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High-End Audio Industry News

8 / 31 / 00

  Despite all the crying from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) about Napster and others "stealing" CD sales, sales have been at a record high. Reportedly up 6% year to date for the United States (U.S.). Recorded CDs shipments to the U.S. during the first six months of 2000 reached 420 million units. CDs claim 86% of the total music purchasing market. While major labels have lost a lawsuit for illegally putting penalties on those dealers who did not follow the Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) as set be them, the dollar value of CDs increased 9.9% from this time last year to approximately $5.7 billion USD. "Despite the excitement felt by music lovers and record companies alike over the positive potential of the Internet, for the time-being, loyalty to the physical product remains as is evident by these midyear shipment numbers," said Hilary Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the RIAA. "CDs will be around for a long time."

Alas, vinyl album sales have been on the decline, losing 400,000 units to shipping only 1,000,000 units with a dollar value of $12,400,000. Please see the chart below for more details.

RIAA Midyear Statistic

 

The big decision for the online music format delivery system by Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and Universal Music Group has been made. Both companies have chosen the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio compression standard. AAC is SDMI-compliant and it is claimed by Dolby Laboratories to offer increased music quality playback over .mp3, though AAC uses approximately 30 percent less storage space and bandwidth. "We have chosen to distribute our artists' music in AAC format because of its ability to deliver a superior audio experience to the consumer," said Karl Slatoff, vice president new media, of BMG. "Our announcement is intended to provide the software and consumer electronics industries with the information they need to deliver SDMI-compliant products into the market that will support legitimate music from BMG artists."

 

The increase in consumers having access to higher bandwidth internet connections (cable modems, broadband, etc), the Seagram-owned Universal Music Group has launched MusicUwant.com. The content on this site is geared towards those with high speed access offering Flash animations overlaid on video content as well as photographs, text and supplementary video footage that consumers can access during streaming music videos playback. RealNetworks and NBCi are also offering content for those with high bandwidth internet access. At the recent Streaming Media East 2000 show in New York, this reporter say "VHS" quality video streaming at only 500kbs. Many broadband users have access up to 1000kbs or better. The number of consumers with high-speed access at their homes (faster than 56K) increased from approximately 5 million in January of this year to 7 million in April and 8 million in July. This does not include the ever increasing amount of people who use high speed internet access lines at their jobs.

 

8 / 30 / 00

B&W CDM9  A new top-of-the-line CDM series floorstanding loudspeaker by B&W called the CDM9 NT incorporates key technologies derived from the B&W's Nautilus family. A tapered-tube tweeter loading and a free-standing tweeter "pod" are employed to deliver B&W's best upper frequency reproduction. One 6.5-inch bass drivers and one dedicated 6.5-inch midrange all use woven Kevlar diaphragms as in found in other B&W loudspeakers. Thge crossover network uses air-core inductors at only what B&W feels are "critical positions" while polypropylene capacitors are used throughout. The CDM 9NT enclosure is very rigid and designed with a gradual slope at the top of the baffle. The CDM 9NT is available in three real-wood finishes: Black Ash, Red Ash, and Cherrywood. Manufacturers suggested retail price: $2,600/pr.

 

Digital Audio software specialists DARTECH have released
Version 4 of their DART CD-Recorder package. The new version features easy one-click batch conversion of MP3 files to high quality Audio CD standards. It also adds professional audio tools such as DeClick, DeHiss and other Digital Audio Restoration Technology (DART) software tools. Versions 4 allows consumers to:

· Find music files - through a file directory explorer;

· Identify the Title and Artist of Audio CD’s – with CDDB’s Disc Recognition Services DARTECH sweetens it’s popular CD-Recorder Software

· Separate music tracks from album and cassette recordings – with DART’s UnPack tool

· Convert computer music files to quality Audio CD standards – with one-click batch processing

· Modify tracks – through DART’s Producer control panel with 9 band
equalizer, fades and volume normalizer

· Preview recordings – with digital VU level metering

· Build play lists – with drag-and-drop ease

· Create precision label for the CD or Jewel Case – with SureThing™ Lite CD Labeler

An extensive online help with tutorials assist the less than savvy consumer and CD Recorder 4.0 works with an extensive list of MS Windows based CD-R and CD-RW (Compact Disc Recorder) devices for PCs including support for SCSI, EIDE and USB devices are supported. Consumers can download a fully functional 30-day version for free or download the full program (or order it on a CD-ROM) for $49.95.

