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High-End Audio Industry News


05 / 30 / 08

  Get ready for the next generation of audio codec as Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) is hoping to make their six-channel MT9 file type a mainstream format. Unlike virtually all current audio file types where a mere two channel stereo signal is encoded/decoded, the MT9 format allows users not just to have more channels, these channels can be altered in such a way as to have each instrument within a channel. This would allow custom editing for not just nightclub karaoke, but to eliminate a specific instrument for musicians can act as the missing musician too. Furthermore, if each instrument has its own channel, creative artists can then manipulate the tracks and make their own artistic creation, thereby making a new version of the song that suits their desire. Being brought into a consumer version via by venture company Audizen, the possibilities of the MT9 format are wide open, with electronics manufacturers LG and Samsung possibly being the first to offers products that ate MT9 capable. Furthermore, MT9 is on the lips of the members of the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Stay tuned here on Enjoy the Music.com as we will keep tabs on this new development and report here accordingly.

 

MCPS-PRS AllianceEnjoy the Music.com has been reporting on the death of the hard format digital disc for music as Internet delivery is making headway into sales, and now we have this to report: The UK's MCPS-PRS Alliance, an organizations that collects and pays music royalties to artists, has reported that results from 2007 are such that broadcast and Internet have outstripped their hard format counterpart. Rated in millions, broadcasters and online service providers helped to earn £155.5 while physical products (e.g. CDs, DVDs) only reached £151.8. No longer does the physical format disc hit the gold standard for generating revenue, a first time achievement as online sales continue to increase with each passing year. Online royalties increased significantly (54 percent) year-on-year, largely due to the growth in the legal online music sales. Meanwhile during the same period worldwide CD sales were down 13 percent. Online sales are also extremely efficient according to the alliance as processing and distribution of the royalties is at just over 10 percent. This is said to be one of the lowest in the world. Keep in mind that the number of transactions increased a staggering 40 percent. Chief Executive of the Alliance, Steve Porter, said, "Much is written about the state of the music industry, but these results show a healthy story about the increased use of music in almost all areas of our business. The downturn of 11.1 percent in physical product was more than compensated by innovation and growth in licensing in other areas of the business. Further overall growth is expected for 2008 which is fantastic news for the creators of music everywhere and helps fuel the long-term future of great music for all."

 

05 / 29 / 08

Boulder 1021 Disc Player  Boulder just moments ago officially announced their 32-bit/192kHz capable model 1021 disc player ($24,000). This new disc player enables high-resolution music playback within traditional CD player format and showcases a number of features not ordinarily provided in traditional disc players. Two years and over $1,000,000 in development is said to have resulted in a dramatically improved level of sound quality from the CD format. The unit also handles discs encoded with FLAC, AIFF, WAV (PCM), OGG Vorbis and MP3 files at data rates up to 32-bits and 192kHz. Other notable features include an internal volume control in addition to traditional fixed output, a 6.5-inch full-color LCD display that shows track listings, menus, setup features, and more. A parallel video output connection is provided to also feed secondary displays. The display also shows track listings, artist, album, etc pulled from an Internet connection that links to a database. The Boulder 1021 will memorize thousands of listener preferences and programmed play lists for discs if instructed to do so. On the digital to analog side, Boulder's ultra-low jitter precise interval clock is employed and synchronization is handled by Boulder's precise interval clock. While Redbook CD data is upsampled to a minimum rate of 24-bits at 705.6kHz, files with data rates higher than 16-bit/44.1kHz will be processed at higher rates. Numerous external connections include one for parallel VGA display, Ethernet, IR input, Boulder Link, AES digital output, and 12V triggering.

 

From 05 / 03 / 02

Boulder 2020Thee Boulder 2020 Advance D/A converter eschews ICs intended for video amplification and employs five gain stages dubbed 993 per channel. The first 993 is used for current to voltage conversion at the output of the DACs; three more comprise the 6-pole Bessel anti-imaging analog filter for the best transient response; a fifth unit provides balanced audio output. Total crystal re-clocking is said to completely eliminated jitter, and an eight times oversampling FIR digital filter to produce superb transient response. Five Burr-Brown DACs in parallel per channel lower distortion and increase accuracy to theoretical limits. Boulder's unique three-chassis design affords maximum isolation between digital and analog circuitry. The separate power supply chassis houses independent regulated supplies for each channel, as well as the digital / display chassis. The Advance time correction feature adjusts for improved stereo imaging even when the recording or listening position is less than ideal. It can be programmed for several listening positions with easy return to normal settings, an improvement over the company's claim that normal balance controls adjust levels between audio channels adequate only if your listening position is at a fixed point equidistant from the loudspeakers. Special features of the 2020 Advance include a programmable alpha-numeric display ; programmable digital record output; and digital clipping indicators. Connectivity includes 4 digital AES/EBU inputs, 1 ST Glass Fiber and 1 TOSLINK input, 2 AES/EBU digital outputs and two analog balanced outputs. Supported sampling rates are 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz. The Boulder 2020 Advance DAC measures 18" x x.875 x 16.25 (WxHxD) for the converter, and 18" x 4.25" x 15.5" (WxHxD) for the power supply. Combined shipping weight is 63.5 lbs.

