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High-End Audio Industry News

 

05 / 28  to 06 / 03

nyNOISE  Continuing our excellence in show coverage, Enjoy the Music.com™ has finalized our PRIMEDIA Specialty Group Inc. (Stereophile) pre-show coverage with live reporting beginning on Thursday, May 30th, the very first day of the show. Those who are in the New York City area on Saturday, June 1st are highly recommended to attend the nyNOISE event. As 2002 marks the fourth consecutive year of this show hosted by both JC Morrison and Blackie Pagano, nyNOISE shines the spotlight on those who design their very own equipment. From highly exotic, non-commercial single-ended tube amplifiers to loudspeakers and all in-between, this affair showcases many artisans whose craft is within the audio field. For more details concerning the upcoming nyNOISE show (and read our past three years coverage) please click here.

 

 

Enjoy the Music.com™ has released their June edition of their Review Magazine! While we have been around for well over seven years, our June edition finalizes our third year of always on time monthly equipment and music reviews. This month we are four days ahead of schedule as we pride ourselves in providing more content than most audiophile magazines offer. Please feel free to see the June edition of Enjoy the Music.com™'s Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

05 / 27 / 02

  While a recent decision by the Librarian of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office rejected the proposed royalty rates (upwards of $1.40 per song) from the Internet radio industry (and make it retroactive since 1998), various members of Congress are taking a closer look at payola within the music industry. This is an interesting combination of events as the online streaming music industry is up in arms about the high rates proposed by the music industry. Online radio stations say the high rates would put them out of business. Meanwhile is has been reported that Clear Channel Communications and other large radio corporations have violated laws that make payola, giving financial and other incentives to pay a song, illegal. The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the American Federation of Musicians, and the Recording Academy (Grammy Award organization) delivered a letter to Congress and the Federal Communications Commission asking for an investigation concerning the radio industry.

"The issues in this complaint raise critical First Amendment and communications law issues," said Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Democrat from Michigan.). "{There needs to be] a full and complete airing of the matter so we can begin to resolve all these allegations and protect the best interests of both creators and the listening public."

"Suddenly if an artist or label chooses not to use an independent promoter, they essentially choose not to seek airplay on a radio station," Recording Industry Association of America President Cary Sherman told the Chicago Tribune.

"Clearly the record labels are in trouble these days, but it's not our fault," said Randy Michaels, chief executive of the radio division of Clear Channel. "We didn't create the independent promotion system. They did. We're just dealing with the animal that exists.... For us to be cast as the bad guy here is ridiculous."

 

 

The International CES announced that the 2003 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) will be held Thursday through Sunday, January 9th to 12th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The CES is the world's largest electronics show. While the CES concerns everything from video game systems to audio. during the same time as the CES is also THE Expo that is dedicated to specialty audio products. Please click here to see our 2002 CES coverage. Also, feel free to see our exclusive THE Expo 2002 coverage by clicking here.

 

05 / 24 / 02

PRIMEDIA Speciality Group Inc Home Entertainment 2002 Show  The 2002 Home Entertainment show will once again be held in New York City's Hilton Hotel. Both home theater and specialty audio will be showcased while various educational seminars and live musical performances round out this event. Under new ownership by the PRIMEDIA Specialty Group Inc., sponsors include Home Theater, Stereophile publications, and Audio Video Interiors magazines. Naturally Enjoy the Music.com™ will be there reporting virtually live. Please click here to see our pre-show coverage.

 

 

Rives Audio provides solutions and services for correcting anomalies of the acoustics within the home listening environment. This is done through hardware, software, and personal consultation. High-end hardware solutions are augmented with three levels of acoustical consultation to meet a variety of customer needs. Software products offered include Energy Transfer Function Software, Bass and Room Evaluator, Computer Aided Room Acoustics, a Rives Audio Test CD, and an EMM8 condenser microphone. Hardware components include a stereo Parametric Adaptive Room Compensation (Plus version provides four more audio channels).

 

05 / 23 / 02

Warner Music Group  As the fight for high-resolution digital audio rages on between Sony's proprietary SACD format and the industry accepted standard of DVD-Audio, those who attended the May 16th premiere of George Lucas' Star Wars Episode II Attack Of The Clones within the Century Cinema in Corte Madera, California also enjoyed music in the DVD-Audio format. Warner Music Group (WMG) in partnership with Century Theatres, 5.1 Entertainment, and Dolby Laboratories are looking to help promote the industry standard DVD-Audio format. Music tracks by Barenaked Ladies, Buena Vista Social Club, Eric Clapton, Dishwalla, and The Corrs are just some of the sounds enjoyed by the movie-going audience.

