10 / 31 / 03
Accessing music via the Internet has really been heating up over the past 24 hours. First we have Sharman Networks'
KaZaA with their new peer to peer file sharing software. Following this is the rebirth and huge marketing push of Napster 2.0. Lastly, the ugly head of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) once again on the legal
rampage. KaZaA, who is now offering version 2.6 of their software, now allows people to have multiple searches to make
finding files faster. Part of the perceived problem with KaZaA is that their software has been called a
Trojan Horse with alleged "spyware" called Gator
as being part of the KaZaA software. The Gator fiasco gets thicker as it cases generally unwanted targeted pop up advertising that is said to annoy many computer users. In fact the reputation of Gator has been such that days ago the
company has officially changed its name to Claria
Corporation. Getting back to KaZaA, a prepared statement from the company
concerning their new software said, "This latest version is designed to enable artists to offer music, video and promotional material in a digital package or 'Kapsule.' Musicians will now be able to offer a much greater variety of material, such as images, audio, video, lyrics, tour dates and band information in one place."
Rolling with the punches is Napster, once the end-all be-all file sharing software, that went from millions of users to virtually zero following many legal battles. The brand name was eventually purchased by Roxio who has now developed a more legal way to offer music files online. Napster 2.0 offers downloads for 99 cents per song or $9.95 per album. The new software allows access to
over 500,000 music files for CD burning and transferring music files to portable devices. Napster 2.0 allows for a simple
"Shop" feature or "Premium" service. The differences are as follows:
Listen to 30-second clips
$.99 per song and $9.95 per album
CD burning with a drag-and-drop functionality
Detailed artist and album information
Create play lists
View music videos
Search for music by genre, artist, track title or popularity
Transfer music to various popular devices
Send music to friends
$9.95 per month
Unlimited streaming and downloading
Access to professionally programmed radio stations
Message boards to share opinions and offer suggestions
Meanwhile the RIAA has filed 80 new lawsuits against alleged file swappers,
furthering their reputation of strong-arming music lovers who are not following
the letter of the law by sharing copyrighted music files. This is the second time they have filed a vast amount of lawsuits as in September they targeted 261 individuals. Of the 204 people who received warning letters from the RIAA from the first round, it has been reported that 124 of those people attempted to find a resolution without going to court. RIAA President Cary Sherman said, "We are pleased that our efforts to extend illegal file sharers an additional chance to come clean and work out settlements are proving successful. The fact that the overwhelming majority of those who received the notification letter contacted us and were eager to resolve the claims is another clear signal that the music community's education and enforcement campaign is getting the message out."
10 / 30 / 03
has announced the availability of their Atlas WE205D monoblock amplifier. As part of their Low-Watt series in the Atlas, Wavelength Audio claims the "biggest problem with high mu tubes like the 205D is that you either have to use a complicated auto bias network or a manual fixed bias network. Instead the Atlas incorporates a regulated current source assuring each 205D tube is running the same potential." Producing 2.5 watts, the Atlas is available in copper, silver and with limited edition cobalt/copper and cobalt/silver output transformers. Configurations include a WE412 rectifier and WE417 driver tube. The Atlas is delivered with TJ Mesh 205D and is available with old style UV4 sockets for Western Electric 205 type tubes.
Prices per pair are as follows:
STD Copper $6,000
CO Copper $7,500 limited copper cobalt
CoAg $15,000 limited Silver cobalt
10 / 29 / 03
Due to the huge success of Audio
Consulting Silver Rock passive pre-amplifier, reviewed by our very own Dick Olsher
(click here), they are now offering various DIY
versions. Featuring thin lamination, grain oriented silicon iron within the transformer, this transformer based attenuator is said to offer higher
musicality and accuracy that other types of passive pre-amplifiers. Various winding techniques
yield 24 output tabs that allows for 24 different volume settings. The DIY version is offered in both copper and pure silver wire. Prices (in CHF) are as follows:
Auto-transformer TVC, copper windings 240.
Auto-transformer TVC, silver windings 480.
Transformer TVC, copper windings 340.
Transformer TVC, silver windings 680.
ELMA 24 pole connector, mono 48.
ELMA 24 pole connector, stereo 85.
