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High-End Audio Industry News

10 / 31 / 00

  Washington has passed a law, as part of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, to make it illegal to hack or break safeguards that protect digital audio, video and other media. The new law provides civil statutory damages for illegally accessing copyrighted material secured by computer code (SDMI, Verance, etc) and damages can range from $200 to $2,500, while the criminal penalties can go as high as $1 million or 10 years in jail.

 

 

MusicbankLooking to be most popular place for enjoying streaming music online, Musicbank has signed up four of the major five labels. With newcomer Sony Music Entertainment joining the previously signed up BMG Entertainment, Segram's Universal Music Group and the Warner Music groups, only EMI Recorded Music is still unsigned to Musicbank. Musicbank's business plan does not revolve around selling music. Instead, it relies on advertising revenues to bring in the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to keep such a service viable. The Musicbank website will be password protected so that individual users can log on and listen to their CDs from any computer in the world (as MP3.com previously offered and also went to court over). A deal with retailer Virgin Megastores will allow users to listen to their CDs through Musicbank after purchasing from any Virgin retail outlet. "Our agreement with Sony Music Entertainment brings us closer to our goal of providing consumers with immediate, customizable access to their personal music collections wherever they are, from any Internet connection," Musicbank chairman Pierce Ledbetter said in a statement.

 

 

Taking a beating in the Russian black/grey market, the second highest in the world for domestic piracy behind number one ranked China, BMG has stepped up its efforts against piracy in Russia. "We feel that now is the right moment to further expand our presence in the Russian market, and in particular to start building up our own catalog of local artists," said Thomas M. Stein, president of BMG Entertainment (GSA/EE).

 

 

Delivering high-performance audio on memory chips has come one step closer as Micron Technology, Inc has just announced the availability of its first SyncFlash memory. This 64 Mbit device includes 100MHz SDRAM read speeds and also supports simultaneous read and write operation. This new type of memory chip gives greater reading/writing speeds to deliver the benefits of non-volatile storage technology with industry-standard SDRAM architectures. With no moving parts, music on a chip has many advantages over the current 5" disc counterpart. Currently the many portable MP3 players are enjoying the benefits, though in the future there will need to be a faster, higher storage capacity chipset to provide DVD-Audio and other media. SyncFlash provides the faster access speeds needed to make high-performance portable memory chip based media possible. Being rewritable media, the SyncFlash chip can also enable users to download high resolution audio from the internet and play it on future portable devices.

 

10 / 30 / 00

Pro 660-Ergo  Laser alignment mavens Sound Alignment Systems new Pro 660-Ergo and LG-120 help audiophiles and professional installers to properly and precisely setup loudspeaker systems. Their system uses precision laser beam(s) to assure critical and precise measurements. The Pro 660-Ergo is billet machined from 6061-t6 aluminum with high quality custom anodized finish and permanent laser engraved graphics. A 3-piece system including 45, 90 and 0 references can be used from any side or, all three sides simultaneously for more sensitive flat surface calibration. The new LG-120 is a fully calibrated line generator calibrated to produce 120, 90, 60, 45, 30, 15 angles (one at a time). See the Enjoy the Music.com exclusive review of their system by clicking here.

 

 

PS Audio, makers of the Power Plant, have just announced their Ultimate Outlet that will be available in December. The Ultimate Outlet is going to be a compact box designed to "replace" your wall outlet. Unlike the impressive Kimber "Wattagate" that replaced the outlets in your listening room to a top quality high contact outlet, the PS Audio Ultimate Outlet is claimed to "eliminates common mode, differential mode noise and protects from surges and spikes, and lowers the output impedance of AC power from your wall outlet by a factor of three!" The Ultimate Outlet can accommodate loads up to 30 amps or about 3000 watts. Using precision wound balanced magnetic (wound with Litz wire) to achieve a reduction in common mode and differential mode noise by over 40 dB. Another advantage of the unit is that it is claimed to be "bi-directional". It will prevent noise from getting into your equipment as well as stop the noises they generate from getting onto the line. Suggested retail in December should be approximately $299.

