After a May 10 announcement from the Federal Trade Commission that it had negotiated a settlement with the music industry's "Big Five" over a controversial pricing policy, enterprising private attorneys wasted little time initiating class-action lawsuits (1, 2) against them. By early August, some reports placed the number of suits nationwide at more than 100.
The word's largest Internet service provider has decided to forgo an MP3 search feature until it figures out how to distinguish legal recordings from illegal ones. America Online made the announcement August 11 after discovering that the feature, which it hoped would enhance its Winamp site, might encourage piracy of copyrighted recordings.
Last week, Florida consumer-electronics retailer Sound Advice announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Scottsdale, Arizona–based Showcase Home Entertainment, LLC, a privately held "upscale" retailer of consumer electronics and custom design services. Sound Advice, founded in 1974, currently operates 24 Sound Advice stores and four specialty stores under the Bang & Olufsen name throughout Florida.
The August issue of Stereophile, number 247, is the very last to be produced out of the "City Different" in the "Land of Enchantment" (Santa Fe, New Mexico). Known for its energetic mix of Native American and Latino cultures, its geographic mix of high desert and mountains, its 300 days of clear blue, cerulean skies, its opera and chamber music seasons, and not forgetting that most important culinary question—"red or green"—the oldest established city in the US is not the first place that comes to mind in the magazine business. But, after publishing 39 issues of Stereophile out of rainy Pennsylvania since he founded the magazine in 1962, J. Gordon Holt fell in love with the Southwest and moved out here in 1978.
With its latest series of FPB (Full Power Balanced) amplifiers, Krell is taking careful aim at the seam between classic high-power two-channel systems and quality multi-channel installations where sound is yet paramount. Nevertheless, Krell founder Dan D'Agostino was adamant: Krell's Class A components were designed for music playback. "I'm a purist, like you, Jonathan!" he told me.
Ideally, through the medium of a synergistically balanced set of high-resolution components, we seek to re-create an acoustic event with a palpable sense of realism—as in timbre, dynamics, room cues, and dimensionality. Have I ever experienced a system commensurate with the experience of sitting 12th-row-center at Carnegie Hall for Boulez conducting Stravinsky? Close, but...
I had a fascinating conversation the other day with George Cardas about slap-echo. (See Fine Tunes #1 and #2 for other Cardasian room treatment and speaker placement tips.) I know, it is amazing what audiophiles get excited about.
Dynaudio's $2399/pair Contour 1.3 Mk.II follows on from the Mk.I, which grabbed Russ Novak's enthusiastic attention in November 1996 (Vol.19 No.11). Because a full description was included in the original review, I will only touch briefly on the differences between the original version and the sample reviewed this month. A Special Edition of the Contour 1.3 is also available for $3499/pair. Sam Tellig's comments on the sound of this loudspeaker appeared in the December 1999 Stereophile and are included at the end of this review.
Real businesses are moving into territory explored by the upstarts. On August 2, Universal Music Group, the world's largest record label, announced that it will begin offering, on a trial basis, digital downloads of recordings from its massive catalog. The experiment is scheduled to begin this week, with an initial offering of about 60 songs from artists in several genres, including operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti, jazz guitarist George Benson, and pop band Blink 182.
The consumer-electronics industry is riding the wave of a still-booming economy, according to most mid-year reports. Although the generally rosy picture is marred by a few glitches, both equipment makers and retailers say that sales continue to soar.