 

05 / 28 / 08

Spectron Musician III Signature Edition Mk. 2 Flagship Amplifier  Spectron Audio's new Musician III Signature Edition Mk. 2 flagship amplifier ($7,195, with those wishing to upgrade from Signature to Signature Mk. 2 for $695 plus shipping). Musician III SE Mk. 2 is ideally suited to being deployed as fully balanced monoblock amplifiers which can deliver 7000 watts (for 500 msec). This unit represents the latest step in the evolutionary development of the company's Musician III technology that was first introduced four years ago. The new Mk. 2 model features an improved input stage and redesigned, simplified output stage. It incorporates numerous upgraded parts throughout, including new power switching modules, audiophile-quality wire and custom-designed capacitors in the sonically crucial reconstruction filter. The design team believe that they achieved timbral texture representation and realism comparable only to the experience of a live concert. "We are confident that our new flagship compares favorably to the finest power amplifiers, whether tube or solid-state, available today," said John Ulrick, Spectron's founder, CEO and chief designer. "We are especially proud that in a time of upwardly spiraling costs for parts, materials and labor, as well as a historically weak dollar, our made-in-the-USA flagship remains an extraordinary value among high-powered amplifiers." See Enjoy the Music.com's review of the original Spectron Audio Musician III by clikcing here.

 

Sennheiser  Professional IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8The "Professional" headphone series from Sennheiser brings the same pro-grade audio that performers have trusted on-stage for years straight to consumers. The IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 ear-canal headphones offer the greatest reduction of ambient noise with excellent sound quality. "This range benefits from our experience in the professional monitoring sector," explains Eric Palonen, product manager for Sennheiser's consumer electronics division. "The IE ear-canal headphones are ideal for music fans who attach great importance to accurate sound reproduction." The concept behind the IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 is in the use of dynamic transducers that cover the entire frequency range with one system. This includes basslines and thunderous sound effects while seeking to eliminate the distortion that detracts from the integrity of the original source material. Ear canal adapters come in different sizes to ensure the IE headphones fit properly. Good isolation further enhances precise audio reproduction; the top-of-the-range IE 8 can reach up to 26dB of noise blocking attenuation. All the models in the IE range use cables that are strengthened with Kevlar and the headphones are made from durable materials. Each headphone is also equipped with a transport case, small cleaning tool and a cable clip. The IE 6 has 20dB of passive attenuation and a frequency response from 10 to 18,000 Hz. The IE 7 has the same attenuation and a frequency response from 10 to 19,000 Hz while the top-of-the-range IE 8 has 26dB of passive attenuation and frequency response from 10 to 20,000 Hz.

 

05 / 27 / 08

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W)  Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) today announced the launch of the B&W Music Club, in partnership with Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. This new Society Of Sound is an online community for audiophiles and music fans that for $39.95 for six months or $59.95 for a year subscription fee will offer exclusive monthly albums to its members that have been recorded at Real World Studios. These music files will be downloadable in a DRM-free lossless file format to provide CD-quality sound. Alas, this fee is not for your choice of albums and you have no control on what the content will be that you are paying for, other than having faith the music will be something you find enjoyable. The Society of Sound will host regular podcasts from Martin Ware (Heaven 17 and Human League) and video interviews with its Fellows including; Real World's Peter Gabriel, composer James Newton Howard, jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and the seminal British designer Kenneth Grange, amongst others. Of note is that MusicGiants, a partner with Enjoy the Music.com, provides DRM-free high-resolution music downloads of popular rock, jazz, and blues music. MusicGiants has no subscription fee and you can pick and choose the music you wish to purchase. Enjoy the Music.com's editor Steven R. Rochlin personally toured Peter Gabriel's Real World Recording Studio in England, please see the many photos and description of what he heard and saw at this facility by clicking here.

 

 

  Internet website Enjoy the Music.com and celebrated United States online media provider MusicGiants have teamed up to offer audiophiles high resolution lossless music downloads and high quality video. Over the years, Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed hundreds of digital music titles available on CD, DVD-Audio and SACD hard media formats. With media industries and consumers moving away from such formats and more towards digital downloads, Enjoy the Music.com's continual goal is to employ and partner with companies that provide technical assistance in delivering up to date media. Therefore, partnering with MusicGiants to deliver HD music to our critical readership is only natural because they also seek out the very best in high quality hardware and software.

MusicGiants"MusicGiants is very excited to partner with Enjoy the Music.com and we look forward to being part of their audio excellence with our high definition downloads," says Scott Bahneman, CEO of MusicGiants. "Their readers understand how important high quality sound is and they want the best music content to maximize their audio systems. We aim to deliver that ultimate entertainment experience."

Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com, says "As the Internet's largest Web site for high-performance consumer audio information and news, while also being online partners with print magazines The Absolute Sound, hi-fi+, The Audiophile Voice and The $ensible Sound, this new venture into offering online lossless music heralds in a new direction towards our continual expansion plans. With each passing year, millions of additional people access the Internet and can easily find information concerning high-end audio within Enjoy the Music.com. Today, our extensive readership can easily download lossless music via our partnership with MusicGiants instead of settling for other services that sell highly compressed lossy music files. Together, we are able to reach tens of millions of consumers who purchase music online each year." MusicGiants' online store for Enjoy the Music.com can be seen at this link.

 

05 / 26 / 08

Vacuum State SVP-2 Preamplifier  Vacuum State has announced their SVP-2 preamplifier that builds on the company's successful SVP-1. Utilizing a hybrid (tube and JFet) MC/MM two-stage phono section with an all tube line section, the entire unit has zero negative feedback. An extremely low output impedance and high current drive ensure ease of mating within virtually any high-end audio system. Also of note is the extremely wide 5Hz to 500kHz bandwidth with ultra-low noise levels. The phono section has two gain settings (12 and 18 dB) for low or high output MC/MM cartridges. Cartridge loading is by an unusual arrangement of employing an specialized RCA plug that contains the desired resistance. A total of five inputs plus phono and two pairs of outputs and record out are provided, all via RCA connection. Note that inputs 1, 2, 3 and 4 are high gain setting 18dB or low gain setting 12dB, while the 'D' input is 12dB reduction on both high and low gain settings. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed various Vacuum State devices including their award winning DPA 300B amplifier (seen here) and their Super Cable Cookbook (reviewed here and here).

 

from 03 / 24 / 06

Vacuum StateVacuum State has announced the availability of their new JLTi/Vacuum State upgraded Sony NS90/92V SACD/DVD/CD player ($1650). This marks the second machine that the company now upgrades, with the first being Samsung's HD950. Balanced output via XLR can also be supplied with the unit. A partial list of the upgrades include Vacuum State's Reference Clock, custom output stage, and back-EMF noise reduction. The Reference Clock incorporates a unique power supply, with extraordinary low frequency bandwidth and stability, and is claimed to insure extremely low jitter. Output stage modification removes IC based analog output stage and replaces them with Vacuum State's Custom Output Stage that employs a minimum number of components and filtering. Lastly, back-EMF noise reduction in digital circuits dampens by shunting the noise into the player's ground plane.

 

05 / 22 / 08

 KRK Systems Rokit Monitors  With self-powered nearfield speakers becoming a fave for audiophiles while sitting at their computer, KRK Systems has launched the second generation of their popular Rokit line of monitors. The new Rokit G2's come in 5, 6 and 8 inch glass Aramid composite cone midrange/woofer versions ($149, $199 and $249 respectively), with all models having a 1-inch neodymium soft dome tweeter mounted within a waveguide. A key component, according to KRK Systems, is the molded front baffle design that is said to virtually eliminate diffraction distortion caused by standard flat baffles. This new design is also said to provide a sweet spot that is significantly larger than products with square or lightly rounded baffles. The baffle also houses a molded front-facing bass port that minimizes low-frequency phase distortion and unwanted frequency emphasis typical of rear-facing bass ports.

 

Comply Foam TipsFor those who enjoy in ear monitors, Comply Foam Tips (starting at $14.95 per pair) are offered for a wide variety of brands as a substitute for the stock tips supplied with their units. These new foam tips use unique breathable memory foam that is activated by body heat, thereby becoming ultra soft and are said to reduce irritation and fatigue. By expanding to fill the ear canal completely, this assures outside noise isolation and may help improve the sound quality by assuring a totally sealed fitment. "We understand that the way an earphone fits is as personal as an individual's playlist," said Steven Thompson, Director of Sales and Marketing, Hearing Components. "Today's consumer is looking for an earphone that stays in place while active, offers superior comfort without irritation and blocks outside noise. The Comply Foam Tip conforms to you, personalizing the listening experience." 

 

05 / 21 / 08

HDtracks Internet website Enjoy the Music.com has once again taken an important role within the consumer audio world by aiding HDtracks in giving away free high-definition music downloads. Unlike online music offered elsewhere, HDtracks is the only online site where every music file is DRM-free and comes with complete album liner notes. Music files are available in both AIFF and FLAC true CD quality files plus compressed 320kbps mp3 files for those who want pre-compressed music for reduced file size for their portable music personal player. "We are happy to be working with Enjoy the Music.com on this venture," says founder David Chesky of HDTracks. "Steven R. Rochlin and his magazines have always been on the cutting edge of what is happening in this business. HDtracks is the only digital music store on the web that sells CD quality uncompressed music albums without DRM with complete album art and PDF liner notes. We want to be like an East Village store on the web with bios and liners notes to help people discover new music."

