The Crystal Semiconductor Products Division of Cirrus Logic Inc. announced last week the availability of the industry's first digital audio transmitters and receivers designed to support the emerging 96kHz digital audio sampling rate. The new mixed-signal receivers and transmitters are targeted at both the professional audio and consumer DVD audio markets.
While the DVD Consortium's Working Group 4 (WG-4) is still working on the 0.9 specification for DVD-Audio, Sony and Philips have been silently carrying on work on their Super Audio CD, the consumer implementation of Sony's DSD. The Sony/Philips disc will have two layers, one carrying normal 44.1kHz, 16-bit CD information (and thus guaranteeing backwards compatibility with existing CD players), the other carrying eight channels in DSD format (two for high-quality stereo, six for surround), plus text and/or graphics.
Last week, Intel Corporation announced its membership in the DVD WG-4 Audio Working Group, and its support for the proposed DVD audio specification, as the next steps in bringing next-generation consumer-quality audio to the PC platform.
The market for recorded music, measured by what manufacturers ship to retail and non-retail channels, experienced a decline in unit shipments and dollar value according to a Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) report released February 19. Concurrently, accounts from US record retailers and mass merchandisers indicated a banner 1997.
February 20---Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil's president, has signed into law two bills intended to rein in that nation's widespread abuse of intellectual properties and bring Brazil into compliance with worldwide copyright law. One covers software piracy; the other, authorship rights.
For the second consecutive year, a film using the Nagra Digital Recorder (Nagra-D) as the location sound device has been nominated for an Oscar Award for Best Sound. The film this year is L.A. Confidential, which has received a total of 9 Oscar nominations. The winners will be named at the 70th Annual Academy Awards on March 23, 1998. Last year, The English Patient, which also used the Nagra-D, won the award for Best Sound
San Francisco---Vacuum Tube Valley's tube and antique audio show here last week drew dozens of exhibitors and hundreds of attendees to the Airport Clarion Hotel over the Feb. 6-7 weekend. The heavy rains that caused mudslides in some Northern California communities, combined with high tides that flooded some freeways, kept attendance down. The show's turnout was "about half of what we expected," said VTV publisher/editor Charlie Kittleson.
Sony has recently revealed that they will be broadcasting digital audio via satellite as early as summer 1998. The planned service is the result of a deal made between Sony, Perfect TV, and Japan Sky Broadcasting Corporation (JSkyB) that is expected to close in April.
A good part of each day around here is spent perusing the internet for all things audio: manufacturer sites, audio news, newsgroups, equipment reviews, etc. What's found ranges from the good-intentioned to the well-financed, and much of what's out there also represents the labors of love many audiophiles lavish on their favorite hobby.
Threshold Corporation, long known as one of the original high-end audio equipment pioneers, is discussing plans to restructure the company to meet new market conditions. Threshold, based in Camarillo, California, manufactures high-end audio amplifiers, preamplifiers, and digital products under the Threshold, FortT, and PS Audio product lines. (PS Audio, of which Threshold Corp. is the majority owner, is currently a separate corporation.)
Judging from the e-mail Wes Phillips has received since announcing Classic Records' 24-bit/96kHz "DADs" (DVD-Videos utilizing the two channels of 24/96 written into the video standard), audiophiles appear to be intensely curious about the new music format.