The rumors were flying all week, and this time they proved to be true: CDNow Inc. and N2K Inc. jointly announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement on October 23. Both companies are well-positioned in the online music retail business, but face ever-increasing threats from new online rivals such as Tower Records and Virgin, as well as the ominous presence of Amazon.com who recently jumped into the online music business.
Petersen's HI-FI Show management announced October 22 that The Academy Advancing High Performance Audio and Video will be sponsoring Trade Days at HI-FI '99, The Home Theater and Specialty Audio Show, taking place at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago from May 11 to May 13, 1999. This marks the fourth consecutive year that The Academy has sponsored Trade Days at the HI-FI Shows. Show management and The Academy also announced today that the Music and Film Seminar Series will be expanded in 1999 to a two-track educational program. Each track will consist of the five disciplines showcased at the Seminar Series in 1998: Sales Techniques, Digital Technologies, Room Acoustics, Video Technologies, and Multi-room Design and Installation.
When Petersen Publishing purchased Stereophile, Inc.'s assets on June 1 of this year (see previous story,) previous co-owners Larry Archibald and John Atkinson remained with the magazine. Whereas JA's responsibilities as Stereophile editor have remained the same as they had been, Larry Archibald's position changed considerably. He retained his masthead title of publisher (with the December issue it changes to "publisher emeritus"), but in reality, Larry has been more like "magazine spokesman and general factotum" since the purchase.
Last Friday, October 23, Garden City, NY---based CDKnet announced that Atlantic Recording Corporation had signed a licensing agreement to use the company’s CDT technology for enhancing the content of its music CDs. CDKnet’s audio and video streaming technology embeds links on music CDs to sites on the World Wide Web, such as Atlantic’s own Metrotainment site. The first musical release under this agreement will be "A Random Act of Senseless Kindness," a single by South SixtyFive, a new group on the Atlantic label.
The Recording Industry of America is among the many organizations celebrating the recent ratification by the U.S. Congress of two treaties signed by more than 100 nations at the 1996 World Intellectual Property Conference in Geneva.
We've all been hearing about digital television (DTV) for several months now, but a similar revolution is facing the radio industry around the world. As we reported last week, several companies and organizations have been piecing together systems to gradually replace the AM or FM stations you currently listen to (you do listen to the radio, don't you?) with digital equivalents over the next few years.
In a story last week, we covered the efforts of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to prevent portable MP3 players from entering the market without copy-protection measures in place. On August 16, a federal court entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) to enjoin the distribution and sale of Diamond Multimedia's Rio PMP300 portable MP3 recording device.
Editor's Note:Lowther horn speakers and their "clubs" have been important to do-it-yourself hi-fi hobbyists in Europe for decades. A common question from readers in other parts of the world is "What are Lowther speakers, and where can I hear them?" We asked Mr. Doppenberg, of the Lowther Club of Holland, to give us a quick tour of the Lowther story. For more extensive information, check the links at the end of this piece.
Paradigm's acquisition of Sonic Frontiers, Inc. is only the first step in salvaging the highly regarded brand, according to Bill VanderMarel, Paradigm's Director of Sales and Marketing. The next step will involve infusions of serious amounts of cash to expand the present network of dealers and to develop new products under the new Sonic Frontiers International banner---an amount VanderMarel expects will run as high as two or three times the purchase price of the temporarily defunct Ontario maker of high-end audio electronics. "Paradigm recognizes the necessity of such a sizable investment over the next 12 months to make a serious effort at revitalizing the name," he said.
When I compiled the votes HI-FI '98 attendees had cast for "Best Sound at the Show," the ultimate winner was the room and system assembled by Los Angeles retailer Christopher Hansen 2---the latest Evolution 2 version of the mighty Martin-Logan Statement electrostatic speaker system, driven by multiple VTL Wotan two-chassis tube monoblocks. Cabling was Cardas Neutral Reference, and the digital front end was by Wadia---a 270 CD transport and the new 27i digital decoding computer---with some tonal shaping courtesy of a Z-Systems Transparent Tone Control. Component stands were from pARTicular.
The development of digital AM-radio technology moved a step closer last month when the Fraunhofer Institut Integrierte Schaltungen) (IIS) signed a consortium agreement for the development of digital AM radio with several international radio broadcasters, network operators, and manufacturers.
Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), must feel like Sisyphus playing an endless game of "Whack-A-Mole." Her job recently has been to patrol the digital world for music copyright violators, especially those pesky pirate MP3 websites on the Internet. It seems that each time they find and eradicate a horde of copyright violators, hundreds more pop up faster than you can say "information wants to be free."
Last week, USA Digital Radio, a partnership formed in 1991 with CBS Corporation and Gannett Co. Inc., announced the filing of a Petition for Rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking to permit digital radio broadcasting using In-Band On-Channel (IBOC) technology. The petition begins the process of acceptance of the USA Digital Radio IBOC system as the DAB transmission standard for the United States. According to a statement from Digital Radio, "the IBOC technology being developed by USA Digital Radio offers the most comprehensive digital radio transmission solution in history, and represents the most exciting change in broadcasting since radio's invention over 70 years ago."
An audio system even Nero could love: Pyrotechnical effects have apparently gotten slightly out of control with Philips Consumer Electronics MX920 speaker systems, 25,500 of which have been recalled due to fire hazards from overheating voice coils. Four such incidents have been reported since the MX920 went on sale in June 1997. No one has been injured, and property damage has been limited to one scorched rug.
If you own a Sonic Frontiers product, rest assured that parts and service will be available for it well into the foreseeable future. Sonic Frontiers International---the front company created by Paradigm after it acquired the apparently struggling maker of high-end amplifiers, CD players, disc transports, and DACs at the end of August---will honor all valid SF warranties, and will support the existing network of dealers and distributors, according to an announcement made two months ago.