"As founder of HDtracks David Chesky mentioned, we have always been on the cutting edge in offering high-end audio consumer electronic reviews and think pieces," says Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com. As we are the Internet's largest Web site for high-performance audio information and news, while also being supported and endorsed by many print magazines worldwide including The Absolute Sound, hi-fi+, The Audiophile Voice, The Sensible Sound and Sound Practices, our latest endeavors have been on supporting music delivery to audiophile worldwide. Our recent partnership with MusicGiants, and now working with HDtracks, brings to fruition our continual efforts in achieving this goal. The combination of high-end audio equipment and uncompressed music are a natural marriage for consumers seeking to achieve the very best." To receive free high-definition music downloads, simply visit www.hdtracks.com.

 

The Audiophile VoiceThe Audiophile Voice volume 12 issue 6 is now online as we have the complete table  of contents and easy subscription link. This issue features many articles and reviews including the MartinLogan Vista XStat electrostatic loudspeaker, Acoustic Research's AWD21O wireless headphones, the Induction Dynamics ID1 .18 loudspeakers and Chord's Anthem 2 interconnects. Music reviews with this edition consist of Job-Alex Mason Town & Country, Ric Sanders Group In Lincoln Cathedral, Otis Taylor Recapturing The Banjo and many more. See the latest edition of The Audiophile Voice by clicking here.

 

05 / 20 / 08

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  Turnabout is fair play as Tanya Andersen, a disabled woman with a nine year old daughter who was accused in 2005 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for allegedly file sharing copyrighted music, was voluntarily dismissed in June 2007. As such, she filed a malicious-prosecution lawsuit due to the RIAA using such things as fraud, racketeering, invasion of privacy, libel, slander, deceptive business practices, and violations of the Oregon state RICO Act according to Anderson. Her counterclaim against the RIAA and four major recording label's was heard by a federal magistrate. They ruled that Tanya Andersen to be awarded $107,834 in attorney and court fees from the RIAA. The RIAA has until May 27 to file objections to the ruling against them, while a malicious prosecution charge remains active towards the four major record labels.

 

From 02 / 23 / 08

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)A training video called In Trial produced by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was leaked to the public and concerns alleged illegal music activates plus makes reference that defendants may then seek out handguns, are drug users, are hardcore criminals... and may be linked to terrorist organizations(!). The video has been reported to star ex-prosecutor Deborah Robinson and ex-Maryland state trooper Frank Walters to "assist in the training of U.S. prosecutors responsible for handling music piracy cases." While there is not a specific date of production mentioned, it appears to be fairly recently made as within the video Frank Walters is seen in the video to be pointing to a CD burner tower according to a website. The video may be frightening in just how far the RIAA is willing to take matters into their own hands, as they will help in "qualifying an RIAA investigator as an expert" who then can be employed within their legal trials. Can someone say possible major conflict of interest and biased 'expert' witness. As for how this video is now on the Internet for all to understand how far the RIAA is willing to go, the below 'letter' is said to be from the person who acquired it.

I came into possession of this video through a close friend. He happens to hold a position in the criminal prosecutorial system. He is a prosecutor of felonies, which is what makes this video such a wonderful illustration of just how overboard the media industry has gone in their persecutions of pirates. Should downloading music ever be considered a felony?

My contact knows my views on the current state of intellectual property law in the United States. I tend to be somewhat outspoken on the subject.

Obviously, when I saw the envelope in his office with the attractive and oh-so-professional RIAA/NDAA letterhead protruding from the top, I could not resist. I begged him to let me have it, and since he tends to sympathize with those of us who hold less respect for IP rights, he consented.

I was expecting the video to be epic. I had no idea, however, that it would compare pirates to terrorists and drug dealers. It was too good to be true.

It was a wonderful find, and a perfect example of how misinformed the legal system is on the issues of piracy.

The RIAA is deluded. They have a warped perception of how media distribution should work in our high-tech world. They refuse to adapt. Instead, they stick to their age-old business model, they cry foul, and they persecute pirates. They recruit friends in high places in the legal system. They have succeeded in painting us as the enemy through their propaganda campaigns.

We are not the enemy. We are the new generation of media consumers.

We should be their allies.

Thanks for hearing me out, and for reporting on it. The video is good for a laugh, no?

This training video is available on many torrent websites and can easily be found using various search engines as am sure the RIAA legal team is scrambling to shut down as many sites as possible that have it for download. A clip was on YouTube, but has since been taken down.

 

05 / 19 / 08

Reimyo DAP-999EX Stereo Digital To Analog Converter (DAC)  Reimyo's new DAP-999EX stereo digital to analog converter (DAC) benefits from 24-bit technology. Using Japan Victor's K2 technology 24-bit with 8-time oversampling DAC IC, the unit can handle sampling frequencies of 48, 44.1 and 32 kHz (auto-switching). The all aluminum casing is extremely rigid and houses custom designed parts including transformers and condensers, special made super purity and ultra high-speed signal transmission internal wiring plus the company's original design tuning feet. Reimyo's DAP-999EX has AES/EBU ( XLR), SPDIF (RCA and BNC) and optical (TORX) digital inputs. Analog output is via and balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA). Users can adjust for normal or inverted phase.

