05 / 31 / 07
Online music heats up, but still lagging in quality versus quantity.
Apple has reached an agreement with EMI
to offer DRM-free music at a still highly compressed 256kbs AAC encoded rate. " iTunes Plus is launching with EMI's digital catalog of outstanding recordings, including singles and albums from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane and more than a dozen of Paul McCartney's classic albums available on iTunes for the first time." says the company's press release. Those who have already purchased EMI songs can upgrade to the DRM-free version for 30 cents per song or $3 per album.
In other music-related news, major American media network
CBS has purchased music social network Last.fm
"The Social Music Revolution" for $280 million. Jupiter Research representative David Card said concerning the
acquisition, "It's an aggressive move. Last.fm is a really good service. Everybody has a slightly different experience, but they do a great job of integrating community with music discovery."
And in the ever declining of music quality, Pandora
Media's internet radio will soon be available on Sprint phones in
America. With a staggering seven million registered users and the third-largest Internet radio service, Pandora will be offering their services to Sprint phone users for $2.99 per month. Equipment manufacturer
Sonus, a company that provides high quality home-wide audio and video devices, will also be offering Pandora Media to their users for $36 per year. There is no data concerning at what bitstream rate they will be delivering to Sprint phones and Sonus users.
05 / 30 / 07
Audio's new Pre-100 ($1015) is a continuation of the companies strong
belief in the use of discrete opamps, discrete power regulators and discrete power
amplification. Key features of their Pre-100 include Burson's discrete audio buffer, the complete lack of ICs as
discrete rules the day, hand picked and closely matched transistor pairs, optimized
signal path to reduce any capacitive coupling effect, custom built low noise power supply and transformer. The unit can produce an extremely high 25 Volts peak-to-peak with a frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz with <0.005% THD. The Pre-100 has three inputs and two pairs of
stereo outputs, all via unbalanced female RCA connectors.
05 / 24 / 07
Acoustics now offers their Indra floorstanding loudspeaker (under $20,000). Representing the culmination of 20 years of research and development in the areas of transient response, bandwidth, noise floor and octave-to-octave energy balance, the Indra is said to set a new standard for realistic reproduction of the complete musical event. Driver compliment includes a 1-inch concave
ceramic tweeter with neodymium magnet, 3.5-inch concave ceramic dome midrange, and two 7-inch
Nomex Kevlar cone woofers. Overall frequency range is from 28Hz to 25kHz with a 4 Ohm load and 87dB/W/m sensitivity. Also of note is the use of "proprietary crossover technologies" that features crossover dampening networks claimed to "virtually eliminate driver overhang and energy storage." Overall weight is 112 lbs. and dimensions are 41 x 10 x 16 (HxWxD in inches).
05 / 23 / 07
Room acoustics and sound wave control devices are not only needed, they are
becoming a hot market as Diffraction
Be Gone and Advanced
Acoustics offer devices that tame undesirable sound reflections to achieve higher performance from your sound
system. At Diffraction Be Gone they offer affordable ($65 per pair) high quality compressed wool 3/8" thick that adheres to your loudspeaker's faces via Velcro tabs that encompasses your
driver(s). The idea is to keep the upper range sound waves from diffracting off the cabinet's hard surface, thereby causing time smearing. The two products offered include a smaller one for loudspeakers with 4.5" mid/bass drivers and centered tweeter while the larger size is for units with 6.5" mid/bass
Tackling the other known acoustic problem is room treatment as
new Photophonic Acoustic Panels offer a choice of 11 different digital images in both portrait and landscape
if you don't see a print you like that is no problem as users can easily send a digital
copy of the image they desire and the company will screen print it. Of course normal solid color are also
available. The panels are professionally screen printed onto specially selected open weave cloth which is both hard wearing and fire retardant with the added bonus of being easy to maintain. Pure 2" professional high grade acoustic foam mounted is mounted onto 6mm High Density
Fiberboard (HDF) and finished off with the screen printed panel. The panels can mounted with either Velcro strips pre-fastened to the back of the panel or they can be hung like a picture with a hanging kit on the back. Prices vary as the company offers many different sizes and shapes depending on the task at hand.
