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High-End Audio Industry News

 

07 / 30 / 04

Ray Samuels Audio Emmeline SR-71 headphone amplifier  Ray Samuels Audio's new Emmeline SR-71 headphone amplifier ($400) is completely portable and uses a single 9 Volt battery for power. Barely bigger than a cigarette pack, measuring 2.5 x3.5 x 1 (WxDxH in inches), is said to be capable of driving any high or low impedance headphones. The gain is set to work optimally with high sensitivity ear canal headphones.

 

07 / 29 / 04

  Those who want surround sound type audio from a pair of stereo loudspeakers have choices. There is Q-Sound from QSound Labs and Roland's Sound Space Processor. Now from the folks who gave us mp3 we have "Iosono." Unlike the other technologies where the listener needs to be placed in a center location between the stereo loudspeakers, Iosono is claimed to provide surround sound using a vast array of drivers and proprietary computer technology to create the same realistic illusion for everyone within the room. How many drivers does the Iosono need one may ask. Think of hundreds of drivers, not just a simple stereo pair. Naturally the cost of implementing such a system is beyond the reach of most consumers and flies in the face of audiophile purists. "It was an old dream to do something like that... to do something for immersive audio, where people would feel they were in a different place," said Karlheinz Brandenburg, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Media Technology. While it is an interesting solution, will audiophiles one day have a circular room with thousands of drivers to reproduce a complete immersion of the music? Perhaps, as it would be another approach to reproducing sound.

 

07 / 28 / 04

Linn Kinos  Linn's new Kinos multi-channel AV system controller employs a comprehensive collection of high-end decoding algorithms to decode digital discs. Both audio and video sources are properly handled to audiophile/videophile standards to insure the highest of fidelity. The Kinos supports standard multi-channel audio configurations including 5.1 and 7.1 while proprietary Linn algorithms allow for downmixing options and adjustable Lip Sync audio delay control. A keyboard can be connected via the concealed front panel for set-up and fast text entry when naming sources, etc. The rear panel (pictured here) allows for a variety of equipment while the front panel incorporates (concealed behind the front panel) audio and video input sockets for fast direct connection of games consoles, camcorders, etc. as well as the headphone socket. Linn's Kinos is available in two variants; the Kinos and Kinos+DSP and both products offer identical performance and functionality, with the exception of the number of record paths included as the DSP version includes one DSP for independent recording or distribution of a single analogue source or the digital source currently being listened to at any one time. For analogue to digital recording, the enhanced Kinos+DSP is required as it has a second DSP and an Analogue to Digital Converter. Pricing is as follows:

Kinos
UK Retail inc. Tax £4,500
USA ex. Tax $7,995

Kinos+DSP System Controller
UK Retail inc. Tax £5,000
USA ex. Tax $8,895

Linn Rekord upgrade module
UK Retail inc. Tax £500
USA ex. Tax $900

 

07 / 27 / 04

Enjoy the Music.com  Enjoy the Music.com proudly announces advanced website features, added navigation simplicity, and faster page loading. Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com, said "With approximately 5 million words on 3,000 web pages, Enjoy the Music.com is truly an information-based site available to millions of Internet users everyday. While our advanced search engine easily handles thousands of searches each month, I felt there needed to be a simple way to fully understand the vast diversity of information within the site. The new information-based layout will enable readers to take full advantage of knowledge contained within the site."

 

07 / 26 / 04

deHavilland Stereo 845 single-ended directly heated triode amplifier  deHavilland's new Stereo 845 single-ended directly heated triode amplifier ($4995) produces 27 watts per channel and includes many of their top line features. Operating in "Class A: triode with zero negative feedback, the Stereo 845 employs three tubes per channel (845, 6AU5, and 6SN7), on board metering, bias adjustment, and delay at start up to enhance tube life. Internally, the deHavilland Stereo 845 is point to point hardwired for the audio circuit, has Hovland MusiCaps, Jensen paper in oil capacitors, Cardas cable, and Edison-Price pure copper loudspeaker binding posts. Options include Cardas Gold/Rhodium binding posts ($100), hand selected Sylvania 6SN7GTA/B ($100 pair), modification for Kron KR845 power triode ($400), and a tube cage (TBA). The entire unit weighs in at a staggering 64 lbs. and dimensions are 18.5 x 19 x 10 (WxDxH in inches).

