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High-End Audio Industry News

 

10 / 15 / 02

Linn SIZMIK 12.45 Self-Powered Subwoofer  Linn's new SIZMIK 12.45 self-powered subwoofer features a 12" driver driven by 1000 watts. Based on the successful SIZMIK 10.25 model (see Enjoy the Music.co's review here), the compact SIZMIK 12.45 features a 12" drive unit mounted in a carefully designed, extremely rigid cabinet to produce frequencies from 9Hz to 220Hz. The built-in digitally controlled signal processor allows for adjustable parameters including comprehensive and adjustable filters to control the upper frequency limits and trim the low frequency signals to compensate for room resonance. Subwoofer gain can br precisely adjusted and absolute phase can be either true or inverted. The SIZMIK 12.45 includes Linn's Switch Mode Power Supply and Linn CLASS V Power Amplification to provide upwards of 1000 watts. As an offshoot of the normal stand alone version, both the SIZMIK 10.25 and SIZMIK 12.45 are available as a "Kustom" accessorized kit for recessed or hidden location in custom installations and luxury marine applications. The SIZMIK 12.45 is available in Black, American Cherry, Maple and White finishes. Specifications are as follows:

Frequency Response: 9Hz - 220Hz (adjustable in 9 steps)

Course Gain: Adjustable in 5dB steps

Line Input Impedance: 22Kohms

Amplifier Noise: 90dB below full power

Amplifier Distortion: <0.1% @ 150 watts
                             <0.05% @ 50 watts

Output power 500 watts RMS, 1000 watts Peak

Dimensions 451 x 420 x 442 (HxWxD in mm)

Cabinet volume 47 litres

Weight 27.6kg

Pricing:
   UK £ 1,725 
   US $ 2,995 
   Canada CAN$ 4,450 
   Europe € 2,350 
   Sweden SEK 27,000 
   Norway NOK 21,000 
   Denmark DKK 22,000

 

10 / 14 / 02

Pioneer Electronics PDSP-1 Digital Sound Projector  Pioneer Electronics has announced their PDSP-1 digital sound projector that claims to use " Beam Control Technology" to produce complete surround sound from a single location loudspeaker. The PDSP-1 uses 254 small drivers and, according to Pioneer, produces "tight focused beams of sound, which are distributed into the room and reflected off surfaces to create a multi-channel soundfield. Once the speaker has been installed, it can be tuned to the specific room environment by using the remote control. This process does not use psychoacoustic techniques found in many virtual surround sound effects systems." Pioneer has partnered with 1 Ltd to bring this loudspeaker to market and will continue to work with 1 Ltd to further enhance the digital sound projector technology with Pioneer's own proprietary technologies. The PDSP-1 produces surround sound by controlling separate beams of sound to produce sound beams that represent each audio channel. This includes the controlling of reflected sounds from walls and ceiling of the room by utilizing DSP (digital signal processing).

Craig McManis, vice president of marketing for the Home Entertainment Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., said "The sound quality of the digital sound projectors is stunning. It will revolutionize the speaker industry not only because of its sound quality, but by eliminating the need to set up and wire multiple speakers. Since it's only five inches thick, it is a perfect compliment to Pioneer's line of plasma display televisions. As the shape of the American television changes from a large, square box to a slim panel, the other components of the home theatre system must change as well," McManis added. Technology highlights include:

1) Beam Control Technology
The PDSP-1 technology is licensed from 1 Ltd, a technology development and licensing company. 254 individually driven speaker units are combined into a one-panel loudspeaker array. The sound is delivered in up to seven separate beams - matching the source - that can be steered, as well as controlled to become a tightly focused or wider beam. Through reflection off the ceiling and/or walls, true multi-channel surround sound reaches the listener's position, delivering a rich sound experience.


2) Digital Sound Processing, Dolby Digital & DTS Decoders, and Digital Amplifiers
The PDSP-1 uses digital signal processing to equalize the sound according to the characteristics of the room, and even allows users to store multiple settings corresponding to different listening conditions or user preferences. For example set-up variations could be for one listener or for the whole family, for a room with the curtains opened or the curtains closed. Supporting all popular sound formats, the PDSP-1 not only handles PCM, but also incorporates decoders for today's digital surround sound formats - Dolby Digital and DTS. Furthermore, each of the 254 individual loudspeaker units is driven by a separate compact digital amplifier. So, when users connect the digital audio output of their DVD-Video player, they are ready for their first, all-digital, no-intermediate conversion to analogue, sound experience.

