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High-End Audio Industry News

 

10 / 31 / 01

  The upcoming Rhythm & Blues Foundation's 12th annual Pioneer Award will be held at the Apollo Theater in New York on November 8th. This year's Pioneer Award honorees include:

Lifetime Achievement - Al Green
Group Honorees - The Emotions and Sly & The Family Stone
Individual Artist Honorees - Fontella Bass, Big Jay McNeely and Dee Dee Sharp
Songwriter/Entrepreneur Honorees Holland-Dozier-Holland and Allen Toussaint
Legacy Tribute: Louis Jordan

 

 

A recent major setback for AOL as a court injunction has halted the distribution of their AOL 6.0 software. PlayMedia Systems, who is known for their WinAmp software, claims that AOL is distributing unlicensed versions of its popular music software. In April of this year PlayMedia sued AOL-Time Warner for copyright infringement. U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz has therefore awarded an injunction to halt AOL from distributing their software. While AOL has recently released version 7.0 of their software, it is not known if this version also includes the same PlayMedia software as appears in version 6.

 

10 / 30 / 01

Moth Paradigm  Moth Audio's new 300B Paradigm stereo amplifier ($1,695 plus cost of 300B tubes) features a single 300B per channel, front mounted Alps volume control and produces 10 watts per channel in single-ended class A1. This zero feedback design uses a unique circuit where a negative power supply in employed with an Electra-Print autoformer plate load. A sturdy zinc plated 18-gauge cold rolled steel chassis features Moth Audio's brass logo and their Positive Ground symbol. The Paradigm uses a single 300B per channel for output and a 6AN4 for driver duties.

Distortion: Less than 1% (40 - 20 kHz at 1 watt)
Frequency Response: 15Hz - 40 kHz (-3dB points at 1 watt)
Input Sensitivity: 300 mV for 1 watt out
Input Impedance: 100 K ohms
Output: 2,4,8 & 16 ohms, user selectable
Wiring: Hand wired point to point for all signal circuits
Hum & Noise: 1 mV peak full bandwidth.
Dimensions: 9.5" x 8.25" x 17" (HxWxL)
Weight: 40 Lbs.
Warranty: three year parts and labor warranty. Tubes carry the manufacturers' warranties.

 

 

Magnan Digital CableMagnan Audio Cables is now offering a digital/video cable. The Magnan Digital Cable is said to have high time resolution and very low skin effect conductor technology to reduce the effects of jitter. High quality gold plated RCA jacks are used while the cable itself is wrapped in protective covering to insure many years of service. Both RCA ($800) and XLR ($1,100) 6.5' versions are available.

 

10 / 29 / 01

Apex AD-7701  While Enjoy the Music.com was the first audiophile website to report on Apex Digital Inc.'s $299 street priced MD-200 DVD unit that also played DVD-Audio and Sony's SACD format (two-channel) back in March, we are happy to announce Apex's next generation unit. The new Apex AD-7701 ($349 MSRP) will handle virtually any DVD and CD disc. This includes multi-channel DVD-Audio and multi-channel SACD discs! The Apex AD-7701 also plays standard DVD-Video discs with Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby Pro Logic. Furthermore, it also is capable of playing VCD, SVCD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, HDCD and MP3 disc. Specifications are as follows:

Audio
Dolby Digital/DTS/PCM Ready
Dolby Pro Logic
3D Virtual Surround Sound
Digital Equalizer
5.1 Channel Built-in Decoder Output
Analog Audio Out (Dual)
Optical Digital Output
Headphone Jack w/ Volume Control

Video
Progressive Scan Video Output
S-Video Output
RCA Video Output
Component Video Output

Karaoke
Echo Control
Pitch Control
Vocal Assist Function
Microphone Volume Control
Two Microphone Jacks

Special Features
Plays DVD, VCD, SVCD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, HDCD, MP3, DVD-Audio, and SACD
Remote Control
NTSC & Pal Video Outputs
Fast Motion Forward & Backward
Slow Motion
Multiple Angle
Multiple Language Subtitles (Captions)
Parental Lock
Frame by Frame Advance
Programmable Playback Sequence
Built-In Screen Saver
Zoom (2x, 4x)
Evaluate nine Frames at a Time
Firmware

 

 

Coincident MP 300BCoincident Speaker Technology has announced their new MP 300B mono power amplifiers ($2,999 per pair, seen right) and the SIP 300B stereo integrated amplifier ($2,299). While these amplifiers are "affordable priced", they are said to employ high build and design quality with impressive sonics. One of the reasons for the low price is due to factory direct sales that reduce middleman price increases. Both units produce 18 watts per channel from a pair of 300B triode tubes operating in single-ended parallel. A 6SN7 driver tube and extensive pi filtering is employed within the power supply. The SIP 300B is an integrated, stereo amplifier on one chassis that uses one power transformer that is spec'ed at double the capacity of the MP 300 mono amplifier. A passive line stage using an Alps volume pot and input selector switch provides inputs for four sources is included.

