High-End Audio Industry News
05 / 31 / 01
We are the borg, resistance is futile! Eh hem... Ambiance Acoustics has released their HY-V Home Theater ($5,817) five-channel loudspeaker system. This system includes five Hyper Cube loudspeakers and three 2-channel outboard processors. Each Hyper Cubes has sixteen 4.5" full-range drivers per vented 13.6" cubed enclosure. This is along the same lines as Bose with their direct-reflecting loudspeakers.
05 / 30 / 01
plc, parent company to such magazines as Stereophile, Stereophile Guide to Home
Theater, Hot Rod and Guns & Ammo, has released their fiscal 2001 earnings that were quite a bit lower than their already
dwindling predictions. While Emap is looking to sell off their USA division, the value of $1.5 billion just over two years ago is now a hard sell at $600 million as we reported in yesterday's news. Worse still, while it seem no one is offering
over $600 million for the division, it has been reported that Emap's books say they hold $727 million in that division. So
who has been reportedly interested in buying this money losing division as we
may yet again see another new owner to Stereophile in only a handful of years? Texas Pacific Group is said to have offered around $575 million, Primedia and the good ol' tabloid company American Media seem to feel that only $450 million is what the division is worth. Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, who have their own home audio and home theater magazines, might be discussing a joint venture with Emap.
Please feel free to see Emap plc's preliminary financial results for year
ending March 31, 2001 by clicking
here (free Adobe Acrobat
Reader plug-in needed).
05 / 29 / 00
While Emap is touting
success with their recent New York City home entertainment show, they have long been struggling to find a buyer for their USA unit. Emap's bidding deadline has continually been pushed back in hopes of finding a buyer that would meet their valuation. It has been reported that no one has bid near the $750 million range Emap hopes for. In fact it seems Emap is quite a bit off as bids have been reported to be a more realistic value of
approximately $500 million. Emap is expected to report their financials at an earnings conference to Morgan Stanley tomorrow. Due to no one wanting to pay Emap's seemingly over valuation, this may lead to a partnership deal. There is much speculation as to who will be the next possible owner/partner of Emap USA which includes many small enthusiast magazines such as
The high demand for vinyl has caused yet another New York City
recording studio to offer vinyl mastering services to their clientele. Digi-ROM
studio has acquired and restored a Neumann VMS 63 Special with an SX-74 cutter
head all on a Ortofon VG-66 console. Both 7" and 12" vinyl
mastering will be offered to Digi-ROM's customers as the demand for these
services seems to be on the increase. While their CD and DVD mastering and
restoration services are claimed to be their "meat and potatoes",
vinyl may be the delicious "lobster" to cater to those with a
05 / 28 / 01
PS Audio is now offering their "Ultimate Lab Cable Limited Edition" (two meter length $1,395 and three meter length $1,595). PS Audio is
proclaiming that their new power cable is "without question the ultimate step in completing a perfect connection between the wall and your Audio/Video
equipment" (sic). The cable works by "combining the noise protection and power delivery capabilities of the Lab Cable with the non-current limiting and lowered impedance benefits of our Ultimate Outlet". Very large six-gauge conductors are used to insure the ability of large voltage/amperage delivery.
Tri-axial shielding is also used to reduce the negative affects of RFI from entering into the power delivery through the cable. Surge
suppression and spike protection is also included for safety. The Ultimate Lab Cable Limited Edition is now available in 220V or 115V in 15A or 20A US male plug and standard 15A IEC configuration.
05 / 26 / 01
Genesis Technologies has released their new 928 servo-controlled self-powered subwoofer that includes an impressive 1000 watts of power mated to dual 12" metal cone woofers. The Genesis 928 also employs an accelerometer that is mounted directly to the woofer to insure the input signal is virtually the same as that being produced by the
subwoofer drivers. The included 1000 watt amplifier is of the "Class D" variety for high efficiency and produced very low heat. Dimensions for the 928 are 15" x 16.5" x 16.5" (HxWxD). Frequency response is claimed as 25Hz to 120Hz (+/- 1 dB).