10 / 28 / 03
Finding a way around the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and their almost never ending lawsuits concerning music sharing, a pair of students from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a new
system. Avoiding the copyright battle is no easy task as MIT students Keith Winstein and Josh Mandel have devised a campuswide network called "Libraries Access to Music Project."
Endorsed by MIT with financial support from Microsoft, this new system will initially use a reported 3,500
CDs streamed through MIT's cable television network. While there have been no comments from any of the major music
labels or the RIAA, this new system is streamed in analog, and therefore not a "digitally perfect" copy of the music. While it is said to be better than FM radio, it is not to the audio
standard of CD sound. According to Keith Winstein, the base computer equipment costs about $10,000 while the music content purchased through a company that provides music on hard drives for the radio industry was $25,000.
has introduced their Flexygy 6 conductor loudspeaker cable ($184.99 for a 2-meter pair). The flat and flexible loudspeaker cable offers superb flexibility for ease of installation, including nearly vanishing under carpets. "Low resistance and above all near-zero capacitance set
Flexygy apart from other speaker cables," says River Cable Executive Vice President of Research and Development, Paul Swedenburg. "Unlike many of the other flat cables on the market,
Flexygy has an unusual, side-by-side conductor topology and a considerable amount of copper. The flat topology, the conductor layout and the extra quantity of copper give Flexygy a superior high frequency response that translates into a purer sound and an improved listening experience. These same technical characteristics give
Flexygy its added suppleness and extreme flexibility."
10 / 27 / 03
Tired of paying far above other music lovers around the music, Give Music A Break
desires the reduction of preceived inflated Value Added Tax (VAT) rates in the European Union (EU). VAT on sound recordings is currently set at a minimum 15 percent rate across the EU. By contrast, a number of other cultural goods, deemed to be of “social necessity” – books, newspapers, magazines, admissions to theatres, concert halls, cinemas and zoos – are subject to a lower band. On those goods or services,
contained in Annex H of the VAT Directive, EU Member States may apply VAT rates as low as 5 percent. In some countries, books, newspapers and magazines are even given an exemption from VAT. While the European Commission failed to agree on a reduced VAT rate in July of this year, the Council and the European Parliament appear to be more open to the idea. The European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee held an official Hearing on Reduced VAT Rates on October 7th where a few officials agreed a lower rate needs to be
implemented. To date over 140,000 EU consumers have signed petitions demanding a VAT cut on sound recordings. In June of 2002 Italian singer Andrea Bocelli said, "It seems a paradox that for a book telling the life of Giuseppe Verdi a rate of 4 percent VAT is applied (in Italy), however, if we want to buy a recording of the work of the great Italian composer, we would have to pay a VAT rate of 20 percent."
here to read a brochure from Give Music A Break (Adobe Acrobat
10 / 24 / 03
has announced their 2004 TL ($32,650 msrp, dependant on options) automobile will offer DVD-Audio
performance. While the TL features a 270 horsepower engine from its 24valve/3.2 liter engine, it is the music
reproduction system in the spotlight today. While many of the owners will enjoy leather seats and the smooth riding double-wishbone suspension system, the surround sound DVD-Audio system is the first automotive application of this format and was developed with Grammy-award winning music producer Elliot Scheiner. A grand total of eight carefully placed loudspeakers deliver surround sound audio inside the cabin.
10 / 23 / 03
Bocchino Audio is now offering their Mecado ($AUD 660 for set of three) vibration isolation
device. According to Bocchino Audio, coupling devices such as spikes and cones not only "drains out" vibrations, but they also travels back into the appliance.
Therefore their Mecado incorporates a 'shoe' at the base of the isolation assembly for "more complete decoupling". To quote their press release, "Mecado's are essentially 'Mechanical Diodes' that channel mechanical vibrational energy to the cone/shoe interface for dissipation as heat. The design
minimizes transmission of mechanical vibrational energy from the environment where the appliance is located and from the appliance to the cone/shoe interface for dissipation and removal." Each Mecado is made from 316 stainless steel, a higher density material than
aluminum, ceramic or rubber.
10 / 22 / 03
In hopes to insure that both music labels and recording artists receive proper payment for the efforts,
SoundExchange is a performance rights organization to oversee the business end of the industry. With an 18-member board of directors, Sound Exchange is an unincorporated division of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that has distributed nearly $10 million in royalties in the past few years alone. President and executive director John L. Simson said, "We are dedicated to the fair, accurate and efficient distribution of royalties.
