Successful new prerecorded audio media emerge, on average, every two decades—one human generation. The LP made its debut in 1948, 21 years after the introduction of electrical recording ended the adolescence of the record industry and the acoustic 78rpm disc. This was almost coincidental with Jack Mullin's retrieval of analog tape technology from the wreckage of post-WWII Germany and its subsequent commercialization by Bing Crosby's Ampex company (footnote 1). The compact cassette made its appearance in 1963, followed almost 20 years later by the CD, in 1982. And now, as I mentioned in the October issue's "As We See It," we have Sony and Philips' Super Audio CD and the DVD Forum's DVD-Audio to contend with (not forgetting MP3 and the Internet).
In his second installment of "Fine Tunes," Jonathan Scull writes: "I met a chap the other day whose wife said to me, 'Oh, you suffer from the same audiophile disease.' I hastened to inform her that I am the disease." But J-10 is also the cure, as he proves in this ode to building the perfect listening room.
Last week, eight consumer-electronics manufacturers announced the formal establishment of the Home Audio Video Interoperability Organization (HAVi) to promote the development of products based on the the HAVi 1.0 final specification, scheduled for completion in December 1999. (An evaluation version of the HAVi 1.0 final spec can be downloaded from the HAVi website.) The HAVi Organization was founded by Grundig, Hitachi, Matsushita, Philips, Sharp, Sony, Thomson, and Toshiba, which have been working together for over two years to develop a specification to permit interoperability among networking digital home entertainment products.
On November 16, Technics and Panasonic presented their DVD-Audio Q&A Forum to answer questions online about the new high-end audio format, players, and software. After introductions and an opening orientation about DVD-Audio, the first "questions" appeared, canned, as the panelists read "answers" from their notes. Still, some interesting information came to light.
Doug Sahm, of the Grammy-winning Tex-Mex group the Texas Tornados, was found dead in a motel in Taos, New Mexico on Thursday, November 18. He appeared to have died of natural causes, possibly a heart attack, Taos police said. Sahm was 58.
Historically, audio has not received a lot of attention from the computer industry. That long tradition may be ending, judging by a couple of new technologies that debuted at COMDEX in mid-November. COMDEX is the year's biggest computer-industry bash, held in Las Vegas two months prior to the Consumer Electronics Show.
This is my final "Final Word." Although, combined with the announcement of A HREF="http://www.stereophile.com/news/10541/">J. Gordon Holt's resignation, this will undoubtedly cause rumors to swirl about Emap Petersen forcing all the old guys out, I assure you that my departure is of my own volition. It's a process that started back in 1997, when John Atkinson and I first talked about selling Stereophile, and for me it reaches its conclusion here.
One of the more popular monthly columns in Stereophile these days is Jonathan Scull's "Fine Tunes." To keep our online readers fit and tweaked, we are going to be adding Scull's columns to the online Archives section on a weekly basis, starting with the first column he wrote for the magazine, back in July 1998: "Fine Tunes #1." "I think I just got 2000 bucks' worth of difference," writes a reader about the value of the advice contained in J-10's first installment.
If all goes according to publicists' wishes, Web surfers will be able to access music previews beginning November 15 without the necessity of using a third-party software player, such as RealNetworks G2, to play downloaded audio files. Streaming-audio provider AudioBase.com has signed deals with several heavyweight corporate sponsors for the launch of its music previews. Participants include Sony Music, K-Tel, and Levi-Strauss. The deals are being announced in conjunction with Internet audio conference Webnoize.