"This innovative effort to bring multi-channel music to pre-show programs is consistent with our goal of offering audiences the best and most advanced theatrical experience available from the moment they enter our theaters," stated Nancy Klasky, Century's VP of marketing. Moviegoers at 25 Century multiplexes, totaling 400 screens, will be hearing the "big sound" of DVD-A surround music by the end of the year.

"You have to hear true, discrete surround sound music to get it," said John Kellogg, Dolby's general manager of multi-channel audio and music. "So we said, let's have more people hear it. DVD-Audio can replicate the surround music experience that it delivers in theaters, and we think once movie audiences hear DVD-Audio, they'll want to bring it home."

Paul Vidich, executive vice president, strategic planning and business development for Warner Music Group said "DVD-A is the most significant audio format to have been introduced since the CD was launched 20 years ago. We are pleased to be joining with Century Theatres, Dolby and 5.1 Entertainment, and are confident that exposure to DVD-A surround music in Century's movie theaters will boost demand for the format in homes." See our interview with Jordan Rost, Senior Vice President of New Technology for the Warner Music Group, by clicking here.

 

 

ATC Concept 1ATC has announced their new Concept 1 multi-loudspeaker range of products ($4,000 for 5.1 setup). Seen right is ATC's new Active Sub04 with a specially modified 9 inch Super Linear Magnet driver and 250-watts amplifier. The Sub04 also includes gold-plated high and low level inputs, gain control, low pass filter selection and phase adjustment. For upper frequencies, the SCM7's and C1's high frequency soft dome driver features a 25mm Neodymium magnet while the midrange/bass driver uses a 45mm soft dome mechanically coupled onto a hand-built 125mm bass cone. The 45mm voice coil is hand wound with flat ribbon wire that are centered in a fine tolerance gap. The Concept 1 Collection is available in cherry real wood veneers including rosewood and professional black to special order.

 

05 / 22 / 02

Thorens  During the High End Society show in Frankfurt Germany only days ago, we found that there is some debate over the ownership of the Thorens name. Thorens, long know for turntable and who also made some electronics, sent me the below statement:

INTERTHORENS MARKETING AG

Gerbergasse 48, 4001 Basel

Telefon 061 - 261 18 88 
Telefax 061 - 261 18 87 
e-mail: buergin.law@mydiax.ch 

Press information 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the sole owner to the Rights of the Brand Thorens HiFi and Consumer Electronics including the registered brand label "Thorens" we would like to announce a restructuring of the ownership and shareholder organisation. New management has been appointed to begin step by step re-launching of the brand Thorens. Presently we are working on a new concept, which anticipates improved turntables in the medium to high price range; additionally we are also evaluating a new electronics line. Finally, we are looking for new partners - both in production as well as in distribution. Negotiations have already begun to take place. Thorens will remain a global presence.

In order to dispel any false speculation, rumours and misinformation that has circulated in the past, we would like to announce, effective immediately, Thorens Export Corporation Ltd. Kaiseraugst / Switzerland, has been appointed to manage the OEM-production sector. They will also manage promotion and distribution among existing and new distributors. Major organisational changes are foreseen for England and the USA.
There will be a new company established in Germany for distribution to the important German market and to a few selective European countries to be announced later.

We feel it is important to keep our clients and customers informed constantly about any further development in the Thorens organisation. We have had dissatisfied customer relations in the past and we will alleviate problems in the future. We will strive to keep you informed of any additional information, as it becomes available.

Interthorens Marketing Ltd
Basel / Switzerland

Dr. M. Bürgin
Member of the board

 

 

Rotel Euro SeriesRotel has announced their all new, affordable line of stereo components. Their new Euro Series consists of the RA-02 stereo integrated amplifier ($499), RCD-02 CD Player ($499), and RT-02 AM/FM tuner ($299). Rotel's RA-02 integrated amplifier produces 40 watts per channel with low distortion, even at low-power levels, thereby preserving fine musical detail and dynamic nuance due to the use of an "oversized" regulated low-impedance power supply. A fully symmetrical PCB layout, metal-film resistors and specialized capacitors help to insure audiophile quality sound. The RA-02 features a remote control, five stereo inputs, including moving magnet phono, plus a tape-monitor loop. Tone controls are defeatable while dual loudspeaker outputs are provided for. Rotel's RCD02 CD player employs a regulated power supply, delta/sigma 18-bit DAC, HDCD capabilities and an 8x-oversampling digital filter. The RT-02 AM/FM tuner offers good tuning sensitivity and selectivity combined with 30 preset station memories and manual/auto-search/numerical direct frequency tuning.