Headphone amplifier specialists HeadRoom has a new top-line model called the BlockHead ($3,333). Using fully-balanced and double dual-mono this is their most sophisticated unit to date. In fact HeadRoom has gone so far to insure the ultimate in isolation and separation by employing separate power supplies for the right channel positive, right channel
negative, left channel positive and left channel negative (four
supplies in total)! As a caveat, because HeadRoom's new amplifier is truly balanced and does not "sum" the
negative/shield signal, headphones will require a custom cable that separates the left and right channel common shield return on normal headphone cables. At this time custom wired Sennheiser HD600 and Grado RS1 headphones are available from
05 / 25 / 01
Cirrus Logic has announced their new CS44210 digital PWM controller/DAC with built-in TrueDigital "Class D"
Amplification. The CS44210 is a complete stereo digital-to-PWM Class D audio amplifier system controller including interpolation, volume control, half bridge PWM driver outputs, and an integrated CS44L10 headphone amplifier in a 24-pin TSSOP package. This new chip also employs a direct-to-digital approach that maintains digital signal integrity to the final output filter to minimizes analog interference effects that can negatively affect the audio signal. This new chip also includes the ability for on-chip digital bass and treble boost, peak signal limiting, and de-emphasis. The real surprise is that an integrated 24-bit/96kHz DAC
and output volume control are also included within this chip. Consider this a single chip solution for digital
input to complete amplification output. Furthermore, the ship provides for three serial audio ports (such as I2S) with multiplexer (mux) and host interface. Pricing is $3.95 in
quantities of 10,000 or more. Specifications are as follows:
Up to 100 dB Dynamic Range
2.4 V to 5.0 V supply
Sample rates up to 96 kHz
Digital Tone Control
3 selectable HPF and LPF corner frequencies
12 dB boost for bass and treble - 1 dB step size
Programmable Digital volume control
+18 to -96 dB in 1 dB steps
Peak signal soft limiting
De-emphasis for 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, and 48 kHz
Selectable outputs for each channel including
Channel A: R, L, mono (L + R) / 2, mute
Channel B: R, L, mono (L + R) / 2, mute
05 / 24 / 01
While the Emap
Plc. folks, though unaudited by an independent firm, proclaimed just over 12,000 attendees, the
independent firm Expomark audited the numbers from the recent Consumer Electronics
Association's (CEA) trade show attendance records and counted 126,730
people. "We are one of the very few in the high-tech trade show industry who can prove to our exhibitors how good our attendance really is," says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA, the producer, manager and sponsor of CES.
"Our original estimate of 122,422 attendees was 96.5 percent accurate. We try to make a close approximation at the close of the show, but we often have a few attendee reports that add to the tally later. In fact, the 2001 International CES show attendance was higher than we originally reported."
While the recent New York City Emap show is only 10% attendance of that from the CES, we look forward to Emap's hiring of an
independent firm to confirm their show attendee count.
Microsoft, owners of the audiophile acclaimed HDCD encoding,
has released their Windows
Media 7.1 updates for their Windows Media Encoder, Player, and Software Development Kit (SDK). This update includes improved codecs for both audio and video compression and decoding to offer the most recent Windows Media Audio/Video 8 codec technology. Many software vendors are, or will be using, this new technology in their products and include Accom, Anystream, Avid Technology, Chyron, Media 100, Pinnacle Systems, Sonic Foundry, Syntrillium Software Corp. and ViewCast. Microsoft claims that their WMA files provide the best quality of
compression at any bit rate and CD-quality audio at 64 Kbps. Some here at Enjoy the
Music.com feel that the WMA file is most certainly superior to mp3 files at the same bit rate. As for "CD quality" sound, while Microsoft feels that 64 Kbs is a good rate, the
256 Kbs rate is more to our liking... though still possibly not equal to "CD quality"
sound as Microsoft proclaims.
05 / 23 / 01
Systems, Inc. (DTS) has announced their new 5.1-channel 24-bit/96kHz format during the recent Audio Engineering Society (AES) conference in Amsterdam. This new format enhances the previously available 24-bit/96kHz format that was only
two channels of sound. Both the old and new format include full motion video as well to compliment the audio. The new DTS format can also be employed on the new high-resolution DVD-Audio discs so that both DTS and DVD-Audio can reside on the disc together.
Furthermore, the new format is backwards compatible with the decoders currently in consumer's homes.