SoundExchange is committed to ensuring that every artist and copyright owner of a sound recording is paid for each and every performance."
AFM president and SoundExchange board member Tom Lee added, "Copyright
owners and performers cooperate in the creation of great recorded music. In
SoundExchange, performers and owners will continue to cooperate to establish fair license rates and distribute the maximum possible proceeds under rules
that benefit us all. The AFM and its 110,000 members applaud the incorporation of SoundExchange as a new, free-standing entity, and look
forward to our ongoing joint efforts with label and artist representatives to develop a responsible and efficient collective for our industry."
10 / 21 / 03
has announced their Bybee Slipstream family of products. The Slipstream line comprises five interconnects, two loudspeaker cables, two power cords and a new interconnect filter named the Slipstream Magic Bullet. These new products are priced from $350 to $2,400 per pair for standard lengths. To further explain their Slipstream technology, a new website
BybeeInside has been launched. Jack Bybee said "Due to these remarkable new-generation purifiers, I believe the Slipstream cables are the best work I have ever done. The cables are lightweight and flexible, and they convey musical and video content with uncanny purity and unfettered dynamics. The Magic Bullets, which are the third generation of my interconnect filters, provide radically better performance than their predecessors, at less than half the price of the previous generation."
10 / 20 / 03
Musician and vocalist Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, has been chosen by
The Recording Academy (Grammy) MusiCares Person Of The Year for his humanitarian and environmental accomplishments. President of MusiCares Neil Portnow said "Sting is a living symbol for what we as a society should strive to celebrate: a one-of-a-kind creative talent with a heart to match. His capacity for compassion is limitless, as is his generosity of spirit. MusiCares will honor this recording giant in February, but it is we who are honored to recognize such a tremendous humanitarian." Sting will be honored as the 2004 MusiCares Person Of The Year during at a special tribute dinner, concert and silent auction held Friday, February
6th in Los Angeles.
Records is about the release the long awaited Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review - Live 1975 boxset! Pressed on 200 gram QUIEX SV vinyl to insure a wide dynamic range and extremely quiet background, this Dylan limited edition (2,500 sets) box set will include 3 LP's, a 7-inch single, and an over 70 page perfect bound 12-inch by 12-inch book. Also included will be a reproduction of the original tour poster, two show tickets, and the hand bill are housed in a deluxe Gold foil embossed box. A more basic 140-gram version is also
available of these LPs.
10 / 17 / 03
Audio's new gorgeous Nighthawk ($6,495 to $7,495 depending on finish and options) floorstanding loudspeaker is
claimed to be simplicity personified with its first order crossover consisting of audiophile-grade parts. The transmission line bass system assists is deep bass production while the overall cabinet is handmade, damped and braced with natural woods. A pair of 7-inch woofers are mated with a 4-inch midrange driver, all of which are made by Vifa of Denmark. The uppermost frequencies are produced by a 1-inch fabric domed tweeter produced by SEAS of Norway. Cabinet construction is one inch thick, type II MDF that is intensely braced and internally lined with thick acoustic felt. In addition, the loudspeaker's top is further thickened and stiffened by a sculpted slab of solid hardwood. Frequency
response is from 28Hz to 32kHz while sensitivity is 91dB/W/m. Nominal impedance is 4 ohms and overall cabinet dimensions are 9 x 18 x 47 (WxDxH in inches) with a weight of 100 lbs.
10 / 16 / 03
Looking to take the air out of the Consumer
Electronics Show (CES) this coming January, The Home Entertainment Show (T.H.E. Show) is holding a raffle with over $25,000 of high-end equipment to
be given away. While the CES is for all electronics manufacturers
including game systems, computers and the like, T.H.E. Show is filled with high-end audio products. Due to the efforts and lower cost of T.H.E. Show, the CES has followed suit by also lowering their rates while offering benefits such as free lunches. Now it seems T.H.E. Show has once
again raised the bar with free lunches and also giving away tens of thousands of high-end audio
gear including a pair of Wisdom Audio Neo loudspeakers, Edge Electronics G8 amplifier, Acoustic Dreams 2 shelf equipment rack and much more.
