Looking back at the 2010 CEDIA Exposition, I was struck by a couple of new products which, I hope, presage a rethinking of modern electronics design. Today, the streaming of program content can be accomplished by TVs, by Blu-ray players, by dedicated servers and, for all I know, someone will put that capability into a speaker system. The result is that, unless one chooses very carefully, one will be buying the same technology redundantly. By contrast, high-end companies have striven to separate their dedicated analog/stereo products from their digital/multichannel products, forcing the very picky among us into a kludgy home-theater-bypass. Again, we end up buying more boxes and interconnections than should be necessary.
I start my second report from the 2010 CEDIA Exposition by returning to MartinLogan. As well as their $2000/pair ElectroMotion electrostatic hybrid that I described in my first report from CEDIA, the Kansas company showed the appealing new 2-way Theos. This hand-built floorstander combines a 9.2"-wide by 44"-tall XStat electrostatic transducer with a 8" aluminum-cone woofer in a bass reflex enclosure. Its large electrostatic radiator and passive woofer can be bi-wired or not with a unique tool-less binding-post design. At $5000/pair, the Theos will be the most affordable speaker in the Reserve Series of floorstanders.
Back in Atlanta's World Congress Center for the second year it is hot (around 90°F) and humid outside but it is cool at the 2010 CEDIA Exposition. On the very first full day, I found a slew of interesting new loudspeakers and that's despite having seen less than a third of the Show floor. Undoubtedly more will be discovered but it is great to say that all of the most intriguing new ones are relatively inexpensive.
Even as editing continues on his forthcoming Stereophile recording of Brahms' Handel Variations and Schumann's Symphonic Études, Canadian pianist Robert Silverman is set to perform and re-record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. Silverman's eight-concert series of Beethoven sonata performances and recordings will take place in San Jose's lovely Le Petit Trianon Theatre, beginning this coming Thursday, September 9 and ending on April 14, 2011.
According to a recent Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) press release, "CE Industry to Surpass $174 billion in 2010, Reach Record High by 2011," sales forecasts are far more optimistic than had been expected. While the figures aren't easily translatable to the high-end market (which the CEA identifies as "high-performance audio"), some consumer-electronic (CE) trends give cause for qualified optimism, and provide clues as to which products may prove most profitable for manufacturers and dealers.
Klaus Heymann has some surprising news. During an in-person chat in the lobby of San Francisco's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the founder of the label that turned the classical-music recording industry on its ear revealed that, in the US, classical-music sales for the labels that Naxos distributes are stable.
Reflecting dramatic changes in the high-end industry, British loudspeaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins has developed for its products a new US retail outlet. Beginning in October, audio shoppers will be able to audition and buy the company's loudspeakers in Best Buy's chain of Magnolia stores.
After a gap of far too many years, Northern California again has a high-end audio show. Sponsored by Constantine Soo's DaGoGo.com, the fledgling California Audio Show will take place July 30 August 1 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Emeryville. That location next to Interstate 80, just across the bridge from San Francisco, midway between Oakland and Berkeley, and a free (albeit time-sensitive) shuttle ride from the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) MacArthur lineis expected to draw a good cross-section of audiophiles from throughout the Bay Area.
Arkivmusic.com is an Internet retailer of classical media (CDs, SACDs, and DVDs), including its own licensed CD reissues of out-of-print classical titles from labels major, minor, and micro. ArkivCDs are bit-for-bit copies of the original masters, burned on demand to CD-R and shipped to the customer with on-demand printed booklets and liner notes, as Wes Phillips wrote in December 2006.
Two highly respected product lines, one founded 32 years ago, and another whose pedigree dates from 1932, have returned to the North American market. Theory & Application Elektroakustic (T+A) products, from Germany, has returned to the US and Canada thanks to Dynaudio North America, and the venerable line of Wharfedale loudspeakers will once again reach the US from the UK, thanks to the dedication of Sound Import, LLC, of Hopedale, Massachusetts.
The long-awaited US launch of Passionato.com, intended as the World Wide Web's "premier destination for classical music connoisseurs," has finally happened. Passionato, which has no membership fee, offers the largest collection of classical-music downloads in CD-quality, DRM-free FLAC and 320kbps MP3 formats yet assembled online.
Three years after Dynaudio released its highly coveted 30th Anniversary Sapphire loudspeaker in a limited run of 2000 units, the final pair will be sold online by Danish auctioneer Lauritz. All proceeds from the auction, which begins Wednesday, May 12, and ends at 2pm MEST on Saturday, May 22, will benefit Doctors Without Borders.
The 23rd Salon Son & Image high-fidelity show, cosponsored by Stereophile, takes place in Montreal's Hilton Bonaventure March 2628. (An additional day, March 25, is reserved for the trade and press.) With 10,000 to 12,000 attendees expected, including a sizable American contingent and several thousand Canadians from outside Quebec province, who will take advantage of bilingual presentations and literature and the anticipated absence of snow, SSI remains the largest North America audio show that is open to the public.
BluePort Jazz's catalog of 15 titles, recorded in jazz clubs and studios by Jim Merod, is now downloadable in lossless FLAC format from the House of Linn website. Meroda PhD professor, an author of numerous books, a music critic for Enjoy the Music.com, and an equipment reviewer for Positive Feedback Onlineis known for recording with as few microphones as possible and mixing everything live to two tracks in high-resolution (24-bit/96kHz) PCM format.
Axpona, the Audio Expo of North America, is geared up for its premiere next Friday in Jacksonville, Florida. The new Show runs March 57 at the 350-room Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel, which overlooks the St. Johns River and is just 15 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. Sponsored by Stereophile, which will blog live from the show, Axpona is already looking like a winner. Impressive figures for advance Internet registration (discounted through March 1) indicate that Axpona might meet or even surpass attendance at last year's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, in Denver.