 

10 / 28 / 00

AOL.com  Looks like AOL is readying the Time-Warner merger by releasing version 6.0 of the AOL software. This new version includes the AOL Media Player that handles many different streaming audio and video types while also readying their 25 million members to pay for play music and/or subscribe to music on a monthly basis. With an incredibly large amount of people accustom to paying monthly fees with their credit car number already on file, AOL is poised to become one of the largest internet streaming media deliverers in the world. Recently Jupiter Research did a study and the outcome is that 61 percent of active online music users are willing to spend 20 percent of their normal music purchasing budget on a subscription-type service. Jupiter Research has estimated that online music delivery will be a $1 billion business by 2005. Word on the street is that Sony will take advantage of the huge market saturation of their PlayStation 2 by also offering their own subscription music plan.

 

10 / 27 / 00

CEA   According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), August sales of audio products remains high. Sales for August increased six percent compared to the same period last year for a total year 2000 sales of $5.3 billion (an 11.2 percent rise over last year-to-date figure). Portable audio revenues post a nine percent increase in August, generating $235 million in sales. Factory sales of audio systems also experienced double-digit growth, climbing 16 percent to revenues of $192 million in August. Drive this tremendous growth are the compact systems category, increasing 15 percent, and the convenient and affordable home-theater-in-a-box category, increasing a phenomenal 45 percent in August. "Consumers are increasingly experiencing the immersive aspects of surround sound," commented Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. "Whether it is a family enjoying a home theater experience or a college student listening to digital music files from their PC, clearly digital audio products are changing the way people listen. This trend will only continue when new formats, such as DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD, bring us new exciting aural experiences and music as we've never heard it before."

 

10 / 26 / 00

Napster for the MAC  While Napster has mainly been the domain of IBM-compatible users, the largest segment of the internet surfing world, Napster has now released a version for the Mac enthusiast! Users can enjoy searching and sharing music files, chatting with other Napster users and join in on the new wave of free online music. The inventor of Napster, Shawn Fanning, is receiving a rock star like welcome from students throughout America. Of course there are various legal issues we have been reporting on that may still shut down the Napster service.

 

 

DART CD-Recorder 4.0Digital Audio Restoration Technology (DART), makers of high quality restoration software DART Pro 98 and Pro 32, has announced the release of DART CD-Recorder 4.0 ($49.95). This new software package offers an easy to use interface to encode CDs to MP3 files, MP3 files to CD/WAV files and much more. Like DART's other software, you can use their critically acclaimed digital audio restoration technology for DeClicking and DeHissing to remove clicks, pops, scratches and hiss. Customized play lists can be made by simple "drag and drop". A nine band equalizer, fade-in/out and normalize volume adjustability is also included.

 

10 / 25 / 00

  Bringing advanced single-chip technology to audio, C-Cube Microsystems Inc. has released the world's first one-chip design in digitized CD audio and video applications. Their ZiVA-5 integrates a 150-MHz, 32-bit SPARC CPU with a dual-issue capability for both integer and DSP instructions, offers MP3 audio-codec technology, progressive-scan output, and Internet applications in DVD players. "The full-audio complete and DVC codec technologies are industry firsts in DVD," said Tim Vehling, C-Cube's director of marketing of consumer products. "This technology is at least six to nine months ahead of the competition."

In other chip news, Analog Devices Inc. has introduced two multichannel audio devices, the AD1836 coder/decoder and the AD1833 digital-to-analog converter. The AD1836 offers six D/A and four analog-to-digital converters (A/D). It also supports multiple digital stereo channels with 24-bit conversion resolution and a 96 kHz sample rate. Those looking for ever higher performance may use the AD1833 that offers six D/A converters with a 192 kHz sample rate and 24-bit resolution for two channels, and a 96 kHz sample rate for all six channels. It fully complies with the latest Digital Versatile Disk audio (DVD-Audio) specifications. Both of these chips are based on ADI's patented Sigma-Delta modulation architecture that is said to reduce "idle tones". A high quality data-directed scrambling capability is included within the chip to minimize sensitivity to jitter. Pricing for the AD1836 is $9.50 in 1,000-piece quantities. The AD1833 is $6.80 in 1,000-piece quantities.

