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High-End Audio Industry News

10 / 31 / 02

Stereovox LSP-600 Loudspeaker Cable  From the talents of Chris Sommovigo, designer of the legendary Illuminati cables, has now announced the LSP-600 loudspeaker cable ($6,950 for 2.5m pair including one full set of Xhadow spade modules) from his new company Stereovox. This cable utilizes over 500 individual microfilar conductors in a Dense Conductor Array that claims to "essentially emulating a very thin-walled tube". The Stereovox LSP-600 employs "Gossamer" air articulated PTFE insulators that are concentrically wound in multiple layers for geometric precision and mechanical damping. "Gossamer provides an extremely fast velocity of propagation, low capacitance, and low resonance quality for the entire length of the signal wire. The conductors are terminated using an intimately stressed contact resistance soldering process (ISCoRS), a clean and contact-reliable procedure that we believe is superior to traditional soldering methods" according to the Stereovox website. The LSP-600 loudspeaker cable comes with a lifetime limited transferable warranty.

 

10 / 30 / 02

Shanling SCD-T200 SACD Player  At the Hi-Fi show in China, the Shanling SCD-T200 SACD player was announced (pricing appears to vary from $1,600 in China to approximately $2,500 street price in the USA). Features of the SCD-T200 Super Audio tube CD player include top loading transport employing the Sony KHM-234AAA drive mounted in a custom-made heavy duty aluminum housing and Sony's servo circuitry. The "Open/Close" of the disc cover is sensed by an optical detection system while disc decoding is performed by the Sony CXD2752R SACD and Burr Brown PCM1738 DAC chips. Meanwhile a total of four OPA627AR are used for I/V switching and two OPA2604 are used in the filter and output circuitry. A precision electronic volume adjustment controls both the tube amplified line output and separate tubed headphone output.

 

10 / 29 / 02

  Universal Music Group (UMG) has joined the ranks of releasing music titles on the SACD format. As the largest music company worldwide, today's releases are just the beginning of an ongoing program of providing both new and back catalog music on the SACD format. The titles expected top be released today and available at stores worldwide include:

Diana Krall Look of Love
Andrea Bocelli Ciele Di Toscana
Fischer/Budapest Festival Orchestra Dvorak
Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic Beethoven 9th
Natalie Cole Ask a Woman
E.T. The 20th Anniversary Soundtrack
A Beautiful Mind Soundtrack
Muddy Waters Folksinger
Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto Getz & Gilberto
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Ella and Louis

In November UMG plans to release:

Ryan Adams Gold
Bon Jovi Bounce
Diana Krall When I Look in Your Eyes
Al Jarreau All I Got
Quincy Jones Ultimate Collection
John Coltrane A Love Supreme
Anne-Sophie Mutter Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas
Steve Earle Guitar Town

Eventually titles by Steely Dan, Peter Gabriel, Marvin Gaye, Shaggy, The Wallflowers, Steely Dan, Three Doors Down, The Police, The Roots, and The Who will also be available.

 

10 / 28 / 02

Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same Two Vinyl LP Set  Great news concerning legendary rock groups The Moody Blues and Led Zeppelin... Recorded on November 26, 1992 at the open-air Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado (made famous by U2), The Moody Blues performed a historic concert that marked the first time they had performed with an orchestra before a live audience. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking symphonic concept album Days Of Future Passed, the concert became a celebration of the band's history and, when originally released in 1993 as the single CD A Night At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra. While the CD was certified Gold for sales, for the first time the entire two-hour concert has been digitally remastered and will be offered as a two-CD set titled A Night At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony Orchestra (Deluxe Edition). With a release date is set for November 19th, this new two-CD Deluxe Edition features over 40 more minutes of music including unedited excerpts plus the entire tracks "Bless The Wings (That Bring You Back)," "Emily's Song," "New Horizons," "Voices In The Sky," "Gemini Dream," "Say It With Love," "The Story In Your Eyes" and "Legend Of The Mind." The latter eight recordings originally appeared only on the 1994 limited edition bonus disc for the Time Traveller box set.

Meanwhile Classic Records is now shipping Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains The Same two vinyl LP set (SS-2-201, $45). These "live" recordings were initially released as the soundtrack to a filmed documentary of the same name. This double-LP set offers quite of of the band's greatest hits including "Dazed And Confused", "No Quarter", "Rock And Roll" and "Stairway To Heaven" and many others.