 

Fertin Acoustic Model 7French driver manufacturer Fertin Acoustic has released their Model 7 full range, high efficiency speaker. They claim "perfect phasing of the amplified music impulses and information with the definite acoustic advantage of a unique source of emission." The high sensitivity driver employs a strong magnetic engine, small magnetic gap, very light diaphragm, suspension, spider and voice coil. Fertin speakers have been on the market for almost 30 years with paper cones. The new Fertin Acoustic Model 7 employs a carbon spider for surroundless design and exhibits the lowest Qts of the market claims the company. Of note is that infinite baffle, bass reflex, back loaded horn, QWLTand others type of enclosure need specific total Qts which are now generally higher than the Fertin model 7 speakers. Therefore Model 7 should be driven exclusively by current source amps (high internal impedance) to reach proper critical damping at low frequencies. The Model 7 is available in various sizes including 13, 20, 30, 38 and 46 cm.

 

05 / 16 / 08

  MusicGiants has expanded its already extensive music content offerings with the signing of Image Entertainment, a leading independent licensee, producer and distributor of home entertainment including music, movies and concerts. This marks offering over 200 additional albums of DRM-free music to the MusicGiants HD Media Store. Image Entertainment's subsidiary, Egami Media, digitally distributes a wide assortment of audio programming from labels including Relix Records, PS Classics, Billy Bob's Texas, Levity Entertainment and from its own Image Music Group imprint. Image has successfully released audio companions to its library of live concert DVDs from artists like The Moody Blues, Phil Lesh and Friends, Mint Condition and Yanni while also helping to develop artists like Tamia, Jonah Smith and Billy Gilman. "We are very excited to offer Image Entertainment’s unique variety of artists in high-definition," says Scott Bahneman, CEO of MusicGiants. "The addition of their non-DRM content to our catalog means consumers can easily access and enjoy even more of our high-quality content, regardless of the platform."

 

Classé Audio SSP-800 Preamplifier / ProcessorClassé Audio has introduced their new SSP-800 ($8000) ten-channel preamplifier/processor, offering both balanced and single-ended connections for all channels. Audio Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is handled by a Texas Instruments-based platform, which operates in 64-bit double precision with floating point arithmetic for all audio signal calculations to ensure the most accurate results possible. All bass management filters, level adjustments and parametric filters also benefit from the added precision. To ensure the SSP-800 retains its value and competitive edge, the Classé Design Team has designed the DSP onto a replaceable module to accommodate a planned future upgrade. A dedicated linear power supply using a low-noise toroidal transformer powers the analog audio circuits. Digital and control circuits are powered by their own dual-output, low-noise, high-current switching supply. The high quality digital-to-analog converters and output stage components are configured to ensure exceptional dynamic range and resolution. Audio circuits are isolated from video and control circuits by optocouplers and low voltage differential signal (LVDS) pathways. Digital and analog circuits and grounds are isolated from each other among and within circuit boards. For two-channel listening, both balanced and single-ended analog sources may bypass all analog-to-digital, DSP and digital-to-analog stages. Alternatively, the full range of processing capabilities including bass management and parametric equalization is available for both analog and digital sources.

 

05 / 15 / 08

Audiophile Reviews  Enjoy the Music.com's May midmonth update brings two show reports from the Audiokarma Fest 2008, new editorial with exciting news and announcing hi-fi+ magazine's partnership! You can read all about these incredible new features within the May midmonth Review Magazine now online! The Audiokarma show was a resounding success and we have two reports spanning six web pages with over 110 photos from this event! Within Steven R. Rochlin's editorial he covers the news concerning hi-fi+ magazine joining the site and the upcoming new section of the site for DIY enthusiasts plus a special venture in offering free high-resolution music download via HDtracks! These are indeed exciting times for Enjoy the Music.com and are glad you will be aboard to experience the most tremendous growth period of the site in over a decade! See the May issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

hi-fi+ Internet website Enjoy the Music.com and internationally acclaimed British print magazine hi-fi+ have officially joined forces. Sections from the presently available bi-monthly issue of hi-fi+ can be enjoyed on the Enjoy the Music.com. This will benefit both magazines in bringing higher visibility to both publications within the audiophile community. Special discounted subscription rates to hi-fi+ may be presented from time for via the Internet. Showing modern availability, consumers can either choose to receive a print version of hi-fi+ or an instant digital download to read the entire issue via subscription or single issue online purchase.

Mark Fisher, publisher of hi-fi+, says "hi-fi+ is excited to be joining in partnership with Enjoy the Music.com. We have found working with editor Steven R. Rochlin a joy, and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship between our two companies."