Rogue Audio has
announced their new Tempest stereo integrated amplifier. Priced at $1,995 for basic unit or $2,195 with wireless volume control, the Tempest produces 60 wpc in
ultalinear of 30 wpc is triode mode. Four KT88, four 12AU7 and two 12AX7 tubes are used within the unit while both 4 and 8 ohm loudspeaker taps are provided for. High quality gold0plated RCA and loudspeaker
binding posts help to insure both input and output signal integrity. The pre-amplifier section provides for six inputs (phono, CD, tuner, tape, aux and pre-amplifier).
05 / 22 / 01
Kora Electronic Concept have upgraded their Hermes D/A Converter ($1,400) to full
24-Bit/192Khz. This allows for decoding full resolution digital discs through transports that offer digital output via SPDIF (RCA) or AES/EBU (XLR). Current owners of the Kora Hermes can have their unit upgraded to the new
specification though any Kora authorized dealer.
Conversion Principle : Delta Sigma 24-bit/192khz
Three digital inputs : two COAX and one XLR
Analog Function (filter & output stage) : 100% tubes
Two Output Levels : 2V & 5V RMS
Completely Separated Digital-Analog Supply
Regulated by Mosfets
Dimensions : 433 x 310 x 120mm (WxDxH)
Weight : 10kgs
Linn's all in one CD/FM/AM wireless remote control stereo amplifier called the Classik has received rave reviews from many magazines worldwide including
Enjoy the Music.com's own Review Magazine (see
review here). The Classik has recently been further enhanced with the addition of two new on-board distributed audio features designed to provide more
versatility to one of the high-end industry's already most versatile unit. The two standard options provide simple multiple-room connectivity or Linn Knekt multi-room solutions. Options for the Classik include simple multiple room audio with plug and play DIY installation. A single Linn Classik can connect up to four additional Knekt Classiks, for installation without any programming. Each secondary room Classik can select, access and control the main room Classik system in addition to controlling its own local sources. Other additional features include a Digital Output Socket for recording to MiniDisc or DAT. The Classik is available in five colors including the new Baltik Green and Koral Blue shades.
05 / 21 / 01
Universal is set to acquire online music website MP3.com for approximately $372 million in a cash and stock deal (around $5 per mp3.com share). While is the .com heyday the mp3.com stock was worth $22.50, last week it was at only $3.01 per share. Vivendi's board unanimously gave their approval for the deal. This brings them a longstanding online music
strategy with a solid 845,000 daily website visitors during the first quarter of 2001. ''MP3.com will be a great asset to Vivendi Universal in meeting our goal of becoming the leading online music service provider,'' said Jean-Marie Messier, Vivendi's chairman and chief executive officer, in a release. ''The total aggregate audience for MP3.com, GetMusic, FarmClub and EMusic represents close to 40 million registered users, with approximately 120 million monthly page views,'' Vivendi said.
As reported on May 19, 2001 here on Enjoy the
Music.com concerning the lakluster acceptance of a single standard by the SDMI organization for music, the
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
President and CEO Gary Shapiro has officially endorsed the copy protection scheme digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP), also known as 5C, for home
networks. A recent letter delivered to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell said "We believe that a commonly accepted copy protection system will be a major factor in facilitating the rollout of digital television via cable and ensuring that content providers make high value content available to the cable industry." While this seems to focus more on the video side than the audio side, some DVD-Audio titles currently employ the
4C Entity system for security. With home networking via digital connections such as IEEE 1394 (FireWire), the consumer
electronics industry hopes a single standard is chosen to insure their content is safe from unlimited copying and pirating. Hitachi, Intel, Matsushita, Sony and Toshiba in a joint venture created DTCP system. All is not so simply as the DTCP (5C) system is approved by Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures, it is opposed by Disney and Fox due to the 5C system not covering broadcast or Internet copy protection.
05 / 19 / 01
After meeting in Amsterdam this past week, the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) is still undecided as to exactly what measures and format/code to use for their anti-piracy system that will be used within portable audio products. Possibly realizing that virtually any protection scheme will be broken in days by hackers (or that "too many cooks spoil the broth"), the approximately 200 consumer electronics, software, computer and music companies could not reach an agreement on the new SDMI content protection scheme this past week. While the SDMI has been
working on this since January 2001 in hopes of reaching an agreement in June, it has been reported that the SDMI might fail to reach an agreement by the fourth quarter of 2001! Worse still, the SDMI has been working on some form of protection for over two-and-a-half-years and it may come down to a complete breakdown of a single
standard as software and hardware vendors may team up to decide on their own which type of protection format/device to use in delivering their content.
