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High-End Audio Industry News


06 / 30 / 05

  LinnRecords.com is now offering two special promotions from July 1st until August 31st.The promotion 'Try For a Fiver' provides 30 titles for only £5 ($8.50) each with a great selection of albums by Claire Martin "Vocalist of the Year" (BBC Radio 2 & 3 Jazz Awards 2003), acclaimed choral group The Sixteen, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” finalists Hue and Cry, the award-winning Palladian Ensemble (Diapason d'Or Award winners 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000) and many more. For those who enjoy SACD, Linn's 'SACD Classic Albums' feature two Multi-channel recordings from bestselling vocalist Carol Kidd Nice Work and Debut, along with Stereo recordings by Claire Martin, Clark Tracey, the Perfect Houseplants, Tommy Smith, Gerard Presencer and William Jackson numbering 10 in total for only £45.

 

06 / 29 / 05

Linn Komponent Loudspeaker System  Linn's new Komponent loudspeaker system is the company's affordable high-performance loudspeaker offering with four distinct models. Komponent 110 floorstanding, 104 compact, 106 L/C/R, and 120 active subwoofer are all tonally and cosmetically matched for ease of integration ($1150, $500, $1000, and $1500 respectively). The Komponent 110, 104 and 106 models are the first loudspeakers to benefit from Linn's new 2K array technology. This technology sees the high-frequency drive-units housed in a dedicated alloy chassis, isolated from the rest of the loudspeaker, to produce high-frequencies. System performance can be upgraded by using these speakers in a multi-amplifier configuration or in AKTIV configuration where a single amplifier channel is dedicated to each drive-unit through an active crossover. The Komponent 120 powered subwoofer is a mere 20cm tall, therefore it can be discretely positioned under furniture, or be wall or ceiling mounted using a supplied bracket. The Komponent loudspeaker system is available in a choice of Silver or Graphite finish.

 

06 / 28 / 05

  While many feel yesterday's unanimous decision by the United States Supreme Court made a landmark decision concerning file sharing peer-to-peer (P2P) software, the ruling is simply a basic law clarification. The Supreme Court ruled that software companies who encourage theft of copyrighted material can be held liable. This all came about due to the Grokster Ltd. verses MGM case. Of interest is that a P2P company need not make attempts to stop copyrighted material from being shared either. SO long as P2P software simply touts the ability to share legal files they are free and clear of legal ramifications. The music and movie industry makes broad claims including saying that 90 percent of songs and movies distributed on P2P networks are copyrighted. President Bush's administration approved of the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Frankly, in this reporter's opinion the decision is basically a farce as P2P software manufacturers realize the public knows how the share illegal files if they so choose, so there is no need to use that as a way to get software users. Furthermore, the case did not make any mention of demanding P2P software manufacturers find a way to eliminate their users from distributing copyrighted material. While the music and movie industry are touting this recent decision as a landmark windfall, is reality it is basically a clarification of laws already on the books. And now some quotes:

Supreme Court Justice David Souter wrote, "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties."

"Legal clarity has decreased, and the risk of litigation has increased," said Michael Petricone, vice president of technology policy for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Utah Senator Hatch said, "Obviously, if it appears that U.S. industries, technological innovation or consumers are ultimately harmed by the decision, Congress should consider a legislative solution that appropriately balances consumer interests, innovation and intellectual property rights."

Terry Lickona and Neil Portnow, of The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences said, "Today is a good day for music fans and the 17,000 musicians, composers, artists, engineers, producers and songwriters that are the members of the Recording Academy. By unanimously upholding the rights of creators, the Supreme Court has defended an environment for legal online music services to thrive."

 

06 / 27 / 05

Hi-Fi News' London Hi-Fi & Home Entertainment  European magazine Hi-Fi News' London Hi-Fi & Home Entertainment show will be held from September 23rd through the 25th at the Renaissance and Park Inn Hotels at Heathrow Airport in London. Both audio and video will be on display from many manufacturers. A special "In-Car Emporium" is scheduled for the Wessex Ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel and will feature various car audio/video systems. This show also marks the starting point of a very significant anniversary with 50 years of Hi-Fi News magazine. Steve Harris and Ken Kessler have teamed up to write Sound Bites, a book celebrating a half-century of high-end hi-fi. This little piece of history will be available to purchase at the event for £14.99.

