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High-End Audio Industry News

 

08 / 30 / 02

Infinity Kappa  Harmon owned Infinity brand name has resurrected the Kappa line for a new series that includes one monitor, two floorstanding and a center channel loudspeaker. Decades ago, when Infinity was originally owned and designed by Arnie Nudell, the Kappa line was among the top echelon. The new Kappa line includes the model 200 monitor ($1,200/pair) with its 6.5" midrange/woofer and 1" tweeter, model 400 ($2,400/pair) floorstanding speaker with 8" woofer, 6.5" midrange and 1" tweeter. The Kappa 600 increases the size of the woofer from an 8" to a 10" driver. The Kappa Center ($899) employs four drivers including a 1" tweeter, 4" midrange and two 6.5" woofers. The entire Kappa series employs Infinity's Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm (CMMD) drivers, contoured and rounded front baffles, and real-wood exteriors that are offered in black ash, cherry, or maple.

 

08 / 29 / 02

Lector Audio SCD2  Lector Audio has released the world's first tubed analog stage CD/SACD player. The Lector Audio SCD-2 (€3,500) plays both CD and SACD discs, yet does away with DVD-Video to keep the signals within the unit as pure as possible. High-grade 24-bit DAC chip (TI-DSD1702) assists in decoding CD music while two 6922 tubes amplify the analog output stage. Hand made polypropylene output capacitors and audio grade electrolytic capacitors (Elna) are then housed in a pure copper chassis with thick aluminum front panel. Both single-ended (RCA) and balanced (XLR) outputs are included for the analog stage while digital outputs are both coaxial and optical. Overall frequency response is rated from 10Hz to 35kHz. The Lector Audio SCD2's dimensions are 430 x 320 x 110 (WxDxH in mm) and the overall unit weighs 8 kg.

 

08 / 28 / 02

Dynaudio Special Twenty- Five monitor loudspeaker  Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Dynaudio has announced their new Special Twenty- Five monitor loudspeaker ($4,800). With a quarter of a century of experience, Dynaudio feels their Special Twenty-Five "is thus more than a progression to the stable of compact Dynaudio high-performance loudspeakers; it is a testament to the company’s advanced technology and a quarter century of innovations in audio. The Special Twenty- Five is the essence of 25 years of Dynaudio Authentic Fidelity." Developed and manufactured completely in-house, a 200mm woofer based on the drivers developed for the Evidence models handles the critical midrange and lower frequency regions while a soft dome tweeter with new coating and Esotar 2 technology produces the uppermost frequencies. The soft dome tweeter of the Special Twenty-Five is based on the development of the Dynaudio Esotar 2 first introduced in the Confidence C2 and C4. The fabric dome is treated with a new coating, applied in three steps to ensure a smooth frequency response and an excellent transient response. Continuing their pursuit of excellence, the crossover utilizes a new approach that enables transfer of heat from the inside of the cabinet to the exterior of the loudspeaker. As for the cabinet itself, it is internally braced, damped, and is then wrapped in a custom 20mm thick furniture-grade veneer. Specifications are as follows:

Tweeter: 28mm soft dome, Esotar 2 technology with pure aluminum wire voice coil and integrated rear chamber with acoustic vent. Large neodymium magnet ring

Woofer: 20cm one-piece molded MSP cone with 75mm pure aluminum wire voice coil. Large neodymium magnet ring and die-cast chassis

Crossover: two-way crossover with 6 dB/octave slope. Glassfibre-reinforced PCB. Resistors with thermal coupling to heatsink. Integrated gold plated binding posts

Cabinet: 20mm MDF with 10mm sandwich construction and internal MDF bracing. Large 70mm diameter vent and solid metal back plate

Sensitivity: 88 dB (2.83 V/1m)

Power Handling: >200 watts

Impedance: 4 ohms

Frequency Response: 35Hz to 25kHz (+/- 3dB)

Internal Cabinet Volume 17.5 litres

Bass Principle: Bass reflex

Weight: 13 kg

Dimensions 222 x 423 x 349 (WxHxD in mm)

 

