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High-End Audio Industry News

 

08 / 31 / 04

DVD-Audio CD DualDisc  Sony's proprietary SACD format is going to be an even harder sell with consumers as the industry approved standard DVD-Audio format will also feature a CD standard side. These new DualDiscs, with DVD-Audio on one side and CD on the other, are slated to be in shops shortly with a total of 50 titles by the middle of November. Major music labels supporting DualDisc include EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. Jeanne Meyer, senior VP at EMI Music, said "It definitely opens up a completely new creative palette in a way that's intuitive. The artist community is already getting excited about it for that very reason." Andrew Lack, CEO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, said "DualDisc represents a dramatic expansion of the music entertainment experience. By combining video, surround sound and web connectivity in a single disc, we are presenting our artists with a broader palette to express their creative vision, while at the same time giving consumers what they told us they want — greater value driven by unique content that brings them closer to the artist."

New releases on the DualDisc format will include David Bowie, Good Charlotte, Incubus, Yo-Yo Ma, Train, Five for Fighting and Miles Davis. Their Kind of Blue title will feature a documentary, interviews, and previously unreleased performance footage. BMG will offer Usher's 8701. Warner Music Group will release A Simple Plan's Still Not Getting Any ..., the Donnas' Gold Medal and Trapt's self-titled 2002 release. Universal Music Group's Snow Patrol Final Straw, Keane's Hopes & Fears and Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral will be in stores accordingly.

 

08 / 30 / 04

Simaudio Ltd. Moon Calypso DVD Transport/Player  Simaudio Ltd. has announced their new Mon Calypso DVD Transport/Player ($3,600 to $5,200 depending on configuration) that plays DVD-Video, CD, Video CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+RW. As for video (PAL and NTSC), both progressive scan output (480p) and a Serial Digital Interface (SDI) output are provided for. The Moon Calypso will be sold as a stand-alone DVD transport with both an optional Digital-to-Analog audio circuit and/or an optional DVI-D video output circuit. An optional two-channel analog audio output circuitry incorporating BurrBrown's PCM1730E 24-bit/192-kHz DACs with 8X oversampling digital filter is also available (SRS Labs TruSurround 3D surround software included). Output connectors are S/PDIF (BNC) & Optical (TosLink) for digital audio; Composite (RCA), S-Video (5-pin mini-DIN), Component Interlaced (RCA), Component Progressive (BNC) and SDI (BNC) for video.

 

08 / 27 / 04

PSB SubSonic Subwoofer  PSB Speakers SubSonic 8 ($1,099) and SubSonic 9 ($1,599) further extends their subwoofer offerings. The SubSonic 8 is suggested with their Platinum and Image Series systems while the SubSonic 9 is claimed to mate well with PSB's Platinum Series. Both models are fitted with a pair of 10-inch drivers using a dual opposing woofer design. According to PSB, "This design cancels the opposite direction force exerted by a single woofer, which results in no energy loss due to the elimination of these forces as they interact with the cabinet. A highly efficient Class H amplifier delivers an extremely powerful 400 watts of continuous output (500 watts dynamic power) to the SubSonic 9 and 325 watts of continuous output (400 watts dynamic power) to the SubSonic 8." The SubSonic 9 employs a new, highly sophisticated electronic EQ for flat frequency response. Finished for the SubSonic 9 include Cherry or Black Ash veneer while the SubSonic 8 comes in Black Ash.

 

08 / 26 / 04

  Polk Audio has announced their 'high performance' XM Reference Tuner ($329.95). While true audiophiles will dismiss such lossy compression delivery system employed by satellite digital music delivery system, perhaps one day XM may offer higher quality digital streams. This would then allow audiophiles to take better advantage of the Polk Audio XM Reference Tuner that uses a Burr-Brown DAC chip. Also of interest is the unaudiophile-like specifications for this new Polk Audio unit of a low 50dB of channel separation (CD has over 90dB) and only >80dB of signal to noise ratio (CD has over 90dB).

 

08 / 25 / 04

Metallica Vinyl Box Set  Metallica... some say they sold out, some say they rule the Universe. No matter what you may feel about the band, they do indeed draw a large audience who enjoys their music. Metallica's recent DVD documentary is now being followed by a limited edition "Vinyl Box." This five title set will include "Kill 'Em All," "Ride the Lightning," "Master of Puppets," "...And Justice for All," "Garage Days Re-Revisited," and the import-only "Creeping Death" picture disc. Each disc will be on special audiophile grade 180 gram vinyl (except for the picture disc) and will be distributed by Elektra/Rhino Vinyl for $100. Availability is strictly limited as only 5,000 numbered sets will be available.

