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High-End Audio Industry News


11 / 30 / 05

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)  It appears the world of peer-to-peer (P2P) may soon disappear due to legal ramifications. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the organization that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide with membership comprising of over 1450 major and independent companies in more than 75 countries, announced the largest amount of legal actions that specifically target P2P networks including KaZaA. Over 2,100 new legal cases against individuals have been filed worldwide that encompass five new countries in Europe, Asia and South America. Add to that the fact of illegal file sharing in Sweden, Switzerland, Argentina, Hong Kong and Singapore are for the first time at risk of criminal penalties and payment of damages in an international campaign that has already seen thousands of people - the majority of them young men between the ages of 20 and 30 - pay sums of $3,000 or more for uploading copyrighted music. IFPI Chairman and CEO, John Kennedy, said "This is a significant escalation of our enforcement actions against people who are uploading and distributing copyrighted music on p2p networks. For the first time there will be financial and criminal sanctions for this activity in countries in South East Asia and Latin America... Today there is simply no excuse to steal music on the internet instead of buying music legally. There are 2 million tracks available on over 300 sites across the world where consumers can download safely and legally and buy, subscribe to or listen to online music at fantastic value." Of note is the recent decision against P2P network Grokster that has, for all purposes, shut down the service with only a message basically saying "The United States Supreme Court unanimously confirmed that using this service to trade copyrighted material is illegal. Copying copyrighted motion picture and music files using unauthorized peer-to-peer services is illegal and is prosecuted by copyright owners."

 

11 / 29 / 05

  USA's Texas has filed a lawsuit against music label BMG Sony for hiding "spyware" software on the company's music discs. So far Texas appears to be the first State to file such a civil lawsuit against the major music label and is seeking penalties of $100,000 per violation under the state's Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act. With tens of thousands of consumers able to file like-complaints, this could easily add up to millions of dollars in penalties for the music label. Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, said in a statement after suing under the state's anti-spyware law "Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak and dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers. Consumers who purchased a Sony CD thought they were buying music. Instead, they received spyware that can damage a computer, subject it to viruses and expose the consumer to possible identity crime." Read what Enjoy the Music.com® has been reporting on this issue, how to resolve it, and other detailed information to what even the likes of Microsoft refer to as 'malicious' code by clicking here.

 

11 / 28 / 05

  Audiophiles have received a Thanksgiving "thank you" note from The Cable Company (and UsedCable.com) for their help with the 2005 "Summer Against Hunger" Fundraiser. This fundraiser supports relief and development efforts of the International Rescue Committee and CARE that assist the poorest people in the most ravaged regions of the world with basic human needs like food, shelter, clean water, and medical attention. This year they have leveraged the "seed contributions" through matching funds of 3:1 from US AID for 1/3 of our program, and 7:1 from the European Community for the other 2/3. With all sales in, contributions to CARE and The International Rescue Committee were a little over $81,000 this year. Over the course of ten years, program totals including matching contributions approach $400,000. Robert Stein of The Cable Company wishes to express his gratitude to the audiophile community for their support and wishes everyone the best for the holiday season!

 

11 / 23 / 05

Meridian Audio G61 Surround Sound Processor  Meridian Audio's new G61 surround processor ($5,495) builds on the technology that went into Meridian's more costly flagship 861 surround processor. A powerful DSP engine in excess of 500MIPS (million instructions per second) works in combination with 48-bit precision throughout to deliver digital to analog conversion. Incoming analog signals are converted to 24-bit, high-sample-rate digital data via multi-bit Delta-Sigma converters and reclocked to minimize jitter. Digital decoding includes THX Ultra 2, AAC, MPEG, DTS, Dolby, Trifield and Ambisonic decoding. Separate user parameters allow for each source (such as DVD) is processed. The G61 includes two 6-channel S/PDIF digital inputs (coax), six stereo coax digital inputs and five Toslink optical inputs. In addition, there is a 6-channel analog input plus five stereo analog inputs. As for outputs, the Meridian G61 includes eight analog outputs for front, rear, center and sub connections, plus two additional outputs for other applications. Ten digital surround outputs are provided, including front, rear, side, center/sub and again include an additional configurable output pair. The G61 can be configured with a powerful Windows graphical set-up application, which allows access to all the unit's functions and configuration. However, the G61 can also be configured extensively from the front panel's comprehensive 'soft-key' based user interface.