Hi-Fi & Home Entertainment Show
September 23rd through 25th
The Renaissance Hotel and Park Inn Hotel,
Heathrow International Airport
London England
Trade/Industry Only Day September 23
Open To The Public: 10am to 6pm on September 24 & 25
Admission: £8

 

06 / 24 / 05

  Claimed to be "Music's Biggest Night," the 48th Grammy Awards is scheduled for February 8, 2006 at the Los Angeles at Staples Center and to be televised worldwide. "With our aim to always raise the level of excellence and excitement on Music's Biggest Night, the 47th Grammy Awards was heralded by artists, viewers and the media as one of the best Grammys ever, and we have every intention of topping that with our 48th show," said Recording Academy President Neil Portnow. "Throughout Grammy Week, we produce events that spotlight specific genres of music, that help educate students about the value of and opportunities in music, that fuse music with fashion, and honor the lifetime achievements of music's greatest icons. And The Recording Academy proudly presents a show that features diversity, special Grammy moments and collaborations never seen before, and represents the one thread that truly binds us all: really great live music." The Grammy Awards telecast will continue utilizing the latest in high-definition TV/5.1 surround sound technology to provide a more immersive viewing and listening experience for the show's global audience.

 

06 / 23 / 05

Bocchtech Audio AlphaBAbana  Bocchtech Audio is now offering their AlphaBAbana ($8) -- a banana jack for loudspeakers that is manufactured from brass and then electroplated with approximately 16 microns of 99.999% silver. The physical construction of AlphaBAbana allows high torque and holding pressure on the speaker cable to ensure a reliable connection. A Hex outer body enables ease of tightening, though care should be taken not to over tighten and strip the threads. Dimensions of Bocchino Audio's AlphaBAbana is 47mm x 12.7mm (LxW).

 

06 / 22 / 05

Steve Jobs annoucning iTunes  Apple Computers Incorporated has been taking heat from many sides concerning their proprietary iTunes interface. From other online companies asking for FairPlay to the recent alleged use of a previously patented interface, Apple has been taking heat from many industries. Vermont based Contois Music & Technology claims that Apple has done "irreparable" damage to the company's patented interface technology and filed a lawsuit is the state's U.S. District Court. Since Apple was fully aware of the patent in 2003, and David Contois claims to have showed the interface at the November 1995 Comdex to individuals that then worked for Apple or now are employed by the company, the computer maker willfully ignored Contois' patent. Then we have RealAudio, a competing online music store to Apple's iTunes, claiming Apple refuses to allow other companies access to Apple's FairPlay digital rights technology. The result is that RealAudio found a workaround by releasing their new "Harmony" software that works with the iTunes hardware. Rounding up Apple's troubles (for this news article, is that media company Virgin has complained to European regulators that Apple's refusal to license its FairPlay digital-rights management technology is unfair.

 

06 / 21 / 05

Acoustic Solid WTB I Loudspeaker System  German turntable manufacturer Acoustic Solid has launched their WTB I loudspeaker by Bruno Ferreni. The WTB I loudspeaker system features a pair of main loudspeakers augmented by an active bass unit. Offered in beautiful wood finish, the right and left upper frequency cabinets are based on transmission line design. Of note is that the drivers and crossover network have been finely tuned to insure a very linear 12 ohm impedance and provide a high 95dB/W/m sensitivity. This insures ease of drive from amplifiers with as little as 8 watts per channel. Overall frequency response is from 25Hz to 25kHz including the active bass module.

 

06 / 20 / 05

  It has been 21 years since the United States Supreme Court decided the Betamax case, thereby making it legal for consumers to use videotape devices to record media, they are now about to decide the fate of file swapping. The Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act of 2005 (H.R. 1201) would codify into law the Supreme Court's 1984 Betamax decision and assure "fair use" protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for consumers, libraries, universities, archivists, and other lawful users of copyrighted works. Naturally the debates have raged on from the likes of the public versus major music and movie companies. While it appears peer-to-peer (P2P) file swapping is the crux of the matter, the Betamax case helped decide a balance between technology versus copyright holders. This case involves Grokster, a P2P network that allows Internet users to share files with others. These files could simply be personal photos, business data... or copyrighted music and movies. Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC) Chairman Gary Shapiro said Almost all of the 60 briefs filed with the Supreme Court in the Grokster case, on all sides of the issues, recognized the validity of the Betamax framework, and its necessity if we are to avoid artificial constraints on technology, innovation and investment. While there is scope for disagreement on its application, the core Betamax doctrine has become fundamental in U.S. law and society; it is time that it be recognized as such." The United States Supreme Court ruling on this case should be reached at any moment.