05 / 18 / 01
The Dynavector DV XX-1 was the first cartridge to feature a
"magnetic flux damper" and "softened magnetism" processes that reject the magnetic fluctuation that is detrimental to a moving coil cartridges performance. Their
new DV XX-2 retains the benefit of the flux damper though features an alinco-5
magnet. Alnico magnets exhibit high magnetic flux density combining with a low coercive to provide stability of the XX-2 output voltage. An additional advantage is low magnetic and electrical resistance contributing to improvements in sound quality. The XX-2 also features a 6 mm solid boron cantilever fitted with a Pathfinder Line contact stylus. PCOCC (pure copper ohno continuous casting
process) copper wire is used for the coil. The XX-2's body is of solid aluminum
for rigid construction and a total weight of 8.0 grams makes it suitable for a variety of tonearms.
Type : Low output moving coil
cartridge with Flux damper
Output voltage : 0.23mV (at 1KHz, 5cm/sec.)
Frequency response : 20 - 20,000Hz (+1,-1dB)
Channel separation : 30 dB (at 1KHz)
Channel balance : 1.0 dB (at 1KHz)
Compliance : 10 x 10-6 cm/dyne
Impedance : R= 6 ohms, L= 18 micro H
Stylus : Line contact PF
Cantilever : 6mm length solid boron
Tracking force : 1.8 - 2.2 grams
Recommended load : 30 ohms impedance
Von Schweikert Audio has released their new DB-100 high sensitivity loudspeaker ($7,500/pr). Because of the ongoing popularity of low powered single-ended tubes, there can be a limiting of loudspeaker choices. Von Schweikert Audio's new DB-100 provides music lovers with a loudspeaker with approximately 100dB/w/m sensitivity with an 8 ohms nominal (+/- 2 ohms) rating. Von Schweikert Audio claims their new DB-100 "has many of the characteristics of the VR-6 in its sound quality but will retail for $7500/pr. including an amplified woofer system and dipolar Ambience Retrieval System!" The
crucial midrange driver uses a 6" Aerogel composite cone resembling a ceramic material combined with a paper base. This is an extremely light and stiff cone design is said to not "ring",
that would add distortion. The Aerogel cone itself is constructed of carbon fiber dust, Kevlar threads, and cellulose acetate pulp. A hefty 4lb. magnet is employed while a lightweight edge wound aluminum voice coil all assist in
insuring the 6" driver would be highly sensitive to help insure their overall loudspeaker's 100 dB/w/m rating. A Scanspeak/Vifa silk dome tweeter with a 2" short horn is used for the uppermost frequencies. A rear-firing "Ambience" tweeter is provided on the rear of the tower. For bass duties, two 8.5" aluminum cone woofers with "Low Distortion Motors" are mounted within a large triple-chambered transmission line enclosure using a flared vent (tuned to 20Hz). A solid-state "Class A/AB" 900-watt peak (600 w.r.m.s) high-current amplifier is included. The bass
amplifier includes a volume level adjustment. Bybee's Quantum Purifiers also employed, according to Von Schweikert Audio they "eliminate high frequency distortion caused by RFI and other high frequency noise. These filters absorb distortion at frequencies above the range of audibility to ensure very quiet operation of the horn tweeter. Although this technique is controversial, the sonic effects are quite audible and dramatic."
System Type: Three-way high-efficiency transmission line speaker
using amplified subwoofer system.
Dimensions: 54" x 12" x 22" (HxWxD).
Weight: 185lbs. raw, 215lbs in shipping carton.
Bass System: two 8.5" cast frame aluminum-coned. Triple chambered
transmission line bass loading with tuned port at 20Hz.
Woofer Amplifier: Class A/AB high current solid-state amplifier
(600 watts r.m.s., 900 watt peak).
Midrange: 6" cast-frame dynamic driver employing 4lb. magnet and
Tweeter: 1" silk dome.
Ambience Retrieval System: Rear mounted 1" tweeter.
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz (+/- 2dB).
Impedance: 8 ohms nominal, 10 ohms maximum.
Recommended Power: 3 watts r.m.s. to 50 watts r.m.s.
Warranty: 10 years Parts and Labor, excluding damage from abuse.
Finishes: Standard finish is cloth wrap with light cherry, dark red cherry,
or black ash end caps.