"Having hi-fi+ aboard our site furthers our goal of being the Internet's leading provider of diverse information for audiophiles all around the world" says Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com. "Consumers who may not have been familiar with the excellent reviews and articles within hi-fi+ now have a chance to read their celebrated writings. As we are the Internet's largest Web site for high-performance audio information and news, while also being supported and endorsed by many print magazines worldwide including The Absolute Sound, The Audiophile Voice and The Sensible Sound, it brings me joy to announce our adding hi-fi+ to the fold. Together, we able to reach tens of millions of readers worldwide."

The most recent issue of hi-fi+ can be seen at www.EnjoyTheMusic.com/hifi_plus/

 

05 / 14 / 08

RealTraps  RealTraps has announced a new use and mounting arrangement for their existing line of bass traps and acoustic panels. MiniGobos are available in a variety of sizes and configurations to favor either isolation, bass trapping, or broadband absorption. MiniGobos are based on RealTraps' standard line of MiniTraps, MicroTraps, and MondoTraps, using hinges to join two or more panels together as a single unit that is stable, easy to handle, and self-supporting. The hinged MiniTraps adds substantial bass trapping in any room. As bass traps or broadband absorbers, MiniGobos are an attractive and portable room treatment solution that avoids the need for stands or wall mounting. Simply place the hinged panels at right angles in each corner for bass trapping, or in a shallow "V" at reflection points.

 

Dynaudio Excite X36 LoudspeakerDynaudio has unveiled the company's new Excite loudspeaker series that combines high-end audio performance that does not require the highest grade of amplification to sound convincing according to the company. Dynaudio claims that the reasoning is that the Excite models have been specifically designed to make the most of any amplifier's or receiver's power, yet their specifications say these are harder to drive 4 Ohm load versus easier to drive 8 Ohm designs plus the Excite line has a low 89dB/W/m sensitivity for the X36 large floorstander to a much lower 86dB/W/m for the Excite X12. Dynaudio also says these new models are able to quickly and precisely following the music signal and "convert every Watt into nothing but pure music". Perhaps the marketing department and the engineers should have a talk as this is far from 100 percent conversion of each watt to actual acoustic output, let alone proper high sensitivity as found in current 100dB/W/m designs offered by other companies. In any event, Dynaudio employed new driver technology including MSP (magnesium silicate polymer) membranes, which offer stiffness, inner damping, and low mass. The cones structure is mounted to die-cast aluminum frame baskets to ensure a rigid, low mass construction that avoids resonance and vibrations. Lightweight aluminum voice coils are said to yield an extremely light moving system and ensure an ideal impulse response. The phase aligned first-order crossover networks and soft dome tweeters help round out the company's new Excite line. Seen here is the top line Excite X36 three-way floorstander that includes dual 18cm woofers, 11cm midrange and soft dome tweeter ($3,600 per pair). Other models in the new Excite line are the X32 two-way floorstander with dual 14.5cm mid/bass and tweeter ($2,800 per pair), Excite X16 two-way monitor with 18cm mid/bass and tweeter ($1,600 per pair) and Excite X12 two-way monitor with 14.5cm mid/bass and tweeter ($1,200 per pair). All models are available in a choice of Rosewood, Cherry, Black Ash or Maple real-wood finishes.

 

05 / 13 / 08

NorStone Design Esse Stand  NorStone Design, a French manufacturer of stands and accessories, offers contemporary furniture. Their new Coda combines the latest trends in design and the strength to hold heavy components. The company says that "Clarity and sobriety are the master orientations behind Coda conception." It is available in Oak or Black lacquer. Seen here is NorStone's Esse in red finish and said to now be NorStone Design's best selling contemporary design, which is also available in black. The frame is made with p

 

TEAC ZE-1000 EarphonesTEAC has launches their inCore Audio ZE-1000 (249€) earphones that feature new sound isolating technology for quality music listening and four drivers! The inCore Audio delivers 20Hz to 20kHz audio that - due to the patented five-layer silicone ear pads - seal off ambient noise resulting in greater acoustic isolation. The dual hi-definition BA (Balanced Armature) drivers produce high quality dynamics, yet characteristically "natural" with layers of musical textures and subtleties according to TEAC. Audiophiles will enjoy the blocking of ambient noise, up to -30dB, plus an airtight seal within the ear canals to optimize the sound isolation. TEAC's inCore Audio ear pads come in three sizes (S, M, L).

