04 / 30 / 07
provides audiophiles with acoustically beneficial panels and devices of visually pleasing design (£70 on up). Listening room acoustic treatments help achieve enhanced sonic performance from a music reproduction system by reducing the negative influences of the room. Devices such as Corner Sound Trap Panels are said to reduce the low end build up that congregates in the corner, giving the room a better response at the low frequencies. Wall Sound Trap Panels can be employed to reduce unwanted reflections that cause time smearing of the sound waves at the listening position. By reducing time smearing, audiophiles can enjoy more precise imaging and soundstage recreation. Visually, panels need not overwhelm a room and can integrate aesthetically through color matching. There are various kits available to achieve a complete room solution. Like all such
products, ask the manufacturer concerning the fire rating, as some acoustic tiles and foams are highly flammable while others are not.
04 / 27 / 07
Now online is the latest edition, Volume 12 Issue 2,
of The Audiophile Voice. This magazine is "...by audiophiles ...for
audiophiles" with no jargon, no cult of personality, no arrogant insiders, no engineering degrees needed, no nonsense.
Esoteric P-03 CD transport and D-03 D/A converter, the Pass Labs X350.5 amplifier, Teac's GF-350 multi-music player/recorder/radio and much more.
See this issue's table of contents and have the opportunity to subscribe to
this print magazine to read the reviews by clicking here.
04 / 26 / 07
We have just posted our Head-Fi National Meet 2007 Head-Fest
report by Jim "Stoney" Stoneburner and Photofest by Leonard Norwitz. In his report, Jim says "I hadn't surfed Head-Fi.org for many weeks. So, it came as a delightful surprise as I logged in to find that this, the number one audio website in the world, was producing a Head-Fest show, billed as "international," and right here in Silicon Valley where I work and live. Would I have traveled farther to attend? Most definitely, at least if I were considering a multi-thousand dollar purchase (and I am!). Where else can one hear popular and new amps and phones, particularly all in one place?" To see our complete coverage of the Head-Fi National Meet 2007 Head-Fest
04 / 25 / 07
Audio's new and improved cable comes with better construction and features while still bearing the old price tag of 135 $AU for 1.2-meter pair. The cable is made with 99 percent
copper shielding and special low loss insulation. Naturally, very high purity copper alloy is used for signal
transfer . In a refreshing move, B
Also new in the cable world is
Wireworld's Reference series called the
52 (from $449 on up to over $8,000). The series consists of three levels of matched interconnects and corresponding speaker cables that share a unique new geometry and structural design that not only improves audio fidelity, but is also easier to strip and terminate, than the company's highly respected previous generation of reference cables. "Our approach has always been to design cables that sound as close to a direct connection as possible in double blind listening tests" explains Wireworld president and chief engineer David Salz. "This means that in practice good cable design is all about minimizing the non-linear effects that degrade the audio signal. The theoretical ideal for this is to have a pair of conductors arranged in thin-walled concentric tubes to maintain completely consistent coupling between positive and negative conductors, thus minimizing adverse electromagnetic effects. The patented Symmetricoax design employed in all of our previous cables was a very effective way of approximating this ideal, and our reputation for lifelike sound quality was a direct result of this objective approach."
And lastly in cable news today, Pear
Cable has released the company's ANJOU loudspeaker cable ($5250 for 8-foot pair). Like all companies, they have set out to be "the world's best home audio speaker cable" as Pear Cable President Annica Kjellberg said "First and foremost, you are getting real science and engineering with this product, not voodoo. We use the finest materials, a completely unique hybrid geometry developed just for the ANJOU speaker cable, and the best modern cable construction techniques available. The result is a cable that not only offers measurable sonic improvements, but more importantly a cable that sounds phenomenal." The clear jacket of the 1-inch thick ANJOU speaker cable reveals a tantalizing peek at the first layer of the complex inner cable geometry. Completely manufactured by machine in the United States for the highest quality and precision, the non-repeatability and inaccuracy of hand made cable construction techniques are avoided. A solid 5-hour termination process that is done by hand for each pair of cables, allows human eyes to verify quality.