Manufacturer-to-dealer sales of DVD players increased 54% during April
2001 to just over 631,000 units, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). DVD is the fastest selling product in the history of consumer electronics. DVD sales have had 36 consecutive months in sales
increase gains. Meanwhile manufacturer-to-dealer sales of audio products increased by 4%, to just under 767,000 units during March 2001. Gains in the separate components, systems and aftermarket
automotive sound subcategories are responsible for the overall increase.
05 / 17 / 01
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) who represent recording labels and not musicians and songwriters is now showing their true colors as
today a U.S. House subcommittee will hear from various musicians/songwriters and music industry executives concerning being properly compensated (paid) for having their music sold/streaming
online. Appearing before the House Subcommittee on Courts include MP3.com President Robin Richards, RealNetworks Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser, singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett [who represents the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)], Edgar Bronfman Jr., executive vice chairman of Universal Music Group parent Vivendi Universal, and songwriter Mike Stoller [who represents the
National Music Publishers' Association
"We think the copyright office is well positioned to issue the rules necessary to get the online market moving," said Cary Sherman, general counsel for Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Mean while Carey Ramos who is an attorney for music publishers said "The reality is that songwriters have been ignored -- or taken for granted -- in the debate over distributing music on the Internet... Some Internet companies and record labels want the music publishers to let them use their music for free -- or else have the government step in to force the publishers to do so. That is self-serving and, some might say, hypocritical -- but not fair." The many major recording labels looking to launch their own online music services are deeply concerned as there is no current standard fee, if any, to compensate musical artists for their work if it is streamed online. While the major record labels wish they did not have to pay musical artists, they may be considered just as guilty of stealing music as millions of Napster users have been doing for many months. Of course no one would call the major recording labels thieves for not paying for online music... or would they?
05 / 16 / 01
Linn new Komri loudspeaker is a no-compromise designed for both professional monitoring and hi-end home audio systems. The Komri is a five-way, full range design with an Active Servo Bass System that also includes a 4K acoustic mid-treble array. One very high frequency driver capable of reproducing frequencies upwards of 40 kHz is mated with one midrange driver, one upper bass driver and two long-throw active bass drivers. The unique 4K acoustic driver array developed for this loudspeaker system is claimed to produce a single-point and highly defined acoustic center with a uniform horizontal and vertical dispersion from 100Hz - 40kz. For the lowermost frequencies, each bass driver is coupled to independent on-board active Linn Silent Power Amplification (with Servo Bass Management). Because each room has unique lower frequency support needs, the roll-off characteristics of the bass system can be adjusted via a soft-key control panel on the back of the
05 / 15 / 01
Monster Cable and
Klipsch Audio Technologies will partner to have Monster Cable used within most, if not all new lines of Klipsch
loudspeakers. These new lines include Klipsch's consumer, cinema, systems integration and multimedia loudspeaker lines that will be internally wired with Z-Series Monster Cable. The Z-Series Monster Cable comes in three frequency specific designs and claim to add enhanced definition and detail. The new Klipsch Reference models include two passive floorstanders, a bookshelf model, center channel, surround speaker and three subwoofers. Price points of the eight new loudspeakers range from $650 to $2,200 a pair. The internal wiring on the four existing Klipsch Reference Series will be upgraded to Monster Cable in time for the fall selling season.
05 / 14 / 01
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is on the move against piracy as a 408% increase, 2,560 notices in total, in alerting internet service providers (ISPs) informing them to remove unauthorized content from various web sites. In fact there has been
an 853% increase of removing illegal online auctions of copyrighted music. Continuing this trend of also
thwarting illegal music operations, about a week ago the RIAA in concert with the 7th District Tactical Squad of the Chicago Police Department arrested three individuals involved in the sale of alleged counterfeit CD-Rs and movies. The three people were observed offering illegal, unauthorized goods and the authorities moved in and seized 375 alleged counterfeit CD-Rs along with 150 VHS tapes, and 14 DVD movies. In another event, the Evergreen Park Police Department and the Oak Lawn Police Department, assisted by the Illinois RIAA Anti-Piracy Unit, executed two search warrants related to an investigation of a kiosk in an Evergreen Park, IL shopping mall.
"After a long and thorough investigation we were pleased to be able to work with the Chicago, Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn Police Departments to shut down what turned out to be an extensive pirate music
operation," said Frank Creighton, Senior Vice President and Director of Anti-Piracy for the RIAA.