 

08 / 24 / 04

Snell SPA200 Subwoofer Amplifier  Snell Acoustics' has announced the SPA200 ($600) external subwoofer amplifier. Producing 200 watts at 4 ohms, the 19-inch rack mountable SPA200 also includes a variable low pass filter (40Hz to 160Hz with a 24dB/octave slope crossover), variable level control, plus a 0/180 degree phase switch. An optimized switchable equalizer is designed, according to Snell, to flatten and extend the response of their in-wall subwoofers. Gold plated stereo line level input (RCA) in addition to an LFE line level with crossover bypass are also included.

 

08 / 23 / 04

TrueRTA  Those who desire analyzing their audio system may enjoy True Audio 's new version 3.1 of TrueRTA ($39.95), a PC based audio testing system with real time analyzer (RTA). TrueRTA provides a collection of audio test gear for evaluating audio systems including a high performance audio spectrum analyzer, low distortion signal generator, digital Voltmeter, dBu meter, dB SPL meter, crest factor meter, dual trace oscilloscope, and a high-resolution real time audio spectrum analyzer with resolution up to 1/24th octave and measurement bandwidth to 48kHz (with 96kHz sound cards). TrueRTA has 20 memories for storing user data and automatically generated measurement notes. Printed reports include data and notes for all displayed memories.

 

08 / 20 / 04

  In an unprecedented turn of events, a California federal appeals court has ruled that the makes of file sharing software Grokster and KaZaA to not be liable for those who use said software to share copyrighted materials. Naturally the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc.,) and RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) are already claiming this new ruling will drastically hurt their industry. This is a very important ruling as companies that make viable software for legitimate intent should not be held accountable for those who use it for illegal purposes. Mitch Bainwol, RIAA Chairman and CEO, said "This decision does nothing to absolve these businesses from their responsibility as corporate citizens to address the rampant illegal use of their networks. We will continue to pursue legislative solutions and legal actions to address the ongoing illegal activity facilitated by Grokster and other P2P services." While the RIAA is holding steadfast in reporting on piracy and file sharing and proclaiming how it hurts their interests, they have not reported on the recent Nielsen SoundScan report (see August 5th news below) showing that music sales are up 7 percent year to date for the first half of 2004.

 

08 / 19 / 04

  Classé Audio's new Delta series features their CAP-2100 integrated amplifier ($4,900), CP-500 stereo pre-amplifier($3,500), CDP-100 CD player ($3,500), and five models of amplification (ranging from $3,500 to $5,000). The CAP-2100 and CP-500 both feature ease of use via the touch screen interface, said to be a hallmark of the Delta line. With 100 watts per channel, the CAP-2100 integrated amplifier also includes Classé's fully balanced circuit topologies and both balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) signal-connections. "Massive, ultra-stable power supplies" insure there is a vast amount of power supporting circuitry that continuously monitors incoming AC voltage, current, ground condition, heat sink and ambient chassis temperatures. The CDP-100 CD player employs high-performance 24-bit, 352kHz digital filter with oversampling and HDCD decoding capability. This digital decoding uses a mild, second-order analog filter with excellent time-domain and impulse behavior, and a rigorously auditioned, fully balanced, all-discrete output stage. Lastly, Classé's Delta series amplifier range is comprised of the 100-watt stereo CA-2100 ($3,500) and 200-watt stereo CA-2200 ($5,000), two multi-channel designs that include the 3x200-watt CA-3200 ($6,000) and 5x200 CA-5200 ($8,000), and a single monaural model, CA-M400 of 400 watts ($5,000).

 

08 / 18 / 04

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2004  Shows, shows, and more shows as the very first Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2004 is scheduled for October 8th through the 10th. A grand total of six floors with exhibits, vendor booths, seminars and live music will be available. Seminars include Secrets of Improving the Sound of Your Hi-Fi, The Science and Art in Cartridge/Tonearm/Turntable Setup, DIY - Do It Yourself Audio, DSD 5.1 Demonstration, and Techniques for Burning Better CD-Rs.

 

CEDIA 2004 ShowThe CEDIA Expo 2004 is scheduled from September 10th through the 12th in Indianapolis, Indiana. This show is mainly for home integration, yet has become a force for high-end audio manufacturers and distributors as an alternative to other United States shows. Many hundreds of new products are showcased during this yearly event. See Enjoy the Music.com's 2003 CEDIA show coverage by clicking here.

 

Sao Paulo Brazil Audio & Video ShowThe Audio & Video magazine in Brazil will be holding their São Paulo Hi-Fi Show 2003 from September 17th through the 19th. Well over 40 exhibitors such as Sony and JVC will be joined by audiophile favorites Audiopax and Krell. Entrance to this show is free. See our 2003 coverage of the Audio & Video show by clicking here.

