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High-End Audio Industry News

 

12 / 22   to   12 / 31

Happy Holidays!  We here at Enjoy the Music.com wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. Thanks for all your support in 2003 and you can look forward to enjoying more of our critically acclaimed show reports, industry news,  equipment/music reviews, and so much more in 2004. May you prosper in 2004 and let it be filled with joy and good luck.

 

12 / 19 / 03

  Online merchants are singing praises as United States consumers spent $8.5 billion in November 2003, this is a staggering 55 percent more than November 2002 according to an e-spending survey from Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen Netratings. Fact is, more and more audiophile companies sell products direct-to-consumers online, or have dealers that offer products online. Naturally the Internet offers a greater opportunity to reach a vastly wider audience than a simple brick and mortar store. Nielsen Netratings senior analyst Abha Bhagat said, "We believe that people have become more comfortable shopping online, they’re able to find products easily, and search engines are a great help to find products." Forrester Research predicts that when 2003 has ended, online sales will have increased 42 percent over 2002.

 

12 / 18 / 03

Analog Devices SHARC Processor  Analog Devices, Inc. (NYSE: ADI) has announced the availability of its third generation of SHARC Processors. Designed to meet the needs of many digital products, including those for audio processing, the new SHARC Processors feature high integration, support for the latest audio decoders and postprocessors, and numerous audio-specific on-chip peripherals. While previous generations of SHARC Processors can be found in many recording studio equipment manufacturers [DBX, Solid State Logic (SSL), Mackie, etc], the new version will be found in both high-end audio and mainstream consumer products. In addition to Dolby Pro Logic IIx and Microsoft WMA 9 Pro, the new SHARC Processors support the full range of high-resolution audio formats, including PCM 96kHz, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS Discrete 6.1, DTS-ES Matrix 6.1, DTS 24-bit/96kHz 5.1, DTS Neo:6, MPEG2, MPEG2 AAC and SRS. Per-unit pricing in quantities of 10,000 units for the ADSP-21267 is $9.95, for the ADSP-21266 is $14.95, for the ADSP-21365 is $19.95, and for the ADSP-21364 is $24.95.

 

12 / 17 / 03

MartinLogan Montage loudspeaker  MartinLogan has announced their new affordable Montage loudspeaker (1,495/pair ). Using an ATF (advanced thin film) transducer for the upper frequencies and cone driver for midrange and bass, the Montage utilizes woofers and cabinetry based on the MartinLogan Clarity (as reviewed here) and Mosaic loudspeakers. ATF diaphragms are constructed of ultra-light Dupont Kaladex PEN (polyethylene naphthalate), unlike the PET (polyethylene terathylate) film used in MartinLogan's generation 2 electrostatic transducers. MartinLogan claims the benefits of using Dupont Kaladex PEN is in durability. Frequency response is from 47Hz to 20kHz (+- 3), sensitivity is 90dB/W/M, and impedance is 5 ohms. Crossover components include air core coils, metal film and low dissipation electrolytic capacitors. In total, power handing is rated up to 150 watts, weight is 30 lbs, and dimensions are 9.44 × 11.69 × 38 (WxDxH). To read our exclusive review of the MartinLogan Clarity loudspeaker please click here.

 

12 / 16 / 03

Wavelength Audio Signature 45 stereo single-eneded triode amplifier  Wavelength Audio has just announced their Signature 45 stereo single-ended triode amplifier. Based on their new chassis developed to reduce vibration effects, it is tuned to a low 50Hz to 60Hz to "minimize the effects of incoming frequency on the tubes." In an unusual spin, the custom power transformer is flanked by huge parallel feed chokes instead of the usual output transformers. Parallel feed capacitors have been custom made for this amplifier as is the output transformers and optional input transformers (no upcharge). As for tubes within the Wavelength Audio Signature 45, a single 274B rectifier with 4 chokes power the type 45 output tubes. Input tubes are the 417A/5842A. All tubes are inserted into Yamamoto sockets while many Black Gate Capacitors support the MagneQuest transformer array. Pricing is as follows: $25,000 for Silver/Cobalt, $22,500 for Silver (pictured here), $17,500 for Copper/Cobalt, and $15,000 for standard copper output transformers. TJ Mesh 45 tubes and 274B are included with the amplifier as well as NOS 417A/5842A tubes. Frequency response is from 5Hz to 55KHz (-3dB) with extremely low distortion.