 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have released their mid-year 2002 "Snapshot Of Music Industry" that includes both sales and piracy figures. They are using these figures to support their claims that " illegal Internet downloading is displacing sales and helping explain a seven percent drop in CD shipments and a 69.9 percent increase in counterfeit/pirate optical disc seizures". PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has analyzed various figures and found that CD shipments decreased by 7 percent in the first six months of 2002. During this same period seizures of counterfeit CDs increased by 69.9 percent (both figures compared to the previous year's statistics). According to the RIAA "A May 2002 survey of 860 Internet-connected music consumers age 12 to 54, Peter D. Hart Research Associates found that by a more than a two-to-one margin, consumers who say they are downloading more also say they are purchasing less... Other findings of the Hart survey include: 35 percent of young Internet-connected music buyers say the first thing they will do after hearing a song they like by an unfamiliar artist is download the song for free from a file sharing service. Only 10 percent of those same young fans say the first thing they will do after they hear a song they like by an unfamiliar artist is buy the album." The exact figures release by the RIAA are seen below:

 

 

UPDATE: The RIAA website, as of 9:15a.m. NYC time, has been hacked. As of this moment there is a link to pornographic material as well as free downloads of Linkin Park music. A fake news article was under the subject line "RIAA willing to try alternative approach to music-sharing services" where the page said:

RIAA against music sharing? Not anymore!

With the legal file sharing service kazaa still online, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today announced that it intends to offer the latest albums for download from riaa.org.

As you are probably aware, the RIAA has been pursuing a policy of preventing this activity in recent months

We have recently become aware that this approach is yielding only limited results and in some cases may in fact be harming sales and the artists' revenue stream.

The RIAA wishes to apologise for the heavy-handed manner in which the popular chinese site Listen4Ever was closed down, and would like to present the following items for free download as a token of its goodwill.

Of course the list is relatively small, but please be patient - we expect to offer over 300 next week. We also intend to offer pre-released movies in the coming months.

If what you want isn't on the list, then please try Kazaa Lite - available here."

The link went to www.kazaalite.com while various Linkin Park songs from their new album were on the RIAA server free to download.

 

08 / 27 / 02

Linn Klimax Kontrol Reference Preamplifier  Scotland based Linn has released their new Klimax Kontrol stereo pre-amplifier and 2250 stereo power amplifier. While not a sexual aid, the Linn Klimax Kontrol is a very slim and visually attractive stereo pre-amplifier which features a machined-from-solid clamshell casework that mechanically and electrically screen and protect four Klimax circuit boards in their own individual "perfectly still" compartment. This increases the immunity to both inner and outside interferences from negatively affecting the music reproduction quality of the Klimax Kontrol. A switched mode power supply is employed. The inputs are configurable and include three line level stereo inputs, one balanced stereo input, one line level and one balanced stereo output. The Linn Klimax Kontrol is compatible with the Linn Knekt multi-room system and with RS232 network control systems.

Input Connectors Unbalanced: 3 sets WBT phono sockets
Input Connectors Balanced: 1 set female XLR
Output Connectors Balanced: 1 set XLR
Unbalanced: 1 set WBT Phono sockets
Dimensions: 350 x 355 x 60 (WxDxH in mm)
Weight: 9 kg.
Pricing: UK £6,000, USA $9,895, Canada $15,000, Sweden 98,000SEK, Norway 77,000NKr, Denmark 78,000DKr, Europe €8,500

 

Linn's new 2250 stereo power amplifier integrates new technology and high-density surface-mount electronics to achieve high accuracy and reliability. Featuring a Linn Switch Mode Power Supply, the 2250 delivers 125 watts into an 8 ohm load (250 watts into a 4 ohm load) per channel. Automatic signal sensing controls a remote power on/off switching while a quiet fan assists in cooling the unit. Both unbalanced and balanced output sockets enable daisy chaining as an option for multi-amplifier systems (bi/tri-amplification). The Linn 2250 stereo amplifier accepts internal Linn stereo AKTIV cards for playback with Linn AKTIV loudspeakers.

Input Connectors: Both XLR and RCA
Gain Unbalanced: 28.3dB; balanced: 22.3dB 
Max Input Level: unbalanced 1.2V rms, balanced 2.4V rms
Output Power: 230 watts/ch @ 4 ohms, 115 watts/ch @ 8 ohms 
Harmonic Distortion: <0.02% 
Frequency Response: 7Hz to 35kHz (-3dB)
Peak Output Voltage: 45 Volts 
Dimensions: 75 x 381 x 354 (HxWxD in mm) 
Weight: 5.25 kg.
Pricing: UK £1,950, US $2,995, Canada $4,500, Sweden 30,000 SEK Denmark 24,500 DKr Norway 24,000 NKr, Europe €2,650

 