 

11 / 22 / 05

  The House Ear Institute (HEI) , a private non-profit organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education, has redesigned their site and includes new information. HEI focuses on hearing health, clinical trials, scientists and scientific studies, as well as news about the Institute's research findings. Audiophiles should especially be concerned as our joys of music rely on our hearing and understanding how we perceive sound. James D. Boswell, CEO of House Ear Institute, said "The House Ear Institute continues to evolve and advance as a world-renowned center for hearing research... and we felt the look and function of our Web site needed to reflect the same level of sophistication and innovation as our science."

 

11 / 21 / 05

Opera Audio Consonance Reference 2.2 Linear Tube Output CD pPayer  United States importer Quest For Sound has announced the new Opera Audio Consonance CD-120 Linear CD player plus the Reference 2.2 Linear tube output CD player. Both models feature no upsampling and do not have any digital filtering. Decoding is conducted by a 16-bit/44.1kHz chip that send a signal to J-FET/transistors made of analog filter without any op-amp. I/V conversion is handled by a passive device instead of an active one with the result said to be "a superb transient response without any over-shooting." Both models also have gold plated unbalanced (RCA) stereo output. The Reference 2.2 Linear tube output CD player includes a 6H30 tube output stage and sampling frequency manually selectable for 44.1kH or 88.2kHz.

 

11 / 18 / 05

Sony BMG  In our ongoing effort to protect our readership by informing them of risk imposed by Sony BMG digital music discs, we have been updating the mid-November editorial "Is Your Computer Being Hijacked Due To Enjoying The Music?." Recent information includes that several Web sites are directly programmed to attack computers that have the malicious Sony BMG software, including those who have installed Sony BMG's solution. Research has shown that the Sony BMG software has compromised Unites States military and government computers, thereby possibly causing devastating outcomes. Sony BMG has just released a listing of their digital music discs that containing XCP Content Protection Technology. They will also be releasing new versions of these titles without the XCP software. They advise consumers to check the below list for both album name and the item number on the spine of the digital disc. If the item number is not listed below, Sony BMG claims the disc does not contain XCP content protection.

ARTIST ALBUM NUMBER(S)
A Static Lullaby Faso Latido CK92772
Acceptance Phantoms CK89016
Amerie Touch CK90763
Art Blakey Drum Suit CK93637
The Bad Plus Suspicious Activity? CK94740
Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook CK95107              CK74815
Billy Holiday The Great American Songbook CK94294
Bob Brookmeyer Bob Brookmeyer & Friends CK94292
Buddy Jewell Times Like These CK92873
Burt Bacharach At This Time CK97734
Celine Dion On Ne Change Pas E2K97736
Chayanne Cautivo LAK96819      LAK96818         LAK95886
Chris Botti To Love Again CK94823
The Coral The Invisible Invasion CK94747
Cyndi Lauper The Body Acoustic EK94569
The Dead 60's The Dead 60's EK94453
Deniece Williams This Is Niecy CK93814
Dextor Gordon Manhattan Symphonie CK93581
Dion The Essential Dion CK92670
Earl Scruggs I Saw The Light With Some Help From My Friends CK92793
Elkland Golden CK92036
Emma Roberts Unfabulous And More: Emma Roberts CK93950        CK97684
Flatt & Scruggs Foggy Mountain Jamboree CK92801
Frank Sinatra The Great American Songbook CK94291
G3 Live In Tokyo E2K97685
George Jones My Very Special Guests E2K92562
Gerry Mulligan Jeru CK65498
Horace Silver Silver's Blue CK93856
Jane Monheit The Season EK97721
Jon Randall Walking Among The Living EK92083
Life Of Agony Broken Valley EK93515
Louis Armstrong The Great American Songbook CK94295
Mary Mary Mary Mary CK94812            CK92948
Montgomery Gentry Something To Be Proud Of: The Best of 1999-2005 CK75324               CK94982
Natasha Bedingfield Unwritten EK93988
Neil Diamond 12 Songs CK94776            CK97811
Nivea Complicated 82876671562
Our Lady Peace Healthy In Paranoid Times CK94777
Patty Loveless Dreamin' My Dreams EK94481
Pete Seeger The Essential Pete Seeger CK92835
Ray Charles Friendship CK94564
Rosanne Cash Interiors   CK93655
Rosanne Cash King's Record Shop CK86994
Rosanne Cash Seven Year Ache CK86997
Shel Silverstein The Best Of Shel Silverstein CK94722
Shelly Fairchild Ride CK90355
Susie Suh Susie Suh EK92443
Switchfoot Nothing Is Sound CK96534          CK96437              CK94581
Teena Marie Robbery EK93817
Trey Anastacio Shine CK96428
Van Zant Get Right With The Man CK93500
Vivian Green Vivian CK90761

