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High-End Audio Industry News

08 / 31 / 01

  Coming on the heels of UMG joining the Super Audio CD (SACD) software march, EMI has announced that they will release approximately seventeen titles on the SACD format. EMI also has plans to implement the format within their world famous Abbey Road Recording Studios in London. While the software releases are not set in stone, they may include Geri Halliwell, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Beverley Knight, Coldplay, Joe Cocker, David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Tina Turner and Paul McCartney.

 

08 / 29 / 01

  As consumers are looking for information on new products, Enjoy the Music.com has begun their coverage of the CEDIA show, Hi-Fi News' Hi-Fi Show 2001 and will soon have the Vacuum State of the Art Conference and Show 2001 (VSAC). When all is said and done, this marks an outstanding forty audio shows online! This is far and above more than any other magazine either print or Internet based. "We are proud to the the premiere website for worldwide audio shows" said Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com™. "As the official website for the UK-based Hi-Fi News magazine, our Hi-Fi Show 2001 coverage will ensure the third consecutive year of our exclusive official show report."

 

 

Super Audio CD (SACD) has found more allies as Universal Music Group (UMG) will soon offer some of the their music on the SACD format. It is reported that UMG will be offering their best-selling new releases using the multi-channel surround sound capabilities of the format. "With the increasing penetration of Super Audio CD players in the marketplace, UMG recognizes the substantial potential for this innovative new format," said Jorgen Larsen, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music International. "By making titles available on Super Audio CD, UMG intends to help drive the growth of this high-quality, secure music format, with its many benefits for consumers and recording artists. The objective is to make Super Audio CD a standard for the industry." The Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records, and Verve Music Group as other smaller labels.

 

08 / 28 / 01

PS Audio Power Director  PS Audio's new Power Director ($1,495) combines four of their Ultimate Outlets and a "handful of Power Ports" with a unique user programmable interface. Designed for home audio and video use, the Power Director offers twelve Power Port outlets (six receptacles) consisting of four dedicated 20-amp Ultimate Outlet circuits to condition AC and prevent damaging surges and spikes from negatively effecting equipment. A large four digit red LED PowerMeter displays the incoming power voltage, wattage, and power factor to within 1%. While the unit is "plug and play", users can adjust the input voltage setting that will enable the protection circuitry. Other adjustments include the delay time before the unit resets itself and powers back up. Input include three CATV inputs and CATV outputs for cable and antenna protection, one phone input and two outputs for telephone protection, four slide switches to control the output delay, a 15-amp Resetable circuit breaker, a 15-amp IEC input, a 12-volt external trigger input, a PS buss that serves as a communication link for all PS Audio components, and a Panja Crestron interface slot for an off-the-shelf Panja card that allows customers to interface with CE-buss equipped products.

 

08 / 27 / 01

  The Recording Academy is now asking their members to enter recordings that will be voted on for the 44th Grammy Awards. We at  Enjoy the Music.com are naturally part of the process and are the only audiophile magazine who are longstanding members of The Recording Academy. Of course we have once again been asked to enter our recording choices. Please see our exclusive coverage of the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards by clicking here.

 

08 / 24 / 01

  New audiophile vinyl label in Kansas City, Missouri, called Pure Audiophile are going to be manufacturing top quality recordings. Mastered by the now legendary Stan Ricker, who recently was the man behind the cutting lather for Analogue Productions direct to disc recordings and also cut many titles for Mobile Fidelity, will now be working with Pure Audiophile using the half-speed process that he developed. Each pressing will be individually numbered limited production. Pure Audiophile's first release will be Karrin Allyson Remembering John Coltrane. To quote Dennis of Pure Audiophile "We chose this title because we feel that Karrin Allyson is the best female vocalist on the planet. Concord Records did a great job with the original production and awards are sure to follow. The musicians that Nick Phillips put together for this release, are sterling. If you buy one audiophile LP every ten years, make this your pick of the decade." More good news for analog vinyl lovers... Classic Records has just released Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti (2 LP set) Dvorak Slavonic Dances (4 disc set), Heifetz Beethoven Violin Cto. (4 disc set). Classic Records September release schedule includes the audiophile favorite Miles Davis Kind of Blue at the correct speed, Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Sarah Vaughn The Lonely Hours, Hendrix Christmas, and Kenny Burrell Weaver of Dreams.

 

 

Vacuum State of the Art Conference and Show 2001 (VASC 2001) is a specialty show for the DIY community. The show will be held from September 7th through the 9th. Held at the West Coast Silverdale Hotel in Silverdale, Washington, the show promises to be the main West coast event for tube enthusiasts. Various seminars and conferences will be held during the event.