04 / 20 / 07
Plenty of news concerning online music sales as Amazon
goes indie, online radio companies get denied their day in court, and Warner
Music Group is now demanding AnywhereCD
gets their content directly from them versus serving up content themselves. Amazon is now indie central as over 30 music labels have teamed up to promote independent musicians with CD prices being under $10 each. "Go Indie" features a hand-picked selection of nearly 700 titles plus various music videos including those from the Black Keys, Air, The Shins, Sam Bush, Robyn Hitchcock and CeU. More than 30 music labels are participating in the limited-time offering, including Alligator Records, Anti, Astralwerks, Barsuk, Beggars Group, Bloodshot Records, Compass Records, Domino Records, Epitaph, Fat Possum, Hellcat, Koch Records, Matador, Megaforce, Mute, New West, Putumayo, Rykodisc, Sci Fidelity, Silva, Six Degrees, Smithsonian Folkways, Spin Art, Sub Pop, Sugar Hill, Touch N Go, Ultra, Vagrant, World Music Network and Yep Roc.
Webcasters have been denied their day in court to fight the newly increased fees for streaming content online. Judges from the United States Copyright Royalty Board have decided to ignore requests from both pubic and private broadcasters, some of which include AOL and National Public Radio (NPR) as the recent royalty rate increase has threatened to have broadcasters shut their cyberdoors do to the lack of financial viability of such efforts. Naturally these private and public entities can appeal the count's newly revised rates as this saga is far from over.
Warner Music Group is greatly concerned as AnywhereCD, a company that sells 192kbs mp3 music files, have gotten themselves in a bind because they have allegedly violated an agreement with the major recording label. AnywhereCD is a very new venture that was launched only a few days ago and are already making headlines for offering non-DRM'ed (Digital Rights management) music files for sale. Launched by Michael Robertson, same man behind MP3.com, this new venture hopes to make selling mp3 files safe and legal, if of course missing out on the DRM. As of today, AnywhereCD offers "thousands of digital an physical albums." What was said to get Warner Music's attention was that complete albums on mp3 format were priced lower than physical CDs. To this reporter that seems fair as CD is much higher resolution than a 192kbs mp3 file. Therefore if people want enhanced sound quality they can
purchase the album. Online music retailer MusicGiants
offers lossless compressed music by many of the major recording labels, yet their music does have DRM. Of course there are many free or low-cost programs that can easily strip away DRM, so the whole DRM
wrangling is becoming more moot while it has been reported that 'all you can listen to' music subscription plans offered by come online retailers allow users to download a staggering amount of music and then are able to remove the DRM,
potentially allowing users to owns thousands of dollars of music for around $20 a month.
04 / 19 / 07
Niveus Media, manufacturers of hardware and software digital media entertainment solutions, and
MusicGiants, the leader in high-definition music downloads, have announced the availability of high definition 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound music downloadable on Niveus' 2007 Windows Vista-based media
centers. Niveus' new HD Media Store provides an intuitive media center interface to access MusicGiants' extensive network of digital downloads from major and independent labels. Niveus' exclusively designed media store is the first high definition media portal that enables downloads and purchases through Windows Media Center via MusicGiants. The HD Media Store enables customers to easily browse, purchase, and download music from MusicGiants in the Windows Media Audio Lossless (WMA) format store, and seamlessly access this content from within the Windows Media Center 'Music' menu, providing a single location for one's entire music collection. "Niveus is excited to bring our dealers and customers into the world of HD Media downloads," states Tim Cutting, CEO of Niveus Media. "By working closely with MusicGiants, Niveus is the first to launch an integrated music shopping experience that delivers the best in high quality music downloads from the MusicGiants catalog."
MusicGiants, which launched in 2005, is the only music download service to offer high-definition, digital recordings from the top music companies such as EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Their downloads deliver full resolution music at up to 1100 kbps for "true CD quality" sound. This WMA format boasts up to four times the sound quality of any other download service, including those expected to be available in May 2007 from EMI through Apple. MusicGiants also offers Super HD downloads (as in re-mastered DVD Audio or SACDs available in either 5.1 surround sound or 2.0 stereo) which play at sample rates up to 11,000 kbps. "We're pleased to have Niveus be our first hardware partner to deliver MusicGiants' integrated premium HD entertainment to their media centers," said Scott Bahneman, CEO of MusicGiants. "The combination of Niveus and the Vista platform now allows consumers to purchase their entertainment at the highest quality available for home use and also transcode it down for all of their portable devices."
04 / 18 / 07
Enjoy the Music.com's
Le Festival Son et Image de Montreal 2007
show reports are now online! Phil Gold's exclusive report,
Parts 1 and 2, are now available as we expect to be posting more coverage in
the near future. With nearly 30 photos spanning two very long pages, there is
plenty to enjoy now and check back often as we post updates from Phil and
04 / 17 / 07
Gini Systems now
offers an LS-3/5a ($490 as kit or $560 assembled) that includes all components, parts, and assembly instruction manual required to put the loudspeakers
together. Components include a pair each of 1-inch tweeters, 5-inch midrange/woofers, crossover assembly, wooden cabinets, front panels, grill cloths, and four driver gaskets. Also in the kit is an adjustable wrench, Phillips screwdriver, Allen key, glue, loudspeaker wire binding post assemblies, plus various screws, bolts and wool pads for crossover isolation.