 

06 / 17 / 05

Warner Music Group  Warner Music Group Corporation, home of such labels as Atlantic, Bad Boy, Elektra, Lava, Maverick, Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, and Sire, announced second quarter financial results that achieved a net income of $4 million. This is compared to a dramatic loss of $48 million during the same period last year. This leaves the company with a cash balance (as of March 31) of $447 million, yet long-term debt not including cash on hand has reached a staggering $2.55 billion. Warner's revenues grew 4.4 percent ($767 million) with help from newfound digital revenues accounting for 4.6 percent ($35 million) of the company's income. Generalized and administrative expenses fell to 38.2 percent of revenue, a good sign as during the same period last year it was 43 percent of income.

 

06 / 16 / 05

Linn Artikulat Loudspeakers  Linn's new Artikulat family of high performance loudspeaker system consists of four distinct, sonically and aesthetically matched loudspeakers featuring the latest proprietary Linn technologies including active servo bass, their 3-K Driver Array, and Chakra high-efficiency power amplification. Three full range models, the 350(A) floorstander, 320(A) compact, and 340(A) center channel, are available in either active-bass with passive crossovers for the upper range or fully active (the 'A' standing for active version). A dedicated active servo-driven bass re-enforcement loudspeaker, the Artikulat 345, completes the range. All models are built around complex pressure-formed natural laminate cabinets to form an exceptionally rigid construction. The result is said to be a series of beautifully discreet designs with ultra-low resonance properties. The largest and most ambitious model, the Artikulat 350A, is a fully active five-way floorstanding design with Linn's enhanced Linn 3-K Driver Array, sandwich cone upper bass driver, a pair of long throw servo-driven bass drive units and 1,750 watts of integrated Linn Chakra 'Silent-Power' amplification. The model 350 uses the same driver array, yet with passive crossovers for upper-bass and 3-K Driver Array, and a total of 1,000 watts of integrated Chakra power amplification for the woofers. Linn's 3-K Driver Array is a precision machined optimized metal housing that holds acoustically matched grouping of the midrange, tweeter, and super high frequency drive units. It is designed to ensure an exceptionally wide horizontal and vertical dispersion with precise response and single point source accuracy. Linn's servo-controlled bass technology ensures pitch accuracy while minimizing distortion by constantly measuring and comparing driver motion to the original audio signal and making any needed corrections. Prices below are for standard finishes with an upcharge for special finishes that include Piano Lacquer Black, High-Gloss Maple, High-Gloss Cherry and High-Gloss Rosenut.

Standard finishes - Black Ash, Cherry, Maple and Rosenut:

350A floorstanding fully integrated AKTIV: $39,000 pair
320A compact fully integrated AKTIV: pair $22,000 pair
340A center channel fully integrated AKTIV: $17,000 single
345A subwoofer fully integrated AKTIV: $7,000 single
320 Stand: $1,025 pair
340 Stand: $515 single

 

06 / 15 / 05

Dorian Recordings  In less than 16 hours from now, ending on 11:59 pm, Dorian Recordings will cease to accept CD orders. Discs that sell for $16.99 are now only $11.99 while mid-priced $9.99 discs are now $5.99. Sampler CDs are offered at a bargain basement price of $2.99 each! Shipping and handling by mail within USA and Canada is $3, with worldwide being only $10. To quote their e-mail "This limited time only sale will end at the end of the day on Wednesday, June 15 when Dorian Recordings goes out of business. Yes, our loss is your gain as we sadly prepare to close our doors permanently. A variety of challenges over the past several years have made it impossible for us to continue, and we must liquidate our assets now. Some of you have written or called us with encouragement and praise. We are very grateful for your support and patronage. It has been our pleasure to serve you and to deliver many fine recordings for your enjoyment."