 

Milan Italy Top Audio & Video ShowItaly's critically acclaimed Top Audio & Video Show will be held in Milan's Quark Hotel from September 16th through the 20th. Five floors featuring live music to tube audio and high resolution video will be showcased. Entrance to the Milan show is free. Feel free to see Enjoy the Music.com's exclusive Top Audio & Video 2003 show report by clicking here.

 

The London Hi-Fi Show & AV Expo 2004 will be held from September 24th through the 26th at the Renaissance Hotel and Park Inn Hotel (formerly Le Meridien) near the Heathrow International Airport. Many audiophile and videophile brands will be showcased. Various seminars will also be held during this event. To see our previous show coverage click here.

 

08 / 17 / 04

  Norwegian Jon Lech Johansen has done it again. First he developed software that would circumvent DVD encryption, for which he was sued by the movie industry and later acquitted, and has now released software to allow Apple Computer's AirPort Express to be unlocked. Jon Lech Johansen's new software brazenly called 'So Sue Me' has a special software key that defeats the AirPort Express' encryption. This allows for capturing and sharing of the stream for recording. The software can currently be downloaded at various websites.

 

08 / 16 / 04

NAD L 53 DVD Integrated Stereo Amplifier  NAD's new L 53 ($599) combines a tuner, pre-amplifier, amplifier, and DVD player into a single unit. The L 53's Titanium finish houses a 50 watt stereo amplifier while the internal DVD unit can playback CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-Video, mp3, and VCD. A wide range of DVD features such as Multi-Angle, Multi-Sound, Multi-Subtitle, Frame, Zoom and Repeat and provided for. The AM/FM tuner includes 30 favorite station presets and RDS. NAD L 53 has a digital section that includes two inputs (one optical, one coaxial) for additional sources and high resolution ADCs and DACs from Crystal.

 

08 / 13 / 04

  Theta Digital has announced the availability of the Superior 2 Card ($2,500) for Casablanca III Music and Cinema Controller. The Casablanca III offers a wide variety of configuration, in part through Theta's 12-Channel Surround Processing, which provides loudspeaker and amplifier configurations for up to 8.4 channels. The controller has the ability to allow any of its 18 audio inputs and up to 10 video inputs to be routed to any or all of 12 input selectors, each of which can have up to six audio and six video sources routed to it. Central to Casablanca III is Theta's open architecture: the processor's motherboard provides for all signal routing, while various daughter boards carry function-specific circuitry, such as the new Superior 2 Card. The Superior 2 Card is claimed to bring "a new level of sonic refinement, improving its already powerful audio capabilities by revealing more subtleties in music and voice, and recreating a soundstage more three-dimensional than ever before." Based on research that resulted in Theta's high-performance Xtreme DAC Card, the Superior 2 Card benefits from developing a completely new way of calculating dither, which is a part of Theta's digital signal processing "suite." Dither is employed to refine the processing of digital signals by adding precision to the lowest-level signals.

 

08 / 12 / 04

Stereovox HDSE Interconnect Cable  Stereovox has announced the addition of the HDSE ($199 per meter pair) to their Studio line of cables. The HDSE (High Definition Single-Ended) RCA-to-RCA interconnect uses technology from their Reference Line and is constructed from pure tape-wrapped Full Density PTFE, a silver-plated copper woven shield, an FEP jacket, and a single high-purity copper conductor with a micro-sized tube. Stereovox claims this "microtube" (with 0.008" thick walls) provides the conductor "the skin profile of 32 AWG conductor while maintaining the lower resistance of a larger gauge."

 

08 / 11 / 04

Newport Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary  Jazz lovers are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. Scheduled for August 14th and 15th, this Festival has achieved world acclaim with truly outstanding musicians having performed over the years. To try to list them all would take pages upon pages. For 2004 attendees may enjoy performances by pianists George Shearing and Marian McPartland; trumpeters Clark Terry and Jon Faddis; saxophonists Michael Brecker, Ravi Coltrane, and Branford Marsalis; as well as violinist Regina Carter and the Mingus Big Band. Dave Brubeck will lead a tribute to Martin Luther King while Harry Connick Jr. will perform at the Newport Casino.

 

08 / 10 / 04

Napster  Roxio, owners of Napster and makers of popular CD/DVD creation and copy software, has announced they are selling their consumer software division for $80 million to Sonic Solutions. Roxio will receive $70 million in cash and $10 million in shares of Sonic Solutions common stock. Roxio is also planning to change their name to Napster and use all their efforts to enhance online music sales to compete with iTunes. "With the news today, we are on a path to become a very well-funded pure play in one of the hottest sectors in the consumer technology market," Napster CEO Chris Gorog said.