Specifications are as follows: frequency range from 50Hz to 20kHz, sensitivity of 86dB/W/m, impedance of 8 Ohms, 12" x 7.5" x 6.25" (HxWxD) and Walnut real wood veneer cabinet.
04 / 16 / 07
Enjoy the Music.com's
midmonth Review Magazine
update is now online and features the Promitheus Audio TVC SE. Nels Ferre
carefully listens this very interesting piece of audio gear and said, "Do
not let the low price of admission or the handmade appearance fool you. The
Promitheus Audio TVC SE is not a curiosity or a toy. It is a serious audio
component, and probably the very best bargain in audio today." See
the mid-April issue of our Review Magazine by clicking
NOTE: We will soon be posting
our exclusive Montreal audiophile show coverage (click
here) and Head-Fi National Meet (click
04 / 13 / 07
The new Neeper Acoustics
Perfection One ($16,800) loudspeaker is the company; single statement piece for
reference-level music reproduction. Designed and manufactured in Denmark by Kim "Neeper" Rasmussen, the Perfection One features a very beautiful and complex cabinet design
to virtually eliminate cabinet colorations due to the asymmetrical shape (no parallel walls). The stunning cabinets are fabricated by world famous Hornslet wood craftsmen with patented technology. Drivers include a ScanSpeak Ring Radiator and a pair of 5.25-inch custom, proprietary ScanSpeak black wood-fiber Revelator drivers that feature oversized magnets for better control and increased
signal response speed. The drivers are secured to an aluminum baffle, while an aluminum bottom plate
ensure rigidity. The front grill attaches via magnetic so no pins or holes are necessary while also keeping the wonderfully curved cabinet clean. Ultra high performance crossover components and WBT NextGen connectors help round out this design. Specification include a frequency response from 30Hz to 50khz, a sensitivity of 87dB/W/m, and 4 Ohm impedance. "But I am a super perfectionist and this being my first product," says company owner and product engineer Kim Neeper Rasmussen. "I chose the name for my "baby". I am very difficult to satisfy but I am very satisfied with the final result! Many designs were tried without success including 8 prototype cabinets fabricated in the Far East before I contracted with the world’s best cabinet manufacturer (Hornslet) located here in Denmark."
04 / 12 / 07
While we have not reported recently concerning the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry and whose members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90 percent of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States, you can rest assured they are still filing
lawsuits. Recently the RIAA sent another wave of 413 pre-litigation settlement letters to 22 universities. Ohio University was the biggest winner, or loser, with 50 letters followed by the University of Massachusetts - Amherst with 32 pre-litigation settlement
letters being sent out. According to the RIAA, "A survey by Student Monitor from spring 2006 found that more than half of college students download music and movies illegally, and according to market research firm NPD, college students alone accounted for more than 1.3 billion illegal music downloads in 2006. While college students represented only 10 percent of the sample in the new online NPD study, they accounted for 26 percent of all music downloading on P2P networks and 21 percent of all P2P users. Furthermore, college students surveyed by NPD reported that more than two-thirds of all the music they acquired was obtained illegally."
04 / 11 / 07
There is little doubt that Apple's iPod has greatly changed the way people enjoy music. The company just announced the sale of 100 million iPods since it first became
available in November 2001. iTunes has sold over 2.5 billion lossy compressed songs to music lovers worldwide. To date, more than 10 new iPod models, including five generations of iPod, two generations of iPod mini, two generations of iPod
Nano and two generations of iPod Shuffle have been available to consumers worldwide. Due to the
onslaught of iPod sales, countless companies have sprung up supporting the
device with accessories of all types. "At this historic milestone, we want to thank music lovers everywhere for making iPod such an incredible success," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "iPod has helped millions of people around the world rekindle their passion for music, and we're thrilled to be a part of that."
Now if we can get iTunes to offer uncompressed or lossless compressed to CD
standards music the world would be back to 1983 in sound quality. In some
ways, the iPod has helped to spur music lovers, yet has set music sound
quality back nearly three decades by selling 2.5 billion songs with what many would consider low sound quality. While Apple is losing legal battles is
Europe due to their non-licensing of the company's Digital Right Management
(DRM) scheme, they are making some progress with the recent announcement of
selling non-DRM versions of EMI titles at 256kbs AAC
encoding versus 128kbs. Still far from being lossless, yet it is progress.