05 / 22 / 07
has just introduced the Piccolo moving coil (MC) amplifier ($299). As an alternative to expensive step-up transformers, the Piccolo provides very low noise active gain in adjustable steps, independent of the adjustable resistive loading. This combination allows for easy system matching to any moving coil cartridge. The circuitry employs zero-feedback
Class-A gain stages built using discrete matched JFETs. The Piccolo is powered from four internal AA
batteries or a supplied wall-wart. A DIY half-kit version ($79) comes with the expensive JFETs pre-installed. It also comes with hardware specific for proper assembly (3 screws, 3 nuts, 1 LED dome, 1 lock ring, 2 terminals, 2 washers, and 2 caps). The remaining parts will cost
approximately $70 from DigiKey.
05 / 17 through 05 / 20
Enjoy the Music.com is now reporting live
from the High End Society show in Munich, Germany. As the most important show of the season, below are a few things that will make their appearance at the
Munich High End Society show:
A & B Lautsprecher's AB Planar is a patented flat-panel transducer which integrates totally invisibly into walls or ceilings after
mounting. Its sophisticated diaphragm construction allows a dispersion angle of 180°, creating with just a few
single systems an absolutely homogeneous sound dispersion in the room with an excellent voice and music reproduction. Using the custom-designed mounting frame, the AB Planar is flush-mounted into the hollow wall or
Universal wireless docking station in CD quality by GREATech
will be show. The Audio Fly product range from GREATech is a robust and wireless digital hi-fi audio
transmission line in the 2.4GHz ISM frequency band on the market and is therefore used in a large number of high-end stereo and home theater applications worldwide. Audio Fly has a coverage of
approximately 300 meter and can easily penetrate at least two walls and/or ceilings. The transmission principle is absolutely immune against
interfering sources such as WLAN, bluetooth, microwave ovens, WDCT telephones and analogue wireless A/V
radio products. Up to 6 wireless stereo systems can be operated simultaneously in one room. The youngest family
member in this series is a universal wireless docking station with inputs for e.g. CD and MP3 player.
High respected headphone manufacturer Beyerdynamic will present their Headzone system that is claimed to
create a perfect ambient surround sound via headphones. Thanks to the exclusive “Headtracking”
technology, the company says the sound is "just as convincing as it gets with a multi-channel loudspeaker system for 5.1 home cinema
reproduction." To this end, the system which had originally been designed for recording professionals processes the output
signal of multi-channel sound sources in such a way that a perfect room simulation with left/right and front/back
localization is created under the headphones. When listening to loudspeakers in a room, the sound sources
always keep their acoustic positions even if the listener moves his head – this crucial audio-physiological
impression coins the natural sound and room perception in a decisive manner.
T+A will be is presenting their new Criterion TL Series transmission line
loudspeakers. This innovative new series consists of five new models: two floorstanders, one bookshelf type, one center speaker plus an active subwoofer.
The company says the new series is "A noble, timeless design, perfect craftsmanship
down to the smallest detail and speaker chassis designed from scratch make these loudspeakers stand out acoustically and visually alike. A
series which offers everything that audiophile stereo friends and large-scale home cinema fans can possibly wish
See our ongoing Munich High End
Society show coverage by clicking here.
05 / 14 / 07
Enjoy the Music.com has posted our first
PRIMEDIA New York City 2007 show report, with additional coverage by other
journalists to follow in the coming days. Dr. Bill Gaw shares his feelings
concerning the venue, the trade day, and his impressions of the rooms. His
report spans two pages with well over twenty photos for your enjoyment. To
read Dr. Bill Gaw's report please click
June / July edition of The Absolute Sound is now
online! Enjoy the Music.com features the complete table of contents
and this month's editorial where Robert Harley says, "This special issue
of The Absolute Sound focuses on everything analog — turntables,
cartridges, phono preamps, and LPs. To someone outside the high end, it might
seem strange that an audio magazine in 2007 would devote any coverage
to playing records, never mind 46 pages of coverage. But the reality is that
sales of LPs and LP-playback hardware have been growing steadily for the past
10 years. What's going on?" To enjoy our online content from this edition
of The Absolute Sound please click here.
