Chip Stern writes in his review of the Blue Circle BC3 Galatea line-level preamplifier, "From the moment I hooked these units up, the captivating turquoise glow of their matching front-panel lights (a glowing orb within a blue circle) held out the promise of something inviting and serene." Promise fulfilled? Stern spills the Blue Circle beans.
Recent moves by record labels to add restricted-use technology to their compact disc releases has raised the ire of many a consumer, leading some to call for boycotts or worse (see this week's Soapbox). Late last year the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) issued a statement saying that the major labels have gone too far in restricting consumers' "fair use" of copyrighted material.
After more than ten years in development, Sirius Satellite Radio announced last week that it will be officially launching its service with two events in Jackson, Mississippi beginning February 13. Sirius' competitor XM Satellite radio was able to get its service up and running last September.
Last year wasn't kind to UK entertainment conglomerate EMI Group PLC. On February 5, the company issued its second profit warning since September, blaming a slow market for recorded music. EMI is now predicting that pretax profits for the year ending March 31 will total $213.4 million (245.1 million euros, or £150 million), far below analysts' predictions. The news caused an immediate 6.4% drop in the price of EMI shares on the London market.
I haven't been shy in these pages regarding my love for the Mission 731i loudspeaker (reviewed in November 1996, Vol.19 No.11). It quickly became my reference standard for an entry-level audiophile speaker. Subsequent to my review, Mission significantly improved the speaker by introducing a silk-dome tweeter (see Follow-Up in April 1998, Vol.12 No.4). I bought three pairs: one for my home recording studio, one for my faux outdoor summer-home system (guest bedroom windowsills, pointing outward), and one for portable use to drag to friends' parties when their sound systems are not up to snuff.
It's hard enough for established record labels both big and small these days. With the high-resolution audio formats SACD and DVD-Audio still fighting each other and struggling to launch, picking sides is an even bigger gamble for a brand-new record label's first releases.
In the fall of 1999, a couple of Canadian high-end audio companies got together to pool resources with the idea that two heads were better than one when it came to certain new products. Simaudio of Boucherville, Quebec and Magnum Dynalab of Brampton, Ontario formed a strategic alliance with the purpose of sharing various technologies to further enhance each company's product lines.
Jonathan Scull found himself in awe of the beautiful and ingenious construction lavished on the Boulder 1012 D/A preamplifier. "Its design and build qualities are icons to elegant engineering know-how. No screws show on the rectangular box . . .", J-10 enthuses. And as Scull finds, this D/A preamp combines both beauty and brains to create sheer audio pleasure.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 loosened many long-established constraints on the ownership and operation of radio and television stations in the United States. The regulatory changes launched waves of mergers and acquisitions through the nation's broadcasting industry, consolidating what had been many regional companies into a few large conglomerates in just a few years. Backed by vice president Al Gore and the then chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), William Kennard, the changes were intended to make the broadcasting industry more responsive to the "free market."