"We hope to impress upon those intent on engaging in this type of illegal activity that piracy at any level, any where will not be
05 / 12 / 01
Sony, hoping to reach out to the home theater and multi-channel minded consumer, has shown their new single-disc SCD-XA777ES SACD player at the New York City Emap show
(click here to see our exclusive show report). This new unit
(pictured right in silver) is said to be only one of the eleven new multi-channel SACD/CD players to be released this
year. Features inside the new SCD-XA777ES include multi-channel capability, tri-powered Super Audio Digital-to-Analog Converter system with six independent converters (one for each channel). A new optical reading system employs a dual discrete laser pick-up mechanism. The power is supplied by twin R-Core power transformers. Two separate transformers are included (one for audio, the other for digital). Other features include multi-channel analog outputs, a Direct Digital Synch D/A clock system, and for CD playback an optical and a coaxial digital output are provided for. While
the SCD-XA777ES retail price is $3,000, other models of SACD players include the SCD-C555ES five-disc multi-channel SACD/CD changer ($1,700), SCD-C222ES five-disc multi-channel SACD/CD changer (available this
September for about $800), SCD-CE775 five-disc multi-channel SACD/CD changer (available in July for about $400) and the SCD-XE670 single-disc multi-channel SACD/CD player (available in September for about $300).
For those looking for DVD-Video (Dolby Digital and dts) and SACD
playback with the ability to read CD-R/RW, the DVP-NS900V ($1,000 as seen
above in black), the DVP-NC650V
($400), and the DVP-NS500V ($300) are soon to be released as well.
05 / 11 / 01
Sony has announced the first ten new
multi-channel/stereo SACD music
software titles. At the New York City Hi-Fi & Home Theater Event (see
our exclusive show report here) they showcased their new Model SCD-XA777ES ($3,000) multi-channel player,
scheduled for fall 2001 release, during an early
morning press conference today. The new music titles are as follows:
Jeff Beck Blow by Blow
Joshua Bell West Side Story
Miles Davis Kind of Blue
Celine Dion A Decade of Hits
Billy Joel 52nd Street
Bill Joel The Stranger
Earth, Wind & Fire Gratitude
Midori Mozart Sinfonia Concertante
James Taylor Hourglass
Since early phonograph recordings were produced with various, sometimes non-standard phono compensation curves,
Millennia Music & Media Systems has developed their new LPE-2
($9,500) compensation networks for modern
(33.3) and legacy (78) pressings. For recordings in need of sonic repair, the LPE-2 also offers four bands of Class-A biased, all-discrete signal path equalizing filters. The LPE-2 front-end employs Millennia's HV-3 preamplifier technology that is optimized for phono application. User-selectable input impedance, capacitance and a true differentially balanced (double balanced) discrete-hybrid design provide ultra-low noise and high-resolution. In
addition, both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges are accommodated. A 36-step gain range to 60 dB (up to 90 dB upon request), stereo matching to .08 dB (!), polarity reversal, mono functions, and decoding for vertically grooved pressings
are also included.
05 / 10 / 01
XM Satellite Radio has
successfully launched the second satellite called "Roll". This is their final
satellite as Rock was successfully launched in March (see
March 20th News) and soon "Rock" and "Roll", both Boeing 702 satellites which are the world's most powerful commercial satellites built by Boeing Satellite Systems, will be delivering to America upwards of 100 channels of digital radio programming. Consumers will need XM radio hardware will be needed to receive these signals. "With today's successful satellite launch, we have nearly cleared the final hurdle to debut XM's revolutionary radio service late this summer," said XM President and CEO Hugh Panero. "We now have two birds in the sky --completing our constellation, XM-ready radios on retail shelves, our chipsets in production and our broadcast studios creating content." XM's strategic investors include General Motors, American Honda Motor Co. Inc., Clear Channel Communications, DIRECTV and Motient Corporation. XM-ready radios are being manufactured by Alpine, Pioneer, Clarion, Blaupunkt, Delphi-Delco, Sony, Visteon, Panasonic, and Sanyo.