 

05 / 21 / 02

Defeat Sony's Key2Audio Protection Scheme  Are you tired of dealing with Sony's new Key2Audio copy-protection scheme on their music CDs? Then simply get out your Sharpie permanent marker and fill in the outermost part of the disc according to Internet users. Various Internet newsgroups have been all abuzz about this easy method of defeating Sony's high-tech music protection scheme that is said to thwart off music copying/sharing/burning. Approximately 11 million copy-protected discs are currently in Europe, while the United States is just now seeing quite a few of Sony's protected discs as they reach retail stores. Part of Sony's protection scheme is to make said discs unplayable in computers and other CD-Rom type drives. The problem with these discs is that, once innocently inserted into a computer's disc drive, it may cause problems that could lead to data loss. Computer hardware company Apple has provided a warning to their users (see our May 16th new article below concerning this situation). To quote a Reuters' article "Reuters obtained an ordinary copy of Celine Dion's newest release A New Day Has Come, which comes embedded with Sony's "Key2Audio" technology. After an initial attempt to play the disc on a PC resulted in failure, the edge of the shiny side of the disc was blackened out with a felt tip marker. The second attempt with the marked-up CD played and copied to the hard drive without a hitch." So go ahead and get yourself a Sharpie permanent marker and show Sony how high-tech their Key2Audio really is. While we at Enjoy the Music.com™ do not endorse the illegal copying, buying, or trading of music. We uphold the rights of legal music owners and consumers to use their music in an appropriate, above-board manner.

 

 


Hoping to make a more controllable, legal peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing available on the Internet, hip-hoppers Ace Ha and Sammy Brazil of MaddWest have launched their Altnet system. Musical artists can submit music to Altnet's P2P server coded with a rights management scheme to allow music owners control over the sharing and playability of their music. This system will also enable a fee for play scheme so the music's owner can receive monetary compensation accordingly. Of course with sites such as Gnutella, KaZaA, Morpheus and others still online, one wonders how Altnet's model will succeed. Of particular noteworthiness, it has been reported that Altnet will soon ask KaZaA users to lend disk space by installing their software to aid Altnet in overall network disc space. The benefit to volunteers would be the possibility of airfare, hotel rooms and other gifts.

 

05 / 20 / 02

  With online file swapping said to be taking a bite from worldwide CD music sales, the music industry is looking to lower the cost of music at retail stores. It has been reported by analysts, executives and retailers that discounted CDs (under $10) have been experiencing an upsurge in sales. While highly popular new releases by longstanding musical artists will probably remain at top pricing points, new artists and older popular recordings could be discounted to as low as $7.99. As an example, Universal's new release of Vanessa Carlton But Not Nobody sells for around $11 in New York stores while he album reached the top five position within Billboard charts. "Eleven out of our top 50 albums recently were selling at very low prices," says Jim Kaminski, a buyer for Tower Records in New York. "The cheap pricing has become a big trend. And companies are noticing that it's paying off."

 

 

NapsterOn May 16th Enjoy the Music.com reported that Napster CEO Konrad Hilbers and founder Shawn Fanning resigned from the company is the midst of financial and legal turmoil. Today we are here to report that Bertelsmann AG has officially acquired the file sharing service for $8 million. This money is greatly needed to pay off creditors and to keep the service afloat... for now. Other file sharing services such as KaZaA and Morpheus have taken most of the audience Napster once achieved while the RIAA is still pressing hard on Napster to pay royalties to major recording labels due to Napster's previous activities. "We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Napster’s Board of Directors," said Joel Klein, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, Inc. "We’re happy to see Napster move forward with Konrad Hilbers at the helm. We are very committed to providing artists the best possible distribution opportunities for their work, and to providing consumers more choice and control. Creating new ways of doing business is never easy, but Napster will be at the forefront of finding business models that respect copyright, reward artists, and deliver entertainment value to consumers. Peer to peer is a transforming technology and we’re proud to have Shawn Fanning continue to work on its development."