 

10 / 26 / 01

dCS Verdi  High-end digital equipment company dCS has announced their new Verdi SACD transport. The Verdi uses a dual laser mechanism for reading SACD, CD and CD-R music software and to provide faster reading of data unlike many first generation SACD players. A front loading disc drawer mechanism provides vibration isolation due to the assembly being mounted on an elastomer suspension. To insure low jitter, a precision on-board clock generator ensures an output that has both low jitter and very good absolute accuracy. Digital output interfaces include RCA, BNC, AES/EBU, Toslink and SDIF-2. Also included is an IEEE1394 interface for DSD replay. This new output has been chosen as the official standard for consumer DSD data interchange. Due to ongoing improvement, all of the major digital processing and control functions in the Verdi are performed by programmable logic and are easily upgraded by inserting an update CD-R. For those music lovers who enjoy their music in subdued lighting, the dCS Verdi display offers seven levels of brightness including turning it off. A wireless remote control and five year warranty also provided.

These specifications relate to units fitted with version 1.0x software:

Mechanism Type: Dual laser, drawer loading 
Number of Channels: two
Playback Media: CD, CD-R, SACD
Digital Outputs:
     Three AES/EBU XLR 
     One S/PDIF RCA, phono 
     One S/PDIF BNC
     One S/PDIF TosLink optical
     One S/PDIF ST optical - Optional
     S/DIF-2 BNC (CH1, CH2 & Word Clock) 1 set 
     Two IEEE1394
Size: 18.15" x 5.39" 16.34" (WxHxD)
Weight (packed): 17kg

 

 

While it has long been known that China is a hotbed for pirated music software, the Chinese National Anti-Piracy/Pornography Working Committee (NAPWC) will be more strictly enforcing their anti-piracy laws. While the Committee seems more focused on pornography than music, pressures from both international legal and business entitles are being heard. The NAPWC has promised to conduct a National Software Inspection Campaign in 2002. This will include stiff fines for those found with illegal software and rewards up to $5,200 for workgroups and $1,300 for individuals who alert officials of illegal software. It has been reported by the Business Software Alliance that upwards of 94 percent of software in China is illegal.

 

 

Onkyo ChadOnkyo has released the CHAD Custom Home Automation Device ($500), a graphical touch screen learning remote control unit that is fully customizable. The hand-held controller can be configured to operate virtually any device with an infrared remote. It features 2 MB of internal memory, programmable macros and timers, and an RS-232 interface. The optional RFR-5 ($150) receiver allows the unit to use radio frequency signals to transmit from room to room and extends its useful range to nearly 70 feet. CHAD offers two options for adding new devices to be programmed. Components can be selected from the internal database of more than 500 brands, even if the remote control is lost for a component. In addition, the CHAD can learn even the most obscure functions directly from a remote, to be added directly to the home screen. Individual functions are customized by the user with the onscreen virtual keyboard. The unit can also be customized using a PC with the RS-232 interface and Onkyo's CHAD Edit software. It can be upgraded or expanded with new macros and functions from the Internet. The software allows nearly unlimited flexibility and the ability to customize touch screen layout and button appearance. The optional BCC-5 Docking Cradle ($150) allows the CHAD to operate on a rechargeable battery pack. The Onkyo CHAD measures 6 inches long, 3.75-inches wide, and 1.75-inches deep.

 

10 / 25 / 01

Apple iPod  Apple Computer has just released their new iPod portable music player ($399). Claiming to provide "1,000 songs in your pocket", the iPod incorporates a slim 5GB hard drive to store not only music files, but can also be used as a computer file storage unit. Weighing only 6.5 ounces, the iPod can store up to ten hours of music and provides an amazing twenty minutes of "skip protection". Due to using a FireWire connection, a single music CD can be transferred to the iPod in only ten seconds! The pocket-sized unit (2.43" x 4.02" x 0.78") has an informative LCD capable of displaying six lines of text. A white light-emitting diode (LED) backlight helps visibility during low-light situations. The iPod also includes Apple's award-winning iTunes 2 software for ripping MP3 files and transferring them to the iPod unit. A built-in equalizer is also included while the iPod can play back MP3, MP3 VBR, AIFF and WAV audio files.