Popular online discussion board Head-Fi
will have their Second Annual International Head-Fi Meet in San Jose,
California from April 21st though the 22nd at the Radisson Hotel San Jose
Airport. Hosted by hotel owner Richard Kim (nickname Sleestack), Clarke
Robinson (Clarke68), Al Bedecarre (Voltron), and the rest of the San Francisco
Bay Area Head-Fi organizing committee and membership, this will be the West
coast event to attend for headphone music lovers. The main ballroom of the San
Jose Radisson will have an array of 18 member equipment display tables in the
middle of the room that will be ringed by 15 vendor tables along three walls.
Another feature of the show will be members-only high-end section and 12 rooms
with ultra-fi gear to allow for very serious listening with low noise floor
due to less foot traffic and controlled entry into this special section of the
show. Various special events during this event include door prizes,
conferences, and seminars plus there will be meal tickets available for the
Head-Fi Bar-B-Q lunch. An after-hours fifth floor lounge will be a meeting and
relaxing spot throughout the meet.
Radisson Hotel San Jose Airport
1471 North Fourth Street
San Jose, California 95112 USA
Hotel Reservations: (800) 333-3333
For additional information, questions, and help
Jude Mansilla at Jude@head-fi.org
04 / 10 / 07
has announced their new Assistent 50 integrated stereo amplifier with five inputs and tape loop
that combines many technologies from the company's long experience in manufacturing audio
electronics. With an output of 50 wpc using four ECC82, eight QQE 03/12, and an RS 1029 or CV 2798, harmonic distortion is kept at a low <0.3 percent at 20 watts. "One of the original features of the Audio Valve products," says the company, "is to be found in the
utilization of the valves in such a way that they operate as closely as possible to their ideal reference values each according to its type." Of note is
the amplifying circuit, which uses 12 valves yet the push-pull output stages are coupled to the ABR circuit for each power tube. This exclusive AudioValve feature allows a comparison of the reference voltage value with that engendered by the quiescent current, and which appears at the terminals of a small value resistance in the return cathode circuit. A small operation amplifier monitors, as comparator, the divergence and deliverers the compensation voltage to the grid of the valve.
04 / 09 / 07
There is little doubt that the upcoming Munich, Germany,
High End Society show is the event and largest of the season, with hundreds of
manufacturer brands and many world premiers to be seen and heard! The High End Society of Germany
has well over 200 exhibitors (click
here for list) with a total of around 600 brands being shown in the 50,853 square feet
of exhibition space! This is an increase of 5000 square feet as compared to
last year's show (click here for 2006 report).
Naturally stereo and multi-channel audio will be present, as will
state-of-the-art video and a wide variety of digital and analog software.
Adding to home audio, Jaguar's powerful new XK-R convertible with high-quality B & W sound system,
Volkswagen's Touareg featuring an audiophile sound system by Dynaudio, and
Munich's very own BMW will have their Series 5 automobile equipped with a high-quality MB Quart sound
system will be on display.
A very special exhibition space featuring legendary “Wurlitzer Mechanical Instruments“
will bring back great music memories to many attendees. Add to that, a number
of seminars with questions and answer session by leading
manufacturers and experts plus live music round out this truly amazing world
event, which many consider the most important show in Europe. This year marks Enjoy
the Music.com's eighth consecutive year providing live coverage of
Germany's High End Society audiophile and consumer electronics show.
Location: M,O,C, Munich -- Lilienthalallee 40
-- 80939 München-Freimann
Duration: May 17th through 20th
Trade Day: Thursday, May 17th (only by pre-registration)
Hours Of Operation: From 10am to 6pm
Entrance Fee: Public: €10 per day
Trade Visitors: €20 with pre-registration (the badge is valid for all days)
04 / 06 / 07
It appears enthusiasts of live classical and jazz concerts are fortunate, as more and more legendary rock bands phase out normal ticket
pricing in favor of $1000+ seats. Enter the great bidding wars as the days of buying tickets at face value and getting
floor seats is no longer possible. Musicians like ex-Pink Floyd Roger Waters, the Police, and many others now
auction off the first few rows of seats while pocketing with potentially millions of 'extra' dollars. According to one source, "If all 4,200 auctioned seats theoretically pulled in $1,000 each, Waters potentially would have secured additional income of $4.2 million." Of course the musicians have a right to ask whatever ticket prices they desire, yet is this also killing their potentially newfound fans, as many people simply can not afford to pay $400 or more for a
seat. Of course the other angle is that for years concert ticket brokers (scalpers) have been finding ways to make huge profits doing the same thing, so now the additional funds are going straight to the
musician's pocket versus the brokers. Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar which is the music industry bible for international concert tour information, said "But I think you're seeing now where more artists are keeping it for themselves. Artists weren't happy when the money was going towards a ticket broker and not to their show." So gone are the days of $12.50 a seat for The Who, Rush, Yes, and King Crimson tickets. Of course audiophiles would probably shy away from any of these concerts as they are usually amplified at high SPLs, yet this
writer misses the days of camping out, playing Frisbee in parking lots at 2am, and being first in line for tickets and getting within the first 5 rows as a reward. Hopefully
scalpers, now being shut down by rocks band, do not reach deeply into the jazz and classical venues or soon we will face $500/seat and basically alienate the joys of live music for virtually everyone of reasonable means.
