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High-End Audio Industry News

 

11 / 28 / 03

Fountek Electronics Company  JP 2.0 Ribbon Tweeter  Produced by Fountek Electronics Company, and Distributed in North America by Madisound Speaker Components, the new JP 2.0 ribbon tweeter features high-pressure injection molded 6mm faceplate and pure aluminum ribbon. A super strong Neodymium magnet insures high efficiency with a frequency response from 1.4kHz to 40kHz. A built-in impedance conversion transformer insures the input signal will drive the extremely thin diaphragm (0.009mm). Overall ribbon mass is 25 mg with a size of 8 x 120 x 0.009 (WxHxD in mm). Input impedance is 8 ohms, driver sensitivity of 98dB/W/m, and can be driven by upwards of 50 watts.

 

11 / 27 / 03

  The Cable Company proudly gives a huge Thanksgiving "thank you" for help with their 2003 "Summer Against Hunger" fundraiser. Total program contributions to CARE and The International Rescue Committee were a little over $63,000 this year. Over the course of eight years, program totals including matching contributions approach $250,000. This year's program consisted of for every $100 sale The Cable Company contributed $5, which a vendor matched for a total $10 donation. An anonymous donor matched this contribution on a dollar for dollar basis, so the donation has now grown to $20. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) matched this $20 donation on a 3:1 basis growing the total donation to $80! Robert Stein, president of The Cable Company, says "Thanks for supporting our company and this program, and all the best for the holiday season!"

 

11 / 26 / 03

Penaudio  Loudspeaker manufacturer Penaudio has appointed Portal Audio as their United States importer and distributor. Models by Penaudio include their Rebel2, 2-way reflex-loaded monitor ($1,495). This model employs a 20mm fabric dome tweeter and specially treated 90mm mid/bass driver with 26mm voice coil. Their model Charisma ($2,995, pictured here) is also a 2-way design and improves on Rebel 2 by using a custom made mid/bass driver with solid copper phase plug and distortion-reducing copper rings above and below the pole-piece. The crossover uses copper foil inductors, copper foil internal wiring, polypropylene caps and WBT terminals. Their Chara ($2,500) dedicated subwoofer mate with each monitor and serve as its stand to effectively transfigure each Rebel2 or Charisma into a full range 3-way floorstander with response down to 25Hz.

 

11 / 25 / 03

Santana Ceremony  Grammy Award winning musical artist Santana will soon release a limited edition CD titled Ceremony. With only 100,000 copies available worldwide, Ceremony will include both remixes of songs from Supernatural and Shaman, plus five new tracks. This collectors album features "Curacion (Sunlight On Water)," co-written by Santana and its producer KC Porter, "Migra," "Primavera," "El Farol," and "One Of These Days." This limited edition CD will be released on December 16th. "There was so much great material recorded at those sessions," said Carlos Santana, "with so many great musicians, songwriters, producers and arrangers contributing their talents. I am honored that Arista has chosen to gather the unissued music together in this package, as a gift to our fans this holiday season."

 

 

Coda TechnologiesCoda Technologies will soon be releasing their new S5 and S12 amplifiers. The S5 is a 50 watt pure "Class A" into 8 ohms (200 watts bridged) while the S12 produces 125 watts in "Class A/AB" with "Class A" to 20 watts (500 watts bridged). Both units feature true DC-coupled design based on the high speed circuit topology as Coda's flagship System S100. FET input and MOSFET Voltage gain is employed with high speed bipolar current gain and no overall/global feedback is used. A grand total of sixty 50MHz output transistors, each rated at 8 Amperes and 150 Volts, insure fast transient response. Both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) input connectors. An all anodized chassis contains the double-sided gold plated circuit boards and both Code amplifier come with a 10 year warranty (5 year transferable).

 

11 / 24 / 03

ESLab DX-P10 Stereo Pre-Amplifier DX-S40 / DX-S80 Stereo Power Amplifier  ESLab have launched a new product range comprising of a control pre-amplifier and two power amplifiers. The DX-P10 stereo pre-amplifier (2,500, top) is said to offer a highly transparent and flexible solution for pre-amplification and control center for a music reproduction system. Their DX-S40 stereo power amplifier (3,000) replaces the popular DX-S4 and continues to offer high value for power and performance. The DX-S80 stereo power amplifier (4,000) replaces the DX-S8 and produces upwards of 1000VA. The DX P10 pre-amplifier floats its' whole analogue circuit on an optically-coupled "clean" section. This is claimed by ESLab to enable the high resolution "Class A" gain modules to perform to their best.