 

07 / 22 / 04

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)  The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization who represents the recording industry worldwide with over 1,450 members in over 70 countries and affiliated industry associations in 48 countries, has released a report claiming music piracy is now at 1.1 billion discs with a value of $4.5 billion dollars. These counterfeit discs far exceed internet piracy according to a representative of the IFPI. The report singles out ten priority countries with four in Asia, three in Latin America and three in Europe. Global sales of illegal music discs rose 4 percent in 2003 with a global average piracy rate increased of 35 percent. The top 10 priority countries singled out in the IFPI report are Brazil, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine. IFPI Chairman and CEO Jay Berman said, "Commercial piracy, contrary to what commentators mistakenly think, is just as important a problem for the music industry today as internet piracy. And in several of the music industry’s very largest markets - countries with low rates of broadband penetration such as Brazil, Mexico and Russia - piracy of physical discs still dwarfs its internet equivalent."

 

07 / 22 / 04

RPG QRD PA Diffuser  RPG, who specializes in offering room acoustic solutions, is now offering their QRD PA diffuser ($299 for set of two). Seasoned audiophiles know that the acoustics of their listening room is a critical element to achieving the best from their music reproduction system. RPG diffuser panels are specially designed to reduce unwanted bass nodes while also helping to control room reflections from causing unwanted echo. Available in either maple or black, the new QRD PA 23.7 x 23.7 x 5 (HxWxD in inches) panel is molded from foam and can be surface or wall mounted.

 

07 / 21 / 04

  Now in its fifth year, the Latin Grammy Awards organization has announced their 2004 nominees. On September 1 in Los Angeles, and broadcast live on CBS, the awards ceremony will also feature many live music performances by legendary Latin music recording artists. Hoping to receive a Grammy award, and familiar with Americans, is Ricky Martin while audiophiles can rejoice as engineer Bob Ludwig is also nominated. Other artists hoping to win the prestigious Grammy award are Café Tacuba, Diego El Cigala, Mick Guzauski, Kevin Johansen, Javier Limón, Pepe Loeches, Robi Draco Rosa, Rafa Sardina, and Julieta Venegas earned three nods each. Akwid, Albita, Obie Bermúdez, Roberto Carlos, Beto Cuevas, Marco da Costa (to name a few). The complete list of 5th Annual Grammy Award nominations can be seen by clicking here.

 

07 / 20 / 04

  All systems are go with the European Union (EU) to allow the creation of the world's largest music company merger. The joining of Bertelsmann and Sony has the go ahead to merge into a single company offering music to the masses all around the world. Instead of the usual Big Five labels, this will bring it down to the Big Four (EMI, Sony BMG, Vivendi's Universal, and Warner).

 

07 / 19 / 04

VTA High End Audio Mark I Stereo Amplifier  Virginia based VTA offers many high-end audio vacuum tube products including their Fantasy LS ($4,000), Fantasy LHS ($5,500), Mark I ($7,500), Mark II, and 845 monoblocks. All products are built with high quality, carefully selected parts implemented in a hand built circuitry. Their Fantasy LHS pre-amplifier features an all triode "Class A" design with OTL headphone amplification. Unlike most audiophile gear, there is +/- 22dB of treble and bass adjustments available. The sealed silver plated rotary switch is designed for a minimum of 25,000 cycles and naturally the tape output is buffered. Gold plated RCA and tube sockets are standard and a soft start power supply greatly extends the life of components and tubes. Pictured here is their Mark I stereo amplifier that produces 35 watts per channel. Four 7591A output tubes can be operated in either Tetrode or Ultra Linear mode via a front panel switch. Giving a nod to the past, four high quality analog front panel meters allows for continuous monitoring of the output stage.

 

07 / 16 / 04

Venmill VMI 3500  Venmill may have the ultimate audiophile disc tweak with their new VMI 3500 disc buffing unit ($2,000). It both buffs and polishes digital discs and can repair damaged discs. Capable of handling both 3 and 5 inch digital disc media, the VMI 3500 employs a special cleaning fluid and buffing pad to restore clarity to the reading side of a disc. Buffing time is 30 seconds for basic cleaning and thorough repair treatment takes a mere 60 seconds. The unit's buffing pad can treat 3,000 disc before replacing while the liquid supply cleans 500 discs before refilling.

 

07 / 15 / 04

  Denon is following on the footsteps of their popular DVD-5900 ($2,000, see reviews here and here) with their new DVD-2910 and DVD-3910 ($729 and $1,299). These universal digital disc players support CD, DVD-Audio and SACD for audiophiles while also offer DVI and HDMI outputs for videophiles. This is also among the very first units in the world to provide multi-channel DVD-Audio via the HDMI output and video is upconverted to 480p, 720p and 1,080i. The Denon DVD-3910 also has 1394 output for both digital signal transmission of DVD-Audio and SACD for use with an outboard digital to analog converter (DAC).