 

05 / 12 / 08

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group that represents approximately 90 percent of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States, has released their 2007 sales figures. While total hard copy music sales are down 16.9 percent with a 19.1 percent decrease of value as compared to 2007, digital downloads combined with music videos and kiosk sales combined are up a staggering 38.9 percent with a value increase of 43.2 percent. Hard copy sales reached 543.9 million units with a dollar value of nearly $7.5 billion dollars, with digital/kiosk being 868.4 million units for a total of $1.257 billion. Vinyl LP sales increased 36.6 percent, with the numbers showing sales going from from 0.9 million in 2006 to 1.3 million in 2007. Meanwhile, SACD sales decreased 30.5 percent to achieve a mere 0.2 million units sold while DVD-Audio increased 42.1 percent, going from 0.1 million to approximately 0.2 million units sold. Complete details of the RIAA's report can be downloaded by clicking here (Adobe Acrobat file).

 

05 / 09 / 08

Van den Hul Tide Hybrid  Van den Hul has announced their Tide Hybrid (pictured) and The Wave cables. The TIDE Hybrid is a balanced high quality interconnect, based on silver coated O.F.C. conductors and a combined screening made of our patented Linear Structured Carbon and a dense metal braid. The extremely thick jacket, made of our own plasticizer and Halogen free insulation material, Hulliflex warrants a very strong mechanical and chemical protection. The high flexibility and ruggedness makes this interconnect also extremely suitable as a musical instruments cable. The WAVE is produced as a tribute to 20 years of van den Hul GreenCare. It has a solid core coaxial built with optimal screening protection against RF and HF spurious signals. Despite this it still is reasonably flexible. The exact 75 Ohm impedance also makes it ideal for A.V. and SPDIF applications. It comes in a olive green Hulliflex jacket and is available in all our standard lengths.

 

SennheiserThe Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced that audio pioneer Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser is to be inducted into its CE Hall of Fame. The 95-year-old founder of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG is one of 12 honorees to be inducted in 2008, and has been chosen by the expert jury in the category Founders and Inventors. "We are as excited about this announcement as is Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser himself," said Volker Bartels, speaker of the Sennheiser executive team. "Fritz Sennheiser still takes a keen interest in the company he founded, and feels very honored by this recognition from the American consumer electronics industry."

 

05 / 08 / 08

Audio Karma Festival 2008 (AK Fest)  Enjoy the Music.com now offers our first of three Audio Karma Festival 2008 (AK Fest) show reports. Audiophiles should know that Audio Karma is an impressive discussion board and Luther Ward provides excellent coverage spanning two pages with nearly 60 great photos! This 2008 event was held at the Embassy Suites in Livonia, with each passing year the AK Fest has grown to the point that this year marked a very impressive 50 listening rooms! There was also live music, door prizes, plenty of fun and of course great music reproduction systems that were enjoyed. See Luther Ward's AK Fest 2008 coverage by clicking here.

 

05 / 07 / 08

Wavcor WF118WA  Wavecor, a manufacturer of high quality dynamic drivers located in China for loudspeakers, now offer many new products. Their TW030WA05, TW030WA06, TW030WA07, and TW030WA08 tweeters feature large ferrite magnet, silk dome, three in-ternal chambers, copper clad alu VC wire, 450Hz res. freq., very low distortion, 4 and 8 ohm available, with or without ferrofluid. The new WF118WA (shown) 85mm ferrite magnet, steel frame, 1.25" voice coil, progressive Conex spider, black glass fiber bobbin, paper cone, 4 and 8 ohm available. The new WF118WA is a 4.5" midrange/woofers driver with an 85mm ferrite magnet, steel frame, 1.25" voice coil, progressive Conex spider, black glass fiber bobbin, paper cone, 4 and 8 ohm available. The larger WF146WA is a 5.75" midrange/woofer with 90mm ferrite magnet, steel frame, 1.25" voice coil, progressive Conex spider, black glass fiber bobbin, paper cone, 4 and 8 ohm available. Lastly, the new WF168WA is a 6.5" midrange/woofer with 90mm ferrite magnet, steel frame, 1.25" voice coil, progressive Conex spider, black glass fiber bobbin, paper cone, 4 and 8 ohm available.

 

Hagerman Audio Labs TrumpetHagerman Audio Labs' designer Jim Hagerman has re-introduced and upgraded his award-winning Trumpet ($2899) vacuum tube phonostage with better components and a new two-box chassis. It is part of the new "heritage" line of products, which includes a hot-rodded Cornet ($1499) and the new variable equalization Flugelhorn phonostage ($1499). For use with MC cartridges, he offer the Piccolo ($449) active MC headamp or the StepUp ($649) MC transformer in matching chassis. A new transformer isolated and balanced AC LineFilter ($499) accommodates 240Vac operation. Available in either red or silver finishes. The re-introduced Trumpet has a gain of 44dB and input Impedance of 47k ohms. Overall frequency response is extremely wide, rated from 5Hz to 250kHz with only 0.03% distortion. The vacuum tube compliment is four12AX7 and four 12AU7.

