High Fidelity Audio Industry News
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12 / 27 / 13
Last chance to enter and win! Enjoy the Music.com and Napa Acoustic are offering their NA-208A ($399) vacuum tube stereo integrated amplifier to one lucky contest winner! "Amazing" is the word the company hears most often when people discover the NA-208A hybrid vacuum tube amplifier for the first time. Its small size and understated elegance in chrome and stainless steel are admired almost as much as the sound it produces. With a vacuum tube front end and solid-state output power section, the NA-208A offers a very sophisticated stereo design that produces 25 wpc. You can learn more and enter to win at this link. Join us at our social media sites too!
12 / 26 / 13
Amazon has compiled historical bestseller data to name its Best-Selling Albums (CD & MP3) and Songs of All Time (MP3). They found that their Best-Selling CDs of All Time are Adele's 21, Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream and Wicked featuring the original Broadway cast. At Amazon MP3, Lady Gaga's Born This Way, Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More and The Lumineers self-titled album top the bestseller list since the store launched in 2007. While there were a few artists that made both lists, differences between the two are evidence of the varying tastes of Amazon customers of each format. In addition, the lists look very different from the industry's best-selling albums of all time list, which is topped by Michael Jackson's Thriller and greatest hits albums from The Eagles and Billy Joel. Over the years there have been many infectious songs stuck in customers' heads, but Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" tops the Besting-Selling MP3 Songs of All Time list. Check out the complete list of Best-Selling CDs, MP3 Albums and Songs of All Time at the list below.
Top 10 Best-Selling CDs of All Time
Top 10 Best-Selling MP3 Albums of All Time:
Top 10 Best-Selling MP3 Songs of All Time:
Top 10 Best-Selling CDS of 2013
Top 10 Best-Selling MP3 Albums of 2013
Top 10 Best-Selling MP3 Songs of 2013
12 / 24 / 13
If you can't see the video above, click here.
On our first episode of Enjoy the Music.TV, hosted by Steven R. Rochlin, we feature Herbie Hancock showing us multi-channel audio via Rane, high fidelity audio industry news and CES / T.H.E. Show 2014. We also have recording engineer Kevin Reeves of HDtracks / Sterling Sound, interviews with Michael Mercer of Audio360.org and Scot Hull of Part-Time Audiophile plus of course music for your listening pleasure.
Sneak Peek Reviews!
12 / 23 / 13
Kronos Audio Products new Sparta turntable ($21,500) offers the same unique, patented, dual counter rotating suspended turntable technology yet in a lower priced package of their upper model. The Sparta allows the use of various tonearms ranging from 9 to 10.5 inches in length. Kronos Audio Products will also offer optional turntable/tonearm and cartridge OEM value packages through their various worldwide distributors. These special packages are to be announced soon. In addition, a 10.5 inch version of the Black Beauty tonearm, exclusive to Sparta, will be available in limited quantities. The two identical high mass platters featured in this design have one above the other rotating in opposite directions and moving at precisely the same speed. This engineering completely eliminates torsional forces. Since the turntable is protected from mechanical and environmental vibrations, it can therefore be suspended without any negative outcomes. Finally, the judicious use of materials helps minimize the transfer of remaining mechanical vibrations emitted from the bearings and stylus friction. The result is a turntable platform with unparalleled stability. A solution so innovative that two separate patents applications are presently pending with more to come. "We are very excited to offer this performance breakthrough to a wider audience" says Kronos Audio Products President and designer Louis Desjardins. "We have included into Sparta all the core technical elements that have made Kronos a resounding success. We have achieved a lower manufacturing cost by streamlining production processes, by innovating in the use of efficient materials and by introducing novel engineering solutions. We were inspired by the legendary city of Sparta in designing this new turntable. Our goal was to embody its values of strength, stability, durability and unwavering efficiency."
iFi Audio's new iPurifier is said to put the analog back into USB audio. The USB transmission standard was not designed for high-quality audio according to the company. Thus audio/power/ground are all 'lumped into one' cable for printers, hard-disk drives and the like. In the pursuit of the highest-quality of USB audio playback, this is akin to placing dedicated audio interconnects and high-current power cables together, which is clearly far from ideal. Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) issues inevitably arise, characterized by a harsh, edgy sound. The iPurifier does one job and one job only; it cleans and filters audio and power at the end of the digital chain; just prior to the digital signal entering the DAC. iFi Audio's specially-designed circuit is said to restore the 'signal waveform' and puts the 'analog' back into USB audio for a true, life-like presentation. The unit is future-proofed, as it is able to handle high-resolution PCM/DSD and DXD at all levels. One of the main bugbears of computer audio is EMI noise. The noise is generated by the raft of generic switch-mode power supply units scattered throughout the computer being in close proximity with the audio path. This is an unwanted distraction to the point of being downright annoying. The residual noise floor is heard most patently between tracks. Taken directly at the computer's USB port, EMI noise is typically some 39dB. With the iPurifier in place, this noise drops by some 5dB to 34dB. The iPurifier is of the same fastidious design as the iFi Gemini USB cable matching the 90 Ohm impedance standard. The FINAL USB connectors provides end-to-end RF shielding as they are machined entirely from solid aluminum. Gold-plated connections make for years of steadfast service. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the ifi Audio Micro iPhono MM/MC phonostage and the ifi iPhono, iDAC and iUSBPower units. We also recently reviewed the new iFi micro iTube 'Swiss Army Knife'.