Following the success of their popular MiniTrap acoustic panels,
RealTraps has introduced their MicroTraps ($100). The two by four feet panels are only one inch thick, yet are built with a dual-layer membrane to enhance their low frequency absorption. Like the original MiniTraps, MicroTraps are made with rigid fiberglass and metal, so they have a Class A fire rating and can be installed with confidence in public venues. According to REALTRAPS co-owner Ethan Winer, "The main problems in most studios and listening rooms are acoustic interference that skews the low frequency response, and excessive ambience that obscures musical detail and causes listener fatigue. Many engineers and audiophiles cover their walls with foam, which just makes the room too dead at high frequencies while doing nothing for the low end. MicroTraps are much more absorbent than foam panels at all frequencies, so they do a superior job overall and with fewer pieces. Their low cost and light weight also makes them ideal for larger installations like churches and auditoriums. Best of all, they install easily with one nail or hook-just like a picture-without glue or wall damage."
10 / 15 / 03
The Consumer Electronics Association
(CEA), who represents more than 1,000 corporate members involved in the design, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, etc, has stated that 78 percent of all United States households "are likely to purchase at least one consumer electronics (CE) product as a gift during the upcoming holiday shopping season." According to the "9th Annual Holiday Purchase Patterns" survey, "retailers should expect booming sales of DVD players and digital cameras, as well as significantly increased levels of gift giving interest in home theater and home stereo, big screen TVs, and camcorders." This is great new for the high-end audio industry that is in need of an upswing in sales since the severe sales decrease after the September 11 terrorist attacks. 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."
Beginning this week, Apple Computer
will be offering their iTunes Music Store
for PC users. Months and millions of downloads after Apple offered hundreds of thousands of music titles for sale for MAC users, they are now ready for the onslaught of PC
users. The PC is an overwhelming choice for the majority of computer users in the world. The Windows-compatible version now joins the likes of
BuyMusic.com, Napster, and
MusicMatch who currently offer
legal music downloads.
10 / 14 / 03
Consulting has released their new Silver Rock MC step-up transformer (CHF 1,200 per channel, two needed for stereo) in both metal and wood
case covered in metal (nude wood unit pictured here). MC step-up transformers passively amplify the level of a moving coil (MC) cartridge to moving magnet (MM) levels. Passive amplification has been desired by many audiophiles worldwide for the inherently near zero distortion, ultimate smoothness and resolution. The Audio Consulting Silver Rock MC employs nickel alloys (permalloy) featuring very high permeability and
special lamination. Naturally high quality silver wires is used throughout for its very high conductivity rate, inherently better than copper
equivalent. The Silver Rock MC is optimized for gain of 20dB with the standard model for the use with low impedance MC
cartridges (less than 20 Ohms). A high impedance model is also available for the use with MC
cartridges featuring output impedances higher than 20 Ohms. Dimensions are 7cm x 7cm x 5cm.
10 / 10 / 03
has announced the availability of a digital system ($3,210) mated to their Ribbon
loudspeakers. The system utilizes four 100 watt digital amplifiers fed by Newform Research's digital crossover with room EQ capability. Result, according to the manufacturer, are said to be "a tremendously dynamic and transparent presentation of all musical formats with the ability to match the system to the room." Current Newform owners can upgrade by replacing their existing amplifiers and crossovers for $993 including all cables and a remote control for volume.
10 / 09 / 03
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), representing the international recording industry with 1500 members including record producers and distributors in 76 countries, says the sales of recorded music has
decreased by 10.9 percent in the first half of 2003 as compared to the same period during 2002.
"World sales of recorded music fell by 10.9 percent in value and by 10.7 percent in units in the first half of 2003.
Unauthorized file-sharing and commercial piracy were major factors in the decline. At the same time DVD music sales grew sharply and a there was a marked increase in the availability of legitimate online music, with 300,000 tracks now on offer online.
Interim sales of all audio and music video formats were worth $12.7 billion, compared to
$14.2 billion in the same period of 2002. Within this figure DVD music video showed substantial growth in both units (up
46 percent) and value (up 55 percent), and now represents more than 5 percent of global music sales.... The interim sales traditionally only account for around 40 percent of the annual figures, with the remaining 60 percent of sales occurring in the busier second half of the year."