Note: Two titles, Ricky Martin’s Life and Peter Gallagher’s 7 Days in Memphis were released with a content protection grid on the back of the CD packaging but XCP content protection software was not actually included on the albums.

If you want to uninstall the Malware Sony BMG forced upon you, right now on the Sony BMG site it says:

November 15th, 2005 - We currently are working on a new tool to uninstall First4Internet XCP software. In the meantime, we have temporarily suspended distribution of the existing uninstall tool for this software. We encourage you to return to this site over the next few days. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

More information will be revealed within my December 1 editorial. Enjoy the Music.com®'s official stance is to not play any Sony BMG protected discs. If your computer is infected with the Sony BMG Malware/Spyware, you may want to wait for the solution from Microsoft and use it when available. Please see our mid-November editorial by clicking here.

 

11 / 17 / 05

Danley Sound Labs SH-50  Danley Sound Labs has launched their SH-100 ($1,270 passive, $2,270 powered version with DSP) and the SH-50 ($3,925 passive, $5,595 powered version with DSP). The SH-50 is a high-output, fully horn-loaded three-way loudspeaker featuring two unique Danley Sound Labs technologies. Specifically, tapped horn and synergy horn (both patent-pending designs). Said technologies claim to provide exceptional low-frequency pattern control, seamless array ability for those who desire stacking the units, and low-frequency extension. The SH-50 (pictured) measures 28" x 28" x 22.5", has a sensitivity of 100dB/W/m, and generates up to 132dB SPL from 28Hz to 100Hz (-3dB). Utilizing an eight-inch coaxial driver, the SH-100 measures just 20.5" x 20.5" x 9" and offers a sensitivity of 95dB/W/m. generating at most 123dB. Powered versions uses Class D amplification with 1600 watts for the SH-100 and 800 watts for the SH-50 plus they include DSP for further tuning of the sound production.

 

11 / 16 / 05

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine  We have been quite busy this month with show reports of both Head-Fi's Boston meet and the High Fidelity Belgium show! Add to that our mid-month update to the Enjoy the Music.com®'s Review Magazine where we go into great detail on the recent Spyware, or shall we say malicious code, delivered by Sony to the unsuspecting music loving public. This is a very serious issue where Sony has forced software to users of their protected music discs without any choice nor ability to easily remove it... until they were caught red-handed! Worse still, their software opens a wide door to virus writers! See the Mid-November update of our Review Magazine by clicking here.

 

11 / 14 / 05

  Microsoft has officially placed Sony BMG's protected music disc software as an offender and it shall be eradicated within Microsoft's update of the company's Malicious Software Removal Tool. Windows Update allows users to keep their software current and secure, as such Sony BMG's "Malware," or as some call it "Spyware," shall be removed by the Microsoft update due to the high security risk Sony's product forces onto unsuspecting consumers. See November 11th Industry News release below for more details as to Sony's BMG's apparent abuse of forcing consumers to have highly insecure and offensive software within their machines without the consumer's knowledge or consent.