 

 

Wharfedale's new Pacific series is available at factory-direct pricing through IAG America who also handle Quad products. Kevlar drivers, double and quadruple wound voices coils, neodymium magnets, a brand new phase-aligned silk-dome tweeter pod and a multi-way ultra-high-quality Zobel crossover matrix with air-cored chokes are features common to all Wharfedale Pacific models. Available real wood veneer finishes include Bird's Eye Maple, Beech with black or silver driver trim and Rosewood with black driver trim. The Pi-10 two-way monitor sells for $399 to $499/pr depending on finish, while the top model Pi-40 retails for $899 to $999/pr.

 

 

Now Hear This (NHT) is now offering their new SuperSub is a vented 150-watt amplifier subwoofer with dual 6.5" long-throw polypropylene woofers and a frequency response of 33Hz-180Hz (+/- 3 dB). It includes a continuously variable 18 dB/octave low-pass crossover between 40Hz-180Hz. Also included is a 12 dB/octave high-pass crossover at 100Hz plus the SuperSub provides RCA line level inputs/outputs. It weighs 37 lbs and measures 14.3" x 11.3" x 15.9" (HxWxD). The NHT SuperSub is finished in high-gloss black laminate.

 

10 / 24 / 01

GW Labs by Centasound Cyclops  The GW Labs by Centasound new Cyclops ($895) integrated 2-channel amplifier, DSP ($300), and MM-1 ($599) two-channel vacuum tube amplifier are now available. The Cyclops is a dual line-level input, vertical chassis 12wpc vacuum tube unit. It uses dual power transformers, custom low loss multi-section output transformers, zero global feedback design, a self-biasing Ultralinear push-pull output stage and a vacuum "eye" tube output indicator. The tube complement consists of two 12AU7, four EL-84 and one 6AL7GT. The Cyclops measures 3.93" x 13.78" x 9.96" (WxDxH) and weighs 18 lbs.

GW Labs has licensed the Digital Interface Processor technology from Monarchy Audio and expanded upon the original Monarchy Audio DIP 24/96. The new GW Labs DSP ($399) offers user-selectable sample rate conversion (from 32kHz to 96kHz) to 44.1kHz or 96kHz. Rather than using the recovered clock data from a transport, the DSP sports "highly accurate clock generation" and bit extension from 16 to 24 bits for any connected DACs. Connectivity includes Toslink, RCA and XLR inputs and RCA and XLR outputs. A heavy-duty, choke regulated dual power supply with 20,000µF of filtering is standard. The GW-Labs DSP measures 6.75" x 7.25" x 3" (WxDxH).

The GW Labs MM-1 ($599) is an audiophile-quality two-channel vacuum tube amplifier with gain control. It was specifically designed for users who spend considerable time at their computers and wish to enjoy DVD, CD, and MP3 media. The MM-1 features low-loss, grain-oriented, silicon-steel-core multi-section output transformers and a durable powder painted steel case. Per channel, a single-tube input stage combines with a horizontally mounted, twin-tube, self-biasing output stage to produce 12 watts of output power. A headphone output jack and a vacuum "eye" tube output indicator complete the features. The tubes used are two 12AU2; four EL-84 and one 6AL7GT. Each MM-1 is supplied with a set of dual RCA into a single stereo mini-plug interconnect cable for easy hookup to a computer sound card. The MM-1 measures 12.25" x 10.75" x 3.45" (WxDxH), weighs 17 lbs. and comes with a two-year (three months on tubes) limited parts and labor warranty.

Art of Sound Symphony

 

Art of Sound's Symphony towers are said to offer "the intimacy of a small pair of bookshelf speakers with serious dynamic range and impact". Twelve 6.5" mid/bass drivers are employed with four 1" soft dome tweeters. The claimed frequency response is said to be 40Hz to 20kHz with a very high sensitivity rating of 96 dB/w/m. Impedance is 8 ohms and each loudspeaker is said to achieve sound pressure levels upwards of 115 dB as provided by a 100 watts per channel amplifier. These are large floorstanding loudspeakers easily capable of filling most sound rooms with the impact of a full orchestra. Top quality audiophile parts are used throughout this design. Art of Sound offers a five year warranty on these models.