 

11 / 21 / 03

Dr. Chesky DVD-A  SACD  New York based Chesky Records has announced their new Dr. Chesky's 5.1 Surround Show DVD-Audio disc (SACD to be released in December). This new release features 38 tracks of both original music and sound effects in 5.1 surround sound. From daily New York rumbling sounds like riding the subway to surround sound "ping pong" and beyond, this 38-track release includes the following:

1. Blast Off 
2. Welcome to the Show 
3. Dancing Tympani 
4. Circle of Voices 
5. Fire Drums 
6. The Storm 
7. Chimes of Serenity 
8. Ave Verum Corpus 
9. Music for Cello, Helicopter and Cars 
10. Bass Drum March 
11. Tibet 
12. Arabian Nights 
13. Wild Nights 
14. The New York Subway Ride 
15. The Minimalist 
16. Basketball Court 
17. Music for Western Percussion 
18. April Is In My Mistress' Face 
19. Ping Pong 
20. Africa Morning 
21. The Forest Song 
22. Africa 
23. Kenya 
24. Cars & Horses 
25. Circle of Drums 
26. Organ & Chimes 
27. The Carousel Ride 
28. Caribbean Drum Song 
29. Heartbeat Announcement: 50Hz 
30. 50Hz Heartbeat 
31. Heartbeat Announcement: 40Hz 
32. 40Hz Heartbeat 
33. Heartbeat Announcement: 30Hz 
34. 30Hz Heartbeat 
35. Heartbeat Announcement: 20Hz 
36. 20Hz Heartbeat 
37. Church Mice 
38. Thank You For Coming To Our Show

 

11 / 20 / 03

WBT "nextgen" RCA  Closely resembling the Eichmann Technologies International bullet plug (as reviewed in September 2001), German manufacturer WBT has announced their new "nextgen" RCA plugs. Using materials such as pure copper, BASF's Ultramid, and Victrex's PEEK, the large center contact is mated with a smaller negative contact that insures tight clamping and 75 ohm impedance matching. The new nextgen male RCA has a female counterpart that is also claimed to be 75 ohms, and therefore excellent for digital signal transmission.

 

11 / 19 / 03

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  Thwarting the spread of counterfeit music CDs, a recent seizure of 15,000 discs from a Salem, New Hampshire, flea market proves that no amount is too big or too small. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is diligently seeking to insure that only authorized, fully licensed products are for sale in both the largest and the smallest venues. What makes this case even more interesting is that not only were Floyd West, 35, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and James Lawrence, 22, of Lowell, Massachusetts arrested, but also a 14-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy. Captain Robert Larsen said Detectives Roger Beaudet and George Baker obtained search warrants and headed to the flea market around 11 a.m. with an RIAA investigator. Once there, they raided a table selling 15,000 unauthorized music discs. "Flea markets continue to be a haven for pirated music and we are stepping up our efforts accordingly," said Cary Sherman, president of the RIAA. "Vendors who hawk pirated music should take note: this is illegal activity. It's noticed by our investigators and law enforcement, and it can have serious consequences." Both Floyd West and James Lawrence were charged accordingly with a Class A misdemeanor and were arraigned in Salem District Court.

 

11 / 18 / 03

Microsoft Windows Media Player  Entering the legitimate online music marketplace is none other than computer operating system giant Microsoft. Looking to compete with Apple's iTunes, MusicMatch, Napster, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, and Sharman Networks' KaZaA (to name a few), Microsoft hopes to roll out their service in 2004. Naturally Microsoft will employ their own technology and will most probably make it a part of their free Media Player software. As a mere speed bump to Microsoft's efforts, the European antitrust officials are currently making legal decisions concerning how Microsoft bundles allegedly nonessential software within their operating system. Audiophiles take note as Microsoft owns the HDCD technology and could easily offer better than CD quality sound online.

 

11 / 17 / 03

Rolling Stones DVD Four Flicks  In a move to show exclusivity for the first four month of its release, Best Buy has secured the rights to be the only retailer selling the new Rolling Stones DVD set Four Flicks ($29.99). This release includes three DVDs of concert footage with a fourth DVD featuring behind the scenes documentaries. With over fifty songs from the group, this is the most expansive DVD release by this legendary rock band to date. "This DVD includes not only the classics but songs that we have never before recorded including "I Can't Turn You Loose," and "Love Train" along with songs that have never been recorded live such as "Monkey Man" and "Rocks Off"" said the Rolling Stones. Since other retailers are not pleased with only allowing Best Buy to sell this release during the first four months, it has been reported that Canadian retailers HMV Canada (101 stores), Pindoff Record Sales (102 stores) and Sunrise Records (32 stores) have removed all Rolling Stones product (CDs, DVDs, videotapes, etc.) from their shelves. Meanwhile Virgin stores policy is to avoid stocking any new Rolling Stone product, once available, that has been subject to an exclusivity period. Perhaps the Rolling Stones fans will soon be singing "I can't get no satisfaction".

