HE 2002's first day was filled with press conferences, but none was more widely anticipated than Sony's. The pre-conference chatter was filled with insiders insisting they positively knew for a fact that Sony was confirming last week's rumor that Universal and Sony were discontinuing CD manufacture in favor of dual-layer SACDs—and also by insiders who insisted it was simply a rumor.
Back in 1987, J. Gordon Holt & Martin Colloms set their sights on the Audio Research M300 monoblock power amplifier. "After having proven that vacuum tubes could do some sonic things better than transistors, Audio Research is now endeavoring to show that transistors can do most things better than tubes," says JGH, adding that the then-new M300 is a "hybrid amplifier . . . it's half tube, half solid-state."
The music industry was much in the news in late May, with file-sharing lawsuits launched, Web royalties deferred, the payola system attacked, and an artists-and-record labels coalition questioning the homogenization of radio.
Used-equipment junkies take note: eBay will bring its popular roving university to New York City for the Home Entertainment 2002 Show (HES 2002), May 30–June 2, 2002. Since its inception, eBay University has instructed thousands of eBay users on the ins and outs of buying and selling on eBay. The special seminar from eBay at HE 2002 will provide specific tips for attendees on buying and selling consumer electronic products.
The music industry's worst nightmare is coming true: feeble attempts to shackle compact discs with "protection" are falling prey to simple felt pen hacks. And it's too late to build use-restriction and tracking technologies directly into CD players and existing computer CD drives.
Things seemed to be going well for SACD at the 112th AES Convention, held May 10-13 in Munich. The official news, announced at a Sony-Philips press conference, was that one million consumer SACD players have been sold so far. One large Dutch audio retailer even reported to me that they now sold more SACD players than CD players. The prognosis for SACD is total worldwide sales of 6 million players (in whatever form) in 2003 and 13 million in 2004.
Napster has been saved from what appeared to be certain death. A last-minute deal struck by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG will revive the company, which was reportedly near bankruptcy. It's the end of a long-running soap opera and the beginning of a new era for the company that began the audio file-sharing phenomenon.