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High-End Audio Industry News

 

11 / 30 / 04

  NHT has provided us a sneak peak into what will be shown at the upcoming 2004 Consumer Electronic Show (CES). While the company's new Super Audio selection will not be in stores for months, we have the details. NHT's new Super Audio line will include their SZT and 2T two-way bookshelfs, 3T three-way bookshelf, 2C two-way center channel, 3C three-way center channel, and top-of-the-range 4T three-way floorstanding loudspeaker. The SZT and 2T are based on the SuperZero and SuperOne (respectively) as they are the company's most popular loudspeakers. The SZT is almost 15 percent smaller than its predecessor, the 3T is a replacement for the SB3 monitor yet moves from a 2- to a 3-way design. The 3T features a 0.75-inch metal dome tweeter, 2-inch aluminum dome midrange, and a 6.5-inch woofer. The 4T tower uses the same drivers and also includes a 10-inch, side loaded aluminum cone subwoofer.

 

11 / 29 / 04

RPG Diffuser System Modex Plate  RPG Diffuser System, makers of sound absorbing and diffusing devices to achieve better sound within studios, concert halls, etc., now offers their new Modex Plate ($999). The Modex Plate (60" tall by 40" wide and 4" thick) is specifically designed for bass frequency management in smaller environments such as home studios, dedicated listening rooms, and home theaters. Since most smaller rooms suffer from anomalies within the lowermost frequencies, RPG designed their new Modex Plate to assist in reducing such problems. This unit is also suitable for surface mount on wall and ceilings for ease of installation. 

 

11 / 24 / 04

  Audiophile's joined forces with The Cable Company's 2004 Summer Against Hunger Fundraiser raised tens of thousands of dollars for charitable causes. Including contributions and 3:1 matching funds provided by US A.I.D., total program contributions to CARE and The International Rescue Committee totaled over $40,000 this year. Over the past nine years the program has raised well over $250,000. We at Enjoy the Music.com proudly support this effort and wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

11 / 23 / 04

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest  Due to the huge success of the 2004 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel in Colorado (see show report here), the 2005 dates have been set for September 30th through October 2. Alan Stiefel will once again direct the show with Ron Welborne assisting with marketing duties. Exhibitor room rates are well under $2,000 with huge conference rooms being under $3,000. Those only needing small booths can reserve space for $150 to $400 depending on size.

 

11 / 22 / 04

  Mirage has introduced their new entry-level NANO Sub subwoofer ($280). Incorporating the same technological advancements in Mirage's OMNI series, the NANO Sub uses an Elliptical Surround for the driver that is said to increase excursion, eliminate distortion and raise efficiency. Also used within the driver is Mirage's proprietary surround ribs to insure it produces accurate sound. An 8-inch down firing woofer is driven by an included 75 watt amplifier to produce frequencies down to 30Hz. The NANO Sub is available in platinum finish.

 

11 / 19 / 04

  Those attending the THE Show in Las Vegas from January 6th through the 10th will be able to purchase classic audio equipment. As a first time feature, there are many legendary audio components that will be on display and for sale at the San Tropez hotel. Both sellers and buyers of classic audio equipment plus vinyl records are welcome. Those interested in selling their items can contact Jack Elliano of Electra-Print Audio at electaudio@aol.com for details on participation.

 

11 / 18 / 04

BVaudio PA300iX Stereo Amplifier  BVaudio has introduced their new PA300iX ($2,200) stereo amplifier. Designed as a true dual monoblock to insure high channel separation, the BVaudio PA300iX produces an ultra-wide frequency bandwidth from 1.2Hz to 450kHz (+ 0/-3dB). A pair of custom 300VA toroidal transformers for the power supply are mounted in the middle of the chassis and shielded on both sides for effective noise rejection. Features include L/R gain adjustments, fully balanced design, anti-saturation control circuits, loudspeaker protection, dual binding posts, link-out for bi-amplification and a low harmonic distortion (0.001 percent).

 

11 / 17 / 04

Naim i-SUPPLY  The new Naim i-SUPPLY is an economical alternative for uprated power supply and can deliver regulated power to Apple's iPod or Headline. Conceived and designed to deliver very low-noise regulated 24V power to the Naim Stageline phono preamplifier, the i-SUPPLY is lower priced than Naim's other power supply units. Three versions of the i-SUPPLY include one for the Naim Stageline phono preamplifier, Naim's headphone amplifier, and one for Apple's iPod.