 

11 / 14 / 03

muRata ES105 Spherical Super Tweeter  muRata's new ES105 spherical super tweeter benefits from the research of their ES103. A spherical piezoelectric diaphragm can produce frequencies from 15kHz to an outstanding 100kHz. The ES105 tweeter can be mated with preexisting loudspeakers so music lovers can enjoy the higher frequency response provided by DVD-Audio and SACD music software. Employing a heavy die-cast enclosure of zinc alloy with surface finished in a high-grade glossless coating, the ES105's enclosure has excellent damping to virtually eliminate distortion causing enclosure resonances. Specifications are as follows:

Frequency Response: 15kHz to 100kHz
Sensitivity: 90dB/W/m 
Impedance: 8 ohms 
Maximum Power: 50 watts
Directivity: Straight 45 degrees 
Dimensions: 90 x 65 x 118 (WxHxD in mm) 
Weight: 1.1 kg each

 

11 / 13 / 03

TAG McLaren Audio Ltd 700:7r Power Amplifier  TAG McLaren Audio Ltd., on the heels of yesterday's news, has announced their new 700:7r power amplifier (2,495). The 700:7r's seven channels of amplification are rated at 100 watts per channel (at eight ohms). Four of the seven amplifier modules can be bridged in pairs to deliver 150 watts (i.e. 5x100 plus 1x150 or 3x100 plus 2x150). This amplifier flies against the face of purity by using some global feedback to provide linearity and low distortion from this "Class B" operating amplifier. The 700:7r includes auto on/off signal sensing power switching or switching by contact closure activation utilizing the 3.5mm jack socket on the rear panel. Any audio signal appearing on any one of the seven inputs will cause the amplifier to power up to the active state.

 

11 / 12 / 03

TAG McLaren Audio Ltd.  TAG McLaren Audio Ltd. is now offering software updates for their audio equipment. Owners of either the TMA AV32R dual processor or TMA AV192R can now download the latest software version 4.2 that includes Dolby Pro Logic IIx with the ability to process two or five channel content to produce 6.1 or 7.1 output channels. All AV32R DP and AV192R shipped after September 2003 include a voucher entitling the new owner to a free upgrade to DPLIIx with 80bit precision in the two 21161N Super Sharc DSPs. Existing owners can upgrade to DPLIIx for 149.95 inc VAT. Owners not wishing to upgrade to DPLIIx should upgrade to version 4.1 of the firmware available now. Another download now available is TMREQ Wizard V2 that allows the user to configure automatically, or manually, all of the TMREQ filters in all channels of an AV32R Dual Processor or AV192R. After carefully adjusting your equipment, users can implement the Backup Wizard V1.1 with a PC (or MAC running PC emulation) to backup all the settings of a AV32R dual processor or AV192R to their computer and to restore those settings whenever they are required.

 

11 / 11 / 03

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab  Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab is adding to their new Ultradisc catalog this fall with Blood, Sweat, and Tears 3, Patricia Barber Companion, Prokofiev Ivan The Terrible, Jim Hall Concierto, and John Lennon Plastic Ono Band. Blood, Sweat, and Tears 3 on SACD includes top 40 hits such as "Hi-De-Ho" and "Lucretia Mac Evil" plus a rendition of James Taylor's "Fire And Rain". The Patricia Barber Companion SACD was recorded live at Chicago's legendary Green Mill. Songs on this disc include the late Sony Bono's classic "The Beat Goes On", Peter Green's "Black Magic Woman", plus her usual hits with a bonus track titled "You Are My Sunshine". Prokofiev Ivan The Terrible SACD comes from the legendary Vox catalog. Jim Hall Concierto SACD features a stellar musician line up with jazz guitar great Jim Hall, critically acclaimed Chet Baker on trumpet, Ron Carter on bass, Paul Desmond on alto sax, Sir Roland Hanna on piano and a young Steve Gadd on drums. John Lennon Plastic Ono Band Ultradisc II Gold CD naturally was remastered using Mobile Fidelity's proprietary GAIN 2 (Greater Ambient Information Network) mastering process.

 

11 / 10 / 03

  Balanced Audio Technology has launched their Internet "BAT Channel"with on demand streaming television-like segments to provide information concerning their products. Claimed to be the "world's first Internet consumer electronics channel", it offers quite a bit of information concerning the company as told by founders Steve Bednarski, Victor Khomenko, and Geoff Poor. Windows Media Player 9 and a broadband connection are required for viewing the BAT Channel. "The BAT Channel provides an entirely new way for music fans to learn about high-end audio equipment," explains BAT's Steve Bednarksi. "Our goal is to supplement the information already available from our web site, and from the dealer."