3) Compact Design / A New Dimension to Freedom from Sound Equipment
This loudspeaker technology removes the need for multiple conventional loudspeakers and associated wiring: realistic home theatre without wires. Users can surround themselves with sound, rather than with sound equipment - and need only hook up the sound sources. The compact slim-shaped and stylish design of the PDSP-1 makes it a perfect match for Pioneer's state-of-the-art plasma TVs and the ideal addition to any style conscious home environment.

Availability
The PDSP-1 will be introduced in Europe in the spring of 2003. More details on availability and pricing will be announced shortly by Pioneer and 1 Ltd.

 

 

10 / 11 / 02

  Small niche Internet "radio stations" have been under the threat of paying higher than normal rates for using copyrighted music. A new pay rate revisions was unanimously approved by the U.S. House that would significantly lower the costs of streaming copyrighted music over the Internet. Adding to this good news for Webcasters, they have also been granted a few more years until such payments will become mandatory. Furthermore, the payment rate could become more flexible, possibly basing rate payments on the business' earned funds.

In other news that concerns music lovers, the United States Supreme Court is deciding whether or not to further extend copyright time limits. Now at 70 years after the death of the creator, adding more years retroactively would help to protect such cash cows as Disney's Mickey Mouse and other intellectual properties. While the original protection -- as set forth by the originators of the Constitution -- was 14 years in total, this new move would more than sextuple the original time limits. "I can find a lot of fault with what Congress did,'' Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said. "This flies directly in the face of what the framers of the Constitution had in mind, but is it unconstitutional?''

 

10 / 10 / 02

Integra DPS-8.3 DVD-Audio / SACD Player  Integra has introduced their DPS-8.3 DVD-Audio/SACD player ($1,200). This THX Ultra certified unit can play both high-resolution audio formats plus Dolby Digital, dts, and MP3 formats via the 24-bit/192kHz D/A converters. Two progressive scan component video outputs, including one set of BNC connections, also offer reverse 3:2 pulldown that removes the unwanted video artifacts generated in converting film-based sources to video. Two S-video and two composite video outputs are always active for multi-monitor installations. Integra's Direct Digital Path provides a direct signal path to the coaxial digital output via heavy gauge shielded coaxial cable to avoid noisy PC board traces as found within lesser players. The Integra DPS-8.3's video circuit can be shut down entirely to insure high quality audio-only performance. "The introduction of high-quality DVD-Audio and SACD players and software in recent years has given consumers the promise of a steep improvement in audio reproduction quality" said Eric Harper, Integra and Custom Installation Product Manager. "Now, with the DPS-8.3, the question of format becomes obsolete: consumers can once again make musical choices based on what they want to hear, not what format their equipment can support."

 

 

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), "world sales of recorded music fell by 9.2 percent in value and by 11.2 percent in units in the first half of 2002. Sales of CD albums saw a 7 percent fall. Single sales also dropped, by 17 percent, while cassettes continued a long-term decline, falling by 31 percent." While the first half of the year claims only 40 percent of yearly sales for the recorded music industry, the second half may be a "make or break" time for the industry in hopes of a successful 2002. The IFPI claims that "The increased downloading of music from the internet and mass CD-R copying has affected sales, particularly in the more developed and technologically-advanced markets such as North America, Japan and parts of Western Europe." Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI said "The figures are disappointing but not unexpected. The industry is in transition, with widespread CD-R copying and internet downloading continuing to affect sales. However, there is no doubt that the music on which our business depends is more in demand than ever, and it is encouraging that our member companies appear to have an exceptionally strong release schedule in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, the recording industry is taking positive steps to provide legitimate, consumer-friendly online services." 

 

10 / 09 / 02

Silver Audio Technology Rebel-S Silver Interconnect Cable  Online company Silver Audio Technology is now offering their Rebel-S silver interconnect cable ($150 for 1.5-foot stereo pair, other lengths available) that features the Eichmann silver RCA connector. The Rebel-S interconnect features 99.9999% silver wire and are wrapped in either black or while protective covering. The Eichmann silver RCA is their top grade unit and offers a very high quality connection (see reviews of the Eichmann gold RCA jack by clicking here). All Silver Audio Technology cables employ AirGap technology where each conductor is isolated within its own PTFE tube, allowing the conductor(s) to be virtually surrounded by air.

