In his The Fifth Element #2, John Marks discusses in detail how to use common household items to render some audiophile magic. Marks explains, Aall you need is a very long piece of string, a tape measure, two bits of masking tape, a quantity of small self-adhesive removable note papers, and later, perhaps, a trip to the fabric store."
The first fiscal quarter was a slow one for major electronics retailers. Eden Prairie, MN–based Best Buy reported a 3.1% drop in comparable-store sales, attributing the slowdown to diminished demand for personal computers. That figure is for stores open a year or longer; Best Buy's total sales for the quarter rose 25% to $3.69 billion from $2.96 billion, thanks to 11 new stores and the addition of the Musicland Group of music stores, which Best Buy acquired earlier this year. Although demand for hardware such as digital cameras, DVD players, and high-definition television sets was "brisk," the market for music CDs lagged more than 6% from last year, company officials explained.
From the vantage point of a devout music lover, two-channel audio is more satisfying and more inclusive than ever these days. In terms of resolution, clarity, linearity, transparency, soundstaging, frequency extension, and sheer performance value, aspiring audiophiles have never had it so good.
One of the more interesting displays at Home Entertainment 2001 was a small booth belonging to West Hollywood, CA–based AIX Media Group, which was manned by company president Mark Waldrep. At the show, Waldrep discussed his work in creating DVD-Audio recordings with multiple perspectives, selectable by the listener via remote control.
According to a new comparison of online music business models and companies prepared by Red Herring Research, Napster simply cannot exist without the complete consent of the recording industry, and the company's recent attempts to appease the copyright infringement concerns of the industry have so far failed. The study also finds it highly unlikely that the company's peer-to-peer model will find success, given the history of its relationship with the recording industry, its declining membership, and impending competition from services like MusicNet and Duet.
In 1984, George Orwell's chilling tale of life in a totalitarian society, good citizens are expected to master the art of "doublethink," the ability to embrace two contradictory ideas at the same time. As evidenced by legal actions undertaken by their organization in late May, executives of the Recording Industry Association of America would make excellent role models in an Orwellian state.
As John Atkinson points out in his "As We See It" from last month, Trumpets to the Back of Me?, there appears to be a long, hard road ahead for audiophiles as record labels struggle to make something out of the multi-channel future. As JA puts it, "The last thing I want is to have trumpets and drums attacking me from behind, yet almost without exception, that is what record producers seem to feel is an essential part of the DVD-Audio and SACD experiences."
Some long-time Stereophile readers were outraged when the magazine put a photo of a computer soundcard on its cover in September of 2000 (click here for the review and controversy). And then, John Atkinson added insult to injury by doing another soundcard review last November. Some readers may have been scratching their heads about why we did it, but at least one manufacturer is getting the message.
On May 23, the Juilliard School of Music announced the selection of 18 instrumentalists who will form the core of the newly-created Juilliard Jazz Orchestra. As orchestra members, the musicians will benefit from tuition-free study at the school's recently established Juilliard Institute for Jazz. The creation of the institute—a collaboration of the Juilliard School and the "Jazz at Lincoln Center" program—is an indication that the prestigious institution is further acknowledging the importance of jazz, an indigenous American genre that many critics have called "the classical music of the 20th century."