 

10 / 24 / 00

  It is official folks! While the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) is denying public confirmation that their music protection schemes have been broken (as reported by Enjoy the Music.com days before others, on October 14th), it has been announced by leading groups they have indeed done the dirty deed. Yesterday various groups from Princeton University, Rice University, and Xerox Palo Alto Research Center all claim to have successfully defeated the four watermarking technologies SDMI offered. Meanwhile, the SDMI seems to not care about sound quality pre se as the original test tracks were said to lack what audiophiles would consider high sound quality. Edward Felton of Princeton University said "In any case, I think 'golden-ear' tests are beside the point, because pirates would be satisfied to distribute music that sounds -- to everybody but a few highly trained experts -- just like the original." Mr. Felton also feels as we at Enjoy the Music.com do, "...protecting music is not feasible with today's watermarking technology." While Sony uses some hardware schemes with their proprietary SACD format, if there was any true demand for their product it could simply be reverse engineered (probably by the Chinese) and then be mass produced and sold on the grey marketplace. Fortunately for Sony it seems that no one so far feels their technology is worth defeating. Meanwhile a six-member panel of the SMDI is closely studying the 447 potential defeating of their four technologies. The official results is scheduled to be announced at the November 8-10 SDMI meeting in Washington, DC.

 

10 / 20 / 00

  While the high-end is struggling over the current lack of DVD-Audio discs and Sony decided to muddy the waters with their own proprietary SACD format, the internet is moving along at a fast pace. A new alliance of fourteen major companies like software maven Sun to hardware leader Cisco and consumer minded Panasonic (Matsushita Electric Corporation of America). The view is to follow along the lines of Cisco's Internet Home as we first reported on September 9th (and was seen at CEDIA). Both high resolution audio and video can easily be received from the internet. Plans are to offer various on demand services for a fee as we pay for cable TV or satellite. Furthermore, home phone service can also be accommodated for. Therefore instead of a separate line for voice, fax, internet and TV, one high bandwidth internet connection can easily handle all four operations simultaneously. In fact on October 4th Enjoy the Music.com reported about a 5.1 mix of streaming multichannel uncompressed 24-bit/96kHz audio via the web.

"Panasonic is delighted to be joining Internet Home Alliance as a founding member," said Paul Liao who is the Vice President and chief technology officer of Panasonic. "We strongly believe that the emerging Internet lifestyle will empower consumers with unprecedented new capabilities for individualized freedom and choice -- choice in lifestyle and workstyle that is not limited by location or time constraints."

A prepared statement released by the alliance said "An Internet lifestyle is about using the Internet to enhance the quality of life. Technology is enabling a new generation of Internet lifestyle solutions that include streaming audio/video for entertainment and learning, energy and security monitoring, remote diagnostics, personal and family communication, and simultaneous Internet access from multiple personal computers or Internet appliances. These enhanced services will bring new levels of comfort, convenience and security to consumers, and are the foundation of the Internet lifestyle."

 

10 / 19 / 00

  Going further into murky waters by reviewing gear and selling it too, etown.com has just announced that it will provide 3COM's Audrey users consumer electronics information and "offer access to comprehensive information on a full range of CE products and also allow consumers to purchase items directly through the site" said their press release. "We chose to collaborate with 3Com because of Audrey's obvious appeal to our customers," said Robert Heiblim, chairman and chief executive officer, etown.com. "Now Audrey users can visit etown.com with just a single button, to aide them in getting the latest information or purchase consumer electronics - all from their kitchen, living room or wherever the 'nerve centers' of their homes may be."

 

10 / 17 / 00

  According to the officials who brought us the Milan, Italy Top Audio & Video show, their recent year 2000 Show attendance was up 11% as compared to the previous year's show. Please see the exact daily breakdown of show attendees below:

  2000 1999

VARIANCE

Thursday 2.320 2.384 -3%
Friday 3.408 3.119 9%
Saturday 4.573 3.726 23%
Sunday 4.301 3.671 17%
Monday 1.751 1.809 -3%
TOTAL 16.353 14.709 11%

 

 

Grateful DeadIn a move to bring joy to any DeadHead, the Grateful Dead are planning on making available approximately 2,000 complete concert recordings. This would be one of the largest in the rock genre. These concerts would be available on both digital disc and through the internet. Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir said the band plans on officially launching this project on the Grateful Dead website at www.dead.net and ask fans which shows they desire the most.