 

Soundbreak.com has become the first consumer internet audio site to have signed a royalty agreement with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and come into total compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Soundbreak.com previously announced deals with BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. While the exact amount of the royalty payments was undisclosed, this is the very first time a company has chosen a route that the RIAA seems to desire.

 

File sharing software iMesh is claimed to be implemented with more file sharing ability, more visually attractive, and could cause much more song as well as computer program swapping than Napster and Scour. Released only a few month after Napster, the Israeli company iMesh claim to average only 25,000 simultaneous users as opposed to 400,000 of Napster fame. Still, iMesh has been flying without legal recourse. Only time will tell if they, too, will need high profile lawyers to battle against the RIAA and various copyright holders as Napster has been suffering.

 

8 / 28 / 00

  In a recent turn of events, Wadia Digital is having its assets sold. While anyone with a few dollars could technically buy the company for pennies on the dollar, it appears no one has so far come forward.

 

8 / 25 / 00

DSP8000  Meridian has announced many new products which include a Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) Encoder and DSP8000 Digital Loudspeaker. The MLP Encoder is a device that allows audio to be coded into the MLP format which Meridian claims offers "the highest possible sound quality and integrity in delivery or storage of high-quality audio." MLP, unlike the proprietary Sony SACD, has been adopted as the mandatory coding system to deliver the highest quality sound on DVD-Audio and other formats.

The DSP8000 Reference Loudspeaker ($45,000 pr.) represents the more than 25 years of continuous development of loudspeakers as musical instruments. Using top-quality digital technology, this four-way DSP active loudspeaker can be used as a stereo pair or within a multi-channel system of up to seven channels. It can also be mixed with other Meridian DSP, Active, or other manufacture's loudspeakers for a complete surround sound system.

According to Meridian's website "The head assembly, which contains the custom treble and midrange drivers, is a sealed enclosure fabricated from curved pressure-laminated panels – each using multiple layers of selected woods and metal to provide high stiffness and damping. The drive units are clamped with machined rings that combine a smooth acoustic surface with high rigidity. Supported on three machined feet atop the bass enclosure, the head is at the correct height for a seated listener, while its narrow, tapered shape offers optimum dispersion across a wide listening area.

Like the head, the bass cabinet is constructed from interlaminated panels with extensive bracing. Six long-throw, horizontally opposed drive units are clamped together to free the cabinet from vibration, even at full power. The front panel is 6mm glass and incorporates a window for the matrix display and infrared remote control sensor. The cabinet stands on triangulated adjustable machined foot assemblies with provision for floor spikes or skids.

At the cabinet rear is the electronic heart of the system. Here five fast, low-feedback power amplifiers are mounted on a multi-finned extruded heat sink. The tweeter and mid each have a customized amplifier and three more power the bass system. Also mounted to this panel are the computer and DSP chips, which operate using powerful Meridian-developed software. All connections are made to the lower rear of the cabinet."

DSP8000 System Specifications:

Four-way active loudspeaker.
Crossovers at 80Hz, 200Hz and 2.6kHz
Four 24-bit D/A converters
Three 150W and two 100W power amplifiers per speaker
All processing is performed upsampled in twin 100MHz digital signal processors (DSPs).
DSP8000 uses Meridian’s memory-based dejittering system for ultimate clarity.

Controls:

System and speaker are operated with the included Meridian System Remote. Control features include source, bass and treble tilt, listening axis, volume, time-compensated balance and absolute phase.