Movie label Artisan
has historically been known to be at the forefront of technology. Their new
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows movie title offers one side with the DVD
movie while the other side is music playable on CD players. This new
DVD+CD technology allows the public to enjoy a movie and the soundtrack, or
other musical content, on a single disc. Future releases could include the DVD
movie on one side with enhanced CD content content on the other. Enhanced CDs
include games, internet links and music. To access games and the internet
content, all one needs to do is play the disc in a computer's CD-Rom/DVD-Rom
drive with internet access.
With the magazine industry already in turmoil concerning
current mailing costs, more bad news was released on May 8th as the
United States Postal Service announced a 1.6% increase in mailing rates
for magazines effective July 1, 2001. Worse still, periodical publishers will see their mailing costs increase 2.6%. This new increase is said to cost magazine publishers approximately $50 million a year according to James Cregan who is the executive vice president of government affairs for the Magazine Publishers of America. Adding insult to injury, the non-profit rate will be hiked up 2.4% while the classroom rate in also increased 2.6%.
Internet publishing is beginning to look very attractive to quite a few
magazine publishers due to the ease of international distribution and
virtually free costs thereof.
05 / 09 / 01
now offers their Z201 ultra-high performance bulk metal foil resistor that provide a
tenfold temperature coefficient of resistance improvement over standard foil resistors
plus a fivefold improvement over previously available foil resistors. With a
+-0.005% resistance tolerance and TCR value of 0.2 ppm/oC, this new
part is targeted for precision test and measurement equipment and other
critical applications where extremely high quality and tight tolerances are
Going under the heading "Bro' can't get a break", MP3.com is fighting yet another lawsuit, this time to the tune of $40 million as rock band Heart, Randy Newman and Tom Waits
allege copyright infringement to a Los Angeles court.
05 / 08 / 01
Because of last month's critical report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report concerning recorded music and the language used with it, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in
combination with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) have formed a new Parental Advisory compliance task force to assist the recording industry in implementing guidelines to insure what some consider to be offensive is properly labeled.
"We are going to do a better job – in particular in those areas pointed out in the FTC report where the
industry's implementation of its own guidelines was lacking," said Hilary Rosen, RIAA President and CEO.
"This task force will ensure that the steps we announced late last year to strengthen our popular Parental Advisory Program are being properly implemented.
"We have supported the Parental Advisory program since its inception, and we welcome the opportunity to work with RIAA on improving it," said Pam Horovitz, NARM President. "We take our responsibility to parents very seriously. We are committed to supporting the work of the joint task force in ensuring that all aspects of the Parental Advisory program work well, particularly the newest guidelines which relate to the Internet."
Those looking for flexible software and own a DVD-Audio player, your prayers
are beginning to be answered. Unlike Sony's proprietary SACD format with very
limited capabilities, the industry standard and approved by the WG-4 DVD-Audio
format has new music titles with added value. Below are a few of the
titles ($24.98 each) released this past week:
Metallica The Black Album
1. Advanced Resolution (24-bit/96 kHz) 6-channel
discreet Surround Sound.
2. Advanced Resolution Stereo
3. DVD Video-compatible Dolby Digital (AC-3) Surround Sound.
4.Connect your player to your TV set for sneak preview footage
of the episode of the TV series "Classic Albums" devoted
entirely to "The Black Album."
Ry Cooder Buena Vista Social Club
1. Advanced Resolution surround,
2. Advanced Resolution stereo
3. DVD-Video compatible Dolby Digital
Steely Dan Two Against Nature
1. Advanced Resolution Stereo
2. Enhanced Resolution 6-Channel Surround Sound
3. DTS 5.1 Surround Sound
4. DVD-Video Compatible Dolby Digital.
05 / 07 / 01
new low-profile ferrite products are for suppressing interference up to 1GHz.
Coming in various sizes for standard ribbon cable widths, this ferrite magnet wrap
claims to suppress the negative effects of radio frequency interference (RFI)
while allowing the signal to travel unimpeded through the wire(s).
05 / 05 / 01
The well respected and critically acclaimed remastered recordings by Mobile
Fidelity have recently been commanding collector pricing as the company went out of business on November 19, 1999
(see that News article here). With various assets sold over time, it has
now been announced that Music Direct, a mail-order software company based in Chicago, has acquired all rights to the Mobile Fidelity
name. Furthermore, the original facility and equipment is also owned by Music Direct. In fact this mail order company claims it was one of Mobile Fidelity’s most successful vendors.
