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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
Since the earliest days of stereo—the first experiments with more than single-channel sound happened back in the 1930s—recording and playback have been based on a horizontal model: left-center-right, left-rear, right-rear. "Laterality," as it's sometimes called, can be exploited very well in creating plausible sensations of spatial events, especially by film-industry sound engineers. The believable reproduction of music is considerably more problematic.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
The Jeff Rowland Design Group is alive and well and in no danger of going out of business. The company was the victim of hackers who recently broke into the company's website and posted a notice to the contrary.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
Last week, the Secure Digital Music Initiative announced that it would allow free MP3 downloads to co-exist with new encrypted forms of digital music transmission. Despite this, widespread concern in corporate legal departments about copyright-violation liability has prompted software developers to come up with blocking techniques to prevent pirated music from entering company "Intranets."
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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Folk wisdom has it that it's wiser not to lock the gate after the horses have escaped. The Secure Digital Music Initiative, a consortium of 140 music, software, and hardware companies, has taken that adage to heart. In a significant departure from its original intent to block the distribution of free music on the Internet, the Secure Digital Music Initiative announced in the last week of June that its forthcoming specification for music software and hardware will accommodate the "legacy content" already in existence. There are reportedly as many as 500,000 songs available in the MP3 format, and they will continue to be available even as new, robustly encrypted music comes onto the market.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Last week, Texas Instruments, Liquid Audio, Fraunhofer, and SanDisk announced that they've teamed to offer what they describe as "the first complete solution" for the secure downloading of music off the Internet onto portable audio players. The companies say that their programmable DSP-based technology is the first to meet the newly released Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) guidelines for digital music portable devices, and is now available for manufacturers who want to develop secure players in time for Christmas 1999.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
If Lydstrom, Inc. has anything to do with it, the next hot ticket in home audio won't be just another CD player, but a musical database manager capable of organizing and playing as many as 5000 songs, from CDs or from Internet downloads. The Boston, Massachusetts-based company announced June 30 that it has licensed Lucent Technologies' Enhanced Perceptual Audio Coder (ePAC) for inclusion in a product as yet unnamed but projected to be available by Christmas 1999.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
It's been 30 years since hordes of wild-eyed music lovers converged on White Lake, a small town just north of New York City, for an event that would soon become an icon for a generation. Could anyone back then have imagined that, three decades later, Woodstock would cost $150/ticket and evolve into a marketing opportunity and website?
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Want to start an argument on one of the audio newsgroups? Just mention ABX. Doesn't matter if you're for it, against it, or just curious about what it is---you'll start a fire that might take weeks to burn out. But before audio newsgroups even existed, J. Gordon Holt was probing the usefulness of the ABX Comparator in an "As We See It" column from 1982, "The Truth Should Out." His thoughts might surprise you.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Loudspeaker designer Bill Eggleston has joined Cello Technologies Corporation. He will oversee the development of a new line of no-compromise loudspeakers, according to a company press release dated July 1. Eggleston designed the Andra loudspeaker, which was designated Stereophile's "Product of the Year" for 1997.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) has released its Annual Survey Results for the 1998 business year, indicating that gross dollar volume for all music products grew by 10%, to $9.69 billion, with the CD market (83.3%, or $8.1 billion) continuing to build on its dominance. The report reveals that DVD sales "literally exploded in 1998," up a staggering 400% to $259 million.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
Wednesday, June 23, was an auspicious day for Musicland Stores Corporation. That day the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based music and video retailer took its sales online. Four websites, each mirroring one of Musicland's four divisions, went live simultaneously with a promotional contest offering customers the chance to win daily and weekly prizes and a $10,000 grand prize---including a Sony home entertainment system. Participants can also win a trip for two to the World Wrestling Federation Summer Slam in Minneapolis on August 22.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
The Internet is beginning to pose quite a dilemma for high-end audio manufacturers, especially ones with limited distribution in major markets such as the US. Do you risk alienating potential bricks-and-mortar dealers in an effort to gain widespread exposure by offering your products online? Or do you slowly build distribution through the traditional stores that for years have been high-end audio's haven?
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
Collectors will go to to any lengths to track down the objects of their obsession. Record collectors, a particularly extreme species, are known for their incredible attention to detail and their astounding capacity for absorbing vast quantities of minutiae.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
The high-end audio industry may be in a slump, but the public's appetite for recorded music appears as voracious as ever. MP3, the hottest upstart in the digital audio market, got a big boost in late June when Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. announced the next generation of its popular Rio digital music player, the Rio PMP 500, due to arrive in stores this fall.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
Are audiophiles and recording engineers natural adversaries? From the many slings and arrows hurled back and forth between the camps, it would certainly seem so. Robert Harley asks, "But are recording engineers less concerned about sound quality than are audiophiles? If so, why? Isn't someone who has devoted his life to recording music more caring than the hobbyist audiophile? If not, why not?" Read his analysis of the issues in "A Clash of Values?" Also included is a lively volley of readers' letters.

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