 

11 / 10   to   11 / 13

High Fidelity Belgium 2005 Enjoy the Music.com® will be reporting live from High Fidelity Belgium 2005. This is their largest show to date and will take place on November 12th and 13th with over 50 presentations and 10 static shows. Both stereo hi-fi and home cinema products will be showcased in the over 1,700 m² of demonstration space spread between to hotels. Entrance fee is a mere €3. Venues are the Crowne Plaza Hotel Brussels Airport and four star Courtyardhotel in Evere near Brussels. A free bus will gladly transport show attendees between the two venues. Show organizers audioforum.be are finding great support from distributors, importers and manufacturers from around the world to insure the show is a success. Unlike most other show websites, Belgium has wisely chosen to provide their website in no less than four languages (Dutch, English, French and German), making their show a true international experience. See our show coverage by clicking here.

 

11 / 09 / 05

  Enjoy the Music.com® . This allows thousands of audiophile sites the opportunity to benefit from over a century of combined knowledge and experience. The search engine efficiently scans thousands of pages to find the best matches and lists them in relevance. Important excerpt of each page also appears so users can quickly find the information they require. Steven R. Rochlin, editor of Enjoy the Music.com® , said "Over the past decade many audiophiles have come to appreciate our offering hi-fi definitions, music descriptions, and an immense record of manufacturer links... With Enjoy the Music.com® ranking at the very top of virtually all popular mainstream search engines, it is a natural extension for us to provide a specially developed search engine for the audiophile community." Complete press release can be seen by clicking here.

 

 

November 20th marks the 2005 Tri-State Gotham Audio Society Audio Flea Market is for those looking to buy and sell books, equipment, digital discs, magazines vinyl records, etc.  This is an audio only event for both Northeast societies and individuals. Any member of an established audio society receives a special discount for admission or exhibit space in Manhattan at 202 East 77th Street, on the 2nd floor. For additional information please contact the Gotham Audio Society at (212) 629-1933.

 

11 / 08 / 05

NAD Master Series M55 DVD/SACD Player  NAD's new Master Series is the company's statement product line and features their M55 DVD/SACD player ($1,799) with top quality playback for both audio and video. Videophiles will appreciate that DVD-Video can be watched in normal interlaced mode, or in progressive scan mode while HDMI supports HDCP encryption. On th audio side, DVD-Audio and SACD decoding take place on board with bass management availability. DVD-Audio uses high resolution 24 bit PCM signals and MLP 'lossless' compression while SACD (super audio compact disc) uses the DSD (direct stream digital) technique. The list of features include playback of CD, CD-R, CD-RW, SACD SVCD, WMA, HDMI Output for HD video and audio, Faroudja DCDi circuit for 480i (DVD standard), video up-conversion to 420p, 720p or 1080i, 12 bit 54mHz video DAC for analog video, digital audio output via SPDIF (coax) and TosLink (optical), and 24-bit/192kHz DAC.

 

11 / 07 / 05

Gemme Audio Concerti 108 Horn Loudspeaker  Gemme Audio's new Concerti 108 ($4,700 with chrome feet being a $300 option) marks the company's first venture in their True Horn series. With a single full range Fostex FE108EZ driver, the Concerti 108 does not require a crossover and offers high sensitivity for ease of driving with low wattage amplification. The True Horn construction with the aid of CNC machining provides a horn section that follows a continuously smooth expanding curve topology instead of a succession of expanding square cavities. It is said to ensure a constant expansion while minimizing turbulences in the pathway, resulting in a superior reproduction of mid to low frequencies. The 1-inch thick MDF cabinet is coated by acrylic and offered in a high gloss mirror finish outside and inside, with rocklike density. Frequency response is from 42Hz to 23kHz (-6dB) with a 93dB/W/m sensitivity at 8 ohms.