 

07 / 14 / 04

Simaudio MOON Orbiter Universal Player  Simaudio Ltd.'s is now offering their MOON Orbiter Universal Player ($6,500). This digital disc player can decode CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-Audio, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and SACD media. A grand total of six single-ended (RCA) audio outputs for 5.1 plus a stereo pair benefit from decoding by BurrBrown PCM1738 24-bit/192-kHz DAC's with 8X oversampling digital filter. Videophiles may enjoy the 10-bit/54MHz oversampled video circuitry with active current-to-voltage converter and NTSC/PAL video support. Progressive 480p video output is provided for on both DVI and component connectors. Digital outputs include AES/EBU (XLR), S/PDIF (BNC and RCA), plus optical TosLink.

 

07 / 13 / 04

  Apple has just announced that over 100 million songs have been downloaded via their iTunes online music store. Kevin Britten of Kansas downloaded "Somersault (Dangermouse remix)" by Zero 7 and is receiving a free 17-inch PowerBook, 40 GB iPod, and a gift certificate for 10,000 iTunes songs from Apple. iTunes, the iPod, and other offerings from Apple have allowed them to become one of the strongest forces in legally acquiring music from the Internet. Other manufacturers such as BMW are incorporating convenience features within their products to support the iTunes format. Apple has also been busy offering new AirPort Express device to allow for wireless music enjoyment throughout consumer's home.

 

07 / 12 / 04

  NHT's (Now Hear This) new DEQX CalibratedTM DSP-corrected self-powered loudspeaker system claims to "reduce distortion and offers impeccable frequency and phase response, regardless of placement or listening position." A collaboration between NHT, DEQX (Digital Equalization and Crossover), and PowerPhysics, this new system features two small cabinets, a self-powered bass module, and av hybrid outboard DEQX-calibrated DSP (digital signal processor) and PowerPhysics One-Cycle Sound amplifiers. Additional channels and bass modules can be added to create surround systems. "The loudspeaker is the weakest link in any audio system," said Chris Byrne, NHT's co-founder and Managing Director, Rockford Home Group. "No matter how high the price or defined the engineering, a traditional passive loudspeaker is going to add substantial distortion and frequency response errors. Combine this fact with necessary compromises in passive crossovers -- as well as unknowns such as amplifier power, proximity of boundaries and speaker placement -- and it's no wonder that end-users become frustrated with having to sit in the 'sweet spot' to achieve reasonable sound quality in their homes."

 

07 / 09 / 04

Threshold Audio S/3700e Amplifier  Threshold Audio's latest addition to their S/e line of amplifiers, the S/3700e ($2,500) offers five channels of amplification as standard, yet can be configured for upwards of seven. With each channel producing 120 watts @ 8 Ohms (200 watts @ 4 Ohms), the S/3700e is capable of driving virtually all audiophile and home theater loudspeaker designs. Inputs include both balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA).

 

07 / 08 / 04

  Mirage Loudspeakers has announced three new OMNI series subwoofers. The S8, S10 and S12 subwoofers ($350, $500, and $800 respectively) feature Mirage's patented Elliptical Surround technology (increases the driver excursion) and Titanium Deposit Hybrid cone. It is also claimed to "eliminate distortion and raise efficiency" according to Mirage. The driver also employs surround ribs that is said to eliminate any surround dimpling allowing the unit to reproduce lower frequencies with increased output and fidelity as compared to other drivers. Each unit includes built-in amplification of 100/200/300 watts. (S8/S10/S12 respectively). Down firing port (dual ports on S10 and S12 models) increases output, while the built-in amplifier offers high/low level input, frequency, and phase adjustment. The S8 is available in black or platinum, while the S10 may be purchased with a black, cherry or platinum finish. The very large S12 is only offered in black.

 

07 / 07 / 04

Nordic Concept Artist Turntable  Donald North Audio has introduced their new Nordic Concept Artist turntable ($3,650) that features many of materials, technologies, and styling of their Reference turntable. An inverted ceramic bearing, 50mm acrylic platter, patented Base Technology isolation platform, DC motor, and Finland birch ply plinth are just some of the features of this new turntable. Other finishes including walnut and oak. Many efforts have been made to reduce resonances including specially designed machined black Delrin legs, a machined aluminum record weight with integral level, and the DC motor is decoupled via rubber.

 

07 / 01  through  07 / 06

  Enjoy the Music.com has released the July issue of Superior Audio and also our Review Magazine. While we have officially announced longstanding British journalist and music lover Chris Beeching into our fold, editor Steven R. Rochlin also hints at yet another reviewer joining Enjoy the Music.com™'s already impressive cast of characters! Equipment reviewed within our July issues include Meridian's G08 CD player, REL's Acoustics Stadium III, Triangle's ($34,000) Magellan loudspeaker, the Denon DVD-5900 with Underwood-Parts ConneXion Level 2 mods... and more! We also have well over 20 music reviews covering everything from Bach to Judas Priest... to Stereophile's own Test CDs.

 

 

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2004

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2003

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2002

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2001

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2000

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1999

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