 

11 / 07 / 03

  The Big Five music labels may soon be called the Big Four as Bertelsmann AG and Sony Corporation have announced merger plans to create a single music business titled Sony BMG. With Bertelsmann AG ranking as the fifth largest and Sony as the second, this new joint venture is in hopes of competing with the world's number one music label, Vivendi's Universal Music Group. While there are many benefits in a merger including the sharing of marketing to help make each more profitable, it has been reported that the merger would exclude sharing manufacturing, music publishing, and physical distribution. As a side note, Universal Music Group has released their third quarter 2003 sales and they are down 16 percent as compared to the same period in 2002 (1,328 versus 1,115 respectively, in millions).

 

11 / 06 / 03

Penn State University  Go to college, get virtually unlimited free music. This is what Penn State University students may soon enjoy as a deal may soon be reached between them and online music provider Napster. With over 80,000 music loving students on 24 campuses, the University hopes to save each one of them the $9.95 per month for Napster's premium subscription service that offers unlimited streaming and downloads. This will also save the University from any troubles with the long legal arm of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Penn State is also taking a close look at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) new system designed by MIT students Keith Winstein and Josh Mandel. As reported by Enjoy the Music.com on October 28th, these two students "devised a campus-wide 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."

 

11 / 05 / 03

Eichmann Technologies 4mm Bayonet Plug (banana plug)  Australian company Eichmann Technologies, known for their Bullet Plug, has now released their 4mm Bayonet Plug (banana plug). Unlike many other banana plugs that are made from gold plated Brass or Beryllium Copper with a conductivity rating of 28 percent, the Eichmann Technologies Bayonet Plug is machined from high-conductive Tellurium Copper. The shape of the contact area is designed for minimal skin effect problems. Both crimping or soldering wire onto the plug is accommodated for. The Bayonet Plug is available in consumer packs of 4 plugs that are ideal for making a pair of loudspeaker cables.

 

11 / 04 / 03

  Enjoy the Music.com has released the November edition of both their Review Magazine and Superior Audio! Our Review Magazine editorial gives great interest to the recent online music companies. Superior Audio features top shelf equipment reviews including a top-notch turntable and amazing monoblock amplifiers. Equipment reviews within each magazine include:

  Parasound Halo JC 1 Monoblock Amplifier

  Roksan TMS2 turntable With Artemiz Tonearm And Shiraz Cartridge

  Revisiting The Miyabi / 47-Labs MC Cartridge

 

Review Magazine

Outlaw Audio Model 950 Home Theater Pre-amplifier/Processor and Model 7100 Multi-Channel Power Amplifier

Stillpoints And ERS Paper

Von Schweikert Audio VR-1 Reference Studio Monitors Mighty Minis

Revisiting The DIVA "Seduction" 2A3 SE Stereo Power Amplifier

Revisiting The Art Audio Gill Signature Amplifier

 

 

Ocean Acoustic LoudspeakerNew upstart company Ocean Acoustic specializes in Lowther-based loudspeaker designs using various drivers and custom veneers. Featuring the DX series (1, 2, and 3) Lowther drivers, the enclosures are CNC machined for a precision fit. According to their website, "The arrangement of a full range driver coupled with a bass horn was chosen to allow a single source for all of the music. This means that problems associated with multi-driver systems are eliminated right off the bat." A low frequency horn is integrated into their design to insure lower frequency reproduction. The contours of the horn are based upon the Tractrix formula, a flare rate which is generally regarded as the best sounding choice.

 

11 / 03 / 03

Magnum Dynalab MD-106T Vacuum Tube Tuner  Magnum Dynalab now offers a vacuum tubed FM tuner for both radio enthusiasts and audiophiles alike. The MD-106T tuner ($3,995) combines both sensitivity and selectivity in channel reception Magnum Dynalab is know for, yet use a matched pair of 6922 Amperex Bugle Boy tiny triode tubes within the analog stage. With the talents of tube designer Zdenko Zivkovic, formerly with Sonic Frontiers, the MD-106T "exhibits an uncompromising attention to detail. For example, Magnum engineers devoted special attention to the ground plane to protect the main signal from stray ground path signals, preserving the micro information in key audio passages that other tuners often lose." The new tuner also employs Ultimate MIT capacitors, AC filtration, Kimber KCAG silver wire, and Pearl tube coolers.

 


 

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