04 / 05 / 07
Audio's new digital pre-amplifier, the DPA-1 ($5500), incorporates innovative and highly acclaimed RoomPerfect room correction
technology. This unit is more than a preamplifier, as it also includes complete digital signal processing, room correction and advanced loudspeaker set-ups. RoomPerfect is a correction system that is claimed to effectively remove the room from the 'good sound' equation and thus allows the listener access to the real sound of his audio system. Users can pick from up to 8 presets that optimize the sound at 8 different preferred listening positions in the room in
additional to custom tuning. Single ended (RCA) or balanced (XLR) inputs are provided and either way the signal is immediately converted to balanced for processing. Input selection is carried out via high-end double gold-plated relays. All signal paths within the DPA-1 are individually impedance-compensated (using transmission-line principles), which is said to ensure better noise immunity while optimizing impedance matching. Audio outputs in the analog domain are single ended (RCA) and fully balanced (XLR), while digital signals are available via S/PDIF. Overall frequency
response is from 3Hz to 33kHz with a low 112dB SNR in the analog domain.
04 / 04 / 07
Audio's new VFlex line is now shipping and features
their Vivace and Tanto loudspeakers ($4,400 and $5,500 Canadian, respectively). Both VFlex models have high sensitivity and reproduce frequencies down to 20Hz. The Vivace uses a single Fostex FE108E Sigma 10 cm full-range driver to
reproduce sound from 20Hz to 18kHz. Gemme Audio's Tanto are two-way full range loudspeakers, featuring a 16.5 cm mid/bass driver and a 19 mm ring radiator tweeter. Both models employs the use of top quality formaldehyde-free MDF, agglomerated wood panels and beautiful real wood finish. Front baffle is 2 inches thick while pressure load points are more than 2 inches thick; with a combination of elaborate wood-particle, elastomer, and HDF side panels. Front and rear baffles are hand sanded and finished with 6 coats of black lacquer. All wood panels are also hand sanded, hand stained and 8 coats of high gloss lacquer are applied to produce a professional mirror piano finish.
04 / 03 / 07
Computer and iTunes manufacturer Apple has
announced it will sell DRM-free music from music label EMI. While pricing will be up 30 cents, 99 cents for DRM 128kbs version to $1.29 for non-DRM version at 256kbs AAC encoding, the files are still lossy compressed. iTunes customers can upgrade previously purchased EMI content to the higher resolution
version for 30 cents. "We are going to give iTunes customers a choice-the current versions of our songs for the same 99 cent price, or new DRM-free versions of the same songs with even higher audio quality and the security of interoperability for just 30 cents more," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We think our customers are going to love this, and we expect to offer more than half of the songs on iTunes in DRM-free versions by the end of this year." Also of note is that Apple is far from being off the hook as they are facing a September deadline from the Norwegian government to make their proprietary DRM to be open and allow fair use by other companies. One of the problems may be the way major recording labels see lossy
compressed 256kbs files and perhaps dashing hopes of widespread online delivery of lossless or
non-compressed music as Eric Nicoli, CEO of EMI Group, said "EMI and iTunes are once again teaming up to move the digital music industry forward by giving music fans higher quality audio that is virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings, with no usage restrictions on the music they love from their favorite artists."
04 / 02 / 07
the Music.com presents our special April 2007 edition with both real and
not so real writings for your reading pleasure! Pay careful attention to our
article that describes how we make each magazine come to life! Superior
Audio features the Antiphon Audio Labs MC Drive, EMM Labs CDSA SE
stereo SACD player plus flashbacks of the Roksan TMS2 turntable and Miyabi /
47 Labs MC cartridge. Our Review
Magazine showcases many of the great products by Furutech plus
Bill Gaw's Lirpa's Latest Invention (Not). See
the April issue of Superior Audio by clicking
here and our Review Magazine by clicking
July August September
July August September