e, DCC2e and CDSD. Incorporating the latest technological advancements by the founder Ed Meitner and partner Andreas Koch, Ed Meitner said "While we've been privileged to receive many awards and accolades for our previous products, in the four years since their introduction, we never once stopped looking for ways to improve them and advance the state of the art. Our continuing work has allowed us to do that, with a giant exclamation mark." The new models feature a lower noise floor than previous units, are said to produce more dynamic contrasts and have greater transparency with more frequency extension from top to bottom.

 

04 / 10 / 06

Sonic Impact Super T-Amp  Sonic Impact's new Super T-Amp ($139), upper line version of their popular Class T Amp, provides extreme efficiency in amplification and at attractive pricing. The Super T-Amp is said to offer both the audio fidelity of Class AB technology and the power efficiency of Class D digital amplification. With a power output of up to 15 watts per channel, low heat output and simple controls, the Super T-Amp is 7x3x9 (WxHxD) sand weights a mere 3 lbs. At the rear are right and left RCA, right and left speaker outputs and 12 Volt power input. A large volume knob appear at the front of the unit.

 

04 / 07 / 06

  Head-Fi, a widely acclaimed headphone-specific discussion board, has announced their gathering in New York. The event will be held on Saturday, April 22, at the Ramada Inn/Adria Hotel and Convention Center on Northern Boulevard in Bayside New York. The festivities will include a day long meet and a discussion by various headphone luminaries. Headphone enthusiasts will bring their own setups for other attendees to enjoy. See Enjoy the Music.com's Boston Head-Fi gathering report by clicking here.

 

04 / 06 / 06

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)  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, has released global digital music sales figures for 2005. Revenues from digital sales globally nearly tripled in value, from $400 million in 2004 to $1.1 billion in 2005. Total digital single tracks downloaded online or to mobile phones rose to 470 million units, up from 160 million in 2004. The US, Japan, UK, Germany and France are the top five digital markets. Recorded music sales (physical and digital) fell by three percent in 2005 to reach $21 billion. Music singles of both digital + physical increased by more than 75 percent globally and are mainly desired in a digital download format. IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: "The global music market is fast becoming a mixed economy in the way fans and consumers are buying their music. It is encouraging that the markets with the strongest digital sales are also generally the best performing markets overall. In Japan digital has already made up for the decline in physical sales, and other markets should go this way."

 

04 / 05 / 06

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group that represents the United States recording industry with members who create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90 percent of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in their territory, has released their 2005 retail shipment data. Estimated value of digital revenue streams reached an impressive $12.27 billion in 2005 while overall album shipments were 794.7 million. This last total is said to be a 3.9 percent decline from 2004. Physical media (CDs, DVD videos, cassettes, etc.) decreased by 7.6 percent compared to 2004. Online content is heating up as 1.9 million digitally downloaded music videos were sold online for an estimated retail value of $3.7 million. Sales of digital music singles grew by 163 percent from 139.4 million units in 2004 to 366.9 million units in 2005. Full-length digital album shipments grew 198.5 percent, from 4.6 million units in 2004 to 13.6 million in 2005. Vinyl albums once again took a plunge as only 1.04 million were sold in 2005 for a value of $14.2 million. This is a 25 percent decline from 2004's 1.36 million units for a value of $19.28 million. Meanwhile DVD-Audio saw a 31.8 percent growth, selling 0.5 million units valued at $11.2 million in 2005. The proprietary Sony SACD format took a tumble and lost a staggering 40 percent loss compared to 2005 with  0.5 million units valued at $10 dollars. The 2005 RIAA statistics are supplied by PricewaterhouseCoopers. "The music community has pivoted hard to the digital age, and fans are the true beneficiaries," said Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA. "We have transformed the way we do business and deliver music to consumers. The ways fans can enjoy music — and the ways the industry can recognize a return on its investment — have never been greater: download and subscription services, mobile phone content, enhanced value CDs, burn-on-demand kiosks, digital radio services. We are working hard to deliver consumers the music they love in the formats they want." Complete 2005 year-end statistics can be downloaded by clicking here.

 

04 / 04 / 06

Consonance M15 Horn Loudspeaker  Opera Audio Consonance has introduced their new Consonance M-12 and M15 horn loudspeakers ($5900 and $8500 per pair respectively). The M-12 includes a 300mm paper cone woofer with cloth surround mounted within an aluminum diecast basket for bass. Upper frequencies are produced by a 510mm dome titan.compressive alt driver with neodymium magnet structure. This produces frequencies from 38Hz to 20kHz with a very high 97dB/W/m sensitivity. Consonance's M-15 (pictured right) has a 380mm paper cone woofer with cloth surround mounted within an aluminum diecast basket and 720mm dome titan.compressive alt driver to produces sound from 30Hz to 20kHz with a 98dB/W/m sensitivity. The upper range Normal wood or piano wood horn is a 90 degree affair for the M-12 and 110 degrees for the M-15. Dimensions for the M-12 is 930x420x450 whereas the M-15 is 1085x580x458 (HxWxD in mm).

 

04 / 03 / 06

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)  The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the organization that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide with membership comprising of over 1450 major and independent companies in more than 75 countries, has welcomed reports of increased action against pirate CD and DVD plants by the Chinese government in hopes to reduce the unacceptably high levels of piracy in China. Their press release says, "Reports from Beijing indicate that six CD and DVD plants have been shut down and production halted at eight other facilities. This follows stepped up requests from the US Government for the Chinese authorities to take meaningful steps to address the country's severe shortcomings in intellectual property enforcement." China is the second biggest legal market in Asia, though suffers from having the highest level of illegal piracy in the world. Legal sales of sound recordings have reached $212 million in 2004 while pirate sales of sound recordings are estimated to be worth over $400 million. Also of note is that the IFPI has appointed Leong May-Seey as regional director for Asia. May-Seey has worked as IFPI's regional counsel and deputy regional director for 12 years and has been instrumental in shaping the recording industry's agenda in Asia, including mainland China. She will co-ordinate IFPI's priorities across Asia, ranging from legal policy and government affairs to helping develop the digital music business and unlocking the music market of mainland China. She also oversees the activities of ten national groups in the region as well as IFPI's representative office in Beijing.

 

04 / 01 / 06

Superior Audio  Enjoy the Music.com's April issue of both Superior Audio and Review Magazine are now online! Superior Audio includes a review of Audio Physic's Scorpio fullrange floorstanding loudspeaker. The Review Magazine celebrates April with the Instant Natural Solution Adding Nuclear Energy, the Ultimate Tweak, and our very special Yin Yang Labs Graphametric Paralyzer. Other reviews include Leisure 2 SE & Leisure 3 SE Signature loudspeakers, Mhdt Laboratory Paradisea & Constantine DACs, plus various tweaks, cables, a digital storage device and more! See the April issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here and Superior Audio by clicking here.

 

 

Audiophile We Be have just released their new Quadrographic Atomizer listening room conditioner ($32,496.72). Working within the fourth dimension, this unit cures all forms of environmental contamination and their inherent negative affects within a music reproduction system. While the design is a strict secret, it stems from decades of research within paranormal parameters, including discussions with the dead. It appears, to this reporter, the dead can bring new life to high-end audio. The company plans to release more products under the Resurrection Audio brand.



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