05 / 11 / 07
will be launching their new Akurate system at the upcoming High End
Society show in Germany. Slated to be available in June, the system consists of a CD player, tuner, Kontrol preamplifier, plus a range of power amplifiers and loudspeakers. The Akurate System allows easy access to CD, DVD Audio, and Super Audio CD recordings in either stereo or surround sound. Linn's new tuner
features AM, FM, and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). Naturally the unit also work with Linn's Knekt multi-room system.
upcoming Stereophile Show, highly
respected high-end audio company Simaudio
will be launching their Moon Audio CD-1 CD player, i-1 integrated amplifier
(pictured), and LP-3 phono preamplifier ($1,349, $1,349, and $499 respectively). The CD-1 features eight stages of DC voltage regulation, upsampling using 24-bit/352.8kHz processing, and BurrBrown's PCM1793 high-resolution 24-bit/192-kHz digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with 8X oversampling digital filter.
Simaudio's Moon i-1 integrated amplifier incorporates an oversized power supply using a custom toroidal transformer design for outstanding electrical delivery to the circuitry. The rated output of 50 wpc @ 8 Ohms (100 @ 4 Ohms) are produced from a pair of bipolar output
devices, which operate in Class A up to 5 watts of output. A headphone jack plus six line-level inputs
— including one front-mounted 1/8-inch mini-jack — allows for easy of use in multi-source systems that also incorporate a portable music device (iPod,
Zune, etc.). Lastly, the Moon LP3 phono preamplifier has user-adjustable impedance loading (100 and
47kOhms), capacitance loading (0 and 100pF), and gain settings for moving magnet (40dB) and moving coil cartridges (60dB). The external power supply ensures that critical low-level analog circuitry it
keep away from the possibility power supply's noise.
05 / 10 / 07
Online sales reach one of high-end audio's top companies as award-winning loudspeaker manufacturer
Thiel Audio has appointed online and mail order catalog company
Crutchfield as a retail sales agent. While
some high-end audio manufacturers have specific contracts that do not permit online sales, for the first time in the company's thirty year history Thiel is now opening the
opportunity to purchase their products via the Internet. Crutchfield will feature 10 primary models selected from
Thiel's current lineup, with prices ranging from $990 to $5,450. The product mix will include traditional floor-standing speakers, in-wall and on-wall architectural speakers, and Thiel's award-winning line of subwoofer
products. Perhaps this is yet another sign of how even the most reserved
high-end audio company is realizing it is time to allow online retailer sales
due to the huge market it presents worldwide.
05 / 09 / 07
is about to begin shipping their Super Multi Blue BD Rewriter model GGW-H10N for home computers (said to be around $1,200). This is the world's first Blu-ray Rewriter and HD DVD-ROM drive capable of 50GB of storage capacity per disc (BD Dual Layer) and works with BD/HD DVD plus DVD/CD formats. Connected via Serial ATA, video outputs include composite, component, and HDMI (v1.2) while audio outputs include TOSlink optical, coaxial, HDMI, stereo via RCA, and analog 5.1 via RCA. While the unit may
be considered great for video buff who want to make their own high resolution Blu-ray discs, HD DVD playback is a plus as is the supported EDTV and HDTV video resolutions (480p, 720p, 1080i, 480i, and 1080p). High resolution audio recording is also possible to various DVD and Blu-ray recording
formats. Of interesting note is that audiophiles seeking DVD-Audio and SACD
are left out in the cold as sales for these formats are said to be plummeting.
look back at news from... October 05, 2006
Cutting edge electronics' manufacturer Toshiba, a company with worldwide sales of over $54 billion, has introduced the world's first HD DVD writer for mobile
PCs. This new development will allow notebook PC users to both read and write high-definition audio and video content while enjoying backward compatibility with all DVD and CD formats. At only 12.7 millimeters in height, the SD-L902A will have 8MB of memory buffer meets the constraints of the mobile PC environment. No pricing has been set and expected shipments should begin before then end of this year.