12 / 20 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com has just posted Hi-Fi World's February 2014 edition including the complete editorial and table of contents. This issue includes reviews of the Martin Logan Summit X electrostatic hybrid speaker, KEF X300 mini-monitors, Cambridge Aero 2 BMR standmounters, Pro-Ject Stream Box RS network streamer, Antelope Zodiac Gold / Voltikus DAC/preamplifier, JE Audio VM60 valve monoblocks amplifiers, Exposure 3010S2 phono amplifier and more! The editorial by Noel Keywood says, "It's always nice to come across a product that takes us by surprise and this month we got lucky with the JE Audio amplifiers, designed and built in Hong Kong. These days the old Crown Colony is a desperately modern city that reflects China's technological emergence. The region supports a lot of audio manufacturing and Hong Kong itself has Kings Audio, who produce the excellent Kingsound electrostatic loudspeakers. JE Audio join them in my view, with their thoughtfully designed and beautifully built VM60 power amplifier and VL19 preamplifier. Rafael Todes, an expert on valve amps but a man that's hard to please, was genuinely taken aback and excited by them. You can read what he thought of these lovely amplifiers on p54." See the complete February table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi World by clicking here.
Enjoy the Music.com has just posted number 7 issue 4 of HIFICRITIC magazine. This edition of HIFICRITIC includes reviews of the Magico S5 floorstander, Axjet by Axhorn unique horn speaker system, Aurender W20 hard drive music player and streamer, Raidho D-1 speaker, Fenson ISO power amplifier plus a huge comparison review of the AKG, Yamaha, Jays, B&W, Sennheiser and Focal, against established reference headphones. In his editorial, Paul Messenger says "Over the years my record collection has accumulated loads of music from outside that 1962-1974 'window', much of which has no less merit than the music I enjoyed back in those early years. But there's no denying that many of my favourite discs date from that era. And on the odd occasion that I get talked into participating in pub quizzes (I've discovered that my knowledge of history and geography can be quite useful), I find myself well able to answer questions from 'my' era, but quite unable to cope with those from more recent years." You can see the complete table of contents and editorial of HIFICRITIC by clicking here.
Meridian Audio Ltd. has announced the introduction of the Prime Power Supply ($1250). This new supply is a reference-quality, high-current design based on the new linear power supplies developed for Meridian's 800 Reference Series. The company engineered the unit specifically for audio applications. Built into an elegant compact metal case and designed by Meridian co-founder Allen Boothroyd, the Prime Power Supply has no visible screws and is double-skinned for lower noise. The Meridian Prime Power Supply can be used to power a range of Meridian products including the Meridian Prime Headphone Amplifier, Audio Core 200, Meridian Director and Media Source 200. The addition of Prime Power Supply is said by the company "to provide an enhancement in their performance, much like supercharging a car's engine". The high current, very low noise power supply delivers enhanced performance from a range of Meridian products. The high-mass, low-profile, low magnetic field, toroidal transformer with integral plate-mounted magnetic screen ensures shielding electronics from noise. Users may connect multiple devices to a single Power Supply unit via high-quality latching three-pin mini-DIN connectors as there are a total of five 12V 500mA outputs and USB 5V 1A output with USB input for audio pass-through that drives Meridian Director, Explorer, Prime Headphone Amplifier and i80. All units are carefully hand made in Meridian's headquarters near Cambridge, UK.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
12 / 19 / 13
This coming Sunday at 6:00 pm the Boston Audio Society (BAS) is holding their annual White Elephant Sale. Bring anything you want to sell: playback equipment, recording equipment, accessories, media, computers, video, electronics, etc. Please tell your friends and pass the information on to interested parties. Come see what the BAS is about! Tables will be set aside for your items to sell. While you set up your items, please provide interested parties a general list of items you plan to sale. The doors will be open at 5PM for setup. After Open Forum at 6 there will be a 20 minute break for buying and selling, then on to the music. After the selling forum, you may present your favorite recording for playback on the provided stereo system. The BAS meeting and White Elephant sale is located at the Boston University, Life Science & Engineering Bldg, 24 Cummington St, 1st Floor Conference Room: (Room 103), Boston, MA 02215.
Lambda Labs newest addition to their high-end, high power TX series, is the TX-3A active three-way speaker. With dimensions of 29.2" x 17.4" x 19.3" and weighing 59.5 lbs, the TX-3A's heavy duty 15" long excursion driver excels at low frequency reproduction. To achieve this, the low frequency unit alone is driven by a 1600 Watt RMS DSP controlled on-board amplifier module. Finally, the addition of two further 200 Watt RMS amplifier channels for the high and midrange turns the TX-3A into a fully tri-amp'ed loudspeaker with 2000 Watts integrated RMS power capacity. Polyurethane coating and stainless steel components are standard for the Lambda Labs enclosures making them extremely durable. While this is a PA speaker technically, on recent demos the company says that "brilliant and transparent sound reproduction and the faithfully detailed stereo imaging have gained much praise and lead many to comparisons with illustrious Hi-Fi products. To achieve the precise acoustic pattern control, the low frequency speaker crosses over at as low as 700Hz from where the coaxial True Point Source high-mid frequency unit's 3.75" and 1.75" coils take over the job. A crossover of such low frequency results in an exceptionally smooth and well defined radiation pattern, since beaming effects and partial vibrations of the 15" chassis are starting far above its transmission range. The elliptical Constant Directivity horn gives the TX-3A its extremely even directivity pattern down to 1kHz with a nominal coverage angle of 50° x 50°, making its use possible even under the most difficult acoustic conditions. Should a broader horizontal coverage and/or higher SPL be required, the consequent Coherent Wavefront Design and the versatile rigging allows for multiple TX-3A units to be combined into a 100° or 150° array on the spot.