 

Talon Audio Technologies Roc 2002Talon Audio Technologies has released its new Roc 2002 ($2,950) powered subwoofer. With a claimed bandwidth of 16Hz to 500Hz and power handling of 5-3,000 watts continuous, the new Roc features a 1,000-watt amplifier, dual 12-inch down-firing woofers and weighs in at 145 lbs. Connectivity options include a 40Hz-100Hz adjustable low pass, x-over bypass, RCA/XLR line-level inputs, XLR line-level outputs, 0/180 switchable phase and IEC input. Dimensions of the Roc 2001 are 25" x 17.75" x 23" (HxWxD), and available finishes Gloss Black, Burl or Birdseye. Four patents surround this most recent design by Talon Audio.

 

10 / 23 / 01

Unison Research SR-1  Italian tube electronics manufacturer Unison Research has added three new products to its lineup: the Mystery Two preamp and the SR-1 and S-6 integrated amplifiers. To improve linear response, the pure Class-A Mystery Two powers its valve grids via battery-sourced DC. It is equipped with two double sets of output sockets to enable driving four power mono blocks. A dedicated tape output and five line-level inputs are also provided. Tube complement consists of 3 double triodes and one ECC83/22A rectifier. Weight is 35 lbs. and dimension are 46.5 x 34 x 13.5 cm (WxDx H).

The SR -1 (pictured here) is an RF-remote-controlled integrated, 80-watt hybrid stereo amplifier. An ECC82 double-triode is configured as a triode input stage and followed by a second triode stage with active bias control and stabilized anode voltage and heater current. The output stage is described as an "improved dynamic Class-A symmetrical stage" and features a complementary pair of power MOSFETs. Weight is 35 lbs. and dimensions are 27 x 45 x 15 cm (WxDxH). The S-6 is an integrated all-tube stereo amplifier with 35 watts of output power. The output stage is ultralinear Class-A and configured as paralleled single-ended. It uses 3 x EL34EH per channel and one ECC82/12AU7A as pre-driver. Weight is 58 lbs. and dimensions are 33 x 45 x 20 cm (W x D x H).

 

 

McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., has unveiled a new, more user-friendly design for its Web site that features streamlined product information and important new customer service capabilities. The new site design was created by KnowledgeLINKS, a company founded in 1996 to develop an innovative business technology platform called eDNA (Distribution Network Applications). Designed to foster collaborative commerce, eDNA "links manufacturers and their distribution partners with consumers through a portal Internet site, creating a unique infrastructure that provides an end-to-end value chain from 'clicks to bricks' for businesses involved in sales and marketing". Key enhancements in the new site include: a systems approach on product pages that presents viewers with lifestyle images of integrated McIntosh systems, plus Good, Better and Best options for focusing on equipment combinations for individual needs and budgets; reader-friendly comparisons between products within specific categories, such as amplifiers and preamplifiers; and new Guest Services designed to help consumers easily and simply find components in which they’re interested, arrange for product or system auditions, ask questions of McIntosh experts, and obtain proposals from their nearest McIntosh dealers.

 

 

JPS Labs, the cable company named after its owner/designer Joe Skubinski, has released what is billed as "the World's first audiophile-grade in-wall power cable", the Power AC In-Wall ($18/ft). It is said to be rated for up to 30 amps at 600 volts.

 

 

HaflerHafler, well known for its amplifiers and active monitors in the studio, broadcast and post production markets, has announced that due to unprecedented demand, its TA Series amplifiers are now available at all authorized dealers nationwide. The 100-watt TA1100 ($249) and 150-watt TA1600 ($379) are two rack space, convection cooled stereo power amps said to "provide Hafler's famed quality, power and control for a host of applications at entry-level prices". The TA1100 trans*ana MOSFET circuitry, even at low power levels, is said to imitate the accuracy and warmth of the TA1600 and having been successful in bringing new levels of clarity and intelligibility to many broadcast facilities and headphone monitoring installations.

The circuitry used in the TA1600 is the latest refinement of Hafler's proven trans*nova circuit that has proven extremely fault-tolerant even in abusive situations. This ruggedness enables the amplifier to drive reactive speaker loads without the performance and sound penalties imposed by elaborate protection schemes. A soft start circuit prevents sending potentially destructive turn-on and turn-off transients to the speakers. A thermal sensing network avoids the need for internal fuses and monitors the heatsink and transformer temperature. It shuts down the amplifier when it detects the potential for excessive operating heat. Another sensing circuit monitors the output signal and shuts down operation when it detects a short in the output load.