While the United
States is battling the heated debate concerning increased fees for streaming music online, as reported months ago on
Enjoy the Music.com's Industry News page, there is now a brief
reprieve while today a truly global organization may be taking the lead. Fees will slowly ramp upward for online radio
stations per United States law, yet with the Internet being truly worldwide one can only wonder how the
United States government plans to collect and account for the wide diversity of listeners. To the rescue, as it were, may not be the
United States government more than 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. This
international organization has claimed to make "major step forward in cross border music licensing regime." Online music services and broadcasting
organizations "should find it easier from today to gain licenses to stream music across several territories, thanks to an arrangement put in place between IFPI - which represents the recording industry worldwide - and record company collecting societies" says the press release. Basically, a pair of licensing agreements will create the framework licensing of producers' rights for various streaming and podcast services. This will make life easier for those who desire obtaining cross-border online rights licenses instead of obtaining
legal rights from each territory separately or approaching the right holders directly. The IFPI says, "It is expected that more than 40 collecting societies, covering most of the key music markets worldwide, will sign up to these two agreements." Frances Moore, IFPI's regional director for Europe, says, "The record industry's mantra is to license, license, license. We want consumers to be able to listen to our music anywhere, any time through any device as long as it is legal. These landmark agreements will further streamline the licensing process and help broadcasters and online music services deliver music across boundaries. We only hope that other music right holders will follow suit."
05 / 08 / 07
We have just posted the May/June
2007 issue of The Sensible Sound online. This month features staff
picks, various equipment reviews, and a Rambling by Technical Editor David A.
Rich. In his Rambling, David writes "I recommended the Sony RCDW500C CD recorder in Issue 108, but have since discovered that the unit's reliability is suspect. Two units of which I have direct knowledge went south within a window of 6 to 12 months. Both refused to record or finalize, giving error codes instead. Amazon.com and other user experience blogs report a similar frequency of failures. Unplugging the unit might be a quick fix, but who wants to risk the unit malfunctioning in the midst of a critical recording. Sony's press representative could not provide any additional information on the products reliability."
To read the complete Rambling and see the entire table of contents for The
Sensible Sound click here.
05 / 07 / 07
newly announced UD-10 USB digital to audio converter ($109) includes AES/EBU (110 Ohm via XLR), S/PDIF (75 Ohm via RCA or BNC), TOSlink optical, and USB
input. Output is via a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. "Proprietary impedance matching circuits for AES/EBU (110ohm), Coaxial (75ohm)
digital outputs applies the specially designed pulse transformers for each AES/EBU
and Coaxial outputs to further isolated interference from Trends UD-10 to the external
Digital to Analog Converters (DAC). The most pure, accurate, standard digital signal
is then regenerated with minimum interference and jitter. It is a very dynamic
way to convert your computer (Desktop, Laptop etc.) to a first class CD Transport",
Trends Audio's chief designer Ricky Leung said, " With proprietary dual power regulation circuits design (normal implementations are just directly apply the 5V
USB bus power), no matter the power is supplied from the USB bus or from external
socket, it is regulated before supply to the related ICs. The Dual regulated powers
are supplied to digital circuits and analog circuits individually".
05 / 04 / 07
will soon be showcasing their new Be-718s monitor loudspeaker ($2,500 per pair, seen here in prototype form).
Featuring Ushers' own 1.5-inch Be beryllium dome tweeters and carbon-impregnated paper-cone midbass drivers, the specialized tweeter is created by heating beryllium formers to greater than 700 degrees, then transforming them into brittle but extremely high-strength beryllium oxide. It is said this ceramic's enormous strength-to-weight ratio pushes the Be dome tweeter's transient response to an extraordinary level while minimizing distortion as no fabric-dome can claim. Naturally Usher has employed their
Symme-Motion® technology to the drivers, which symmetrically locates the voice coil within each driver's magnetic field 'linearizing' the motor's movements. With none other than loudspeaker guru Dr. Joseph D'Appolito serving Usher as their technical consultant, providing guidance in crossover design, the new Usher Audio Be-718 should be an extremely promising engineering feat. The cabinet is crafted with wood panels for a luxurious look not usually found in loudspeakers at this price range.