 

12 / 15 / 03

  Canada has set an interesting stance as the country's laws allows for downloading files on peer to peer networks, possibly including copyrighted files. Although it is illegal to upload copyrighted files, once said file are available Canadian copyright regulators have ruled that it is fair game to download these files. The Copyright Board of Canada, on the other hand, have imposed a government fee upwards of $25 for devices such as the Apple iPod. This is in line with other fees such as those for blank/recordable tapes, CD, DVD, and other media. These fees are then dispersed to both songwriters and musicians accordingly. The secretary general of the Copyright Board, Claude Majeau, said "As far as computer hard drives are concerned, we say that for the time being, it is still legal."

 

12 / 12 / 03

Bright Star Audio IsoRock 3 Reference  The new Bright Star Audio IsoRock 3 Reference ($499) anti-vibration isolation platform joins their other award winning products. Said to be Bright Star Audio's ultimate expression of the IsoRock design, both vibration and electro-magnetic interference are reduced to insure achieving the best from music reproduction equipment. The new IsoRock 3 Reference is coated with "Black Pearl" heat fired glass crystal exterior and finished in lovely hardwood trim. Multiple layers of high density polymers, multi density fiberboard, polymer adhesives, non-resonant primer, and a layer of high mass EM1 electro-magnetic shielding plate round out this new no-holds-barred design that rests on select grade IsoNode anti vibration feet (see our exclusive review of the IsoNode by clicking here). The IsoRock 3 Reference anti-vibration platform is 18.5 x 15 x 2.25 (WxDxH) and can hold upwards of 60 Ibs. with higher weight ranges available with optional IsoNode kits.

 

12 / 11 / 03

DVD Upgrades of Switzerland SPDIF Six channel S/PDIF output board  Adding a new twist to the DVD-Audio/SACD arena is DVD Upgrades of Switzerland who now offers a unique modification to consumer DVD-Audio/SACD players. Their S/PDIF: Six channel S/PDIF output board (kit CHF 1,079 or installed CHF 1,619) modifies an existing unit so that it offers 6-channels of S/PDIF. The board can provide PCM output from 16 to 24 bits at 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 kHz. SACD's 1-bit DSD is converted to 24-bit/88.2kHz. By offering three 75 Ohms S/PDIF outputs, three outboard stereo DAC units of the consumer's choosing handle the critical signal conversion from digital to analog audio.

 

12 / 10 / 03

Lamm Industries Reference Amplifier  Lamm Industries has released their new M1.2 Reference ($19,590.00/pair) and M2.2 ($18,990.00/pair) amplifiers that replace their critically acclaimed M1.1 and M2.1. While being visually similar to the previous models, the new units now offers power transformer taps for 100/120/220/230/240V (50/60Hz). Lamm Industries has also redesigned the high and low voltage power supplies for the front end while some critical parts have been replaced with recently available higher quality units. While the original M1.1 and M2.1 were released in 1993, through further developments there has been improvements made to the critical output stage that now appear in the M1.2 Reference and M2.2.

 

12 / 09 / 03

Frank Zappa DVD Does Humor Belong In Music?  Scheduled for release on December 16th, Virgin Records will be offering a Frank Zappa DVD titled Does Humor Belong In Music?. This 1984 concert film, for the first time on DVD, includes 14 songs that span Zappa's entire career. While this concert video was available on VHS in 1985, the Does Humor Belong In Music? DVD is a document of Zappa's planned final tour with complete remastering. It also features, the first ever, a live recording of "Hot Plate Heaven At the Green Hotel". Songs performed on the DVD include:

1. Zoot Allures 
2. Tinsel Town Rebellion 
3. Trouble Every Day 
4. Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel 
5. The Dangerous Kitchen 
6. He's So Gay 
7. Bobby Brown 
8. Keep It Greasey 
9. Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me? 
10. Dinah-Moe Humm 
11. Cosmik Debris 
12. Be In My Video 
13. Dancin' Fool 
14. Whippin' Post

 

12 / 08 / 03

46th Annual Grammy Awards  The 46th annual Grammy awards nominations have been released. The list comes from voted upon recordings released from October 1st, 2002 through September 30th, 2003. Those who vote include musicians, engineers, and others within the music industry. Naturally we here at Enjoy the Music.com are proud, longstanding members of Grammy organization and will publish our virtually live show report on February 8th, 2004. Thus making 2004 our fourth consecutive year of this prestigious effort. For a complete list of nominations please click here.