12 / 18 / 13
Marantz just announced the launch of their PM8005 integrated amplifier and the SA8005 SACD/DAC player ($1199 each). The new PM8005 includes optimized power handling characteristics and a redesign of the large double-shielded Toroidal transformer circuitry for improved bandwidth power as compared to the previous offering from Marantz. The new SA8005 SACD player features fast, low-noise and low impedance symmetrical circuits with high-quality components. The loading mechanism virtually eliminates resonance, while its reduced distortion spectrum gets the very best audio quality from SACDs. Marantz's PM8005 integrated amplifier uses fully discrete current-feedback integrated amplifier circuitry and produces70 WPC into 8 Ohms stereo. Marantz designers have shaped and optimized the power handling characteristics, redesigned the large double-shielded toroidal transformer's circuitry, and thus optimized bandwidth power. The result is a current-feedback amplifier with a massive energy reserve to drive even the most demanding of speakers with ease according to the company. Of course Marantz's exclusive hyper-dynamic amplifier modules (HDAMs) are employed for detailed audio reproduction. Marantz's new SA8005 SACD player may also be used as an external DAC. The unit has TosLink optical, S/PDIF coaxial and USB-B on the rear panel, plus a USB-A input on the front panel for popular portable devices. The asynchronous USB-B input supports decoding and playback of high resolution audio DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz formats and features a newly developed ground/signal isolator technology which virtually eliminates PC noise. The SA8005 also features an accurate dual-system clock, a toroidal transformer, a double-layered bottom plate for extra stability, fully discrete headphone amplifier, and a system remote, which controls the SA8005 and the matching PM8005 amplifier.
Recording label TACET has released two more Blu-ray music discs just in time for the festive Christmas season. Blu-ray on TACET may be used like a simple CD player. You can enjoy either stereo or 5.1 in high resolution as desired, then switch over with a simple push of the button. Both recordings are already familiar on CD as the critically acclaimed Gran Partita by W. A. Mozart, as performed by the fabulous Stuttgart Winds, now beguiles the listener in TACET Real Surround Sound. The complete edition of the all Joseph Haydn's String Quartets is finally marching towards its completion with rapid steps from TACET. The new recordings include:
Akiko Audio's Powerbase Quattro (1995) power strip is made with high quality materials and with no cost constraints of the materials or the amount of working hours to produce it. Akiko Audio delivered the inside wiring and the tuning mix, whilst Kemp Elektroniks delivered the QA module. High quality aluminum and stabilized connections feature the Furutech inlets firmly anchored to the base. After applying the star-shaped Akiko Audio Aerostar wires, which are made out of eight veins of silver plated copper wire, the wire is isolated by air and PTFE with a shielding for the grounding. The black resin material aids in preventing vibrations and micro oscillations from negatively affecting the connection. Akiko Audio says "The Quattro is designed for the spoiled audiophile, who wishes to only settle for the best and takes his hobby seriously."
12 / 17 / 13
Cornell University researchers have just announced they 3D printed a working speaker driver. They were able to use multiple 3D printing techniques to then manufacturer the plastic for the cone and basket, place conductive material for the voice coil and of course magnetic parts that enable the driver to operate. This new project led by graduate students Apoorva Kiran and Robert MacCurdy fine-tuned their mechanical engineering skills for the 3D printing world with the assistance of associate professor Hod Lipson within their mechanical and aerospace engineering section and a leader in 3D printing innovation. "Everything is 3D printed," said Apoorva Kiran. "It consists of plastic for the housing, a conductive coil and a magnet. The challenge is coming up with a design and the exact materials that can be co-fabricated into a functional shape." While we are far from seeing fully-function 3D printed consumer electronics like a portable media player or cell phone, where we are today is akin to Lego as a child. Sure we could build homes and other basic outer structures, yet the details of the desired internal workings such as plumbing, electricity distribution, working kitchen, etc are still missing. 3D printing is making inroads for basic items today, yet we are still a ways off from manufacturing devices that have many intricate internal parts to make the device work. The same can be said within the medical industry as we are 3D printing small body parts, yet none have the actual living tissue with intricate nerve endings, etc. Still, 3D printing is a very promising technology as we are just scratching the surface of the possibilities. You can see a video of them making the 3D printed speaker driver at this link.
Enjoy the Music.com has just posted the December 2013 / January 2014 issue of Canada HiFi Audio / Video magazine! This issue features reviews of the Cambridge Audio Azur 351A & Azur 351C CD Player with the Wharfedale Diamond 10.6 speakers. Other reviews include Monitor Audio Silver 8, Axiom Audio ADA 1500 multi-channel amplifier and Sony's 65-lnch 4K Ultra HDTV. Get your FREE download of this entire issue at this link.
Spotify wants to give music to everyone and is now free on mobile and tablet platforms plus is available in 55 markets worldwide. Spotify gives you access to millions of songs across your mobile devices for free. Listen to all your playlists, discover new music, or simply sit back and dig into your favorite artist's entire back catalogue. And with Spotify launching in 20 new markets this week, more people across the world can now discover and play great music. Not only can you listen to all the playlists you've created and playlists from the people you follow, now you can also discover new music, save songs, shuffle and share. iOS and Android tablet users can enjoy the same free Spotify experience that they enjoy on the computer. Any song or album, on-demand at your fingertips. "Today we're giving people the best free music experience in the history of the smartphone and the tablet," said Daniel Ek, CEO & Founder at Spotify. "Whether you're going to the gym, or having a party with friends. Just sit back and let Spotify serve you great music for every moment of your life." Spotify's Premium level continues to offer on-demand, ad-free access to your music in ok sound quality, but still far from CD's 44.1kHz/16-bit sound quality let alone FLAC's 96kHz/24-bit and higher capability.
