It gets tougher every year to cover a show like the CES. Dropping in on most of the high-end audio rooms at the Alexis Park isn't so bad---the hard part is getting to all the various splinter exhibits scattered around Las Vegas within the allotted four days.
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 10---Meridian has announced its intention to license Digital Harmony's IEEE 1394 (FireWire) technology. "Digital Harmony embodies the technology we can implement to produce the next generation of digital systems for home entertainment." So said Meridian's Bob Stuart, in an announcement sure to be a turning point for the high-end audio industry.
In a press conference held January 9 at the 1998 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Classic Records announced the debut of the Classic 24/96 digital audio disc "DAD" series of audio-only DVD-Videos. (Video information is included on the disc but represents only a tiny fraction of the data space.)
As expected, the DVD WG-4 Audio Working Group announced at CES that it has released a draft of its DVD-Audio specification to the 10 original DVD consortium companies, and to music-industry associations RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), RIAJ (Recording Industry Association of Japan), and IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry).
NAD has announced what they claim is the world's first true digital audio power amplifier directly linking a CD player to a loudspeaker. As explained by Peter Lyngdorf, chairman of NAD Electronics and TACT Audio, the Millennium "is not a conventional combination of D/A converter and analog amplification.
The Academy Advancing High Performance Audio & Video (formerly the Academy for the Advancement of High End Audio) kicked off CES '98 with a pre-Show meeting. Meridian's Bob Stuart addressed the thorny issue of competing and (as yet) not fully defined standards for DVD-Audio.
A continuing proliferation of formats is as likely in the audio realm as it is in video. The analog cassette was one of the most successful formats in history, and the industry has yet to find a replacement for it. MiniDisc, a Sony-originated format, required several attempts to introduce it to the American market.
On Monday, January 5th, Go-Video, Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire California Audio Labs LLC. Under the California Audio Labs and Cinevision brand names, Cal Audio designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes digital audio and video products marketed to the high-end home entertainment systems market.
For years, there has been concern in the high-end audio press about the effects of jitter on digital audio. Manufacturers spend countless design hours measuring jitter and trying to minimize its influence on the sound of their products.
Operating at the fringes of the audio world, binaural recordings have continued to maintain a hardcore group of advocates. Creating a convincing three-dimensional surround effect using only a two-channel source, binaural technology is especially impressive with headphones.
Loudspeaker manufacturer Polk Audio announced on December 31 that it had acquired an interest in Genesis Technologies, manufacturer of both loudspeakers and digital products. Not only did Polk invest $500,000 in Genesis convertible preferred securities, it also obtained a three-year option to purchase the Colorado-based high-end audio company, which is led by three industry veterans: Arnie Nudell (co-founder of Infinity), Paul McGowan (co-founder of PS Audio), and Mark S. Schifter (co-founder of Audio Alchemy).
The one-two punch known as the Holiday Season is only half finished; Christmas is simply the warmup for the biggest blowout of the year. For a successful New Year's party, the only ingredient more essential than a well-stocked liquor cabinet is an ample supple of party tunes. (Recommended accessory: a reliable CD changer. It's hard to play host and DJ at the same time.)
Phil Jones, the loudspeaker designer who pioneered the resurgence of metal-cone woofers with first Acoustic Energy in the UK, then Boston Acoustics' Lynnfield series, and finally his own company, Platinum Audio, is no longer with Platinum.
In the first set of prophecies, we foresaw the effects of DVD-Audio, high-end sales around the world, and tweak multidisc CD. For the second installment, we look into our crystal interconnects and foresee new audio data-distribution methods for the coming year.
Martin Colloms argues persuasively in the January 1998 Stereophile that negative feedback is not the panacea that amplifier designers believe it to be. His experience of an amplifier (the Cary CAD-805C) and a preamplifier (the Conrad-Johnson ART) that use no negative feedback other than local degeneration, yet have sound quality better than he has previously experienced, convinces him that even when a design's closed-loop distortion appears to be acceptably low, the listener is still aware of an amplifier's very distorted open-loop behavior.