Inputs: Two coaxial digital audio, 32kHz to 192kHz at up to 24 bit. MHR support.
Response: 20Hz to 20kHz.
Maximum Output: 118dB spl.
Display: Eight-character dot matrix display behind front glass, can be blank.
Dimensions: 1350mm (53.2in) H, 400 (15.7in.) W, 528 (20.8in.) D.
Finish: Black gloss piano lacquer head unit and black piano lacquer and glass bass cabinet. Other colors special order.

 

TacT Audio S2150A new digital dynamic duo by TacT Audio include their S2150amplifier and M2150 integrated amplifier. TacT claims to be "the world's first true digital power amplifier" and uses the same EquiBit technology as is in their Millennium amplifier. The S2150 and M2150 use the same amplifier section, while the M2150 adds four digital anf two analog inputs and volume control. No feedback is used in either unit. Both units are 96kHz/24bit compatible and can be upgraded to to 192kHz/24bit processing. A convenient RS 232 communication link is provided for PC communications. Both unit's amplifier section offers 2 x 150W (8 ohm) or 2 x 300W (4 ohm), an output current capability of 50A per channel. The S/N ratio is rated at >110dB while the dynamic range is >130dB. No pricing was given for either of these two units at this time.

 

8 / 23 / 00

MP3.com  As the popular internet music website MP3.com settled their copyright infringement lawsuit with Sony Music Entertainment it saw a huge stock increased of $2.41 (reaching $10.16 midmorning Tuesday). While yesterday's settlement between Sony and MP3.com was not fully disclosed, MP3.com will pay a fee to Sony for offering Sony's music as part of their services. "MP3.com respects the rights of copyright holders, and now, with this settlement and license, we can offer consumers an avenue to access music online from CDs they have purchased," said CEO of MP3.com Michael Robertson. This settlement with Sony and hopes of settling with the Universal Music group, the world's largest record company, MP3.com could become the premiere website for buying music on the internet.

 

8 / 22 / 00

  Tube mavens Sovtek are now offering their 6C45 high Mu single triode tube. Originally designed for military communications and radar for the Russian armed forces, and only previously known as an extraordinary audio amplifier to a small group of circuit hackers from the Eastern Block, the 6C45 is now available at $29.80 each. Basically, the 6C45 is a high Mu single triode with a low plate resistance and a very high transconductance. The input noise resistance is 100 ohms, very low input/output capacitance and the dissipation are nearly 8 watts which Sovtek claims makes it "an ideal candidate for pre-amp, driver and signal processing applications." Added benefits of the tube are that it is very quiet. Sovtek says that "One would have to parallel 15 dual 12AX7-type tubes (that's 30 sections) to get the noise voltage down to one single 6C45." Meanwhile the distortion products are lower than the 6922 but at 2/3 more gain (see chart below).

Sovtek Chart

 

8 / 21 / 00

DVDit!  Famed music mastering company Sonic Solutions has done it again as they have further refined their DVD publishing software suite DVDit!. Joining their most popular and economical DVDit! SE (Standard Edition, msrp $499) with the new Windows version of DVDit! PE (Professional Edition, msrp $999). This new PE version adds functionality that was previously found only on authoring systems costing upwards of five to ten times as much! In fact the PE version allows the use of less costly CD-R media for storing your DVD projects (all versions of DVDit! record to DVD-R). The PE also allows for the creating of up to 99 menus, the ability to add chapter points to your project that allow users to jump in to the video at any point you choose, use high-quality audio Dolby Digital stereo files and also converts your PCM files to Dolby Digital using the built-in transcoder.

 

Two new DVD-Audio mastering projects have been completed. First is the DVD-Audio 5.1 mix of Celebrating the Music of Weather Report as mastered by Grammy Award winning engineer Michael Bishop. This title is due out in September on the Telarc label. The second DVD-Audio title features the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. This all new disc is produced by none other than Classic Records famed owner and audiophile Michael Hobson. Two venues were used for the recording. Specifically, Graz and also Salzburg in Austria. Michael Hobson said "We recorded a series of performances with the world-famous Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pavel Kogan, including Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade." The DVD-Audio from the session, the first produced by Classic Records, is scheduled for release later this year.