 

06 / 14 / 05

Roger Waters  The big news in the live concert arena is that for the first time in nearly 24 years the four original members of Pink Floyd will perform together. Bassist Roger Waters, guitarist David Gilmour, keyboardist Richard Wright, and drummer Nick Mason will perform at London's Hyde Park July 2nd Live 8, a concert and charity event organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to help fight African poverty by pressuring the G8 countries to forgive African debt and increase aid. Other bands performing at Live 8 include Coldplay, Elton John, Paul McCartney, and U2. Those desiring tickets had to text an answer to a multi-choice question, with a mere 75,000 pairs of tickets available you can bet ticket resellers will be seeking to cash them in on eBay and the like while ticket forgeries will be produced so buyer beware. The concert is so important that England's Chancellor Gordon Brown said he would write off the concert's £500,000 tax bill  and waive the bill for cleaning up. A complete listing of performers scheduled to date is as follows:

Annie Lennox 
Bob Geldof 
Coldplay 
Cure, The 
Dido 
Elton John, Sir 
Joss Stone 
Keane 
Killers, The 
Madonna 
Mariah Carey 
Ms. Dynamite 
Muse
Paul McCartney, Sir 
Pink Floyd 
Razorlight 
REM 
Robbie Williams 
Scissor Sisters 
Snoop Dogg 
Snow Patrol 
Stereophonics 
Sting 
U2 
Velvet Revolver 

 

06 / 13 / 05

AcuHorn Grand Biancore155  AcuHorn is now offering their new Grand Biancore155 dipole loudspeakers. The 155s employ a pair of full range paper cone Tesla drivers specially tuned and prepared by AcuHorn. The driver's light diaphragms aid in allowing them to react to the slightest changes and transfer music while also having the ability to offer high resolution and dynamics shading. Being a high sensitivity 99dB/W/m at 4 ohms design, they work well for those who desire using single ended triode designs. Internal cabling is the silver Siltech G5 series and binding posts are gold WBT. The 90 lbs cabinets are finished with natural, high quality veneers exploring deep colours of wood with dimensions of 8 x 24 x 62 (WxDxH in inches).

 

06 / 10 / 05

Magico Ultimate Horn Loudspeaker  Standing almost 8 feet tall and weighing over 800 lbs each, the all-aluminum, horn loaded, 5-way active MAGICO "Ultimate" is designer Alon Wolf's latest and most ambitious statement. The 2" thick faceplate with 8" and 20" midrange tractrix horns are machined from solid blocks of 6061-T aircraft grade anodized aluminum. The aluminum surface has a unique treatment that imparts a subtle pearlescent glow to the finished metal. The faceplate houses the upper and lower midrange and high frequency compression drivers, each of which weigh over 50 lbs and have a sensitivity greater than 110dB/W/m. Each trapezoidal midbass horn is constructed of half-inch aluminum reinforced by 56 precisely machined ribs that are hand-welded by skilled craftsmen in Northern California. The low end is handled by an 88dB/W/m sensitive custom Aura 15" featuring a high-energy neodymium magnet structure and a 4" edge-wound aluminum voice coil allowing a 2.5" peak-to-peak cone excursion. Overall frequency response is from 25Hz to 25kHz

 

06 / 09 / 05

  Hoping to educate the world's youth in legally downloading music over the Internet, Childnet International launched a new campaign aimed at informing parents about file sharing. A new leaflet called "Young People, Music and the Internet - a guide for parents about P2P, file-sharing and downloading" is available for download over the Internet and hard copies will be distributed in the coming months via record stores, supermarkets, schools, libraries and websites in at least eight languages and in 19 countries worldwide. According to the press release "Last year alone Childnet worked in over 190 schools across the UK and carried out informal polls with pupils which revealed that in any given class at least 50 percent of the pupils will have used P2P. This is backed up by research published last year by the London School of Economics which showed that among the 84 percent of 9 to 19 year olds who use the internet daily or weekly, 45 percent download music. The same report also revealed that only one in ten parents, when asked, knew how to download music from the Internet." 