 

08 / 09 / 04

  Once again The Cable Company and a cross section of their vendors have organized the 9th annual Summer Against Hunger fundraiser. This event supports the International Rescue Committee and CARE, organizations that assist those less fortunate all around the world with basic human needs such as food, shelter, clean water, and medical attention. The fundraiser is organized to leverage our Cable Company (and Usedcable.com) efforts by getting matching funds from our vendors for sales of their products. Further we have sought to leverage up the overall contributions through other matching funds programs. Five percent of all purchases go to CARE and the International Rescue Committee. Other supporting companies participation in this event include:

Acoustic Zen Technologies
Analysis Plus, Inc.
Arcici, Inc.
Audience
Aural Symphonics / Univocal
Bybee Technologies Inc.
Cardas Audio
Echo Buster
Eighth Nerve
Elrod Power Systems, Inc.
First Impression Music
Gingko Audio
GRADO
Harmonic Resolution Systems
Harmonic Technology
Herbie's Audio Lab
Immedia
JPS Labs
Kimber Kable
Last Factory
Magnan Cable
May Audio Marketing
Musical Surroundings
Nirvana Audio
Nitty Gritty
Nordost Corporation
Precision Audio Products LLC
Purist Audio Design
Shakti Innovations
Sound Connections Int'l Inc.
Siltech America
Straightwire, Inc.
Symposium Acoustics
Synergistic Research
Virtual Dynamics
WireWorld

 

08 / 06 / 04

  Fab Four fans and those tired of black grill cloth may rejoice as Artcoustic is now offering loudspeakers with images of the Beatles! The Danish on-wall loudspeaker company and Getty Images Gallery joined forces with their The Beatles: Asian Tour of 1966. This was a collection of black and white photography that chronicled the band in the mid-60s tour. Besides the Beatles collection, the two companies will now make available thousands of photographs in the Hulton|Archive. There are more than 350,000 images on the Getty Images Gallery web site and each can be reproduced on Artcouistic loudspeakers.

 

08 / 05 / 04

Nielsen SoundScan  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) should be overjoyed as Nielsen SoundScan, who tracks sales of music throughout the United States and Canada each week from over 14,000 retailers, is proclaiming that music album sales are up 7 percent year to date. Music sales for the first half of 2004 reached 305.7 million units as compared to 285.9 million during the first half of 2003. Audiophiles take note as one of the top sellers for 2004, reaching 3.1 million units, is Norah Jones' Feels Like Home.

 

08 / 04 / 04

Yamamoto Sound Craft tube electronics A-08 45 single-ended triode amplifier   Yamamoto Sound Craft's A-08 single-ended triode amplifier ($2,250) employs a pair of Tungsol 717A "mushroom" driver tubes, a RCA 5U4G rectifier tube, and a pair of NOS Type-45 output tubes. This unit produces 2 watts with a wide frequency response from 23Hz to 30kHz. Each amplifier is 100 percent hand-crafted with point-to-point wiring, and incorporates custom Hi-B transformers and Yamamoto's own highly-regarded Teflon tube sockets . The chassis is sculpted from resin-infused Japanese cherry, a material akin to Bakelite in terms of its electrical insulation properties. Solid ebony support columns are used for resonance control.

 

08 / 03 / 04

Dynaudio Audience 72SE Loudspeaker  Dynaudio is following their "Special Edition" variants by adding their first ever floorstanding "SE" variant, the new Audience 72SE. The upgraded multiple-coated fabric soft dome ESOTEC tweeter, developed for the Dynaudio Contour S, has a powerful magnet and resonance damping rear chamber. The midrange/bass drivers are also uprated, featuring drivers from Dynaudio's Contour 1.8 MkII, with Magnesium-Silicate-Polymer (MSP) one piece cone attached to a die-cast aluminum frame basket. Naturally a new crossover was developed using low-loss inductors and capacitors, plus ceramic resistors. Specifications are as follows:

Tweeter: 28mm soft dome
Woofer: two 17 cm diameter
Sensitivity: 86dB/W/m
Impedance: 4 ohms
Frequency Response: 28Hz to 26kHz (+/-3dB)
Weight: 18 kg.
Dimensions: 204 x 959 x 256 (W x H x L in mm)
Cabinet: Maple, Cherry, Rosewood, or Black Ash Natural Wood Veneer

 

08 / 01 / 04

  Enjoy the Music.com has released the August issue of our Review Magazine! This is a very special analog issue so vinyl lovers can rejoice! Editor Steven R. Rochlin writes about the joys of analog and begs the question "Have we been led astray" concerning the so-called high-resolution digital formats. Equipment reviewed within our August issue include the Acoustic Solid Small Royal turntable, Rega RB250 tonearm, Linn Adikt MM cartridge, HRS Analog Disk, Pro-Ject's 1 Xpression and Speed Box, Basis 2800 turntable, Graham 2.2 tonearm... plus many more! We also have quite a few new music reviews because, as always, what really matters is that you enjoy the music.

 

 

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