08 / 26 / 02

  Recording Industry Association of AmericaThe RIAA is still on the hunt as they drop one lawsuit yet have another receive a huge $136 million judgment! As reported on September 21 on this Industry News page "The RIAA, with the support of five record companies, is now targeting four Internet service providers for hosting the China-based www.listen4ever.com and accusing it of illegally sharing copyrighted materials". While www.listen4ever.com shut down their website and the RIAA dropped their lawsuit provided www.listen4ever.com never resurrects itself, the RIAA is celebrating a $136 million judgment. A Los Angeles, California court has decided to penalize CD manufacturing plant Media Group and the former CEO, Jimmy Chan, for copyright infringement. Acting on behalf of 23 record companies in June 2000, the RIAA is glad to see the final outcome with a decision to award the record labels $90,000 for each of more than 1,500 songs Media Group pirated. "This is a major win for record labels, artists, music fans and countless others who care about protecting the value of music," Cary Sherman, President of the RIAA. "It is a precedent-setting verdict that sends an important message to those who ignore copyright law." Frank Creighton, Executive Vice President and Director of the RIAA’s Anti-Piracy Unit said "The hard work of our anti-piracy investigators unit really paid off in helping lay the foundation for this case. "The significant of this case and the verdict is clear -- we will make every effort to educate CD plants about the do's and don'ts, but those who break the law will be caught and held accountable."

 

08 / 23 / 02

Marantz DV8300  Marantz has just released their new DV8300 DVD-Audio/Video/SACD player ($1,500). This new "universal" player in capable of playing both two-channel and multi-channel DVD-Audio plus SACD. Other playback capabilities include CD, CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD-Video, MP3, Super Video CD, and Video CD. The DV8300 decodes all of the aforementioned formats including Dolby Digital and dts. A 108 MHz, 12-bit video DACs and 4:4:4 upsampling of the video signal insure very good video fidelity. The Marantz DV8300 is also THZ certified. RGB and Component output and component output are included for video monitoring.

 

08 / 22 / 02

DVD-Audio  Enjoy the Music.com's own Chris Boylan attended a recent DVD-Audio press conference in New York City. In the spirit of timely delivery of information, an excerpt of his article is below:

OK, it wasn't exactly a conference. More like a sales pitch. Apparently there's this new multi-channel music DVD format called DVD-Audio (DVD-A) and apparently we press folk aren't doing a good enough job talking about it and raising the public's awareness. So a whole bunch of record labels and manufacturers gathered all the finest audio and video reviewers together in a room under the guise of free food and drink to berate us for not proselytizing the wonder that is DVD-AUDIO. Well (with all due props to Steve Martin) EXCUUUUUUUSE ME!

But seriously folks, I'm sure most if not all of the people who frequent the cyber-pages of Enjoy The Music.com™ already know a thing or two about DVD-Audio. Along with Sony's SACD format, DVD-A is the future of audio reproduction as we know it, and it is capable of some seriously exciting sounds. But it is also capable of a lot more. Certainly much more than I had considered and I have a pretty active imagination. Let's attack head-on a few of the myths about DVD-Audio, shall we?

Click here to read the complete article.

 

08 / 21 / 02

Recording Industry Association of America  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is on the move again on many fronts. After and long and hard fought battle against the major recording labels, who are represented by the RIAA, to enact the seven year contract rule as set by California has died. As musicians hired (for the first time) their own lobby group and headed by noteworthy performers such as Sheryl Crow and Don Henley, their hopes were to have California agree to include musicians in to the states seven year contract limit. At this time there is no legal time limit a record company can impose, which is unlike the mandatory seven year limit as found in virtually ever other job industry within the state. Popular recording artists Don Henley said "After months of negotiations on the seven-year issue, the RIAA and the recording artists were at an impasse on several major points."

The RIAA, with the support of five record companies, is now targeting four Internet service providers for hosting the China-based www.listen4ever.com and accusing it of illegally sharing copyrighted materials. To quote part of the RIAA's press release "The defendants are ATT Broadband Corp, Cable & Wireless USA, Sprint Corp., and UUNET Technologies, the major foundation level ISPs. The record companies’ goal is solely to stop the infringements perpetrated by the illegal site. These ISPs are in a unique position to cut off access to Listen4ever at the Internet entry point into the United States.

In an attempt to shield itself from the reach of United States law, the site uses offshore servers located in China. Congress anticipated that infringers might attempt to operate offshore to avoid enforcement of U.S. copyright law and created a statute, (a provision of the DMCA) to address this type of situation. The record companies are simply using that provision."