 

06 / 08 / 05

April Music Stello SP200 Preamplifier / Processor  April Music's is now shipping their Stello SP200 ($3,995) multi-channel preamplifier/processor includes stereo upsampling DAC capabilities. Handling all the usual surround sound formats including Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS 5.1, DTS-ES 6.1, MPEG2 Digital Audio, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS NEO6, and MPEG2 AAC, the Stello also provides a 'Direct Analog' eight channel input for DVD-Audio and SACD. Along with analog and digital inputs, direct balanced and unbalanced two-channel inputs (one each), there is also a bypass input for use with an outboard preamplifier. For those desiring upsampling, the Stello SP200 has user-selectable rates of up to 24-bit/192kHz sampling rate. Technical details include the use of Motorola DSP chip, Burr Brown PGA2311/4311 digital volume controls, 24-bit delta-sigma AKM AK5384 ADC, and 192kHz upsampling. There is an analog pass-through mode for two- and five-channel direct output, as well as bass management for two-channel. Digital inputs include four SPDIF RCA jacks, one AES/EBU balanced XLR, and three optical TOSlink inputs. Digital outputs include one SPDIF jack and one optical TOSlink output.

 

06 / 07 / 05

Milbert Amplifiers BaM-235ab 35 watt per channel stereo car tube amplifier.  Car audio and vacuum tubes can rev up their engines together as Milbert Amplifiers' new BaM-235ab ($2,495) 35 watt per channel stereo car tube amplifier brings in the third evolution. Spanning over 20 years, Milbert Amplifiers' automotive vacuum tube amplifiers have also been featured in various high-end competition systems by those seeking to achieve the highest in sound quality. This new iterations includes several improvements including patent-pending "auto-plasma-bias" circuitry that Milbert claims adapts to music levels and maintains proper bias at all times while also automatically compensating for tube aging. Another benefit of this technology is that tubes do not need to be perfectly matched and bias is set automatically. Other design improvements include additional energy storage, adjustable feedback, adjustable grounding, and "above-mil-spec" circuit board material that is thicker and able to handle higher temperatures than standard glass-epoxy boards. The 35 wpc stereo BaM-235ab uses ten vacuum tubes, "Class-A" input stages, an 100 percent tube audio signal path.

 

06 / 06 / 05

  L A T International now offers their AC-2 MK II power cord ($234 for a 6 foot length). This MK II version is said to be a significant upgrade over the prior model in two specific areas. The weaving geometry for the Mark II is done with a planetary cabler, allowing engineers more freedom in designing complexity. Another improvement is in modifying the PTFE Teflon insulation during the wire manufacturing process, which provides for substantial reduction of the time smearing wave form discharge back into the metal conductor.

 

06 / 03 / 05

Brussels Hifi & Home Cinema Show 2005  The Brussels Hifi & Home Cinema Show 2005 will be held October1st and 2nd at the Brussels Sheraton Hotel at Place Rogier, 3 - 1210 Bruxelles between 10am and 7pm. There will be 30 exhibitors with over 170 brands including AKG, Alr Jordan, AMX, Cerwin Vega, Clearaudio, Halcro, JM-Lab, Moon, Nitty Gritty, Quad, Reference Recordings, Rega, Totem, Van den Hul, Von Schweikert Audio, and Wharfedale.

 

06 / 02 / 05

RealTraps SoffitTrap Room Acoustic Treatment Device  RealTraps has announced their new SoffitTrap ($50 per linear foot) bass trap acoustic treatment device for home use. Measuring 12.5 by 16.25 inches by 4 feet long and weighing 8 pounds, SoffitTraps are designed to mount high up in the ceiling corners and look like a built-in soffit. Standard Latex paint can be used for interior color matching. The units can also be installed vertically in wall-wall corners, placed mid-wall to simulate columns, etc. Like all RealTraps products, the SoffitTrap employs a damped membrane for very high performance down to the lowest bass frequencies.

 

06 / 01 / 05

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine  Enjoy the Music.com has an exciting June edition of our Review Magazine now available online! Featuring more than 20 pages with well over 200 photographs, the combination of our NYC Primedia (Stereophile) and High End Society's Munich shows allow you to enjoy a vast array of equipment from around the world! Of course we also have equipment reviews including Combak's cute little Bravo monitor and also Silverline Audio's Bolero full range floorstander loudspeaker. Editorials include Steven R. Rochlin's personal take of other magazine's politics, Steven Stone continues his The Nearfield articles with a Tale Of Two Monitors, and Bill Gaw's AA Chapter 68 harks in spring fever! The June issue of our Review Magazine can be seen by clicking here.


 

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