 

8 / 18 / 00

  Possibly taking copyright protection over the edge is EMI, who has already been proven to be abusing their copyright through the recent minimum advertised pricing contracts (MAP), is now setting their sights on a mobile phone music provider. No, this is not streaming music but those little bleeping songs mobile phones play instead of the more normal ringing when a call comes in. Yourmobile.com offers cellular phone users to customize the standard chirping of a cellular phone with melodies of popular songs. There are currently approximately 1,000 music selections including current chart hits, TV theme songs, national anthems and much more. While Youmobile.com's customized songs only work with Nokia mobile phones and certain wireless providers, some say it has a cult-like phenomenon and transmitting over 11 million ''ringtones'' to 2.6 million cell phones.

All good things might come to an end as the unamused EMI Music Publishing is suing Yourmobile.com's parent company, Global Music One, for alleged copyright violations of their music copyrights. EMI is seeking more than $45 million in damages and an injunction to prevent Global Music from future use of EMI-copyrighted songs. Ralph Simon, owner of Yourmobile.com said "We're in an environment spurred by Napster paranoia... characterizes to me the confused and rather inchoate environment that is right at the very epicenter of the debate about what's going on in this wireless world." This might also effect legality of the sampling of music as the songs provided by Yourmobile.com are not sound recordings but 8 to 12 second excerpts in computer MIDI format.

 

Yesterday the judge presiding over the Corley DVD-hacker trial, those who provided links to software that allowed the hacking of DVD's DeCSS copy-protection scheme, were found guilty. This upholds eight movie studios rights who sued to prevent the publisher of 2600 magazine from providing links to DVD-copying software which is posted on the internet. This lawsuit won by the major studios is another legal battle won as the record industry's legal battles against the likes of Napster and MP3.com continue. The major labels are very concerned about the possible illegal free exchange over the internet of their copyrighted properties. Judge Lewis Kaplan's decision issued on Thursday ruled that 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which included a clause outlawing the circumvention of media encryption, means that the studios' right to intellectual property protection trumps Eric Corley's right to free speech. Corley had used his Web site, 2600.com, to post and later link to the source code of DeCSS, a program that copies DVDs to computers for playback. This, in Kaplan's decision, constituted illegal circumvention.

Of course the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) were extremely pleased with this ruling. Jack Valenti said ''Today's landmark decision nailed down an indispensable Constitutional and Congressional truth: It's wrong to help others steal creative works. The court's ruling is a victory for consumers and for legitimate technology.'' Corley's lawyers said they would appeal this ruling and said "We're providing information that can be used in many different ways... For us to tell the story but not to show what the story is, is doing a disservice to our readers."

 

8 / 16 / 00

  As we here at Enjoy the Music.com have been predicting for quite a while, it seems that Internet music subscriptions will soon be King for gathering revenue for legally streaming/downloading music from the Internet. RealNetworks now joins MP3.com and others who have recently decided to go with a subscription business plan. This new service is called RealPlayer GoldPass and for only $9.95 a month which gives subscribers access to various rock concerts from the House of Blues, other music events as well as video events such as the popular Sports Illustrated swimsuit video and much more. This new service also comes at the same time RealNetwork's final release of RealPlayer 8, RealJukebox 2 and RealDownload 4. "This is a logical next step for RealNetworks and an important next step for the industry," said Rob Glaser, chief executive of the company.

 

8 / 15 / 00

  Dolby Labs is now offering many different technical articles to assist musicians, engineers and others in the industry to better use the various technologies in their products. Many different topics are covered such as DVD-Audio, DTV audio, Digital Broadcasting and AC-3 compressing of audio. Many of the articles concerning high-performance music are available below (the free Adobe Acrobat plug-in required for some articles). 