Dared Audio has announced the upcoming release of their HPA-55L ($299) portable headphone amplifier and S2O ($399) signal source optimizer. Aimed at music lovers, HPA-55L portable headphone amplifier and S2O signal source optimizer enhance sound quality effectively when used with audio players or smartphones. Dared Audio's HPA-55L has battery life over 12 hours and comes with a unbalanced headphone output for headphones with a wide range of impedances. Additionally, the HPA-55L features low distortion, low noise and a high slew rate all wrapped up in a beautiful wooden casing. Output power is 300mW per channel stereo at 16 Ohms with a frequency response from 10 Hz to 30 kHz. Input is via a stereo 3.5mm headphone jack and output is via 3.5mm stereo jack. Output impedance is 5 Ohms single-ended and 10 Ohms for balanced. Dared Audio's new S2O hopes to enhance music enjoyment as the company says that "third harmonic of digital audio and digital noise is significantly affected to original sources. To solving this defect, Dared's R&D department, which lasted six years, has hundreds of experiments. Finally developed S2O Signal Source Optimizer, can solve this defect. Through S2O, digital audio can expressing emotion perfectly. S2O signal source optimizer, Processed of special materials and refining. Completely remove digital noise, the maximum compression of digital audio in odd harmonics, and reservations music signals even harmonics." Inputs and outputs are via a stereo set of RCA jacks.
12 / 16 / 13
Raumfeld's new streaming stereo speaker, The Cube (500), plays music wirelessly in high resolution from an analog input, the Internet, or your own digital music collection. The Cube uses sophisticated coaxial drivers in an exacting yet elegant design to bring new technology with ease of use in music lover's home or office. The Raumfeld Cube uses an elaborate two-way system to produce stereo for the wireless or wired enjoyment of music. Inside the lacquered surface contains high-end technology for the streaming of high-resolution sound files up to 192kHz/24-bit as well as sophisticated drivers to play these files in high fidelity sound quality. A total of 90 watts powers a midrange driver and tweeter in a coaxial arrangement in each loudspeaker. Each unit of The Cube is delivered as a set of two for musical playback. The electronic components contained in The Cube are capable of supporting a wide variety of streaming services as well as thousands of Internet radio stations. Digital formats like FLAC and WAV are rendered without distortion with a resolution of up to 192kHz/24-bit from your network, smartphone, or tablet. Digital time alignment corrects differences in propagation times for an optimal stereo sound image while the coaxial drivers approach and ideal point source. Double bass reflex ports allow these bookshelf speakers to produce frequencies down to 20 Hz. The unit receives wireless signals via 802.11b/g/n as well as inputs for Ethernet and analog music sources. An integrated converter can transform analogue into digital signals in order to stream them to other Raumfeld devices in a multi-room setup, thus paving the way for the streaming of your entire music collection including even vinyl.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
12 / 14 / 13
Parasound's improved version of its Halo JC 3 phono preamplifier, the Halo JC 3+ ($2995), has just been announced. The new Halo JC 3+ adds independent load adjustment for moving coil (MC) cartridges, enhances the dual-mono phono module circuit boards, and they have increased the power supply capabilities. Designed by the legendary John Curl, he rejected variable load adjustment because, compared with fixed resistors, potentiometers generally have higher intrinsic self-noise that is an anathema to creation of an ultra-low noise phono stage. Curl prevailed and the JC 3 was built with limited switched input load impedance choices. According to the company, "This decision disappointed some vinyl enthusiasts and reviewers who consider input load fine-tuning to be essential for certain cartridges." And thus the new Halo JC 3+ was born and circuit board designer Carl Thompson eventually consented to including variable load impedance adjustments, but with these caveats for the potentiometers:
1) They must comply with stringent performance requirements.
2) They must be manufactured by Vishay, a highly-regarded manufacturer of low-noise electronic parts. At that time Vishay did not offer a potentiometer that met these specific requirements. However they recognized an opportunity, and eventually agreed to develop the part and manufacture it in small quantities for Parasound.
The outcome of this effort is the Parasound Halo JC 3+. The JC 3+ features independent variable MC load fine adjustment capability for each channel from 50 to 550 Ohms using these special low-noise dual-gang potentiometers. Parasound also took the opportunity to make additional performance improvements. Curl narrowed the spectrum of Johnson/Nyquist noise in the resistor that loads the input stage to maximize its low noise capabilities. Circuit-board designer Carl Thompson tweaked the phono module board layouts to further optimize every performance parameter. The copper circuit board traces in the phono modules are now 24 karat gold-plated where each part is soldered to provide unprecedented transparency and musical detail. Parasound's Halo JC 3+ power supply has been significantly upgraded with 47% larger low-ESD power supply filter capacitors. This provides much greater current reserves for 'head-snapping dynamics'. A new R-core power transformer is 82% larger to provide greater reserves for low-end impact. Finally, at the suggestion of a few JC 3 customers, the company has added a simple on/off switch for the front panel P logo illumination. The Parasound Halo JC 3+ is available in both silver and black finishes. Of course Enjoy the Music.com reviewed the Parasound Halo JC 3 phono preamplifier.