Enjoy the Music.com™ reported on September
9th of this year, "Due to P2P networks with their file sharing the RIAA is claming this has drastically hurt the legitimate sales of music. Sales in retail outlets declined nearly 10 percent in the first half of 2003, representing a nine percent drop in dollar value compared with the first six months of 2002. Concerning this circumstance, President of the RIAA Cary Sherman said, "While there are other factors contributing to the decline of music shipments in 2003, including the fact that there are significantly fewer music retail locations, illegal file 'sharing' continues to adversely impact the sale of physical CDs. We believe the use of these illegal peer-to-peer services is hurting the music industry's efforts to distribute music online in the way consumers demand." The recently released mid-year 2003 sales statistics also show a decline in LP vinyl sales, from 1.2 million during the first half of 2002 to only 700,000 for the same period of 2003. In fact nearly every category has double-digital declines except for DVD-Video. To see the official 2003 RIAA mid-year sales statistics please
click here (Adobe Acrobat format)."
10 / 08 / 03
Since 1985 Gryphon Audio Designs
of Denmark has earned a worldwide reputation for state of the art performance with intuitive ergonomics and stunning aesthetic design.
Gryphon Audio Designs has just announced their new Mikado CD player/transport. Employing a heavily modified Philips CD-Pro 2 top-loading floating suspension transport with all-metal frame, the Mikado incorporates four stereo AKM Delta-Sigma digital-to-analog converters in a "no-compromise" dual-differential topology. Each has a separate regulated power supply for optimal conditions. The Mikado is said to be future-proof with modular digital audio sections that enables
upgradeability. Gryphon founder Flemming E. Rasmussen said "CD is still a maturing technology with more than 20 years of development. We knew that by focusing on making CD all that it can be, we could offer a listening experience comparable to the
high-resolution formats, yet compatible with the CD collections in which music lovers have already made heavy investments." Specifications are as follows:
Four Dual-Differential 24-bit/96kHz AKM DACs with separate regulated power supplies
also offer upsampling capability
Modular digital audio sections for possible future upgrades
Two custom-built, temperature compensated crystal oscillators with better than 5 parts per million accuracy
True "Class A" fully discrete analog circuits with no negative feedback
Four separate custom-built toroidal transformers for digital and analog sections
Completely isolated power supplies for digital section and transport/display
True dual mono configuration
Balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) analog outputs with PCB-mounted gold-plated
10 / 07 / 03
has announced the WAVAC Audio Lab HE-833 v1.3 amplifier ($59,000) that is an upgrade HE-833 as the v1.3 produces 150 watts per channel
verses 100 watts of the older unit. All WAVAC models feature capacitor-free signal path, ultra-wide bandwidth, Tango-based transformers, only one output tube per channel, and self-biasing. Frequency
response is an outstanding from 20Hz to 100kHz while the solid chassis is
wrapped in gorgeous high quality glass.
10 / 01 / 03
Enjoy the Music.com™
has released the October edition of their Review
Magazine. The editorial by Steven R. Rochlin covers many topics
from recording high-resolution music on DVD to the UK show debacle and beyond.
We also have not one, but two World Premier reviews plus a loudspeaker cable
shootout for our readership to enjoy. Equipment reviews include:
!World Premier! Lucidity with GR Research's New Diluceo Loudspeakers
!World Premier! Kharma Ceramique 2.2 Loudspeaker
Arcam FMJ CD33T CD Player
Follow Up: Coincident Speaker Technology Partial Eclipse Mk II Loudspeaker
Loudspeaker Cable Shootout At The Enjoy the Music.com™ Corral
SP Technology Timepiece 2.0 Reference Loudspeakers
Flashback! Wavelength Audio Duetto Stereo Amplifier
Flashback! Kore-eda Model 2658B Monoblock Amplifiers
the Music.com™'s will begin out exclusive Vacuum
State Of The Art Conference And Show Show (VSAC) 2003 report on Friday!
Heralded as the "Holy Grail of vacuum tube audio shows", VSAC is an
event for music lovers to hear and enjoy the latest and greatest in affordable
tube electronics, DIY audio equipment, high efficiency loudspeakers and more.
This show is very causal with an overall feeling of togetherness in musical
pleasures. There is also a sense of history and that of human creation with a
vintage audio room, a craftsman's room, live music, and various seminars for
all to enjoy.