DVD-Audio: A Producer's Primer (also PDF: 880KBAcrobat PDF file
5.1-Channel Production Guidelines:
(PDF for screen viewing: 3.0MB) Acrobat PDF file or (PDF for printing: 2.9MB) Acrobat PDF file
Post It With Dolby E - A post production primer on DTV audio
(also PDF: 642KBAcrobat PDF file
Dolby Digital vs. DTS. Which is Better?, by Ken C. Pohlmann.
Dolby E Multichannel Coding (also PDF: 476KBAcrobat PDF file
Surround Sound Technologies (also PDF: 1.3MBAcrobat PDF file
Dolby Digital, The Sound of the Future Here Today
Guidelines for Producing Music in 5.1 Channel Surround
(PDF: 34kb) Acrobat PDF file
Audio Source Tracks on DVD: Notes to Producers
Making the Most of Audio Soundtracks for DVD
Dolby Digital Professional Encoding Guidelines:
(PDF for screen viewing: 1.9MB) Acrobat PDF file or (PDF for printing: 1.7MB) Acrobat PDF file
Dolby Digital Broadcast Implementation Guidelines (PDF: 432kb) Acrobat PDF file
Digital Audio Compression (AC-3) Standard: ATSC Document A/52
Dolby Surround Mixing Manual (PDF: 1.0MB) Acrobat PDF file
Technical Requirements for Dolby Surround in Recording Studios
Technical Requirements for Dolby Surround Monitoring in Master Control Suites
Technical Requirements for Dolby Surround in Remote Trucks
Frequently Asked Questions About Dolby Digital in the Home
(also PDF: 1.7MBAcrobat PDF file

 

 

Brick and mortar meets the web as The Outernet, Inc. has signed on MP3.com to allow their customers to create CDs from MP3.com-affiliated artists at kiosks. These kiosks will then create a customized CD according to the customers preferences. While the first Outernet store will open in Apple Valley, MN this fall, there are plans for 20 additional locations by the end of 2001. To help offset the costs of providing this service, Outernet's customized CDs will contain 200MB of advertising.

 

8 / 10 / 00

  In a turn of events that brought big smiles on the face of many musicians, the new lobbying group for musicians, founded by Don Henley and Sheryl Crow, have successfully convinced the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to rethink their "work for hire" agreement. The RIAA, who represents major labels and not musicians, were able to sneak in a "work for hire" clause in a November 1999 Congressional amendment to the nation's Copyright Act. Adding those simple three words make the difference between musician's copyright to songs, which earn musicians royalties, to revert back to the artists after 35 years or stay with the record company for 95 years. The work for hire clause gave complete copyright ownership to the labels for the full 95 years.

Of course there is also another legal matter of the major labels abusing their copyrights through their Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) structure (see our August 8 news). The RIAA has agreed to help the musicians petition congress to remove the work for hire clause. This action shows that the RIAA has, for the moment, some concern for musician's rights. ''We agreed on language to get us back to the way it was before Nov. 29, 1999,'' said Jay Cooper who is an attorney at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips that represent artists. Jay also said ''We're very comfortable with it.'' Of course there is still the matter of actually changing the law through congress which is not an easy matter. ''While we're happy, we can't lose sight that it's not a victory until Congress passes it,'' said Barry Bergman, founder of the Music Managers Forum. Hilary Rosen, president of the RIAA, said "...from the beginning, we did not intend to change the law. The book needs to be closed on this issue so we can get back to a united industry on so many important challenges of the day." Meanwhile the CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) Michael Greene said ''Few issues as the work-for-hire amendment have so profoundly affected the creative community's soul and in turn galvanized our resolve.'' Enjoy the Music.com's Steven R. Rochlin is a strong supporter for musician's rights and member of the NARAS. Sadly, virtually no other audiophile magazine or their writers seem to support musicians by being members of NARAS, who are known for giving financial assistance for music in schools and also their yearly Grammy Awards and other musical enjoyment and educational activities.