 

11 / 04 / 05

Simply Physics Differential Fusion 2 (DF-2)  The genius behind Simply Physics , Rick Roberts, has launched a new Web site and new products. Longtime audiophile know of Simply Physics with their ToneCones, Isodrive CD clamp, DarkStar turntables, linear tracking air bearing tonearm, exotic equipment stands, etc. Many Simply Physics products were standard issue on various high-end audio products from Apogee, Eggleston, Sound Anchor, etc. The company's latest offering includes a highly advanced LP record clamping system called the Differential Fusion 2 (DF-2 for short, $495). When placed over the spindle of a turntable, the DF-2 insured positive vinyl contact to the platter. A special collet system is actuated by turning the upper section clockwise, thereby locking the unit to the spindle. Once secured, it then increments the outer edge of the lower clamp downward against the record label surface. An added benefit is the lowering of resonances, thereby lowering the chance of signal contamination as the needle reads the vinyl record's groove.

 

11 / 03 / 05

Sony BMG  Will you be suffering a computer virus due to Sony BMG's choice of using copy-protection technology? Sony BMG has partnered with security company First 4 Internet in hopes that their music discs could not be copied. The problem is that with Sony BMG using such technology they have opened up the proverbial 'Pandora's Box' as the same code to protect the music discs can be adapted for virus writers to hide malicious software on hard drives of computers that have played one of Sony BMG's discs. Furthermore, the code is such that antivirus programs do not recognize the code as a virus. First 4 Internet says they will be sending a patch to antivirus companies that will eliminate the copy-protection software's ability to hide. "We want to make sure we allay any unnecessary concerns," said Mathew Gilliat-Smith, CEO of First 4 Internet. "We think this is a pro-active step and common sense." Longstanding antivirus and security company F-Secure had this to say: "For now it is theoretical, or academic, but it is concerning," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer. "There's no risk right now that we know of, but I wouldn't keep this on my machine." To add to the Sony BMG trouble, the patch distributed through the company's site will not be able to remove the code. It will simply expose it, thereby still allowing virus writers the opportunity to infect machines that have played one of Sony BMG music discs. Over two million music discs with the First4Internet protection have been sold since March 2005 within the United States. Mark Russinovich, the person who originally discovered and publicized this virus problem with Sony BMG discs, said "While I believe in the media industry's right to use copy protection mechanisms to prevent illegal copying, I don't think that we've found the right balance of fair use and copy protection, yet. This is a clear case of Sony taking DRM too far."

 

11 / 02 / 05

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group representing members who create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90 percent of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States, are hoping to see the beginning of efforts to curb pirating of recordings in China. It is widely reported that China harbors the world's highest rate of criminal activity in this regard as a Special 301 Report believes that "China's inadequate IPR enforcement is resulting in infringement levels of approximately 90 percent or above for virtually every form of intellectual property" according to the United States Government. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it has forwarded a number of questions to the Chinese government in an attempt to better understand China's response to its piracy crisis. The RIAA is now reporting, "Without question, the Chinese market remains the most closed market in the world. This is a direct result of official policies restricting our market access and a failure by the Chinese government to successfully address piracy. Without a meaningful commercial presence, we simply cannot serve as an effective force against the theft of our products. While Chinese laws have recently been modified and improved, the enforcement of criminal law remains virtually nonexistent. The result: a complete lack of deterrence." Pirated materials easily purchased in China include not only music titles, but also movies and computer software.

 

11 / 01 / 05

Superior Audio Equipment Review  November marks Enjoy the Music.com®'s Best Of 2005 Blue Note Equipment Awards! Our staff has carefully chosen the very best products reviewed during 2005 and decided on a very interesting mix of gear. New issues of both our Review Magazine and Superior Audio are now online with the Review Magazine covering Art Audio Carissa amplifier, Shure E4c versus Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5pro earphones, Stereovox Studio cables & Manley Labs Skipjack, and Wavelength Audio Brick USB DAC. Superior Audio now features a review of Lamm Industries' Model L2 preamplifier plus the WAVAC MD-805m monoblocks and deHavilland's Mercury 2 preamplifier. See the November issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here and Superior Audio by clicking here.

Enjoy the Music.com® is now offering free Industry News and special event news syndication to Web site publishers. We have gladly provided virtually daily information concerning industry events for nearly a decade and are now making this content available free so that readers from all around the world can benefit from our over a century of combined expertise. It is easy to include our free syndication and will e-mail special code so that Web sites can deliver fresh news and information virtually everyday. For further information regarding syndication please click here.


 

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