 

12 / 05 / 03

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed lawsuits against 41 people who allegedly were sharing copyrighted music files online. This brings the number to a miniscule 382 lawsuits of the multi-millions who share music online. Countering the accusations that this is a mere raindrop of water in the ocean, RIAA President Cary Sherman said "This is an ongoing strategy, and the way to let people know that there is a risk of consequences is to continue the program. You don't set up a speed trap for one day and stop enforcement thereafter. It has to be consistent." With 382 lawsuits and 220 settlements averaging close to $3,000 each, a paltry 1,054 people submitted applications for amnesty under the RIAA's "Clean Slate" program. Keeping this in perspective, Nielsen NetRatings, who tracks web usage, has shown that file swapping software Kazaa had a peak of 7 million users in June 2003. "We've said that we would not be measuring this by numbers of files traded or number of users online," Carr Sherman said. "The ultimate success here is whether the legitimate online services are gaining traction. So far that has been a glowing success."

 

12 / 04 / 03

  Electronics engineer and magazine writer Julian Hirsch passed away on Monday, November 24th at the age of 81. Julian was a pioneer and wrote for many audio magazines including the Audio League Report, Stereo Review, and with the aid of Gladden Houck formed Hirsch-Houck Laboratories. Bob Ankosko, editor in chief of Sound & Vision, said "Julian Hirsch was one of the most influential writers in the history of consumer electronics. His enlightening columns and no-nonsense product reviews were key factors in propelling audio from a small hobby in the 1950s to a huge, mainstream industry. His writing also inspired thousands of loyal readers to become audio enthusiasts, and many moved on to become distinguished in the field as designers, engineers, manufacturers - even writers and editors." Julian is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ruth, son Steven, and daughter Barbara Harrison.

 

12 / 03 / 03

  Apple's iTunes is now finding itself fully exposed as Jon Johansen, the brilliant Norwegian programmer who made available the DeCSS code that allows DVD copy protection to be hacked, has now released a hack for iTunes Music Store called QTFairUse. This new program is said to basically be a "memory dumper" and can then allow the bypassing of Apple's QuickTime DRM protection. While this is technically not the first such hack of Apple's iTunes as Bill Zeller offered a program called MyTunes that makes mp3 files from iTune files.

 

12 / 02 / 03

DEQX Calibrated PDC-2.6 Processor  The new DEQX Calibrated PDC-2.6 Processor is a 2-input, 6-output digital processor that offers individual driver correction with high order digital crossovers and room correction. With a claimed typical 100dB/octave (with upwards of 300dB/octave capable), the electronic crossover allows for fine-tuning a loudspeaker for optimum results. Both bi- and tri-amplified setups are accommodated for as a loudspeaker's internal crossover can be eliminated. The DEQX Calibrated PDC-2.6 Processor features:

Digital Speaker Correction (stereo, fully anechoic, amplitude and phase) 
Realtime Digital Parametric Equalization 
Detailed room measurement capability for optimum room/speaker setup 
Optional high resolution digital room correction
Custom correction of each playback environment 
Stereo digital crossovers (6dB/octave steps to 300dB/octave) 
32-bit, floating-point, 240-MFLOPS sustained processing with dual SHARD DSPs 
Audiophile grade Op-Amps (Burr Brown) 
Six 192KHz 24-bit ulta low jitter D/A converters 
PC-based set up via USB or RS-232 for initial measurement

Specifications Include:

Stereo analog inputs, balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) 
Stereo digital inputs, S/PDIF and AES/EBU 
Six analog outputs, unbalanced RCA 
Digital volume control allows digital sources to be input directly 
Mic input for optional DEQX Calibrated measurement microphone 
Compact 1U design 1.75 x 17 x 17 (HxWxD in inches)

 

12 / 01 / 03

  Enjoy the Music.com has released the December edition of their Review Magazine. The editorial by Steven R. Rochlin covers many topics including the holiday season and lack of marketing within the high-end audio sector. We also have eleven new music reviews, four exclusive equipment reviews and a midmonth DIY article! Equipment reviews include:

New! Audio Note AN-E-Lexus Versus The AN-J-SPx. Loudspeaker Shootout! by Steven R. Rochlin

New! Moderately Priced Vibration Isolation Device Shootout At The Enjoy the Music.com™ Corral by Karl Lozier

New! MartinLogan Clarity Electrostatic Hybrid Loudspeaker by Alvin Gold

New! The Splendid Spendor SR5 Loudspeaker by Ian White

Flashback! The Art Audio PX-25 SE Stereo Power Amplifier by Dick Olsher

Flashback! Cool Audio System on the Cheap by Steven R. Rochlin

Midmonth Blue Velvet Line Pre-Amplifier: A DIY Project by Dick Olsher

Midmonth Vacuum State Of The Art Conference Show Report by Dave Glackin

Click here to see the December edition of the Enjoy the Music.com™ Review Magazine.

 


 

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