 

10 / 08 / 02

PIEGA C-40  PIEGA has presented their new C-40 floorstanding loudspeaker that encompasses their 15 years of experience. Their critically acclaimed C1-coaxial ribbon system for mid-range and tweeter are augmented by two 18cm C1 woofers and three 18cm C1-passive radiators to produce frequencies from 28Hz to 50kHz. The newly designed aluminum membrane woofers are extremely rigid and the PIEGA C-40 has two with a voice coil and three as passive radiators. The drivers are housed in a sand-cast aluminum cabinet with elliptical footprint to combine "exceptional rigidity, unhindered sound transmission, and the absence of any resonance." Specifications are as follows:

Three-way column coaxial-system 
Wattage: 20 - 250 Watt 
Sensitivity: 89 dB/W/m 
Impedance: 4 Ohm 
Frequency range: 28Hz to 50kHz 
Tolerance > pair: <0.5 dB 
Drivers: two 18cm C1-woofers
           three 18 cm C1-passive radiator
           one C1-coaxial ribbon system 
Dimensions: 113 x 27 x 41 (HxWxD in cm) 
Weight: 75 kg

 

 

Sophia 300B Integrated AmplifierSophia Electric's mesh plate 300B tubes are featured within their new 300B integrated amplifier while it also includes unique wiring within the output transformers. This new unit will be the world's first with Litz wire transformers and offered in both standard copper, or a super high-end silver version. As a modified and upgraded version of the classic Western Electric 91 design, the Sophia 300B uses the KT-66 to drive the 300B output tube. For input amplification duties, a 6SN7 is warranted while rectification is by Sophia's own 274B (mesh version due out shortly). In fact Sophia has hinted that a mesh plate version of the 6SN7 is planned! The Sophia 300B amplifier can be a pure amplifier, if so desired, by bypassing the volume control circuitry. Naturally a design of this quality has a choke included in the power supply.

 

10 / 07 / 02

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Copy Protection Logo  The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), who are partnered with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have released a new (yet optional) logo that record companies may use to inform consumers that a music disc incorporates technology to control copying. In recent months various titles have been released with copy protection schemes to thwart off piracy. While these efforts have as of yet proven to reduce (to any degree) the amount of piracy in the music software industry, protected music discs have been causing much trouble with some Apple computers and causing consumer frustration. The logo, seen here in both normal and inverted form, is available for use by record companies and is being announced in consultation with IFPI's national associations in 46 countries and with music retailers worldwide. The new logo could be featured either on the artwork of the CD or as a sticker, and may be accompanied by additional information about the technology being used. Enjoy the Music.com™ has reported on this topic on June 17th, within our Review Magazine, and how to possibly defeat the protection on these music discs on May 21st.

 

 

RealTraps Room Acoustic PanelsThose looking for professional yet affordable acoustic room treatments may look to RealTraps. Based on wood panel membrane absorbers, a pair of broadband bass traps are said to greatly reduce low frequency standing waves. They also feature angled front panels that serve as diffusers to minimize flutter echoes and ringing. The bass traps are complemented by absorbers based on rigid fiberglass that tame midrange and high frequencies. All traps are offered in two different heights and models LB7 ($449 each) and HB7 ($449) measure 2 x 7.5 (WxH in feet) and together absorb bass range starting below 20Hz. Models LB6 ($399) and HB6 ($399) are 2 x 6 (WxH in feet) and operate down to 24Hz. All models of RealTraps are less than six inches deep and weigh from 26 to 59 lbs.

 

10 / 04 / 02

Rotel "10-Series" RCC-1055 CD Changer  Rotel has announced their new "10-Series" RCC-1055 CD changer ($699) and RSX-1055 receiver ($1299). Rotel's RCC-1055 employs higher-current power supply than is found in most CD designs, premium digital-to-analog converters, and decodes Microsoft's HDCD encoded discs. High-current, high-speed analog-audio output stages insure the full dynamic range and detail of the most demanding recordings. The RSX-1055 surround sound receiver delivers five channels with 75 watts of power (100 watts per channel in stereo mode) and decodes the full 7.1-channel digital-surround. Surround sound decoding includes Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES/ES-Discrete, and Dolby Pro Logic II plus HDCD for stereo CDs. An oversized power-supply with Rotel-specified transformer and select storage capacitors ensures that the full dynamic potential will always be realized. An integral AM/FM tuner with high sensitivity insures that weaker-signal stations are received. The RSX-1055 receiver is available in both matte black or matte silver and black.

