Paul Bolin takes a spin with the Vacuum Tube Logic TL-7.5 Reference line preamplifier, observing, "For some reason, the light has never shone quite as brightly on VTL's front-end electronics, perhaps in part because it's been so long since the company attempted a headline-grabbing, all-out assault on the state of that art."
Only a few short years ago, Napster quickly took root to show the world how Internet-based audio file-trading was where music distribution's future growth might run wild. But the record labels would have none of it and just as swiftly took a legal chainsaw to Napster's trunk, laying it waste and leaving plenty of room for Kazaa and other unsanctioned services to sprout like weeds.
The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster ride for CD copy-restriction developer SunnComm. The company was riding high in early September when it was announced that BMG and Arista had chosen its MediaMax CD-3 Technology to restrict how discs are used.
Dating was murder, especially in the months just before I met my wife. I knew some nice women back then, many of whom were good-hearted and others of whom were beautiful. One was both, and talented, too: She gave me presents for no reason and wrote tender things in cards with pictures of sweet meadows or the sea: My love goes on and on, they said. But for whatever reason, I just couldn't love her back, and Oh! how the shit hit the fan the day I told her so. I meant it as a respectful act of honesty and forthrightness; she took it as a cowardly act of rejection, and responded in a manner that would forever remind me of Maggie bouncing the rolling pin off Jiggs's head while calling him an insect. That day, I learned two things: 1) women are unlearnable; and, 2) honesty, while an unassailably good thing in and of itself, makes a poor tool, mostly because it lacks a safety handle.
GEOFF MULDAUR'S FUTURISTIC ENSEMBLE: Private Astronomy: A Vision of the Music of Bix Beiderbecke Edge 028947458326 (CD). 2003. Conceived & arranged by Geoff Muldaur; Dick Connette, prod.; Joe Boyd, exec. prod.; Eve Seltzer, Gary Carroll, Tristan Leral, Scott Lehrer, Dave Winslow, Mark Linett, Keith Weschler, Neil Couser, engs. AAD? TT:42:18 Performance ***** Sonics ****
What comes to mind when you think of VTL? If you're like most of us, enormously powerful tube power amplifiers are inseparable from the name. To contemplate VTL is to think of some of the finest-sounding, most potent amps ever built—from the late-1980s, 400Wpc Ichiban, the first massively powerful tube monoblock of the audiophile era, to the mighty Wotan and Siegfried amplifiers of today. All well and good, as far as it goes.
Wes Phillips slips into his well-worn flame-proof underwear as he bravely introduces audiophiles to the musical merits of the Apple iPod. WP finds he likes living at the edge of audio trendiness, exclaiming, "Holy cow! I'm running with the fashionistas! Can I still be an audiophile, too?"
Whether listeners like it or not, record labels, including major players like BMG and Arista Records, are now making moves to rein in how their CDs are played and used. Unfettered CDs have been on the shelves for almost two decades, and some industry observers note that changing how they work at this late stage could be a recipe for trouble with consumers.