"Bertlesmann understood our vision when they first invested in us. They still believe in that vision" said Shawn Fanning. "I'm ready to work with the many talented people at Napster to complete the new service and get it off the ground."

 

05 / 17 / 02

Linn ADIKT Moving Magnetic Cartridge  While Linn has been steadily building on their multi-room and home cinema gear, they are also very keen on vinyl replay as Linn's new moving magnet ADIKT cartridge attests to. This value priced cartridge features simple installation, a distinctive rigid body geometry, and replaceable stylus assembly.

Specifications:
Type: Moving magnet phono cartridge
Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz (+/- 2dB)
Load Resistance: 47kohms
Load Capacitance: 150 to 200pF
Output Voltage: 6.5mV
Stylus Type: Replaceable
Tracking Weight: 1.5g to 2.5g

Pricing:
UK: £195
Sweden: Kr3,200
Switzerland: SF440
Norway: Kr2,700
Denmark: Kr2,600
USA: $350
Canada: $465

 

 

Gryphon Prelude Pre-Amplifier and  Encore Amplifier Gryphon has released new electronics and loudspeaker design. Specifically, their new Prelude pre-amplifier (€7,000), Encore amplifier (€12,000) and Cantata loudspeaker (€19,000). The Sonata features a completely dual mono design with an ultra-wide bandwidth said to reach into the MHz bandwidth. No negative feedback, balanced operation, and "Class A" in all stages are just some of the features in Gryphon's new design. The new Encore stereo amplifier produces 500 watts per channel operating in "Class A/B". Both balanced and unbalanced inputs are provided for. Rounding out Gryphon's offerings is their Cantata monitor loudspeaker system. This two-way system features a sophisticated active bass interface (Q Control) that is said to "essentially match the loudspeaker with the room acoustics". All drivers are angled so that the listener is in the acoustic hotspot of each driver in the system. All drivers are in-phase at all frequencies at all time. Impedance is never lower that 4.7 ohms and efficiency is 90dB/W/m.

 

05 / 16 / 02

Napster  From dot com to dot bomb, Napster seemingly had the world in their hands with millions of users, today it not only loses their CEO Konrad Hilbers, but also founder Shawn Fanning in the midst of bankruptcy talk. The peer to peer file exchange websites have been a hot ticket, yet legalities of freely posting copyrighted music received the attention of the RIAA and major music labels. With various lawsuits in 2001 costing Napster millions of dollars, their website was ordered by the United States judicial system to shut down until a proper, legal way of file exchange could be conducted. With Napster virtually dead for many months during this transitional period they have expended much of their resources to become a legal resource. Meanwhile websites such as Gnutella, KaZaA, Morpheus and others have been thriving during the demise of Napster. With Napster's last hope of selling their services to German media giant Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) falling through, Napster may be on their last breath as they owe BMG millions of dollars due to a previous financial bail out.

"We regret that the Napster shareholders were unable to reach an agreement regarding the offer from Bertelsmann," the company said in a statement. "However, we continue to believe in the value of peer-to-peer technology. We are hopeful that Napster's brand and technology will be able to realize its potential as a compelling consumer proposition... We deeply regret that we have not yet been able to find a funding solution that would allow Napster to launch a service to benefit artists and consumers alike. We will be looking at additional steps in the coming week to further reduce expenses."

 

 

AppleCare Knowledge BaseOn May 14th Apple computers released a file on their AppleCare Knowledge Base explaining to users about the possibly illegal protected "music compact discs" that will not work within their computers. Only days later Apple seems to have removed the file that contains advice on dealing with these protected music discs. To quote the Apple search engine "You may be unable to eject certain copy-protected audio discs, which resemble Compact Discs (CD) but technically are not. Some computers start up to a gray screen after a copy protected disc has been left in the computer." The file was last modified May 14, 2002, goes under "Doc Number 106882", and explained to users the problems occurred with these protected music discs and solutions in dealing with them. Methods of resolution included turning off the computer while holding the mouse button during start up, to using a paper clip or other small pointy object to force the disc drive to eject the disc. While these new protected music discs do not technically damage the computer, they could cause a loss of data on currently opened files that have not been saved to a file.

 

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05/01   to   05/15


 

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