 

10 / 03 / 02

Kora Hermes 2 digital to analog converter  France based manufacturer Kora has announced their Hermes 2 digital to analog converter ($2,600). New features include fully balanced circuit, zero feedback amplification circuitry, multi-tube design (no biasing involved), and a unique actively loaded output design. Two stereo analog outputs are included on both RCA and XLR connectors. Digital to analog conversion done by a Delta-Sigma 24-bit/192kHz chip. Tube compliment is two 12AU7/ECC82 dual triodes.

 

10 / 02 / 02

  As virtually every long-time professional musician knows, major recording labels do not like being taken to court and have an official legal precedence set. Therefore they scurry around and settle out of court to keep their monopolistic ruling in tact. In light of this, major recording labels BMG Music Group, EMI Group Plc, Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, plus retailers Musicland Stores Corporation, Tower Records, and Trans World Entertainment Corporation will pay $67.4 million in cash and distribute $75.7 million worth of CDs to public entities and nonprofit organizations to finally settle a CD price fixing case that both Florida and New York began in 2000. The lawsuit is based on the illegal practice of "minimum advertised pricing" (MAP). Furthermore, if a retailer does not adhere to this illegal MAP policy, selling products below the MAP, then various subsidies given by the major labels is forfeited. In a prepared statement from Universal Music Group, "We believe our policies were pro-competitive and geared toward keeping more retailers, large and small, in business." Meanwhile CFO of Trans World John Sullivan said, "It's always been absurd to us to even be involved in this case. Given the cost of lengthy litigation, it made more sense for us to settle the case."

 

 

Mel Audio Company's Recháv II CD PlayerItalian manufacturer Mel Audio Company's Recháv II CD player boasts a circular shape for both visual beauty and to reduce resonances that can negatively affect music reproduction abilities. With a 33cm diameter and in some ways reminding us of vinyl replay, the Recháv II chassis is made from medium density fiberboard (MDF) wood plus hand turned metacrylate (push buttons and clamps). The name of the unit is from ancient Jewish language, meaning "Celestial chariot" (G-d's throne) as described in the Ezekiel's book. Frequency response is from 2Hz to 20,000kHz with a 90dB signal to noise ration. The entire unit weighs is at 6kgs.

 

10 / 01 / 02

NAD L70  NAD has announced their new L 70 DVD/CD/MP-3 surround sound receiver ($999). The L 70 includes AM/FM tuner, DVD-player and surround sound processing all in one unit to provide support for playback of DVD-Video, VCD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and MP-3 discs. Both dts and Dolby Digital bitstreams are decoded while other surround sound modes include Stereo Enhanced (all channel stereo), Dolby ProLogic II, and EARS (Enhanced Ambience Recovery System). With titanium finish, the L 70 delivers 45 watts per channel of continuous power with all five channels driven simultaneously into 8 ohms. Dynamic power is 82 watts into 8 ohms. When running the L 70 in the stereo mode the power output is rated at 60 watts per channel.

 

 

Enjoy the Music.com has released the October 2002 edition of our Review Magazine. Loudspeaker reviews include Acappella Audio Arts Violin, Atlantis Acoustique Seolane Mk2, Coincident Speaker Technology Partial Eclipse Mk II, the Meadowlark's Swift, and Omega's TS1 single-driver design. Cable evaluations of the JPS Labs Power AC In-Wall cable and the new budget-priced TONIK by Kimber Kable are now available. Our DIY deeee-lite features part 2 of the single-ended 12B4A integrated amplifier. Electronics under close scrutiny this month are Manley Labs' Shrimp and Musical Fidelity A3.2CR pre-amplifiers. Music reviews include our exclusive tour of Peter Gabriel's Real World recording studio, Wild Child Butler Sho' 'Nuff, Chicago Pro Musica The Medinah Sessions, Die Röhre - The Tube Glowing Baroque, Prokofiev Symphonic Suite of Waltzes, Scary Music from scary (horror) movies, Doc Watson At Gerdes Folk City, plus many more. Please see the Review Magazine at by clicking here.

Please note that we have now completed our Hi-Fi News London show report, Milan's Top Audio & Video show, CEDIA, and our private Ferrari factory tour.

 


 

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2001

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