 

08 / 22 / 01

  Yesterday the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced the number of CDs, LPs, DVDs, etc. shipped domestically from recording companies to retail outlets and special markets (music clubs and mail order) during the fist six months of 2001. To quote the RIAA website "Specifically, the dollar value of all music product shipments decreased from $6.2 billion at mid-year 2000 to $5.9 billion at mid-year 2001—a 4.4 percent decrease. Unit shipments dropped from 488.7 million at mid-year 2000 to 442.7 million units at mid-year 2001—a 9.4 percent decrease, according to figures released today by the RIAA. "Consumer loyalty to the physical product still dominates and we are committed to providing the quality product listeners desire. Our companies recognize the fact that more consumers are looking to get music on-line and are experimenting with a number of approaches, including legitimate subscription services. We are committed to delivering the music consumers love when they want it and how they want it. We are confident that our year-end numbers will be strong," said Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the RIAA"

Full-length CD units sales dropped 5.3% at mid-year 2001 to now total a $5.5 billion dollar value. This represents a 2.7% decrease in dollar value from mid-year 2000. CDs represent approximately 90% of the units shipped to U.S. markets at mid-year 2001. DVD Video sales have been on the rise as DVD music video shipments increased almost 116% at mid-year 2001 to three million units and account for over $70 million during this period. Analog lovers supporting the vinyl LP format seem to be on the rise as sales increased by 7.4 percent in the first half of 2001 and represent a $12.9 million dollar value and is up 3.3% as compared to mid-year 2000. See table below.

RIAA Midyear Statistics

 

 

Peter Gabriel has taken his recording company and has begun his very own online music subscription service. Peter's Womad Digital Channel allows music fans to enjoy 40 tracks for only £5 ($7.21 USD). Recording label Telstar has also come aboard as they represent rhythm and blues artist Craig David, Mis-teeq and Germany's Edel. The Association of Independent Music (Aim), that includes such people as Bjork, The Chalatans, Tom Jones, and Stereophonics is currently in negotiating to join Peter's new online music service. Employing technology by OD2, music tracks as said to only be playable on the subscriber's personal computer and portable devices yet will not be transferable to other PCs to insure copyright protection. Furthermore, the music will expire and self-delete after one month, though users can buy the music for an added fee.

 

08 / 20 / 01

TASCAM CC-222  Professional audio company TASCAM is now producing a unique CD-RW/Cassette Deck with built-in phono stage. TASCAM's CC-222 ($875.00) is the world's first product that includes within one chassis a re-writeable CD recorder with professional-quality cassette deck plus a phono stage to allow for vinyl LPs to CD recording via an internal analog to digital converter. The CD-RW drive can utilize a variety of CD media including CD-DA (play only), CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R-DA and CD-RW-DA. Features also include a selectable 1 to 24 second Fade IN/OUT recording function and selectable Copy ID allowing users SCMS free recording capabilities. On the cassette side of things, features include auto reverse, Dolby B noise reduction and a +/-12% pitch control. The CC-222's front panel includes an LED status display for monitoring all machine functions. Rear panel features audio input sources including optical and coaxial digital ports, as well as RCA (analog) ports for Line, Phono and Tape signals. "Consumers have looking for a way to archive music that is either out of print or no longer available," says Phil Sanchez, TASCAM marketing communications manager. "For those individuals, the CC-222 is the ideal piece of gear because it allows them to effortlessly and reliably transferring older analog material like vinyl LPs and cassette tape to the CD format for their personal use."

 

 

Tributaries cable company has introduced their new high-end audio/video Subwoofer Cable with an integrated mono "Y" configuration ($45 on a 1-meter cable, $80 for an 8-meter with many other lengths available). The "Y" output provides a single male RCA on one end while two male RCA jacks appear on the opposite end of the cable. Tributaries Subwoofer Cable includes twin Oxygen Free High Conductivity (OFHC) multi-stranded copper conductors and rugged PVC jacket.

 

08 / 19 / 01

Sharp SD-NX10  Sharp Electronics has introduced new products that utilize 1-bit technology amplification. Their new SD-NX10 ($1,799.95. seen right) and SD-SG11 ($1,799.95). This adds to their already available SM-SX100 ($15,999.95) 1-bit technology amplifier and SM-SX1 ($4,499.95) and DX-SX1 ($2,999.95) "direct bitstream coupling" capable integrated 1-Bit amplifier and Super Audio CD Player as first seen worldwide on the Enjoy the Music.com™ Live 2000 UK show report. "The expansion of the 1-Bit product line is an exciting step towards Sharp's goal of converting its entire audio line to 1-Bit digital amplification technology," said Art McKinnon, marketing manager, Sharp Electronics Corporation. "Sharp believes digital amplification will shape the future of audio formats. The 1-Bit product line, with its exceptional performance, high style and overall efficiency, is truly representative of next generation audio here today." Sharp's SD-NX10 and SD-SG11 all-in-one systems include the ability to playback CD, MD and has an AM/FM tuner. Sharp outboard loudspeakers are also included, though can be replaced with whichever loudspeakers a user may desire. The cabinets are brushed aluminum and feature a four-mode, multi-color illuminated display that can be adjusted to match most room decors.

 

 

Analogue ProductionsAcoustic Sounds, APO Records and Blue Heaven Studios will be featured today on CBS Sunday Morning at 9 a.m. EST (7 a.m. PST). Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds has been actively preserving the last living links to original blues through his recording studio in Salina, Kansas and record label Analogue Productions. Since purchasing this now 77-year-old church and nearly $1 million in restoration efforts, the Blue Heaven Studios is now a state-of-the-art recording facility and the home of blues label APO Records. With legendary artists as Jimmy Rogers, Honeyboy Edwards, Henry Townsend and up-and-comers like Rogers' son Jimmy D. Lane, APO Records is set to at the forefront of true legendary blue recordings. To learn more, please watch CBS Sunday Morning today by checking your local listing for specific channel and time.