 

10 / 25 / 02

  Online digital music download websites are realizing that those paying for music files desire to burn CDs. As noted in yesterday's Industry News concerning Peter Gabriel's new album Up, consumers want to save money and, at the same time, have the ability to make CD copies. Listen.com's independent service called Rhapsody offer music from all five major record companies and will soon allow users to purchase music and make copies to the CD format. Sony and Universal Music's online venture, Pressplay, also allows for digitally downloading music and making a CD copy of music purchased. Soon the AOL, BMG, EMI, Real Networks and Warner owned service MusicNet hopes that within two weeks they will have secured the rights to sell music online from all of the major five recording labels. Rhapsody charges $9.95 a month with an additional 99 cents per song while Pressplay charges $17.95 monthly for unlimited downloads with a ten CD-recordable tracks. MusicNet offers 100 songs for $9.95 a month, yet these music digital downloads can not be made into the CD format. Warner Music's Paul Vidich said "The presumption among consumers is that if they acquire a song on one of those illegitimate services, they can burn it. ''We need to compete by bringing down the price of music to a value the consumer will find attractive with the functionality they expect.''

 

10 / 24 / 02

Peter Gabriel UP  While popular and longtime recording artist Peter Gabriel's new album has been selling quite well in brick and mortar stores, it is also for sale online in downloadable format! His latest album Up (see album review and Peter's Real World recording studio tour by clicking here) can be digital downloaded via the Internet and is the first full-length release from such a prominent artist. Available in the secure Windows Media Audio Pro format, the downloaded songs can be easily transferred to digital audio players supporting Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format. Furthermore, those who purchase the album via digital download may make two CD copies on to the CD-R format. The online album costs $9.99 while the CD version in stores has a suggested list price of $18.98.

 

10 / 23 / 02

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), manufacturer-to-dealer sales of audio products showed an increase for August. Sales of separate components (including electronics components and loudspeakers) gained nearly 20 percent as compared to August 2001 with figures stated by CEA claiming that separate component sales totaled $121.3 million. Autosound also showed promise with $189.3 million for the month of August, an increase of over 14 percent. Year-to-date totals of separate components show an improvement of three percent over 2001 to reach $857.4 million while aftermarket autosound increasing more than 10 percent to $1.6 billion. "Low interest rates and great buyer incentives continue to help drive the aftermarket for car audio," said Sean Wargo, director of industry analysis for CEA. "With large numbers of new and used car buyers out there, autosound sales should continue to see some good year-over-year growth for the next few months."

 

 

AOpen VIA VT8188A Tube MotherboardHaving successfully made a single tubed stereo soundcard for computers (model AX4B-533), Aopen has announced a 5.1 channel suround sound, three tubed version. AOpen's VIA VT8188A motherboard is based on the VIA K8T400M chipset and is equipped with the VIA VT8235 Southbridge. While there are three memory slots that can be fitted with DDR333, the part more interesting to music lovers is in employing vacuum tube amplification for 5.1 surround sound. Like AOpen's hybrid AX4B-533 motherboard released in June of this year, the VIA VT8188A employs ELNA Capacitor for tube power supply, Cardas copper wires for analog output, REL MultiCap capacitors, Vishay resistors, and Sovtek 6922 dual triode tube. No pricing mentioned at this time.

 

10 / 22 / 02

  Music lovers are now able to enjoy listening to DVD-Audio discs in Virgin Entertainment Group's Megastores. Free standing DVD-Audio demonstration stations, along with DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) products, will have their own small section in hopes of educating the consumer about the new higher resolution audio formats. Hundreds of music titles are available on DVD-Audio and SACD such as Aerosmith, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and Sheryl Crow. At this time, DVD-Audio booths are available at Virgin Megastores' in Burbank Los Angeles and San Francisco (California), Boston, Orlando (Florida), New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, and Salt Lake City. Virgin Megastores has also decided to lower many prices of these discs through November 3rd. "With the quality of DVD-Audio higher than traditional CDs, along with the experience-factor in one of our demonstration booths, our customers will be able to sample songs with surround-sound quality as well as take advantage of video clips, artist commentaries, biographies and photo galleries that are also offered on the DVD-Audio discs," said Glen Ward, CEO, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America.