Future releases on the new Mobile Fidelity name will appear on both compact disc and vinyl LP. As for the weight of the LP releases, no solid
decision has been made to choose either 180 (retailing at approximately $30) or 100 gram (retailing at approximately $20).
120 gram vinyl releases are also being considered. Much of the mastering hardware is said to be in the process of considerable upgrading to insure Mobile Fidelity remains one the most advanced and highest sound quality
audiophile remastering labels in the world. DVD-Audio and/or SACD releases are
not in Mobile Fidelity's immediate future.
05 / 04 / 01
The recent court
order to filter out copyrighted songs seems to have caused Napster to loose it's luster as the songs swapped within their service drops 36% in April as compared to May of this year. Still, an amazing 1.59 billion MP3 files were downloaded in April as opposed to an outstanding 2.79 billion in February and 2.49 billion in March.
Meanwhile Aimster has recently entered
the fray into file sharing yet has sought out the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and also America Online as
allies. To make their point loud and clear, Aimster sued the RIAA in Federal District Court in Albany on April 30th looking for a solid
proclamation that the Aimster is not in violation of copyright laws. Aimster differs
from Napster in that the files are swapped within AOL's Instant Messaging system and not via a centralized directory of files as
Napster offers. The RIAA is unhappy with this recent chain of events and is
considering counter suing Aimster. The saga continues...
Recording Industry Association of America acting quickly and has recently filed a motion urging a U.S. District Court judge for a fast ruling or full
dismal on the lawsuit filed by many radio broadcasters over the controversial webcasting
fees. Recent events from the RIAA asking for fees for streaming the same audio content over the internet that radio broadcasters offer via the
airwaves has caused many radio station to cease their internet audio streams until a
legal decision is made (see Enjoy the Music.com
April 18 news). The lawsuit filed by the National Broadcasters and six broadcast companies alleges that the U.S. Register of Copyrights, Marybeth Peters, greatly
extended her authority with a ruling of having radio broadcasters pay record labels for webcasting the musical content.
05 / 03 / 01
A recent study mainly consisting
of college students from six cities in December 2000 and February 2001
revealed the following information:
94% of them have computers
98% of their computers have a
79% download and store music
on their computers
62% have broadband connections
vs. 35% with dial-up
55% go after single songs
50% of the downloads are of
current popular music
50% of the downloads are alternative,
48% of college dormitory rooms
do not have stereos
42% of their time is spent listening
to music on a CD or tape player
38% get their online music from
places other than Napster
33% of their time is spent listening
to music on their computer
30% of their computers have a
26% of downloads are rare, live,
or out-of-print recordings
12% of the music stored on the
computer was from the user's own CD
9% have tried to get an entire
6% had portable MP3 players
college students own an average of
93 CDs they download an average of
34 songs a month
their computers store an average of
05 / 02 / 01
Coming this summer is Stereovox's new line of reference-grade audio cables designed by Chris Sommovigo
who creator of the legendary Illuminati digital and video cables. The Stereovox line is
specifically for use in analog circuits and loudspeaker applications. Two flagship products will make their debut this summer, a line-level interconnect and a loudspeaker cable. Both products are terminated with very unique XHADOW connectors designed by Chris Sommovigo. The SEI-600 single-ended interconnect will retail for $2,100 per meter pair while their LSP-600 loudspeaker cable retails for $6,950 per 2.5 meter pair. Both are covered by a limited lifetime, fully transferable warranty.
Audio, one of the first truly secure internet digital music delivery systems
recently hired Michael R. Bolcerek as CFO (previously Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Finance for Mongomusic that was acquired by Microsoft in November 2000),
is now downsizing their staff by 40% to help enhance their bottom line. Included in the cuts were plans to install retail kiosks and other "non-core" businesses. Liquid Audio is hoping for the same situation with Mongomusic. Specifically a buyout from either a major label or other major music player. Meanwhile EMI Recorded Music and BMG Entertainment have decided to cease merger talks due to regulatory concerns that caused the failure of an EMI - Warner Music Group in the
fourth quarter of 2000.
Top 25 Visited Websites (unique visitors) in March 2001
1. AOL/Time Warner 79,168,000
2. Yahoo! 69,139,000
3. MSN 61,260,000
4. Microsoft 39,976,000
5. Lycos 35,472,000
15. Napster 14,674,000
25 RealNetworks 11,793,000