 

08 / 17 / 01

  Princeton University Professor Edward Felten was finally able to officially present his paper concerning the breaking (hacking) of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) code that protects audio content from being copied. While the paper has been on the Enjoy the Music.com™ website since June 12th, 2001, no other audiophile publication was willing to publish these scientific findings. The SDMI and also the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) felt the scientific paper was a liability and sent letters concerning this issue to professor Felten. Now that the paper has been presented at the USENIX Security Conference only days ago, we will see if there is any recourse as some feel making the finding public is in violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and is not covered under freedom of speech. Our entire June 12th article, Professor Felten papers and letters from the SDMI and also the RIAA can be seen by clicking here.

 

 

Other formats can step aside as DVD is gaining a stronghold on the marketplace. During the August 22 and 23 DVD Entertainment 2001 Conference & Showcase tat the Hilton Universal City & Towers in Universal City, California they will announce the huge gains in sales within the DVD disc format. "Worldwide DVD replication is predicted to surge from 500 million units in 2000 to 1.5 billion units by next year," said Charles Van Horn, President of the International Recording Media Association (IRMA). "This astronomical growth is the shot in the arm the industry needs right now and will be celebrated at DVD Entertainment 2001. Professionals associated with the theater and home entertainment marketplaces can't afford to miss the statistics that will be presented at this conference." According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) "DVD players continue to post gains with factory dollar sales of $342 million during the second quarter, up 9% from 2000 figures. Additionally, dollar sales of DVD players have increased year-to-date totals by 27% to $762 million."

 

08 / 14 / 01

MusicNet  Retailers are screaming foul to major label's as they begin their own online music initiative via upcoming websites MusicNet an Pressplay. Meanwhile the U.S. Justice Department is now investigating the legalities of cutting out the middle man. While some recording labels have not allowed their music to appear on current online music websites such as Best Buy, Musicland and Tower Records. How bad is it? Mike Farrance, who is Tower Records Senior V.P. of Digital Business, testified in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee and said his company is "starting to worry that maybe all the talk and activity about protecting the music is not just about controlling copyright infringement, but is really about... hiding plans for cutting retailers out of the marketplace." due to this sad state of affairs, Reps. Chris Cannon and Rick Boucher have introduced a new Music Online Competition Act (MOCA) bill that will require recording labels to provide the same licensing terms to all online music services in the hopes of insuring fair business practices. Are the major recording labels feeling their power an stretching their muscle? Possibly.

 

 

The Cable Company in once again donating 5% of August purchases to CARE and the International Rescue Committee as some cable companies help to match funds. This is the fifth consecutive year the Cable Company has use this promotion to sell cables and send money to these tax deductible organizations. So far $50,000 total has been sent to these organizations throughout the years. This seems to be a promotion that works to bring in sales as Robert Stein, President of The Cable Company, says "August, which used to grind by, is now our most satisfying month of the year. It makes us feel good about what we do. And our customers confirm that they too like the idea that during the fund-raiser, they can leverage their audio purchases in a unique way to generate charitable contributions."

 

08 / 13 / 01

  One of the first online ventures to offer pay-for-play online music has seen their quarterly revenue dwindle to only $1 million. Liquid Audio's second quarter 2001 revenue is down an astounding 71% as compare to $3.5 million in the same period last year. So how bad is it really? How does a total net loss for this period totaling $14 million! Liquid Audio's new music subscription service launched only a few weeks ago hopes to generate more sales an enhance their overall revenue. This begs to question when any online music service will become profitable... including the revamped and legal Napster service.

 

 

Music recording artists Courtney Love and the Dixie Chicks are pushing California lawmakers to provide a hearing schedule for September fifth concerning what they feel are accounting and contract abuses by record labels. California Labor Code Section 2855 provides musical artists to leave their contractual obligations after seven years. Musicians feel the 1987 amendment lobbied by record labels to allow them to collect damages for undelivered albums is unfair. State Senator Kevin Murray said "In my gut, and most lawmakers' guts, seven years is the appropriate length of time to limit personal service contracts for everyone - including recording acts. We need to take a closer look at other industry issues too, such as the current state of contracts and accounting practices and pension plans." Rep. John Conyers said "Even though artists are the creative force behind the music, the studios still have all the power. I'm exploring ways that Congress can balance the power between the two groups, so that creators can share more equitably in the fruits of their labor." Of course the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) who represents recording labels and not musical artists seems to feel that the power should be with the labels an not to those who create the music they sell.

 

08 / 10 / 01

  Brazilian Hi-Fi 2001 show now online. Sponsored by major magazine Clube do Áudio e Vídeo, their Hi-Fi 2001 show in São Paulo, Brazil, features approximately 2,800 sq. meters divided in to 45 rooms where various manufactures showed their products. Click here to see the show coverage.

 


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