 

 

RIAAMusicians and various labels are crying conflict of interest with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). These same music artists and labels are going so far as to ask the the U.S. Copyright Office not to choose the RIAA to be able to collect royalties from streaming audio through the internet. Jenny Toomey, who is the executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, said "We simply do not see how the RIAA could be successful in simultaneously representing artists and independent labels at the same time that it is a trade organization for the major record labels." Toomey continued "...inherent conflicts in trying to represent competing interests." As the RIAA has delayed their October 11th plans to announce the start of SoundExchange, a program that is said to collect royalties from music webcasters.

 

10 / 14 / 00

SDMI.org  In a challenge to hackers to defeat the four watermarking technologies, the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) offered a "prize" of $60,000 to those who could break/defeat SDMI. Well, like virtually all "protected" or encrypted data brought up to a challenge, it did not take long as all four formats (Blue Spike, CRL, Samsung/MarkAny and Verance) were allegedly broken and therefore made useless. Our sources say that a grand total of 447 had attempted the task. While there is nothing official on the SDMI website, the official committee has scheduled presenting the results at the November 8-10 SDMI meeting in Washington, DC. SDMI said yesterday "At this point in time no proposed technology has been eliminated based on the public challenge."

 

 

RIAAIn our May 2000 News Page we reported about a major mistake made by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In a move that properly corrects a sneaky try of the RIAA to add in the "Work For Hire" clause that would effective remove the ability for music to be owned by the performing musicians after 35 years, the Senate has approved legislation repealing the law. The "Work For Hire" brought such an uproar in the music community as to have various musicians, for the first time, hire their own lobbyists (see our July New Page). This unfortunate phrase was added into 1999's Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act. Due to the Senate approval to repeal the Work For Hire clause, the bill will now go to President Clinton for signing.

 

10 / 13 / 00

Sonny Rollins  Legendary tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins is set to release a new album titled This Is What I Do. Arriving to stores at the end of this month will be his latest music collection featuring three new originals and classics such as "Sweet Leilani", "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square", "The Moon Of Manakoora" and many others. The lead track called "Salvador" is an original by Rollins named after the capitol city of Bahia, Brazil. Another original called "Did You See Harold Vick?" is in memory of fellow saxophonist Harold Vick who was friend of Sonny's and passed away in 1987.

 

 

TWICEProving the direction of musical enjoyment on the go is becoming more internet based, sales of portable MP3-type units and other internet media is expected to reach $1.25 billion! This is a huge gain from 1999's $126 million level. This is according to one of the leading electronic magazine's market research company owned by This Week In Consumer Electronics (TWICE) parent Cahners Business Information. Worldwide unit sales are claimed to be rising from 1999's 700,000 to 2.9 million units in 2000 and 6.9 million in 2002. The widespread acceptance of the internet combined with the ease of music exchanging and lowering hardware pricing are just a few of the reasons for this huge gain in market share.

 

10 / 12 / 00

RIAA  In a huge breakthrough helping to pave the way for music delivery through the Internet, the National Music Publishers' Association, Inc. (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have come to an agreement regarding procedures for licensing and distribution via the Internet. While this new agreement differs from the RIAA's SoundExchange program that was created by a joint venture of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the American Federation of Musicians, the RIAA and other industry representatives.

To quote the press release "The agreement, to be implemented in transactions between RIAA member record companies and a wholly owned subsidiary of NMPA, The Harry Fox Agency, Inc., (HFA), sets forth streamlined procedures under which musical works may be licensed expeditiously through HFA. These procedures will substantially reduce the time and effort required to clear music publishing rights for the electronic delivery of sound recordings to consumers."

Cary Sherman, senior executive vice president and general counsel of RIAA said "Record labels have been putting more and more of their content online, but securing licenses from the various rights owners has been time-consuming as well as an administrative burden. The new arrangement with HFA will expedite licensing for digital downloads very substantially, enabling our companies to make more music available to consumers more easily and more quickly."