 

10 / 22 / 01

EAD Ultra  Enlightened Audio Design, a division of Thunder Lake Audio Corp., has unveiled its new Ultra DVD-Audio player dubbed "the ultimate 8-channel source for any A/V system". To realize the inherent performance advantages of twice the bit-rate of conventional CDs, 10 times the information capacity (considering six full-range channels), and 48 dB greater dynamic range, the EAD Ultra uses a custom analog output stage for unlimited bandwidth. In addition to conventional video outputs, the ULTRA provides progressive-scan video output and Faroudja's DCDi video processing (FLI2200) and Video Enhancement Processing (FLI2220). The Ultra is compatible with virtually all 5" DVD and CD formats, including DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, DTS, Dolby Digital, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, CD-R, CD-R/W, Video CD and MP3. In addition, bass-management and analog volume control allows the ULTRA to connect directly to an amplifier via the 8 balanced or single-ended outputs.

Specifications:
* Multi-Format Capable: CD, DAD, VCD, DVD-V, DVD-A, DVD-RAM (12 cm and 8 cm), MP3 (1st session only), CD, CD-R, and CD-RW. Some DVD-R can also be played. 
* High quality Genesis 480p video processing (standard) 
* Direct Digital Connection to the MPEG2 decoder circuitry eliminates the noisy and artifact-prone analog video interface used with most line doublers. 
* MPEG2 Digital Video Decoder with Powerful Error Correction.
* The newly developed error correction LSI chip assures smooth uninterrupted play. 
* Eight balanced and eight single-ended analog audio outputs, with adjustable volume, 0 to 8 volts rms, allow connection directly to a multi-channel power amplifier, bypassing the need for a separate surround sound decoder. 
* Premium-Quality Switched-Resistive Array Analog Volume Control gives low distortion and a wide control range. Step size is 0.5 dB for smooth, noise-free transitions. 
* Multi-Channel Analog Audio Outputs use Premium-Quality multi-level delta-sigma architecture Burr-Brown 192 kHz 24-bit DACs. 
* Stereo Analog Audio Outputs use High-Quality multi-level delta-sigma architecture Burr-Brown 192 kHz 24-bit DACs. 
Extra Center-Fill Surround Speaker is compatible with Dolby Surround EX and DTS ES sound tracks, and most multi-channel music. Level control trim for the extra surround speaker. ES speaker can be enabled/disabled via remote control. 
* Multi-mode bass-management for Dolby Digital, DTS, and stereo PCM material. 
* Twin subwoofer outputs for flexibility. 
* 12-volt trigger output for controlling a power amplifier and/or video screen. 
* RS-232 control of all functions. 
* Ergonomic Multifunction IR Remote Control with joystick allows easy control of all aspects of the player, including all video player functions, audio functions, and video enhancement functions. 
* Video-off switch for improved audio-only playback. 
* High-quality headphone jack with dedicated front panel volume control. 
* Adjustable MPEG Digital Noise Reduction for improved picture clarity of certain DVDs. Noise reduction methods: 3D-NR, Block NR, Mosquito NR. 
* Headphone Virtual Surround Sound (HP-V.S.S.) for enhanced listening to multi-channel sources. 
* Speaker Virtual Surround Sound (SP-V.S.S.) for enhanced listening to multi-channel sources with two loudspeakers. 
* Advanced on-screen Graphical User Interface (G.U.I.) allows easy setup of player function

 

 

Helping support UK-based companies with the finances needed for a stand/room at the upcoming January 2002 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the British Federation of Audio (BFA) has successfully achieved financial sponsorship from the British Trade International to provide 60 percent of the exhibition stand/room costs. This money is only for BFA members, only covers the stand/room and is a maximum of £2,300.

 

 

As we here at Enjoy the Music.com™ have been saying for years, there is no such thing as truly secure downloadable files. With popular websites such as Warez and others, many people have been illegally downloading copyrighted computer software while Napster has long been affiliated with "sharing" copyrighted music files. Now it seems Microsoft has confirmed that their digital rights management (DRM) software has been successfully hacked by a programmer calling themselves "Beale Screamer". Microsoft's Group Product Manager Jonathan Usher said "We have been forthright that no technology and no DRM is 100 percent secure. We anticipated... hacks and designed renewability into the system." This means that Microsoft can use different protection coding as previous versions get hacked. While we here at Enjoy the Music.com do not support the illegal "sharing" or hacking of copyrighted music, we can foresee many future protection scheme being hacked.