 

05 / 06 / 08

The Absolute Sound Issue 182 -- June / July 2008  Enjoy the Music.com now offers a world's first look at the June / July edition of The Absolute Sound (Issue 182) with complete table of contents and editorial! This edition marks the magazine's prestigious 2008 Golden Ear Awards for both equipment and music! This is a must-see issue! Within Robert Harley's editorial, titled Getting To Know You, he states, "I'd like to thank the more than 1400 readers who returned the survey card included in Issue 177. That number of responses alone says a lot about you and the passion you have for music and high-end audio. But the details in the data say even more about your interests and hi-h systems, and what you think of The Absolute Sound.

About a third of you have audio systems with retail prices of $50,000 or more. Although that's a high dollar figure, many TAS readers have been involved in high-end audio for decades, and these readers' systems reflect years and years of upgrades. A "sweet spot" for a complete system seems to be between $6000 and $15,000, a range that describes nearly a quarter of your audio systems." You can see the table of contents and read the complete editorial by clicking here.

 

House Ear Institute (HEI)The House Ear Institute (HEI), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life, is working with audio manufacturer sponsor Sennheiser for their Sound Partners Teen Hearing Conservation Initiative - It's How You Listen that Counts. Teens are a consumer group at particularly high risk for hearing damage from noise. "With hearing loss on the rise, the House Ear Institute feels it is imperative to educate teens and young adults on the importance of smart listening habits so they know how to protect their hearing from damage over the long term," says Marilee Potthoff, program director, House Ear Institute. "We are happy to again have Sennheiser's support." The initiative is focused on strategically reaching teens online and in the schools. It's educational video spot featuring Ear Bud and teens is posted on YouTube.com, and a profile of Ear Bud has attracted a network of friends on MySpace.com including the Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, John Mayer and other music celebrities. An Ear Bud profile launched on MyYearbook.com in October 2007 has already drawn almost 50,000 new friends.

 

05 / 05 / 08

Vacuum Tube Valley  Vacuum Tube Valley magazine will be holding a collector vintage tube audio & musical equipment sale & auction on June 1 at the Lodge at Blue Lakes at Upper Lake, California. The legendary and huge personal vintage tube hi-fi collection of Charlie Kittleson, editor of Vacuum Tube Valley magazine, will for sale. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and purchase rare, museum and collector quality vintage tube hi-fi amplifiers, integrateds, preamplifiers, loudspeakers, rare audio books, various parts and much more! Visit their website for the list of equipment for sale. See our show coverage of Vacuum Tube Valley's Expo NJ / NYC 2006 by clicking here.

 

High End 2008 Audiophile ShowThe now completed High End 2008 in Munich show was bigger and better than ever before! This year, by adding Atrium 4, they were able to use two of the popular indoor courtyards, as well as the halls below them. The exhibition space was expanded from 15,500 m² to 18,373 m², an increase of 19 percent. A total of 231 exhibitors from 25 countries were present at the fair. The percentage of exhibitors from abroad rose again by 4 percent. At the end of the fair, members of the High End Society interviewed many of them to find out what they thought of it. Nearly all of them judged the commercial results and the benefit to their companies of their presence at the fair as good to excellent. By the end of the fair, the total number of visitors had increased by 7.7 percent compared to the previous year. The turnout from international trade visitors as foreign guests came from 57 countries and accounted for half of the total trade visitors. The total number of journalists was 407, with a visitor count not including press or exhibitors having increased to 13,895. See Enjoy the Music.com's report of the High End 2008 event by clicking here.

 

Awesome Enjoy the Music.com Swag!Enjoy the Music.com now offers awesome swag! From hats to t-shirts... beer stein and tote bag, a wide variety of cool products to show your support for the high-end community. As a bonus, if one of our representatives or Secret Agents catches you wearing our swag at an audio show you may receive some free audiophile products! You could receive free music, or tubes... could be cables or excellent tweak devices. Come join us and show your joy of music to the world and perhaps win some cool stuff for your home audio system! To get your share of great products we offer plus have a chance for free audiophile goodies at shows click here.

 

05 / 01 / 08

  Enjoy the Music.com's May issue of both Superior Audio and Review Magazine are now online! Superior Audio showcases the Sanders Sound Systems ESL Amplifier and step back and once again learn about the excellent ModWright Denon 3910 universal player and Aural Acoustics' Model B loudspeaker. The Review Magazine celebrates tweaking and DIY projects including A One-Tube Regulator, the AV8 DIY tube amplifier, DIY anti-vibration platform, a very impressive DIY record cleaning machine plus various DIY record cleaning formulas! For vinyl junkies we have setting your VTA with a non-technical explanation. Audio equipment manufacturer Axiom Audio shows us how room treatments can make a profound difference to the way your systems performs within a listening room. See the May issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here and Superior Audio by clicking here.  

 

Rick Becker's extensive FSI 2008 Montreal show coverage in now online! With well over 10,000 words filling an impressive eight web pages, we have many exclusive photos that must be seen! This is among the very best Montreal audiophile show coverage for both those who did and did not attend this event. Sit back, relax, and read about the world premiere product launches and people who make this event a joy to attend. To read Rick's report click here.


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