12 / 13 / 13
The new iFi Audio nano iCAN ($169) is a palm-sized, portable battery powered headphone amplifier. It boasts over 70 hours of high fidelity audio quality at home and on the go with a strong 150mW of headphone amplifier output. The iFi Audio nano iCan has DirectDrive output (no coupling capacitors) for what the company says is smooth, natural sonics and bass slam. The on-board lithium-polymer 1400mAh battery lasts for approximately 70 hours per charge. Their 3D HolographicSound System for Headphones and adjustable XBass allows users to change adjust the sound output to suit headphones, IEMs, etc. A high precision analogue volume control ensures no possible single degrading as can be found with some digital volume controls. Input is pure analog via a pair of gold-plated RCA jacks and normal 3.5mm (1/8") stereo jack. Output is via 6.3mm (1/4") stereo jack. Overall output gain is switchable and includes 8dB and 18dB. For those seeking tech specs, SN is 112dB (A-weighted) and THD+N @ 100mW output is < 0.02%. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the ifi Audio Micro iPhono MM/MC phonostage and the ifi iPhono, iDAC and iUSBPower units. We also recently reviewed the new iFi micro iTube 'Swiss Army Knife'.
Heart, Yoko Ono, Jackson Browne, Melissa Etheridge, Nils Lofgren, Little Steven and Indigo Girls are just a few of the many artists who have come together to lend a helping hand to Tunes4Food Redemption Day. This is a newly released CD on Popadelic Records that will benefit three Feeding America Food Banks: Food Bank of Western New York in Buffalo, Cleveland Food Bank and Long Island Cares/The Harry Chapin Food Bank in Hauppauge, New York. Available now on iTunes for $9.99 and eBay (in packs of 2, 3 or 10 ranging from $25 to $100 that all include free shipping and promo stickers), Tunes4Food Redemption Day features nineteen tracks in all. Trying to answer the question "What would John Lennon do to help feed the needy?," Bob James and a group of music students in Buffalo, New York came up with the idea for Tunes4Food. "Distinct from crisis-driven benefits, this is a proactive campaign to address the growing need for help not only in these particular communities, but across our country," says campaign manager and project producer Bob James. "Unfortunately, hunger is a growing epidemic but, with this drive, I think we can make a measurable difference." It's been determined that for every Tunes4Food - Redemption Day CD sold, the Feeding America Food Banks can purchase approximately 40 meals. To further advance the cause, winter events and local musical performances have been scheduled in the three cities of the benefiting food banks, with a spring benefit being planned for Los Angeles. Track listing is as follows:
12 / 12 / 13
The Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is the world's largest consumer electronics show and takes place from January 7th through 10th in Las Vegas, has announced their Innovations Design and Engineering Awards for high performance home audio. The 2014 honorees will be on display at CES Unveiled: The Official Media Event of the International CES on January 5 from 4 to 7 pm at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. CEA has named the ten 'High Performance Home Audio' finalists and the products up for nomination. The list of finalists include Acurus' ACT 4 preamplifier/processor, which is a THX-certified 7.1 home theater and music product designed and built in the United States. It offers the latest home theater processing options and a web-server-based control. Auralic's fantastic looking GEMINI 2000 Headphone Dock offers users with a variety of features that includes a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), a headphone amplifier and an integrated SDXC card reader that supports as much as two terabytes of content storage. It also allows for a convenient way to store a pair of headphones. Bang & Olufsen's (B&O) BeoLab 18 features the company's new WiSA-based (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) Immaculate Wireless Sound concept that combines design, acoustic technology and sound performance. Engineer Dan D'Agostino's Momentum preamplifier features their latest circuit designs wrapped in a sleek industrial design. Definitive Tech's Mythos ST-L floorstanding speaker incorporates three new proprietary technologies and is designed for home theater or stereo sound system. Libratone's wireless speaker products utilize Apple's AirPlay technology within the Loop to provide homeowners a stylish and convenient way to listen to their favorite audio content. Prima Cinema's service provides consumers the ability to stream first-run movies the day of their release within the comfort of their homes. Sharp and trade group WiSA's SD-WH1000U wireless audio player delivers uncompressed audio (96kHz/24-bit) and full 1080p video. Shure's VP83F microphone is a consumer-friendly condenser microphone designed for use with DSLRs & HD camcorders. It also has built-in memory so that the audio may be recorded independent from other hardware. And lastly we have Sony's HAP-Z1ES hi-res audio player includes built-in wireless network connectivity, a 1 TB hard drive and of course supports the company's DSD format.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, "Over half of U.S. adults who shopped through Friday, November 29 and bought consumer electronics (CE), did so online (55 percent), a 10 percentage point increase over last year and a new record, according to interim results from the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) annual Black Friday Survey." CEA's Black Friday Survey examines shopping habits, intentions and expectations Thanksgiving Day through Monday, December 1. Among the 35 percent that bought a CE product through the weekend, tablets (29 percent) have been the most popular CE device purchased, as predicted by CEA's Pre-Black Friday Survey. Headphones (24 percent), video game hardware (21 percent), smartphones (19 percent) and laptop/notebook computers (17 percent) were the next most commonly purchased CE products during the first two days of the long, holiday weekend. "Consumers appear to have responded to retailers' strong push to get them in the stores and online early this year," said Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research. CEA's Black Friday Survey presents the interim findings of a telephone survey conducted among two national probability samples, which, when combined consist of 622 adults, 282 men and 340 women 18-years of age and older, living in the continental United States. The initial interviews were completed between November 29-30, 2013.
