With the February issue hitting newstands, it's time once again to honor those twirling discs that also made our heads spin, with "2002 Records To Die For." Stereophile's staff and writers all check in with their eclectic batches of musical heaven.
The digital music market balances on at least five legs: software producers, technology developers, electronics manufacturers, consumers, and regulating bodies. So, can a two-legged agreement stand? That's the question industry watchers are asking as representatives of two groups, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the technology sector, announced that they have reached agreement on a "core set of principles" to guide their public policy activities regarding the distribution of digital content.
Not for nothing did I name the Kharma-Lamm room at Home Entertainment 2002 the "Best Sound in Show." Show attendees slotted it 17th best [see September 2002, p.59—Ed.], behind other rooms to which I also gave high marks—mostly larger rooms featuring far bigger loudspeakers—but to me, the sound emanating from the Kharma Ceramique 3.2 ($19,000/pair), driven by Lamm electronics, possessed a sublime balance of sonic qualities heard in few other rooms.
Even poor people fly. You see them getting on and off planes with their NASCAR hats and their poor friends and their poor relatives waving to them at the gate. Flying is what everybody does nowadays, but it used to be just for the rich. It's hard to remember a time when the phrase jet set was charged with something other than irony.
Despite my 26 years in audio journalism, the amount of stuff I need to know seems to increase faster than I can cope with it. Thus it didn't come as too much of a surprise for me to learn that speaker manufacturer Canton, the Teutonic equivalent of England's B&W, a) was 30 years old in 2002, and b) claims the dominant market share of the German market. Yes, I'd been peripherally aware of Canton through the years, but for various reasons had never auditioned any of their models. I was amenable, therefore, when Canton USA's Paul Madsen suggested to me last May, at Home Entertainment 2002 in New York City, that I review their flagship speaker.
Robert Deutsch tackles the Balanced Audio Technology VK-40 preamplifier, noting "Few topics will get audiophiles into an argument more readily than a discussion of the relative merits of tubed and solid-state equipment."
Quad's David Patching was all smiles as he showed off the company's new CD player, called simply the CD-P. No SACD or DVD-A, said Patching, who says they'll wait until either a ton of high-rez discs are sold (not just produced) or until the format war is over and a clear winner emerges.
Back to the Alexis Park for a press conference with Classic Records, which has decided to release its first DVD-Audio disc around February 15. Classic was one of the very first labels to take advantage of the original DVD specification's ability to hold a 24/96 two-channel audio track, and it started releasing DAD discs exactly five years ago. The company's first DVD-A release will be the Vanguard title Songs of the Auvergne, which will feature a 24/192 two-channel DVD-A track and 24/96 two-channel DVD-V track.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially opened today and we spent our time at the Alexis Park noticing even more exhibitors than last year. On hand were plenty of new products, companies, and high-rez software demos. Multichannel demos were in heard in several rooms—all to good effect.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) officially starts Thursday, but tradition has established Wednesday as the day several major consumer electronics manufacturers hold press events, hoping to get their messages across before the full-scale onslaught of dealers.