Edward P. Murphy, President and CEO of NMPA said "This opens a new era in the licensing of music on the Internet. Broad utilization by distributors of the licensing resources of HFA will make getting licensed music into the hands of the consumer that much easier. The arrangement will also enable accurate identification of Internet music files, a critical requirement for copyright owners and their songwriter partners."

 

 

AOL It has been approved! The European Commission (EC) has now officially approved the AOL/Time Warner merger... with some conditions. Specifically that ''all structural links'' to its strategic partner Bertelsmann in Europe should be eliminated. While Bertelsmann and the world's largest internet provider AOL have enjoyed a prosperous relationship, neither company is sure how to fully implement the EC's demands. "If there are any changes to the existing agreements we have with AOL, we are looking forward to AOL approaching us," said Oliver Herrgesell, head of corporate communications for Bertelsmann.

In a prepared statement, the EC said ''Because of the structural links and some existing contractual arrangements with Bertelsmann, AOL/Time Warner would... have had preferred access to Bertelsmann content and, in particular, to its large music library. As a result AOL/Time Warner would have controlled the leading source of music publishing rights in Europe, where Time-Warner and Bertelsmann together hold approximately one third of the market. One of the EC's concerns is that Bertelsmann music should be made available to all online vendors fairly and not exclusively to AOL.

 

 

After canceling last year's show due to low manufacture participation as reported by us in February 2000, EMAP Peterson Inc. is trying once again to have a public show. The "Home Entertainment 2001" show is planned for New York City to showcase both audio and video products from May 11th to the 13th, 2001 at the Hilton. For those looking to attend the show, room rates at the Hilton during this event start at $210 per night plus tax.

 

10 / 11 / 00

  Rotel is now offering their new RDV-995 DVD-Video/CD/CD-R player, RSP-976 surround sound preamplifier and RSX-972 multichannel receiver. The DV-995 DVD-Video unit ($899) supports Dolby Digital and has dts pass-through capability. Digital-audio capability includes high-speed single-bit D/A converters with 24-bit/96-kHz resolution while those who desire outboard decoding can use the included coaxial digital output. As for video, a 10-bit, 27-MHz video D/A converter, augmented by "Video Fine" capability, processes video data for maximum resolution.

Rotel's new RSP-976 surround sound processor/preamplifier ($1,199) offers surround-sound processing, wideband video switching capabilities and ease of operation. Up to eight analog and five digital sources are accommodated while all digital inputs are assignable so that individual systems can be configured to user preferences. Rotel has also included a separate 5.1 channel input to provide what they claim is a "future proof" format compatibility. The RSP-976 also includes a fully independent Zone 2 audio output to allow "second source" distribution to a remote room. Independent volume control of the second zone together with source selection is available, and can be operated via either a third-party IR repeater or third-party learning keypad. To further assist multi-room and custom home installations, an included RS-232 interface offers further operational enhancements.

The new RSX-972 100-watt multi-channel receiver ($1,299) gives a high-performance alternative to complex multi-component home theater systems. The RSX-972 includes Dolby Digital and dts processing implemented by advanced microprocessors from Crystal Semiconductor and Motorola. Full Auto-Detect makes the RSX-972 easy to use by analyzing the data stream from digital sources and automatically selecting proper decoding. Five-channel DSP (digital signal processing) options for multiple effects lets a consumer tailor the receiver to match the source. The receiver also includes an independent six- channel input for surround formats such as (DVD-A). Five assignable digital inputs (three coaxial, two optical) to complement analog audio inputs including phono, CD, and two tape-monitor circuits with dubbing capability are included. On the video side of things. composite, S-Video and component signal switching give added flexibility. The advanced LCD readout remote control makes system setup and operation easy. The AM/FM tuner section incorporates a four-gang quartz PLL (Phase Locked Loop) digital- synthesizing tuner with RDS (Radio Data System) capability.

