Among the maladies to which music lovers are especially susceptible, hearing damage caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds is perhaps the most pernicious. When you're young, you normally don't think about the consequences of cranking up the volume, but if you do that routinely, you are sure to suffer some form of hearing deficit in your lateror, in some cases, not so lateryears.
The "high-performance" sector of the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, to be held January 710 at the Venetian Hotel, in economically downturned Las Vegas, promises an exciting array of new products for home and office. While the CES proper is open only to dealers, press, and the relatively few non-industry audiophiles who can wriggle their way in, Stereophile's intrepid bloggers promise to tell you just about everything worth talking about, via frequently updated show reports on our website.
Back when there was still something called the "classical music industry," one of Stereophile's favorite small labels was John Marks Records, masterminded by the magazine's "The Fifth Element" columnist, John Marks. In fact, it was his recordings that first brought John to the magazine's attention. JMR had a phenomenal run of releases, among them Arturo Delmoni and Meg Bachman Vas's Songs My Mother Taught Me, Nathaniel Rosen's cycle of J.S. Bach's Suites for Solo Cello, Delmoni and Rosen's Music for a Glass Bead Game, and the three Rejoice recordings of Christmas music for string quartet (also featuring Delmoni and Rosen). That's a pretty solid run for a label that released fewer than 20 recordings.
The world's largest classical label, Naxos of America, has released its first Blu-ray music package. The Virtual Haydn: Complete Works for Solo Keyboard contains three Blu-ray audio discs plus one three-hour Blu-ray videodisc that together hold 15 hours of music. All performances are by Tom Beghin, a baroque specialist and musicologist based at McGill University. Sound engineer Martha De Francisco, an Associate Professor at McGill, recorded the performances in high-resolution (24-bit/96kHz) PCM sound.
On November 19, Scottosh manufacturer Linn Products held a press conference in London to announce that it was forthwith ceasing the production of CD players, and effectively replacing them by its new DS-series "digital streaming" components in its product portfolio.
The people at Manhattan high-end audio retailer Stereo Exchange know how to throw a party. They proved it back in April with their Spring Fever event, and they look to surpass the success of that outstanding evening with their 25th Anniversary Celebration, this Thursday, November 5, from 39pm.
The first chapter in the history of the LAST Factory, manufacturer of LAST Record Preservative for LPs, is coming to a close. After shepherding for 30 years the Livermore, Californiabased company he founded, LAST's president, Walter Davies, is retiring to devote his energies to still photography. With Jan and Ric Mancuso, of Trade Secrets Consulting, Davies is looking for a buyer to keep the company in operation.
The Burning Amp Festival is almost upon us. The day-long DIY (do-it-yourself) love fest, held within yards of the San Francisco Bay, attracts a good 150 DIYers from around the world who engage in the annual ritual of demming their homemade gear for other avid audio enthusiasts.
The sixth annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is about to get underway at the end of this week. Scheduled to take place October 24, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, the largest high-end audio show in the US that's open to the public will offer 150 exhibit rooms packed with products from 479 companies. Despite the economic slowdown, at least 3500 audiophiles, the same number as last year, are expected to attend.
Wilma Cozart Fine died Monday September 21 at age 82. Together with her husband Bob Fine, Cozart was responsible for producing and engineering Mercury's superb-sounding series of "Living Presence" classical recordings in the 1950s and '60s.
To celebrate the release of jazz group Attention Screen's new Stereophile CD, Live at Otto's Shrunken Head, we are having a release party at New York's Otto's Shrunken Head Tiki Bar next Thursday from 7pm to 9pm. All are invited, admission is free, Attention Screen will be playing two sets, and the first 50 to arrive will get a free CD!
Emerging technology was also a theme at this CEDIA, even apart from the various 3D video schemes. RoomEQ is, of course, not a new concept and Audyssey treated us to an introduction and demonstration of their new Subwoofer Equalizer that uses the AudysseyPro software and of DSX, their technology for adding additional channels (for width and height) to the standard 5.1 and 7.1 configurations. I have a Subwoofer Equalizer in house now and hope to report on it shortly. In addition, DSX has made its appearance in a new generation of preamp-processors (and AVRs) from Denon, Onkyo, and Integra, so I am planning on experimenting with that, as well, using one of the new Integra processors, the all-inclusive DHC 80.1 ($2300).
CEDIA Expo 2009 was off and running on Thursday September 10. The two large convention floors in Atlanta are packed with displays and products. The focus, of course, is on video, home theater, home integration and, even, centralized vacuum-cleaning systems. Of greatest interest to audiophiles remains the obvious: we all need loudspeakers! (Well, perhaps not the vacuum cleaner systems.) Unfortunately, the buzz on the floor precludes useful auditions and is so great that even the dedicated sound-rooms suffer from excessive noise. So, you will understand that good looks grab my attention.