12 / 11 / 13
Music Group collected an impressive 19 Grammy Award nominations. This achievement represents the depth of Concord's artistic family and their enduring dedication to excellence. Winners will be announced at the 56th Annual
Grammy Awards that will be airing live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, January 26th, 2014. Below is the complete list of Concord Music Group Grammy nominations.
Best Latin Jazz Album:
Best American Roots Song:
"Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed"
Best Americana Album:
Best Bluegrass Album:
This World Oft Can Be
Three Chords And the Truth
Best Blues Album:
Best Instrumental Arrangement:
Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package:
Best Album Notes:
Best Music Film:
12 / 10 / 13
Enjoy the Music.TV, sister site Enjoy the Music.com, has just released our preview video! This video preview only hints at what is to come in the future episodes on Enjoy the Music.TV. In the future will be video interviews, live discussions and a special chat section where you can ask those on-screen questions! All this and more plus live streaming video coverage from high fidelity audio shows!
If you can't see the video above, click here.
Listed in order of appearance within the video:
Acoustic Sounds offers their Super HiRez digital music downloads online and has now been cleared for the USA and Canada too! Acoustic Sounds says, "There's no doubt about it now: computer-based audio is here to stay. Its combination of compactness, portability, ease of handling and organization, lack of media wear, and remarkable resolution have made it a growing option for people all over the world. More than that, it is growing in popularity and in the quality of the music that it can provide to audiophiles and music lovers." Acoustic Sounds just announced that those in Canada may now purchase and download music from their site. No more shipping costs, import duties or waiting for merchandise. Acoustic Specializes in major-label DSD downloads as well as the highest resolution PCM titles. Look for the Canada-eligible Downloads link in the links bar below the header to experience the most economical way to bring Acoustic Sounds quality to your listening room.
12 / 09 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com just added the high fidelity audio industry's World Premiere review of the new Sonus Faber Olympica III loudspeaker within our December Review Magazine! Sonus Faber's Olympica III is a mixed shape of lute and arch with use of traditional materials including fine leather and real wood finishes... First thing that may grab you aurally when you hear music through Sonus Faber's Olympica III speakers are the natural feeling and timbral correctness. This has a lot to do with the use of a paper cones, which are in fact a very special mixture of paper and other ingredients. There is just something inherently right about the sound and you can quickly recognize this with vocals, acoustical instruments, etc and the way the sound flows into your home in recreating music. See the December Review Magazine by clicking here.
Madison Square Garden announced that legendary music icon Billy Joel will become the first-ever music franchise of "The World's Most Famous Arena." Billy Joel will kick off this franchise at The Garden performing a show a month starting January 27, 2014. The first five shows are sold out. "Since his first show in 1978, Billy has performed 46 shows at Madison Square Garden, including an unprecedented 12 consecutive sold-out shows that have earned Billy a spot among The Garden greats with a banner raised in his honor. Today, we take that relationship even further and are extremely honored to have Billy as The Garden's first music franchise," said James L. Dolan, executive chairman, The Madison Square Garden Company. "This new partnership will ensure that someone who has been such an important figure in our past, will also be a major part of our future. We welcome Billy home and look forward to many unforgettable nights of music at the Garden." Billy Joel said "Performing at Madison Square Garden is a thrilling experience. I've played different venues all over the world, but there's no place like coming home to The Garden. Since my first show in 1978, I've always looked forward to the energy of the crowd. I'm honored to be joining the Madison Square Garden family and look forward to taking the stage of the newly transformed Garden to create many more memorable nights."
In other news from New York, the Hip Hop Hall of Fame (HHHOF) secures Charter and is designated official Museum & Educational Institution. Museum development project manager Zubatkin owner representation is moving forward with architect and contractor selections to finalize designs and preparation construction in 2014 for late 2015 grand opening. The HHHOF has $70M in backing and financing in place on the $90M Museum Project and Operations. The HHHOF Advertising Agency is engaged with brands to finalize the $100M in Sponsorships and Naming Rights partnerships for exclusive categories, floors, and exhibits. The Agency is hosting industry executives and corporate brands in a January 2014 event unveiling the Museum, and announcing HHHOF Inductees for the April 2014 televised awards show. The facility includes the Hall, Museum, Retail Store, Sports Bar, Restaurant, Concert Lounge, Arcade, and TV Studios that will serve 1,000,000 visitors, fans, tourists, and students annually. It will produce 300 jobs, internships, host live events, and educational programs for people of all ages. The socio-economic impact in NYC is estimated over $350M annually from on-site and off-site programs, tourism, B2B local commerce, consumer spending, and city revenues. The HHHOF had a banner year with the successful NYC Hall of Fame Nights Concert Series that featured the Cold Crush Brothers with Easy AD & Grandmaster Caz, The Crash Crew's 36th Anniversary, Rob Base, Biz Markie, DJ Mel Starr, Red Alert, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, with artists showcases by the Rap-A-Thon All Stars and Video Music Box.