 

 

According to figures released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), manufacturer-to-dealer sales of digital television and DVD player products maintained strong increases during the months of August and September 2001. Sales of DTV sets and displays increased by 69 percent in August, to $243.9 million in factory sales. Sales of DVD players grew more than 36 percent during September, to more than 1.7 million units for the month. This marked the first month that sales of DVD players outpaced sales of VCRs. TV/VCR combination sales gained a 17 percent increase, with 615,986 units during the month of September. The growth in DTV sales for August pushed year-to-date totals to more than 101 percent, with $1.3 billion in revenue. Year-to-date manufacturer-to-dealer sales of DVD players reached 7.5 million units by the close of September, an increase of 48 percent over last year.

 

10 / 20 / 01

  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lashed out at Internet reports. To quote from the RIAA website:

"We would like to take this opportunity to clear up a misconception that has been spread around the Internet and the media faster than we can respond to it... A couple of weeks ago, the Senate made public for the first time the anti-terrorism legislation it had privately been drafting. And when we looked at it, we found that one of the provisions in this massive bill would have changed existing law in a way that would prevent us from using technical measures that would otherwise have been perfectly lawful. 

The provision wasn’t aimed at anything we were doing or thinking of doing. Nor was it aimed at technical measures used by ISPs, and eBay, and other businesses to protect the integrity of their products and their systems. But inadvertently, this change in the law would have prevented us from using technical measures to protect copyrighted works. 

When we discovered the change, we brought it to the attention of the Department of Justice; the Senate staff working on the bill; and other industry groups. The staff confirmed that the effect on us was inadvertent, and asked us to propose a fix, a “patch” to eliminate the problem for our industry. We did so - based on suggestions from the Department of Justice and Senate staff. 

Ultimately, the Senate staff figured out a way to change their original provision to eliminate its unintended effect, and that worked just fine for us. And it worked for a whole lot of other industry groups that also felt that this provision had to be fixed - the ISP community, telecom companies, the NetCoalition, the Chamber of Commerce, as well as content industries like motion pictures and music...."

 

10 / 19 / 01

  A mixed bag for Internet music as America Online and NetRadio make the news. AOL has launched their Radio@AOL initiative with the introduction of version 7.0 of the AOL software. A radio button built into the toolbar of the new AOL 7.0 will give users quick access to AOL's 75 music channels. All is not rosy with online music though as after six years of delivering music online NetRadio is closing its cyberdoors and laying off most of their employees. In fact many music services are struggling to survive in today's market even though MeasureCast, first company to provide Internet radio broadcasters with audience size and demographics reports, claims that Internet music listening is up 165 percent since January 2001.

 

 

Magnum Dynalab has announced price reductions for certain options on its tuners. Silver and gold faceplates for the MD-90 and MD-100 tuner models now retail for $100 (were $200), while the equivalent option for the models MD-108, 208, 308 and MD-102 are now complimentary (were $300). The balanced option on the firm's newest tuner, the MD-90, has been reduced to $100 (was $200). 

 

 

While the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has reported seizing 1,257,796 counterfeit/pirated CD-R discs during legal raids in the first half of 2001, more than double of last year's 539,130 during the same period, the RIAA now wants to legally hack computers. Seemingly trying to take advantage of the September 11 events and the fast-paced laws that are being passed, the RIAA was hoping to add their own self-serving legislation to allow them to hack computers they feel are being used to illegally share copyrighted music files. After being thwarted from adding their special interest legislation, RIAA lobbyist Mitch Glazier said in defense of the RIAA's recent actions "It will not be some special exception for copyright owners. It will be a general fix to bring back current law." Glazer also said "We might try and block somebody if we know someone is operating a server, a pirated music facility, we could try to take measures to try and prevent them from uploading or transmitting pirated documents." What disturbs many people is that if the recent RIAA legislation passed, it would limit the RIAA's liability for damages caused by their deliberate hacking. Hacking a computer system can cause both software and hardware problems and could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. 

 

 

Due to turbulent times within the music manufacturing industry (CD, DVD and audio cassette), some of the world's major record label groups are now actively seeking to form a joint venture/alliance. EMI, Warner/Sony and BMG hope to form an agreement so each company can support the overflow of the others when possible. This action is in hopes to also help lower their overall costs for manufactures to help increase the profitability of their products. Of course this action has yet to finalize itself as anti-trust legislation may thwart allowing the world's major labels to form an alliance, and hence controlling a vast majority of the market.

 

10 / 18 / 01

VAIC 52B  The VAIC 52B mono amplifier ($19,750/pr) is a zero negative feedback, paralleled single ended Class A design that employs dual 52-Bs and one AV8B for 50 watts RMS power and 100 watts peaks. Power bandwidth is 5Hz to 100kHz, input impedance 55k Ohm and S/N ratio 98dB. Both RCA and XLR inputs are provided. The VAIC 52B mono measures 14.8 x 23.6 x 10.6 inches (WxDxH) and weighs 121 lbs. Importer Acoustic Dreams also offers the VAIC 32-B monos, the Classic 52-B monos, the 52-B and 32-B stereo versions and the 300-B stereo amplifiers.