 

8 / 8 / 00

  A total of 28 states have filed in U.S. District Court of New York accusing the top five record labels of price-fixing their prerecorded music compact discs (CD) and are asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Enjoy the Music.com was the first (and virtually only audiophile website) who previously reported on May 11th about the major labels losing a previously filed court case about price fixing their CDs. The major label's Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) policies are illegal due to state and federal antitrust laws. MAP therefore allegedly maintained artificially high CD pricing. To add salt to the wound, so to speak, the major labels penalized retailers who did not abide by the MAP structure. The five labels named in the lawsuit are Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment, Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Brothers music group, Seagram Co.'s Universal Music Group, BMG, Bertelsmann AG, and the EMI Group Plc. Added to the 28 states as defendants are major retailers MusicLand Stores Corp., Tower Records, and Trans World Entertainment Corp.

While the wholesale pricing may be the same from those who did and did not abide by the MAP policy, some retailers suffered through the possible loss of all promotional funds available from various music labels. This could account for upwards of millions of dollars in advertising dollars according to this recent lawsuit. New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said in a statement, "This illegal action...has not been music to the ears of the public. Because of these conspiracies, tens of millions of consumers paid inflated prices to buy CD's..." Spitzer also said the FTC estimated damages to consumers at $480 million ("a number that fair-minded people can rely upon").

 

Theta DigitalDigital dynamo Theta Digital has officially announced the release of their Carmen DVD/CD Transport. Based on a much modified Pioneer DVD unit, the Carmen can play digital audio discs at 44.1, 48, and 96 kHz with resolutions of 16, 20, and 24 bits. Because of Pioneers dual-laser 650 nm for DVD and 780 nm for CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and Video CD, the Carmen is very diverse with many different formats of the 5" digital disc. Theta tweaked out the drive mechanism and includes special low-jitter digital servo circuits that control motor speed, laser tracking, and focus. In Theta fashion, ultra high quality audio and video circuits are completely separate from each other to reduce the cross talk interference. Digital video signals are converted to analog with a 10-bit/27 MHz digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Video outputs include Component (Y, Cr, Cb on BNC connectors), two S-video, and two Composite (RCA and BNC). The audio outputs include PCM Only (RCA) and PCM/DTS/Dolby Digital 5.1 (RCA, BNC, XLR). An optical output (AT&T or Laser Linque) is also available as an option. Optional Digital-Video & UltraSync Progressive (480p) Outputs are available. The Carmen's suggested retail price is $3,000 in ebony or platinum colored finish.

 

8 / 07 / 00

Panasonic DMR-E10  More info just arrived about the Panasonic DMR-E10 DVD Recorder to add to our initial report from yesterday:

List price of $3,999.95, and the box will include a single blank 4.7 GB disc ($34.99 value). Alas, the Panasonic DMR-E10 has built-in Dolby Digital decoder and a DTS output but is not DVD-Audio capable. Of course it will play standard DVD movies. It will also play DVD-RW discs but, alas, not DVD+RW, CD-R or CD-RW discs.

Like VHS tape recorders, the DMR-E10 can record onto DVD at four different "speeds":

XP, one hour of 480p DVD quality at a bit rate of 10 megabits per second (Mbps)
SP, two hours of" better than S-VHS" quality at 5 Mbps
LP, four hours of "better than VHS" quality at 2.5 Mbps
FR (flexible recording), a variable bit rate of 2.5-to-10 Mbps to record a two hour to four hour timer-recorded program at the highest quality capability.

 

8 / 06 / 00

  Ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has invested into the web. Specifically, his recent investment into Magex Ltd. which is a digital commerce services company. Magnex Ltd. is looking to get their piece of the huge pay-for-play downloadable music future income. With clients such as the Universal Music Group (UMG) it appears they are headed to possible be a large player into the online music scene. Paul's investment comes at the heels of an $80 million round of private equity funding into Magex Ltd that was completed in April.

 

As the large American electronics chain store, the Good Guys, were the first to showcase and see DVD-Audio in their retail stores, they are now poised to be the first to showcase the new DVD-Video recorders in September. The Panasonic DMR-E10 DVD Video Recorder will enable consumers to make video DVDs which use MPEG2 encoding with Hybrid VBR (variable bit rate) technologies. Audiophiles should also take note as the Panasonic also features Dolby Digital 2-channel audio recording and for the first time gives consumers a "mainstream" component capable of recording their own high resolution DVD discs!