12 / 06 / 13
With the evolution of high-resolution audio (HRA) technology and in response to growing market demand, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced the Hi-Res Audio Experience, a new TechZone featured at the upcoming 2014 International CES. The Hi-Res Audio Experience will showcase the latest high-resolution audio content coming to market and the latest technologies that will give consumers the highest quality listening experience. Located in The Venetian's Bellini Ballroom, the Hi-Res Audio Experience is anchored by hi-res digital download pioneer and leader HDtracks and features companies including Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez Store, Blue Coast Music, Mytek Digital and Native DSD Music. A variety of hi-res audio products also will be demonstrated or on display in the Tech Zone. In addition, several manufacturers will have hi-res products on display in their rooms in the Venetian Tower and in their booths across the CES show floor. CEA research shows that consumers are ready to embrace high resolution audio. The research indicates that the appeal of high quality audio electronics extends beyond enthusiasts and that the appeal of hi-res audio extends far beyond higher quality audio devices. CEA finds four in ten (39%) of consumers with a moderate interest in audio indicate they are willing to pay more for high quality audio electronics devices and that nearly six out of ten (60%) of consumers with a moderate interest in audio are willing to pay more for higher quality digital music. Nine in ten consumers say sound quality is the most important component of a quality audio experience. "For the past 25 years, my brother and I have dedicated our lives and our company to pushing the envelope in sound quality and we apply this same passion to music downloads," said David Chesky, co-founder and CEO of HDtracks. "Now we are pleased to join with a number of other artists, music stores, and electronic companies at CES to take high fidelity music reproduction to a new level that was never before even imaginable." In addition to cutting edge exhibits, the Hi-Res Audio Experience will feature its own conference track at the 2014 CES with sessions including:
12 / 05 / 13
Enjoy the Music.TV is now now accepting submissions from those within the music industry to have their video featured on our channel. We will be delivering to our enthusiastic worldwide audience high quality videos from manufacturers, recording studios, musicians, DJs, etc. so the world can share in your joy of music! Find out more about this great opportunity by sending us an e-mail for more details. For our readers, soon we will be holding a contest for viewers to submit their videos, with the winner being chosen by our audience. More on this in the coming weeks.
T.H.E. Show Las Vegas has announced they will have a special 'Legends In Audio' section including exclusive book signing by The Absolute Sound editor Robert Harley plus Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez CEO Chad Kassem. "The Absolute Sound magazine will debut their new and impressive coffee-table publication, The Illustrated History of High-End Audio, at T.H.E. Show Las Vegas," says Richard Beers the President of T.H.E. Show. "It is indeed a beautiful accomplishment. This debut Volume is a 320-page, deluxe hardbound book and is nearly the size of an LP cover. It is richly illustrated with rare archival photos of the company founders, their workshops and early products." The Illustrated History of High-End Audio will only be available at T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas during convention week at a discount. It can be autographed by Robert Harley and many of The Absolute Sound contributors. Note that T.H.E. Show will only offer special numbered, limited First Edition copies! "This epic book is a 'must-have' for all audio enthusiasts," says Robert Harley. Another T.H.E. Show Las Vegas debut will be Acoustic Sounds' Super HiRez DSD downloads where attendees can learn more about these online downloads from Acoustic Sounds founder and CEO Chad Kassem. T.H.E. Show begins at the Flamingo Hotel on Tuesday, Jan 7th and will hold an Opening Night Reception: featuring The Absolute Sound contributors and phenomenal entertainers including bassist Dean Peer. Opening night is sponsored, in part, by Cardas Audio and guitar virtuoso and Grammy winner Larry Mitchell. The festivities begin at 6:30pm in the Red Rock Ballroom at the Flamingo. Registration at T.H.E. Show is in the Executive Conference Center, entrance in the Shopping area hallway across from the Sin City Bar. Attendees with CES badges will be admitted free of charge after stopping at the Registration Desk. Press personnel can pre-register at T.H.E. Show Las Vegas' site and audio enthusiasts not going to CES can pre-register and pay online through the website as well. Enjoy the Music.com will have our T.H.E. Show Las Vegas 2014 and CES 2014 show report at this link.
12 / 04 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com just posted the December edition of Hi-Fi+ filled with many great equipment and music reviews plus think pieces. This issue includes equipment reviews of the Electrocompaniet Nordic Tone I floorstanding speaker, Aurilic Vega digital audio processor, Spendor D7 speakers, McIntosh MA5200 integrated amplifier, Cardas Clear Sky/Parsec cables, Trinnov Amethyst preamplifier/processor, Snake River Cables and much more! Within Alan Sircom's editorial he says, "This is the last issue of Hi-Fi Plus in 2013. It's inevitably time to reflect. We've had our 100th anniversary (but we don't look a day over 95). The world is in a slightly more financially happy and confident place at the end of this year than it was at the beginning and we have lost some good people both in the fields of music and audio. The rise of retro continues unabated (who'd have expected cassette tapes would make a comeback in on-trend indie record stores?), streaming is on the up, but reports of CD's grand demise might be greatly exaggerated. Who knows what's in store for hi-fi in 2014?" You can see the complete table of contents and editorial of Hi-Fi+ by clicking here.
iFi Audio's new nano iDSD ($189) battery powered portable USB DAC unit handles DSD, DXD and PCM files. The nano iDSD is the world's smallest portable battery powered high fidelity audio DAC that natively plays high-resolution formats including PCM from 44.1 to 384 kHz and DSD 5.6/6.2MHz and DXD 352.8/384kHz. Digital input is a USB 3.0 (2.0 compatible) with digital out appearing on S/PDIF RCA. Analog outputs include a headphone jack and pair of RCA jacks. The iFi Audio nano is compatible with all recent Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod and Android devices plus will work with Windows, Mac and Linux computer operating systems. The iFi Audio nano iDSD has the company's True Native playback, Bit-Perfect, selectable digital filters, DirectDrive and asynchronous USB. This battery powered unit includes a precision analog volume control for headphone use, can easily be used to feed your music to powered speakers or as an input to your home or automobile music system.