 

 

deHavilland Verve Pre-AmplifierdeHavilland has announced their new Verve ($1,695) all-octal vacuum tube line pre-amplifier. The Verve features the 6SN7 octal tube and all-tube rectification employing the popular 5U4. Pre-amplification operates with zero-feedback in pure "Class A" while the entire unit is 100% hand wired with point-to-point circuitry. The front panel is heavy anodized aluminum with engraved nomenclature that has been enamel filled, for a long cosmetic life. The chassis is heavy duty aluminum, in powder-coated black. Specifications are as follows:

Frequency Response: 20Hz to 80kHz
Output Type: "Class A"
Maximum Output : 30 volts p-p , gain approximately 12dB
Signal Triodes: 6SN7 GT, GTA, GTB, WGT
Rectifier Tube: 5U4 G, GA, GB
Signal/Noise Ratio: 85dB
Inputs: four stereo
Outputs: two stereo
Input Impedance: 50k ohms
Output Circuit: Cathode follower
Dimensions: 18" x 11" x 6 (WxDxH)
Weight: 15 lbs. including shipping carton

 

10 / 21 / 02

Gryphon Cantata Loudspeaker  Gryphon has released new Cantata monitor loudspeaker system (19,000). This two-way system features a sophisticated active bass interface (Q Control, seen here) that is said to "essentially match the loudspeaker with the room acoustics". All drivers are angled so that the listener is in the acoustic hotspot of each driver in the system. All drivers are in-phase at all frequencies at all time. Impedance is never lower that 4.7 ohms and efficiency is 90dB/W/m. Divers are two 5 inch woofers mated with 1 inch tweeter. A specialized crossover insures phase linear frequency response from 35Hz to 22kHz, yet with the included Q controller it can go down to 24Hz. Power handling is 200 watts, overall dimensions are 118 x 38 x 43 (HxWxD in cm) and weighs in at 75kg. Feel free to see our world premiere of the Cantata within our Frankfurt High End Society 2002 show report. While Gryphon has an excellent working relationship with Dynaudio North America as US agent, they have announced that they will be handling the North American market directly from their Danish headquarters. "The change will allow Dynaudio North America to focus on their core brand, as Gryphon continues to expand into new areas," stated Gryphon founder Flemming E. Rasmussen.

 

10 / 18 / 02

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  Per a recent survey by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), "more than three-quarters (78 percent) of all U.S. households are likely to purchase at least one consumer electronics (CE) product as a gift during the upcoming holiday shopping season, according to the results of the "9th Annual Holiday Purchase Patterns" survey released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)." Specifically mentioned products included DVD players, home theater and home stereo electronics. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA said "The incredible variety of new consumer electronics product offerings in recent years has given shoppers more gift choices than ever. Much of that growth has been fueled by the digital revolution, and it is apparent that consumers recognize the benefits of digital products. The added convenience, speed, portability and cost-efficiency of digital products has led to positions of priority on holiday shopping lists this season."

 

 

Year 2002 DVD sales show promising gains to 2001 with the key three months (including holiday season) forthcoming. The DVD industry experienced double digit growth in the third quarter, outpacing 2001's record sales. According to the DVD Entertainment Group (DEG), in the third quarter 2002, 153.3 million DVD software units shipped to retail, more than double what shipped in the same period last year. According to figures compiled by Ernst & Young on behalf of the DEG, more than 1.1 billion DVD movies and music videos have shipped since the format's inception in 1997. "The record pace continues for DVD as we move into the all-important fourth quarter," said Bob Chapek, president, DVD Entertainment Group and president, Buena Vista Home Entertainment. "Consumers have been craving entertainment for the whole family on DVD, from their favorite classics to the recent box office blockbusters. This holiday season, we are anticipating stellar sales for the industry as the adoption of the format continues its penetration into mainstream households." There are more than 18,000 titles currently available with approximately 100 new DVD movies and music videos released each week.