 

8 / 04 / 00

  World's largest record company Universal is going to buy Rondor Music for $400 million. This will bring an additional 60,000 songs from such songwriters as Al Green, Tom Petty and Leon Russell into their fold. This will help to settle a longstanding lawsuit where an alleged breach of contract against Universal by the founders of A&M Records and Rounder Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. "I'm pleased that we found a good home for the songs, and that they will be reunited with the A&M catalog that Jerry and I built," said Herb Alpert in a statement. The catalog, containing songs from such artists as Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys and Isaac Hayes, will support Universal's recently announced plan to begin selling music digitally via the Internet. Universal currently ranks third among the five major music companies in terms of publishing, ranking behind Time Warner's Warner Music Group and EMI Group which are due to merge shortly.

 

8 / 03 / 00

  According to a recent study by Strategy Analytics, the shipment of set-top DVD players will increase by 300 percent this year over last year while revenue in the three major world regions (US, Europe, Japan) will also increase by 220% to $7 billion. DVD video disc shipments are expected to reach approximately 400 million units and is estimated to reach 2.3 billion by 2005. "The content industry will ultimately benefit the most from DVD's success," says David Mercer, senior analyst with Strategy Analytics. "Manufacturers will continue to suffer from falling prices and declining margins, but DVD's superiority will tempt many consumers to buy more video and to replace their existing VHS collections."

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), DVD player shipments are at 2.7 million units as of the middle 2000. This is a bit more than double the figure from last year to date shipments.

 

Greybead AudioGreybeard Audio has released their new KB/3/3 loudspeaker. The company claims this new model is "...capable of revealing the full range of dynamic interplay from the striking clarity at the top of the scale to a muscular and authentic bottom octave." The use of "sonically damped" composite cabinetry and a implementation of high mass finishes are said to help control undesirable resonances. This three-way, four loudspeaker design employs dual-ports to help with the lowermost frequency reproduction. A 1" silk dome tweeter, 7" mid-bass, and two 9" long-throw woofers offer a full frequency response from 20Hz to 23kHz. Although the nominal impedance is rated at 4 ohms for the KB/3/3 model, they also offer a KB/3/3v model ("V" stand for valve perhaps?) whose nominal impedance is 8 ohms while it climbs to an easy to drive 16 ohms in the lowermost octaves. This makes it very tube friendly for those who enjoy lower powered tube amplifiers. Sensitivity is 90dB/1w/1m and the standard finish is black Vermont slate. These hefty floorstanding loudspeaker weigh almost 350 lbs. and measure is at 12-1/4" x 51-1/4" x 26-3/4" (WxHxD).

 

It official folks! The world's largest record label, Universal Music Group who is owned by Segrams and soon to owned by Vivendi, will be offering part of their catalog online for a fee. They have decided to call their new digital format "Bluematter" which will include provide additional features such as biographies, photographs and lyrics in addition to the music. ''Gaining insight into consumer preferences for...legitimate digital music is an important first step in being able to develop other new and compelling products and services for music fans,'' said Heather Myers, executive vice president of Global e, the Universal unit that controls its digital-music download business. The Bluematter format is only compatible with RealNetworks's RealPlayer, though if there is enough demand Universal may make it compatible with other streaming music software.

 

8 / 02 / 00

  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is once again making available low-power FM (LPFM) applications beginning August 28 and ending September 1. Each low-powered radio station be able to broadcast over a radius of around 3.5 miles. Only a handful of states are eligible in this new offer including Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico. This is only opened to nonprofit educational organizations/institutions or noncommercial public safety radio service. For more details in obtaining the necessary forms and details applicants should call (202) 418-3676.

 

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) the May sales of home theater receivers and CD-R technology have greatly helped to increase revenue in the consumer electronics industry. May sales of home audio separates increased to an outstanding 21% ($124 million) ahead of last year. The sales of Dolby Digital receivers were up sharply at 91%, CD-R technology gave a 51% increase, portable CD sales were up 30% ($156 million).

 


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