Another crucial piece of the DVD-Audio puzzle fell into place recently when the WG-4 (Working Group 4) DVD-Audio Working Group approved the adoption of MLP (see previous articles 1, 2) as the lossless algorithm for DVD-Audio at its August 5th meeting in Tokyo. WG-4 will require official approval from its supervising organizations, the Technical Coordination Group and Steering Committee---considered a formality at this point.
This last year has seen several companies proclaim the launch of the "world's first digital loudspeaker." The term brings to mind some exotic new approach that is neither cone nor ribbon nor electrostat---something as different from all of those as, say, a CD is from a vinyl record or cassette tape.
Some products inspire unwavering loyalty among their owners: Gibson's "Les Paul" Guitars, for example, or Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Only a handful of audio manufacturers have been lucky enough for their products to attain this kind of cult status. McIntosh is perhaps premier among them. Individual products---Audio Research preamps, Marantz tuners, Linn turntables---also have deservedly loyal and sizable followings.
Protection for the creative community or job security for lawyers? These are but two of many interpretations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which won approval by voice vote in the US House of Representatives August 4. The bill will implement into US law the treaties signed by 157 signatories at the World Intellectual Properties Organization conference in Geneva in December 1996. A separate version was passed by the Senate in May. Differences between the two must be ironed out before a final version can be signed into law by President Clinton.
News recently coming out of Cambridge, England promises yet another new revolutionary loudspeaker technology following in the footsteps of NXT's flat-panel speakers and ATC's HyperSonic Sound and Stratified Field Technology. Engineering consultant Tony Hooley heads up a team of researchers who have created what they hope will be a breakthrough in small, lightweight, highly accurate-sounding arrays of digitally driven pressure transducers.
The Silverdale by the Bay Resort Hotel in Silverdale, WA, will be the site of the second annual Vacuum State of the Art Conference, scheduled for August 21-24. The conference will feature new and vintage equipment, tube electronics seminars, a used-gear swap meet, and demonstrations of audio creations by both amateur and professional designers.
New companies are springing up all around the web to provide songs for custom CD compilations. (See previous articles 1, 2.) You go to the site, choose up to 70 minutes of music from their catalog, and the finished disc is mailed back to you in a couple of days for between 10 and 20 bucks. The challenge for these companies is to have an attractive catalog of artists and songs to choose from.
Frequently a hot topic in the hallowed pages of Stereophile, DVD-Audio will be among the agenda items at the third US DVD Conference on October 1-2, 1998, in San Francisco. Presented by the DVD Forum, the international association working to develop universal DVD formats, the event will take place at the Grand Peninsula Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency SF Airport.
The intentional deafening of monkeys by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco has provoked a strongly worded protest by Paul McCartney. In a letter dated July 6, McCartney complained to UCSF Chancellor Michael Bishop that "there can be no excuse for inflicting such misery" on animals used in such experiments. The letter was the latest salvo fired in a controversy going back to early February.
In the children's fable, Chicken Little, the archetypal alarmist, induced fear and panic in his community by running amok and shouting, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" The hysterical fowl has many relatives among journalists and economists, who regularly issue dire warnings about the forthcoming Year 2000 problem.
The process becomes the product: in an announcement tinged with shades of This Is Spinal Tap, the band LIVE says it will be recording its next album under the scrutiny of a live internet camera. The webcast, which began July 17, is available on LIVE's website 24 hours a day, offering fans and the simply curious an "unblinking" glimpse of the creation of their new album, from "start to finish."
As digital distribution grows, the protection of copyrighted material---music, film, video, photographic images, paintings, drawings, and text---becomes ever more important. Tied to this are widespread concerns about maintaining security during online transactions---keeping credit-card numbers and customers' identities hidden from would-be thieves.
He's got his own bonds on Wall Street, houses all over the world, a fashion-model wife, and more wealth than any other rock star to date. But what he really wanted was his own Internet Service Provider. As a result, David Bowie goes online September 1 with the first rock-star-based ISP: BowieNet.
The DAC performance envelope has been pushed further by Burr-Brown Corporation. The Tucson semiconductor company has just announced the commercial release of its new PCM-1704, an ultra-high-quality digital/analog converter chip boasting a 120dB signal/noise ratio. The new chip supersedes the company's PCM-1702, a DAC found in many high-end products and widely considered the state of the art.
A recent report from Jupiter Communications claims that by the year 2002, fully 55% of the US population and 32% of European households will be browsing the Internet. Not only will this change the way poeple gather information for everything from fish food to concert schedules, it will also profoundly affect the way they shop.