 

08 / 20 / 02

BetterCables.com Premium II  BetterCables.com has a new loudspeaker cables and a new power chord. Their just released Premium II ($189.95 for stereo pair) is an upgraded version of their Premium cable and is a bi-wireable solid core quad-conductor design. Four solid 14 AWG pure copper conductors provide very low capacitance. Silver/Rhodium spades or bananas are also available. Also new is the Power Serpent reference cable ($229.95 for eight foot length) that features 99.9999% ultra-pure copper conductors, are manufactured utilizing HMCC technology (Heated Mold Continuous Casting) that is said to produce a "Single Crystallized Copper for the Purest Copper product available". A hospital grade AC plug appears on one end of the cable while the other end features the well-regarded WattGate IEC 320. Double shielding with Mylar and braided annealed copper greatly reduces the adversities of external RFI/EMI.

 

08 / 19 / 02

Q Audio The Interface  Q Audio's The Interface ($875), said to "supercharge single-ended (RCA) inputs, is also capable of being employed for those with ground loop problems. Since single-ended type circuitry (RCA) has fewer parts than their balanced (XLR), there is a potential for for sonically purer sound. Some users with intricate system, especially home theater with cable TV, occur ground loop problems that can be a challenge to solve. "A ground loop is created whenever two grounded, single-ended components are interconnected. A grounded component (as opposed to floating) is one which ties the signal reference ground to the AC safety ground (the "third pin" on an AC power cord). The loop is formed by the safety ground leads of each component's AC power cord--which are effectively tied together at the AC receptacle--and the ground leads of the interconnects. In addition to suffering from the interchassis currents mentioned above, grounded components also pick up any noise currents which exist between the safety ground pins of the two AC power cords. Plugging the two components into the same AC receptacle can minimize these noises, but as with interchassis current noises, they cannot be eliminated." according to Q Audio's website. The main advantage of balanced (XLR) is in keep noise from entering the system due to an impedance-matched system with separate positive and negative lines that aid in noise cancellation (common-mode rejection). Q Audio uses the Jensen JT-11P-1 audio input transformer due to its wide and nearly ruler-flat bandwidth (-3dB at 0.25Hz and 100kHz). Each transformer is precision-wound on a highly-specified nickel/molybdenum/iron core and then potted inside a grounded, Mumetal case. The Interface is said to achieve 100dB at 60Hz (68dB at 3kHz) of common-mode noise rejection, making their single-ended (RCA) unit compete with the advantages of balanced (XLR) lines, yet allowing the user to possibly have less overall circuitry in the signal chain. Specifications are as follows:

Frequency Response: 0.25Hz - 100kHz (-3dB) 
Input Impedance: 13kohms 
Deviation from linear phase: No greater than 0.6 degrees, 20Hz to 20kHz 
Distortion (THD+N): Less than 0.001% at 1kHz
Common mode rejection (CMRR): Unbalanced source:
100dB at 60Hz
68dB at 3kHz

Balanced source:
107dB at 60Hz
73dB at 3kHz

Dimensions: 2.5 x 5 x 4 (HxWxD in inches) 
Weight: 2.1 lbs.

 

08 / 16 / 02

  This news just in from Art Dudley, editor of Listener magazine:

"Listener readers who hold onto their back issues will be happy to know that the September/October issue, which is in the mail now, may be destined for collectibility. Unfortunately, that status comes at a price: It will be our last issue.

Our owners at Englander Communications have followed the magazine's performance closely in recent months, and while subscription renewals are up slightly, it isn't enough: They have been unable to attract enough new subscribers to ensure profitability and sustain the publication over the long haul.

I would like to say that our three-year relationship with Englander was a good one, and that their circulation expertise in particular helped us to reach a bigger audience than would otherwise have been possible. This may not be an especially happy time for me or my family, but I understand Englander's reasons, and their actions have been honorable and in fact downright classy. I thank them for getting involved with this peculiar little magazine in the first place.

More to the point, I thank all our readers for buying Listener during the eight years we published it. And I'm especially grateful for the many kind letters and words of praise we received during that time. In the words of Renwick Hoeck: "Memories – eh, Stimpy?" We had a good run, it was a lot of fun, and now it's time to do something else.

Best wishes to all...

Art Dudley     
Editor        
Listener"   
   

 

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08/01   to   08/15

 


 

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