 

11 / 16 / 04

  Tymphany Corporation is now offering their innovative 'high-density' loudspeaker that is said to offer deep bass yet uses one third less physical area than a dynamic driver. The Tymphany Linear Array Transducer (LAT) technology scales down to 2 inches and up to 12 inches in diameter (at any length). Each unit can be stacked together for more acoustic output. LAT employs opposing end motors in a balanced design so structural vibration and harmonic distortion cancel out, resulting in distortion that is significantly lower than in conventional drivers. "More bass in smaller spaces has been the holy grail of the audio world for some time," said John Carter, Tymphany Board Member and former Chief Engineer at Bose. "The Tymphany LAT technology finally makes it possible to achieve this goal by eliminating the subwoofer and putting bass in places where it has never been before." Kenneth L. Kantor, Tymphany Chief Technology Officer and Chief Audio Systems Architect, said "Over the past 25 years, improvements in sound have been in transmission not generation. Tymphany decided it was time to find new ways to generate sound for today’s space-constrained devices. The Tymphany LAT conforms to the physics of loudspeakers, but changes the conventional shape and method of how air is moved. The result is the most innovative transducer to address bass since the inception of the horn."

 

11 / 15 / 04

  Those attending the 2005 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January have been invited to hear what $500,000 in audio products can produce musically. Thiel Audio, a longstanding loudspeaker manufacturer, will have a 6.1 channel sound system including five $8,000 CS7.2 loudspeakers  (front, rear, and side channels), their $2,200 MCS1 for the center channel, four new $8,900 one thousand watt SS4 SmartSub subwoofers, and Thiel's $4,400 SC1 Integrator. For main amplification duties, Theta Digital's $7,900 Citadel monoblock amplifiers in conjunction with four $10,000 Theta Generation VIII DACs will be implemented. The video and sound source components consist of an $18,930 Theta Casablanca III Music & Cinema Controller with Six Shooter six-channel analog preamplifier and a $6,000 Theta Compli Universal Player. Wiring for this system is supplied by Alpha-Core's at a cost of $15,000 that includes the company's solid silver Boa AG3. Half the value of the system is from JVC with their DLA-QX1G high resolution video projector ($250,000). This is said to be "the world's first projector able to deliver the long-awaited ultra-high resolution images that match the depth and true-to-life presence of film" according to the press release. The contrast ratio is greater than 1000:1 and produces 7,000 ANSI lumens of brightness. A proprietary D-ILA chip technology assists in the unit offering superior video quality.

 

11 / 12 / 04

Castle Acoustics Dipole Loudspeaker  UK-based loudspeaker manufacturer Castle Acoustics' now offers their Compact Dipole that employs similar drive units of their Satellite loudspeaker to ensure consistent timbre. The crossover is optimized for the two separate cabinets within the Dipole to deliver a flat response into the listening room. The sealed cabinet holds a pair of 0.75-inch soft dome tweeters and a pair of 4.5-inch midrange/bass drivers. Frequency response is 80Hz to 40kHz and it presents an 8 ohm load.

 

11 / 11 / 04

  DTS (Digital Theater Systems, Inc.) has announced DTS-HD, a new name for their lossless compression technology previously called DTS++. DTS-HD is an audio codec that can support a virtually unlimited number of discrete surround sound channels, can downmix to 5.1-channel and stereo, plus delivers audio quality at bit rates extending from DTS Digital Surround up to lossless. Unlike lossy compression schemes that lose data and strip away part of the audio signal, lossless technology is claimed to have the ability to reduce an audio file size while not losing any of the data. This allows for more audio data to fit within a data disc. Upcoming formats such as Blu-ray Disc and High Definition DVD (HD-DVD) will support DTS-HD.

 

11 / 10 / 04

Meridian Audio Ltd. DSP5200 Loudspeaker  Meridian Audio Ltd. has announced the new DSP5200 ($10,995) as the latest addition in DSP-based loudspeakers. At 36 inches tall, the DSP5200 is a self-contained 2.5-way system with three custom drivers, three 75 watt amplifiers, two multi-bit delta-sigma digital converters, and digital crossovers. There is full remote control capabilities of bass, treble tilt, time-correct balance, absolute phase, tweeter axis and input. The digital section of Meridian's DSP5200 loudspeaker includes a 150MIPS processor coupled with 24-bit/192kHz DACs. A pair of 160mm long-throw drivers for midrange and bass are mated with a 25mm aluminum done tweeter. The DSP5200 is available in black or silver high gloss lacquer, satin Santos rosewood, natural satin maple and black ash finishes.