 

 

Accuphase DP-100A new digital dynamic duo is offered by Accuphase. The new DP-100 SACD/CD transport ( $12,995) offers dedicated digital output and HS-Link flexibility. A stationary optical assembly with dual pickups assures absolutely pure digital signal readout. This top loading player takes advantage of Accuphase's HS-Link for extremely sophisticated digital signal transmission technology. Accuphase developed this standard in order to allow reproduction of digital sources with superb sound quality. A single cable is used both to send and receive verification information for copyright purposes and to deliver the audio data stream without the slightest deterioration.

Features of the new DP-100 include:

*Digital output SACD/CD transport designed for
   ultra-precise signal readout
* Plays also regular CDs with optimum quality
* Stationary dual optical mechanism featuring separate
   pickups for SACD and CD
* Dedicated digital servo DSP for optical pickup
   and motor control
* Large display shows text data, operation status
   and other information
* Compatible with super high quality digital audio
   interface HS-Link developed by Accuphase
* Built-in HS-Link RJ-45 connector for SACD/CD
   signal output
* Built-in coaxial connector for CD signal output
* High-precision smooth sliding door shuts out
   external noise and vibrations
* Strong chassis with resonance and vibration
   resistant construction
* "High Carbon" cast iron insulator feet with superior
   damping characteristics further enhance sound quality
* Dedicated HS-Link cable supplied as standard equipment
* Multi-function remote commander RC-27 supplied as
   standard equipment
* HS-Link connector (SACD/CD output) and coaxial
   connector (CD output) assembly
* Supplied remote commander RC-27
* Versatile DP-100 functions including direct play,
   program, repeat, shuffle, etc.
* DC-101 input switching and output level adjustment

 

The new Accuphase DC-101 ($14,995) digital processor incorporates the latest of technologies including SACD (2.8224 MHz/1bit) and DVD-Audio (192 kHz/24 bit). The crucial step of turning the digital information into analog form is handled by an MDS (Multiple Delta Sigma) converter. This principle was first developed by Acuphase for their DC-330. All inputs to the DC-101 are handled by option boards to insure expandability and flexibility. An HS-Link Input Board DI2-HS1 for connection to DP-100 is provided as standard equipment allowing connecting the DP-100 to the DC-101 with an HS-Link cable. The cable carries both the SACD and CD signal for reproduction with optimal sound quality.

 

10 / 10 / 00

  In a unique turn of events, our sources inform us that the European Commission (EC) will provisionally give the AOL/Time Warner Merger the OK. The $135 billion acquisition of the entertainment conglomerate Time Warner by the world's largest Internet company (AOL) may still have a rocky road ahead with regulators in the United States. After making various concessions to satisfy the EC, the planned merger should be approved with some restrictions in force. One proposal is in slowly but surely exiting from Germany's Bertelsmann. This "progressively exit" would eventually fully remove Time Warner's music division with Bertelsmann's BMG activities. The EC has until October 24 to reach a final verdict on the merger.

 

 

Power OvalAnalysis Plus now offers a new power cable and interconnect to their already impressive line of products. The new Power Oval power cord uses the same patented hollow oval geometry as other Analysis Plus products yet without resorting to large wire conductor sizes. This low-inductance design is claimed to perform as well as, or better than, large diameter cords yet offers the benefits of increased flexibility and at a much lower price. The 12-gauge, stacked oval design employs a braided shield topology to reject external high frequency noise sources. Marinco hospital-grade plug and a WattGate 320 IEC connector are standard while the WattGate 330 plugs and 350 IEC connectors are optionally available. Prices start at $267.00 for a standard 4-foot cable, with additional length $32.00 per foot.

Copper Oval InAnalysis Plus' new Copper Oval-In Interconnects are based on their patented Hollow Oval design as well. Using high-purity oxygen-free copper that is braided into a hollow oval shape, this works to control the current density in the conductors better than conventional interconnects. This, in turn, is claimed to result is an interconnect whose electrical properties change little with frequency. The new Copper Oval-In interconnects are available in both single-ended and balanced configurations. The price for a one-meter pair with RCA connectors is $269, or $299 with Neutrik XLR connectors.