VAIC has also introduced a new lines of speakers to complement its SET amplifiers. The VAIC Ultimate ($17,750/pr) is a 3-way system with a 1-inch ceramic tweeter, 3.5-inch ceramic midrange and one 9-inch Nomex/Kevlar woofer for a claimed frequency response of 28Hz to 35kHz and a 93dB sensitivity. Internal wiring is by Synergistic Research and employs that firm's active shielding technology. The speaker measures 31 x 118 x 49 cm. (WxDxH) and weighs 120 lbs. VAIC also offer the Signature ($9,800/pr) two-way model, the dual 5-inch two-way Master ($6,100/pr) and will soon add the Standard and Monitor models.

 

 

Meadowlark AudioMeadowlark Audio has left sunny San Diego County in California to relocate to Albert Von Schweikert's former choice of Watertown, Upstate New York. The new contact information for Pat McGinty's speaker company is: Meadowlark Audio Inc., 800 Starbuck Avenue Suite A-103, Watertown NY 13601, vox : 315 779 8875, fax : 315 779 8835

 

 

Acoustic DreamsAcoustic Dreams' Isolation Equipment Racks ($3,494 - $2,205) are custom built to consumer preferences within the firm's design parameters. All racks are equipped with built-in active air modules. Air gauges are readily accessible to allow effortless adjustments of the air pressure based on total equipment weight. Each shelf has constrained layered damping, stainless steel tipped spikes and hard wood maple surfaces. The spikes rest upon brass inserts, which are easily installed in the top and bottom braces, as well as each shelf clamp. All of the 6061 aluminum framing is finished in clear hard-coat anodizing. The frame columns are lined with 1" spaced grooves for easy adjustment of shelf height and spacing, while the feet are equipped with fully adjustable stainless steel spikes and a proprietary ball mesh system.

Following the commercial success of ball-bearing isolation devices by Aurios, Daruma and Symposium, Acoustic Dreams has introduced their own Dead Ball Isolators ($109.95 for three), gold-anodized 1144 TGP steel balls coated with the KEPHOS process (used in almost all NASCAR frames) and resting in supporting aluminum bases.

 

10 / 17 / 01

  Some say marketing in King when it comes to selling products. Quality and usability may only be a dream as marketers are the ones who may "make or break" consumer sales. Partial proof of this may come from the 2002 consumer electronics "Hall of Fame" as chosen by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Almost half of the ten recent inductees specialize in marketing. Of course good marketing also leads to consumer education when new products come about. "These pioneers made significant advances possible in our industry and many products and technologies have emerged because of their work," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. Shapiro continues "Their vision paved the way for today's workstyle and lifestyle products. Their creativity and persistence propelled the growth of our industry." The inductees for the 2002 Hall of Fame in their respective Hall of Fame categories are:

* Ernst Alexanderson - 1878-1975 (Inventor/Engineer/Founder)
* Bernard Appel - 1932- (Retailers/Associations)
* Dr. W.R.G. Baker - 1892-1960 (Inventor/Engineer/Founder)
* William Boss - 1922- (Sales/Marketing) 
* Richard Ekstract - 1931 (Media)
* Walter Fisher - 1919-1994 (Sales/Marketing)
* Ray Gates - 1920- (Sales/Marketing)
* William Powell Lear - 1902-1978 (Inventor/Engineer/Founder)
* Sol Polk - 1917-1988 (Retailers/Associations)
* Jack Sauter - 1924- (Sales/Marketing)

 

 

Out of respect for the destruction of New York's towering World Trade Towers, Italian electronics manufacturer Pathos has, effective immediately, changed the nomenclature of its award-winning, 35-watt Twin Towers hybrid integrated amplifier ($4,950) with INPOL circuitry to the new name of Pathos Model TT.