05 / 03 / 07
Enjoy the Music.com
has just posted an extensive Le Festival
Son et Image de Montreal 2007 show report spanning 5 pages with nearly 50
photos! Rick Becker's report is one of the most ambitious to date
anywhere online and not to be missed!
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released their 2006 annual report while the
Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) has released their sales figures for the first quarter of
2007. The 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 the United States, report that "Digital music formats again demonstrated growth in 2006, with 586 million digital singles downloaded - a 60 percent increase over 2005 - and 28 million albums downloaded, a 103 percent increase. Revenues from various mobile formats grew 84 percent to $775 million and subscription service revenues were $206 million, a 38 percent increase versus the prior year. The growth in digital revenues partially compensated for the decline in physical sales." While physical CD sales have declined 12.8 percent, the staggering growth on online music sales of $11.5 billion have still left an overall decline of 6.2 percent as compared to 2005. Of note is that Latin music sales have shown a dramatic decrease of 21.3 percent in value as compared to 2005. "Today's music marketplace has challenges but it also offers reason for hope and optimism," said Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. "The appetite for music is as strong as ever and a digital marketplace now worth nearly $2 billion has emerged virtually overnight."
Click here to for the 2006 Year-End Shipment Statistics.
On a more recent note, the Canadian Recording Industry, an organization that promotes the interests of Canadian record companies, has noted a loss of 35 percent during the first quarter of 2007 as compared to the same time in 2006. While 2006 saw a 12 percent drop, this continual decline in sales is troubling for Canada. Naturally they are citing illegal online file sharing, as their press release claims that "Unabated counterfeiting and Internet file-swapping" as being cited as the primary factors responsible for the loss in sales. "We've experienced sizeable short-term drops before, but nothing compares to the drastic numbers we're seeing so far this year," said CRIA President Graham Henderson. Another CRIA member, Terry Canham who is President of Green Note Inc. and claimed to be Canada's premier business services firm for musicians, said "Though I can't talk about individual clients, I can confirm that the income of Canadian recording artists, large and small, has taken a beating over the last several years. Any suggestion that Canadian artists have entered into some kind of golden digital age is dangerously wrong and does a disservice to the artistic community." On a
strange note is that the CRIA is crying how Canada is relatively undeveloped within the digital marketplace. Have these guys heard of iTunes, Rhapsody, or other online services they could easily license their music to? As for the numbers, net value of wholesale physical music sales in Canada fell 35 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to $68.7 million, from $105.6 million during the same period in 2006. Unit sales of CDs, music DVDs and other "physical" formats were 7.1 million vs. 10.2 million. On another interesting note and one of
sarcastic humor is that the CRIA must still be using Commodore 64 computers, as the statistics stated above do not include digital sales, for which this writer has a sneaking
suspicion are up as compared to the previous year and probably will help show a growing trend away from physic media and gains in online music sales as experienced by their friends in the United States.
Let us hope the new Rush album Snakes & Arrows does well, if at
least to help bring Canadian album sales back into focus.
05 / 02 / 07
With the largest, most important high-end audio show
of the season only two weeks away, many manufacturers and distributors are
preparing for the upcoming Munich, Germany,
High End Society show. With hundreds of
manufacturer brands and many world premiers to be seen and heard, Enjoy the
Music.com will be there every day of the show reporting live! 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. 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)
05 / 01 / 07
Enjoy the Music.com
presents new equipment reviews, many show reports plus other articles within
our May 2007 Review Magazine! The Montreal
audiophile show report and Head-Fi's
Headfest coverage are now online, with many pages and photos from each
event now yours to enjoy. We features a very special guest editorial by
Leonard Norwitz titled Ruminations On Altered States Head-Fi 2007 that is not
to be missed! Reviews within the May 2007 edition include Coal to Coltrane,
PrimaLuna's ProLogue Seven monoblock amplifier & ProLogue Three
preamplifier, Response Audio's Musica Bella SP-AV-1 loudspeakers and Triode's
TRV-M88SE monoblock amplifiers. Of course many think pieces and music reviews
help round out our latest publication. See the May issue of our Review
Magazine by clicking here.
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