 

11 / 09 / 04

Eichmann Technologies CablePod  Australian manufacturer Eichmann Technologies, known for their Bullet Plugs RCA connector, has introduced a new loudspeaker binding post. The CablePod ($49 per pair) incorporates high conductive Tellurium copper that is gold plated without a nickel substrate to insure purity of the electrical signal. Tellurium copper is said to offers up to 320 percent greater conductivity than brass. The construction of the new CablePod allows for ease of cable connecting while also using a minimum amount of metal to reduce a claimed time smearing effect as found on larger binding posts.

 

11 / 08 / 04

DualDisc  The DualDisc format, with DVD-Audio on one side and CD on the other, are slated to be in shops shortly with a total of 50 titles by the middle of November, continues to keep electronics manufacturers on guard. The situation stems from the DualDisc being slightly thicker than a CD or DVD and might get stuck inside some players. Pioneer Electronics  has released the following:

Dear Customer:

Pioneer has become aware that some pre-recorded hybrid discs -- which are referred to as "DualDisc" -- have been released in the market to consumers by some music companies and record labels. These hybrid discs appear to be a bonded combination of DVD on one side of the disc and non-DVD (which may incorrectly be referred to as a CD side) on the other side. Pioneer understands that, although these discs may refer to a CD side, the "non-DVD" side is not compliant with the Compact Disc Digital Audio specification and does not bear the CD logo.

Pioneer recommends that consumers not use "DualDisc" products with any Pioneer products, including CD players, DVD players and recorders, and computer drives until Pioneer has an opportunity to test them. At this point in time, Pioneer does not know whether Pioneer products can safely handle these new hybrid discs, or whether these discs may damage your Pioneer products.

Pioneer will update this notice based on further investigation.

 

11 / 05 / 04

Duevel Shuttle CD Player  German manufacturer Duevel has announced their new Shuttle Disk ($3,500) battery powered home CD player. Four discrete power supplies control the unit in order to eliminate any interference between the different digital and analog circuitry while a powerful battery completely isolates the player from all spurious AC problems. Top line Philips transport mechanism insures precise reading of the disc as it is bathed in a specifically colored green LED. According to Duevel "Any refracted laser light is invisible to the pick-up, for the two colors functionally annihilate each other save for the direct focus of the beam, which is optically isolated! This results in a player, which is highly accurate to the original source!"

 

11 / 04 / 04

  Sony, inventors of the proprietary Super Audio CD (SACD) format, are in direct competition with industry standard DVD-Audio for higher than CD resolution audio as set by the DVD Forum. Now it appears Sony has sent a statement to their dealers concerning the DualDisc format. There have been various comments concerning this recent statement from Sony as many formats do not directly adhere to Red Book standards yet are playable on digital disc players from many manufacturers. The Red Book is a technical book that dictates audio CD. The Sony statement reads as follows:

November 2, 2004

Dear Valued Sony Authorized Dealer,

As you are no doubt aware, the music industry is on the verge of launching a new two sided media product called DualDisc similar in size to a DVD and CD. This DualDisc mates DVD recorded material on one side with digital audio material on the other side. However, the audio side of this new media does not meet the technical specifications to be called an "Audio Compact Disc".

The DVD video content on the DVD side of the DualDisc should play on, and be compatible with, Sony DVD players and DVD drives. However, Sony DVD players and drives do not support DVD Audio and these devices will not play the DVD Audio formatted content offered on the DVD side of a DualDisc but should play all other audio content offered on the DVD side. In addition, since the audio side of the DualDisc does not comply with Audio Compact Disc specifications, it may not be read by Sony DVD and CD players and drives.

In an effort to inform consumers, Sony Electronics will be placing stickers on some of our products in the future alerting consumers to these potential compatibility issues. We will also advise consumers about this issue by our placement of inserts into our products as well as placing information (FAQs) on the sonystyle.com website. We trust that you will communicate this information to your employees so that they may properly educate consumers on this issue in order to minimize the risk of returns relating to compatibility between hardware products and DualDiscs.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please feel free to contact me.