 

 

TacT Audio M2150Based on the same technology as the acclaimed Millennium MkII digital amplifier, TacT Audio's new M2150 digital integrated amplifier offers true pulse-code-modulation to pulse-width-modulation digital EquiBit amplification without any analog processing or negative feedback. The M2150 sports four digital and two analog inputs and one S/PDIF digital signal monitor output. It is 24/96 compatible and can be upgraded to future audio formats, including 192kHz/24-bit. A 650VA toroidal power transformer with dual mono secondary windings provides an RMS power output of 150W x 2 into 8 ohms and 300W x 2 into 4 ohms. Peak output current per channel is in excess of 50A, S/N ratio is greater than 110dB, dynamic range is in excess of 130dB and THD+N remains below 0.01% at all power levels over the audible range. The TacT M2150 measures 450 x 140 x 420mm (WxHxD) and weighs 37 lbs.

 

 

Aerial Acoustics Model 20TAerial Acoustics' new flagship, the Model 20T, is said to advance its technology beyond the highly acclaimed Model 10T to significantly increase performance in several areas. Separate bass and head cabinets are constructed of thick MDF panels laminated with energy-absorbing damping and reinforced with rigid bracing. The head module is now full depth to allow the midrange and treble networks to be located in a separate air-cooled chamber in the back of the head, isolated from driver pressure and vibration. Two 8.9-inch bilaminate, damped fiber woofer cones with 2-inch voice coils and long linear travel are augmented by a 7.1-inch bilaminate midrange cone with 1.5-inch voice coil and copper rings. A new 4.1-inch aluminum ribbon tweeter handles the high frequencies. Seamless amplitude and phase integration are provided by precision 24 dB/octave crossover networks made with expensive polypropylene film capacitors, large air and nickel-steel core coils, and high purity cables. Frequency response is given as 28Hz to 30kHz +/-2dB, with a 30-degree off-axis response that's within 3dB of the on-axis curve. Sensitivity is 90dB, nominal impedance 4 ohms, and minimum/maximum recommended amplifier power 50/800 watts. Continuous grain-matched veneer options include Black Ash, Rose Walnut, Natural Cherry, and, for an upcharge, Santos Rosewood, Bird's Eye Maple and High Gloss Black and Silver. Fully assembled, each Model 20T weighs 170 lbs with the laser-cut steel base plate.

 

10 / 16 / 01

VIAC VV274A  Vacuum tube manufacture VIAC is soon releasing their new VV274A full wave rectifier (€171). It consists of two diodes with the filaments connected in series and designed to supply 140mA with a normal C-L-C filter. Features include hard metal filaments, two extra large getters, hand blown globe shaped glass and a Ceramic UX4 base with gold plated pins.

 

 

James Loudspeaker Grand Symphony 10James Loudspeaker's Grand Symphony 10 uses the firm's proprietary "Adjustable Frequency Distribution Circuit" to allow speaker response compensation for optimized in-room performance via a single rear-mounted rotary dial. The driver complement consists of a bipolar 1-inch soft dome tweeter configuration (one front, one rear) and composite sandwich 7-inch and 10-inch cones. The enclosure is a dual-chamber tuned port type available in high-gloss black, textured studio black or custom colors. Sensitivity is 92dB, nominal impedance 8 ohms and frequency response 20-20,000Hz +/-3dB. Crossover points are 6dB/octave and variable via the AFD circuit. The speakers measure 43" x 12.5" x 12.5" (HxWxD) and weigh 77 lbs. each. The custom "Stringed Instrument" grilles and leveling feet are available in black powder coat or 24k gold plate. Traditional fabric grilles in black or white are also available.

 

 

Grand Prix MonacoGrand Prix Audio of Mission Viejo, California was formed after Alvin Lloyd, an audiophile and lifetime racing professional in the S.C.C.A. Formula Ford and I.M.S.A categories, decided to build his own isolation system. His team applied the computer analysis and fundamental engineering and manufacturing expertise that had helped them win races. The Monaco Modular Isolation System with its 8-stage vibration-decoupling mechanism, and the two 7-stage systems Monza and LeMans make up the firm's current offerings of audio equipment supports. They can be ordered in a variety of custom configuration to suit each owner's individual needs and system contexts. Isolation performance is claimed to go beyond conventional air suspension tables - published graphs generated via shaker table measurements indicate up to 45% isolation improvements.

 

 

Westlake Audio Tower SM-1The flagship of the Westlake Audio speaker line, the Tower SM-1, weighs in at a staggering 950 lbs while only standing 6' tall. The five-way system is comprised of dual 18-inch woofers, a 12-inch midbass, a 2-inch horn loaded compression midrange, a 1-inch horn loaded compression tweeter and a 1/2-inch compression super tweeter. Power options available through various passive and active crossover combinations allow for bi, quad and penta-amplified configurations. Westlake Audio products are used worldwide in professional recording studios and those seeking to achieve the highest in music reproduction sound quality.

 

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