12 / 03 / 13
Pioneering the next generation of bass traps and acoustic treatments, GIK Acoustics has introduced their patent pending FlexRange Technology. This new technology is claiming to provide the best in bass trapping and low end absorption. Backed by research, development and testing, FlexRange Technology encompasses GIK Acoustics proprietary bass trap design while offering a choice to control the frequency range that's absorbed. The Full Range option is broadband in nature maximizing low end and upper frequencies to give a true broadband range of absorption. Full Range is an excellent option at controlling low end frequencies and is the preferred choice for early reflection points or when upper frequencies need 100% absorption. Another option is GIK Acoustics' Range Limiter that has a built-in frequency range limiter. This option includes a membrane system which improves lower frequency absorption up to 50% more low end (below 60Hz) while retaining 75% more high end (from 400Hz and above). The Range Limiter option is sad to be an ideal solution to make a small room sound larger, keeping 'life' within the room.
Music Industry News 10 Years Ago
12 / 02 / 13
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has touted the music business' digital transformation and music's central role in culture and commerce. The RIAA is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the record industry around the world. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all recorded music produced and sold in the United States. Noting that the music business is now primarily a digital business that derives approximately 60 percent of its revenues from a wide array of digital sources, the RIAA offered several examples of how music drives innovation and products:
· Music is driving developments at major technology companies: In the past few years, technology companies from Google to Apple to Amazon, as well as a variety of startups announced and funded the development of new music delivery services.
· Music has driven adoption of smartphones and tablets: Virtually every smartphone or tablet manufacturer includes music player capability within the device, and has marketed at least one of its devices by, among other things, touting the device's music capabilities.
· In-car music enhancements have driven the sale of cars: Luxury cars are marketing themselves based on the enhanced digital music experience in the car, and now more than 100 vehicle models have digital radio in the dashboard.
· Facebook: 37 of the top 50 pages (74%) of any genre on Facebook are for creative content (music, books, movies/TV) or creators of creative content and 9 of the top 10 celebrities on Facebook are sound recording artists. Music is also driving the creation of new apps and digital advertising methodologies on Facebook.
· Twitter: 39 of the top 50 profiles (78%) on Twitter are for actors or sound recording artists and 9 of the top 10 celebrities on Twitter are sound recording artists.
· YouTube: 28 of the top 30 most viewed videos (93%) on YouTube are official videos for sound recordings owned or distributed by the major record labels.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization that represents the recording industry worldwide with some 1300 members in 66 countries and affiliated industry associations in 55 countries, had their CEO address the recent ARIA Masterclass meeting. The CEO of IFPI said "I believe it was through the sheer relentless hard work of those working in record companies and their vision of a new music industry that would emerge from the disruption of the early days of the Internet. Record companies have made three big, strategic long-term changes over the last decade. First, they TRANSFORMED THEIR BUSINESS MODELS (bold theirs) to digitize the industry. As Denis said, record companies have licensed more than 30 million tracks to over 500 digital music services. Today, 35 per cent of record companies' trade revenues globally come from these digital channels. In Australia, that proportion is higher, with almost half of industry revenues coming from the more than 30 licensed digital services operating here. In some countries, such as Sweden, digital channels account for more than 60 per cent of revenues, and that proportion is still increasing. Second, record companies diversified their digital revenue streams. Consumers have access to download stores, subscription services, internet radio stations and video streaming sites. In some countries, such as those in Scandinavia, subscription services are dominant; in others, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, download stores remain the primary source of digital revenue. Of course, the emergence of new models is not uncontroversial. Just as the download model caused a stir when it first emerged, today there are debates about subscription and streaming services."
12 / 01 / 13
Enjoy the Music.com's December Review Magazine is now online and features four world premiere reviews plus our Great Audiophile Gifts For 2013! See the December Review Magazine by clicking here.
Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 168
Skoff'ing Up Food For Thought
Why We Create Music
Doctor Who Memorabilia Set For Auction
Ducati's $99,000 Model 1199 Superleggera Motorcycle
Merrill Audio VERITAS Monoblock Power Amplifiers
Audience Au24 SE Cables
Unorthodox Formula One Approach to Early Schubert Symphonies.
Walküre, Siegfried Rienzi, Tannhäuser, Die Meistersinger and more!
See the December Review Magazine by clicking here.
Astell&Kern has released their AK100 MKII ($799) version that has lower output impedance of 3 Ohms and new firmware for their AK120 ($1299). The MKII version of the AK100 portable high resolution audio players handles 192kHz/24-bit audio and DSD64 using the Wolfson 8740 digital to analog converter chip. The unit has extremely low signal to noise ratios (SNR) as well as extremely low levels of harmonic distortion (THD). On-board memory is 32 GB yet there are two additional micro SD card slots for adding more storage space to a total of 96GB. Astell&Kern AK120 v1.37 system software update adds 'comfortable USB mode' that easily provides for switching between USB DAC and Connect As Removable Disk connection modes without disconnecting your USB cable. There is a Play All option under Folder view. Also added is 32-bit floating .WAV (stereo) file playback support. DSF files are now shown in the MQS menu plus Astell&Kern added Home Screen themes. Naturally a few housekeeping items were also corrected during this update.
For previous high-end audio industry news click here.