DVD-VIDEO SOFTWARE SHIPMENTS BY QUARTER - NORTH AMERICA
(in millions)

QUARTER
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1st Quarter
120.1
69.2
29.0
11.1
3.3
N/A
2nd Quarter
152.2
81.7
33.2
13.9
4.1
N/A
3rd Quarter
15.3
75.9
42.7
29.0
5.9
2.3
4th Quarter
N/A
137.6
77.5
44.0
11.8
3.2
YEARLY TOTAL
425.6
364.4
182.4
98.0
25.1
5.5
TOTAL SHIPMENTS
(since launch)
1,101
(a/o 9/30/02)
 
 
 

Figures compiled by Ernst & Young
on behalf of the DVD Entertainment Group

 

U.S. DVD HARDWARE SHIPMENTS BY QUARTER*

QUARTER
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1st Quarter
3,500,000
2,800,000
1,400,000
400,000
100,000
N/A
(launch)
2nd Quarter
4,6000,000
2,500,000
1,700,000
900,000
170,000
90,000
3rd Quarter
5,400,000
4,100,000
2,700,000
1,100,000
280,000
90,000
4th Quarter
N/A
7,300,000
3,900,000
1,700,000
530,000
140,000
YEARLY
TOTAL
13,500,000
16,700,000
9,700,000
4,100,000
1,080,000
320,000
TOTAL
(since launch)
45,400,000
(a/o 9/30/02)
 
 
 
 
 

*Includes set-top and portable DVD players,
Home Theater in Box systems, TV/DVD and DVD/VCR combination players.
Figures provided by the DVD Entertainment Group

 

10 / 17 / 02

Lamm ML1.1 Monoblock Tube Amplifier  The Lamm Industries ML1.1 monoblock tube amplifier ($22,690) produces 90 watts. This is a direct replacement for the ML1 amplifier and features many upgrades to further extend the high performance Lamm customers expect. While simplifying the idle current adjustment and balance of the output stage tubes, two new fuses have been added on the rear of the unit for ease of accessibility. With an eye on the world marketplace, the Lamm ML1.1 includes a power transformer that can be easily adjusted for operation with various voltages. Other up-rated parts include the output transformers, loudspeaker binding posts. Two heavy duty handles now appear on the rear panel in order to facilitate the packing, unpacking and moving of the amplifier.

 

 

The Gotham City Audio Society's annual Audio Flea Market will take place on Sunday, November 24th, from 2 to 6 PM at 525 West 50th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues), New York City. Buy, sell, trade, barter components and software - or just schmooze! The club sets up tables in a large indoor space so club members and other NY-area audiophiles can display, sell, and buy older (and sometimes new) components. We usually see a lot of accessories (cables, etc.) for sale, too. LP hunters will have plenty of albums to choose from. Prices are always much, much better than reasonable. There is dealer participation as several area retailers usually bring a selection of choice goods. For more information and to reserve a table, call the club hotline (212) 629-1933.

 

10 / 16 / 02

PS Audio Power Director 4.7  PS Audio has announced their new Power Director 4.7 for flexibility in delivering clean power to electronic devices ($1,695 for 15A, $1,795 for 20A). The Power Director 4.7 is basically four PS Audio Ultimate Outlets, a few of their Power Ports all brought together through an interface for user-control. A total of 14 Power Port outlets (seven receptacles) and four dedicated 20-Amp Ultimate Outlet circuits enables the unit to perform AC conditioning, surge and spike protection... all the while being non-current-limiting. The front display allows visualizing power, voltage, wattage, and power factor accurately while an infrared remote control allows for making adjustments to various settings.

 

 

Avantgarde Acoustic Modular Basshorn Subwoofer SystemGermany based Avantgarde Acoustic all new, modular, Basshorn subwoofer system (in center of image surrounded by a pair of Trios) produces frequencies from 18Hz to 250Hz and offers various modular choices. Due to being a completely modular design, users can choose to implement 2, 4 or 6 units to produce the quantity of bass as their room and needs dictate. Each bass horn module includes two 12-inch drivers and powered by a 350-watt build-in active amplifier. Each Avantgarde Acoustic Basshorn module is 41 x 39 x 28 (WxDxH in inches) and weighs in at 165 lbs. Their new ADRIC (Active Dynamic Radiation Impedance Compensation) is said to dynamically compensates for small horn mouth dimensions and linearizes the bass response below the cut-off frequency of the horn. This enables bass response down to 18Hz with a horn mouth of just 0.85 sq.m (0.9 sq. ft.). No pricing mentioned at this time.

 

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