 

10 / 06 / 00

  As reported on September 30th by Enjoy the Music.com, the EMI Group and Warner Music Group may not get approval from the European Commission (EC) have now fully withdrawn their joint venture proposal from the EC. While some type of partnership or cross marketing deal may still be pursued. ''We continue to believe that a joint venture with Warner Music Group can create substantial value for our shareholders and benefit our artists, consumers and employees by bringing together two companies with complementary strengths,'' said EMI's chairman Nicoli. ''The withdrawal of our application allows additional time to reassess regulators' concerns and to pursue solutions simultaneously in Europe and the US.'' Keeping things moving in other areas, Warner announced their new DVD-Audio titles, the first in the marketplace (see our October 3rd news) and also join Liquid Audio by offering music downloads available through Liquid's online retail affiliates.

 

 

BuzzNet 2000While we here at Enjoy the Music.com have been wondering what the Academy Advancing High Performance Audio & Video (AAHPAV) have been doing to educate the public about better audio and video, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) will be giving away many thousands of dollars in audio equipment during their BuzzNet 2000 tour at various college campuses this fall. Scheduled to reach the California State University at Long Beach on October 11 and 12, and the University of California at Davis on October 16 and 17, students will be able to experience high quality surround music through mini-systems, receivers and other more mainstream components. To educate students, a 16 page brochure explaining new audio technologies will given to all attendees. Sponsors include Alpine, Denon, Dolby Laboratories, Klipsch, Sherwood America, Runco, Toshiba, Yamaha. Maybe the AAHPAV can tag along with a well equipped demonstration showing what true high-performance audio can do?

 

 

Sony Music Entertainment is readying the world's first major label initiative of offering internet users a combination "digital storage locker" and subscription services in January 2001. Under the name "Unsurface" (part of their 550 Digital Media Incubator), Sony's new online plans are to give web surfers various Sony copyrighted content (movies, music and possibly video games) to be stored into their digital storage locker. Unsurface will be a subscription-based service. It is reported that Sony is also in talks with other music-publishing organizations. Sony has previously dabbled in online music "pay for play" through music singles (priced at $3.95 each song) using the Microsoft Media encrypted music protection system, whose encryption was broken within two days.

 

10 / 05 / 00

Napster  While Napster's fate is still in the hands of a federal appeals court in San Francisco concerning their file-swapping service, reports of two or more large Internet Service Providers (ISP) are engaged in discussions of purchasing Napster. The lure of the millions of registered users with the possibility of charging $5 a month for using Napster's service is hard to turn down. It is getting harder and harder to find ways to gather internet users ad AOL has gobbled up about 40 percent of the US market. To gain access to many millions of users in one acquisition would be really advantageous as there is talk of providing the Napster service as an additional cost for internet access (as US cable TV consumers currently pay for HBO, Showtime and the like). Napster users might pay their ISP (AOL, or private Napster-partnered company) around $4.95 a month in additional to their current fee for monthly internet use.

 

10 / 04 / 00

  Arcam has announced their new DiVA range of hi-fi and home cinema separates. DiVA stands for Digitally integrated Video and Audio. The DiVA series includes their first DVD-Video player, the DV88 (899.90), and has been developed by Arcam from the ground up to set new standards for audio and video performance. The great news about the DV88 is that it's modular design will allow owners to upgrade to DVD-Audio by replacing the main board. Two CD players, three integrated amplifiers, two power amplifiers and the T51 FM/AM tuner (279.90) help round out the DiVA series. John Dawson, MD Arcam said "The DiVA series represents a major advance for Arcam. We have developed a range of products that combine high performance electronics with attractive industrial design that will further strengthen our position as the UK's leading manufacturer of specialist hi-fi."

 

 

Just to prove it can be done, the world's first streaming multichannel uncompressed 24-bit/96kHz audio signal has been done with the aid of a whopping 30+Mbp stream! Using Mytek converters, this allow McGill to succeed with the first live Internet transmission of multichannel 24-bit/96kHz audio. A jazz band performed live in at McGill University in Montreal while at the recent Audio Engineering Society (AES) the live band's multichannel digital signal was streaming in and decoded in a theatre at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The critically acclaimed recording engineers Bob Margoulef and Brant Biles created a 5.1 mix from the 12 audio channels used to capture the live performance which was, in turn, sent uncompressed at 24-bit/96kHz to the audience in the Norris Theatre at the USC School of Cinema and Television. "The focus was on technical issues, challenges of latency, quality of service and various possible applications" said Wieslaw Woszczyk of McGill University. Wieslaw continued "This is the first time ever that the highest production quality 24 bit, 96kHz uncompressed multichannel audio has been transmitted over the Internet. This is not the common MP3 but rather the future of recording." The audio data was sampled at 24-bit/96kHz by Mytek 8X96 converters, and sent through an ADAT lightpipes (4 channels per pipe,) to an RME Hammerfall 9652 audio interface, installed on a PIII-733 PC running RedHat Linux.