Very truly yours,

Stan Glasgow

Sony has also stated, referring to their own electronics, that "DualDiscs may become jammed in the slots or racks of the holders of these products. We recommend that you do not attempt to play DualDiscs in these units." As of this writing Sony, with their proprietary SACD format, have no plans to offer hardware that supports the industry standard DVD-Audio format as decided upon by the DVD Forum (known as the Working Group 4 back in 1998). In early 1998 various standards were chosen for high resolution audio on DVD. One can only speculate why an electronics manufacturer such as Sony would not support industry standard DVD-Audio and the upcoming DualDisc, instead, supporting only their own nonstandard SACD format. For those unfamiliar with the DVD Forum organization, they define DVD format specifications and DVD-Audio was chosen years ago, but not Sony's proprietary SACD format. The Forum's purpose is to exchange and disseminate ideas and information about the DVD Format and its technical capabilities, improvements and innovations.

 

11 / 03 / 04

  The annual Gotham City Audio Society's Flea Market will take place on Sunday, November 14th from 1pm to 5pm at 202 East 77th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) on New York's Manhattan Upper East Side. As usual, this event is a schmooze, sell, and swap fest for anyone with A/V gear, software, accessories, etc. More information and table reservations at (212) 629-1933.

 

11 / 02 / 04

Dali Concept 10  Denmark's Dali loudspeaker company has announced their new S1.5 (€1,299) active subwoofer and Concept 10 full range floorstanding unit. The S1.5 subwoofer is the successor to Dali's SWA-15 subwoofer. Improvements include MDF for the cabinet and wall thickness has almost doubled in size. Both are said to ensure an enclosure that is "coloration-free... even at sound pressure levels close to 120 dB." The S1.5 includes a 15-inch subwoofer mated with a 300 watt RMS (600 watt peak) "Class AB" amplifier. A variable crossover (45-120 Hz) and absolute phase switch (0-180°) are also included. Frequency response of the Dali S1.5 is from 23Hz to 140Hz. Dali's new Concept 10 (€659, pictured here) features proprietary components -- from drivers to Unbraco-screws. This floorstanding, three-way bass reflex full-range speaker employs a 1-inch soft dome tweeter, 6.5-inch midrange, and a pair of 10-inch ventilated dual-magnet woofers with air-dried lightweight pulp cones. Frequency response is from 35Hz to 25kHz and sensitivity is rated at 91dB/W/m.

 

11 / 01 / 04

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), an organization that represents both major and minor record labels in the United States, has reported first half sales of media in 2004 are on the increase with numbers supplied by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Full-length CD shipments to retail outlets are up 10.2 percent as compared to the first half of 2003. All media combined (CD, audio, and music video products) are up a total of 8.5 percent in the first six months of 2004 reaching 289 million units shipped with an overall dollar value increase of 3.6 percent. According to the RIAA press release "In spite of gains made in some areas, the industry's top-selling albums, which are among the most heavily pirated, remained significantly down as compared to 2001: top 50 albums shipped 16.7 percent less in the first half of 2004, and the top 100 albums shipped 19.7 percent less. However, there has been some improvement in these categories in the last six months of 2004." This RIAA has finally decided to report on legal digital downloading of music with a staggering 58 million single tracks downloaded or burned from licensed online music services accounting for tens of millions of dollars in sales. DVD videos showed an amazing growth rate of 101 percent (11.2 million units) during the first half of 2004. To read the RIAA statistics please click here (Adobe Acrobat file).

 

 

Enjoy the Music.com Blue Note Best Of 2004 AwardsEnjoy the Music.com's November Review Magazine features our annual Blue Note Best Of 2004 Awards! Our established staff hand picked audio gear that deserves extra merit and considering for those looking to upgrade their system. November's Superior Audio showcases two ultra-fi products, Hyperion Sound Design's HPS-938 loudspeaker and CODA's Power Amplifier S12, that combined cost less than $8,000! Who says high-end audio must cost more than an automobile... or home! Our staff works hard to find the very best, yet without needing a second mortgage. See the November issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here and Superior Audio can be seen by clicking here.

 

 

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