 

 

Attendance to the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) show (see our exclusive coverage of the show by clicking here) scored a record crowd of 15,000 people.

 

10 / 03 / 00

  Enjoy the Music.com has online our exclusive world's first published post DVD-Audio announcement interview with Jordan Rost who is the Senior Vice President of New Technology for the Warner Music Group. Come read the entire interview by clicking here.

 

10 / 02 / 00

UPDATE! Pricing is set to be $24.98 per single disc title. Stay tuned as we will be updating information on this late breaking news as it unfolds.

 

  Great news as it seems the Warner Music Group (WMG) is the very first major label to release a true blue DVD-Audio disc. DVD-Audio offers much higher resolution audio reproduction over the Compact Disc (CD) plus multi-channel capabilities and much more! Planned to be released on November 7th WMG will take advantage of DVD-Audio's multi-channel capabilities (also using Advanced Resolution) of Beethoven's Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5, conducted by Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin. Also scheduled to be released at the same time is Core by Stone Temple Pilots; Tigerlily by Natalie Merchant; Johann Strauss in Berlin, conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt with the Berlin Philharmonic; Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (which can been seen on our Frankfurt Germany 2000 Show report); Hommage a l'Orchestre Lamoureux: Chabrier's Espana & Ravel's Bolero, with Orchestre Lamoureux conducted by Yutaka Sado; and The Bedroom Mixes by the Jazz At The Movies Band.

Of course new music, and reissues as well, will be made available on a monthly basis. "With the concurrent introduction of DVD-Audio and download music releases, WMG is aggressively utilizing new technology working with music retailers to expand the market for our music while offering consumers a wider variety of listening experiences," said David Mount, Chairman and CEO of WEA Inc. "Because our DVD-Audio discs include a Dolby Digital mix able to play in existing DVD-Video players, we're confident that a significant market for these discs will develop very quickly."

"With DVD-Audio you have the feeling that there is no artificiality," said internationally acclaimed conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim. "It's as if there are no microphones, as if there are no loudspeakers, and you are in the room where the music is being made. You almost feel the wooden floor vibrate."

Not to worry you non-DVD-Audio player owning folks as the albums being released from WMG will also offer the flexibility of playability in three ways: first, in Advanced Resolution surround sound; second, in Advanced Resolution stereo; and third (for those not owning a DVD-Audio player) DVD-Video. The last feature, DVD-Video, will enable the new DVD discs to be enjoyed in the approximately 10 million DVD-Video players currently in U.S. homes. There is more than just better audio my friends as the DVD-Audio discs will provide many other features such as brief DVD-Video quality music videos and artist commentary while on a DVD-Audio player there will be interactive visual menus with remote navigation (see our Frankfurt Germany 2000 Show report to see the Emmerson, Lake and Powell screenshot) and other goodies such as a photo gallery of still pictures, artist bios, discography and credits or song lyrics (viewable during Advanced Resolution playback).

Other artists whose work is already in development for future releases include Barenaked Ladies, Barenboim conducting Beethoven's complete symphonies, Buena Vista Social Club, Tracy Chapman, Alice Cooper, The Corrs, Olu Dara, Miles Davis, Deep Purple, The Doors, Firesign Theatre, Bela Fleck, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Fourplay, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, k.d. lang, Zubin Mehta conducting Orff's Carmina Burana, Mehta conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Metallica, Pat Metheny, Luis Miguel, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart and Take 6. Warner Music Group (WMG) is home to many leading record companies such as The Atlantic Group, Elektra Entertainment Group, Rhino Entertainment, London-Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records Inc.

 


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