The Internet is beginning to pose quite a dilemma for high-end audio manufacturers, especially ones with limited distribution in major markets such as the US. Do you risk alienating potential bricks-and-mortar dealers in an effort to gain widespread exposure by offering your products online? Or do you slowly build distribution through the traditional stores that for years have been high-end audio's haven?
The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) has released its Annual Survey Results for the 1998 business year, indicating that gross dollar volume for all music products grew by 10%, to $9.69 billion, with the CD market (83.3%, or $8.1 billion) continuing to build on its dominance. The report reveals that DVD sales "literally exploded in 1998," up a staggering 400% to $259 million.
Collectors will go to to any lengths to track down the objects of their obsession. Record collectors, a particularly extreme species, are known for their incredible attention to detail and their astounding capacity for absorbing vast quantities of minutiae.
Earlier this month, DirecTV announced that it is investing $50 million in XM Satellite Radio in an effort to capitalize on direct satellite-to-receiver broadcasting technology, which is intended to provide listeners in the car and at home with up to 100 channels of music, news, and entertainment available in North America. Additional XM investors include General Motors, Clear Channel Communications, and a private investment group.
Almost every audiophile, whether hobbyist or professional, has taken a stab at building loudspeakers. Combine the fundamentals of cabinetmaking with some basic electronic theory, connect a few good drivers to a well-designed crossover network, and you're on your way to pretty good sound. And now, with widely available resources like crossover design software and high-quality prefabricated cabinets, the task is easier than it's ever been.
The MP3 audio format has been rapidly gaining a solid reputation in the last several months. Portable products such as Diamond Multimedia's Rio have hit the market, and websites (typified by MP3.com) have gained financial success. (See related story.) But one area that has so far lagged is MP3-based playback and recording equipment for using the files at home without moving a computer next to the stereo.
Last week it was revealed that David Manley has resigned as president of Manley Laboratories and has assigned his total shares in the company to EveAnna Manley as part of an agreement signed June 10, 1999. EveAnna Manley has officially assumed the duties of president, CEO, and sole owner of Manley Laboratories, Inc. A press release states that David Manley is no longer associated or affiliated with Manley Laboratories, Inc., and that EveAnna Manley has been de facto operating CEO of the company since David Manley's departure in 1996.
Is there a computer in your audio future? Meridian thinks so. An expensive new flagship disc player hints at things to come at more affordable prices. Working at the far edge of the digital playback frontier, the UK company has just announced its 800 Reference, a new combination CD/DVD player, built like a computer, that takes digital audio and video playback to a new level. The player "sets the bar for DVD and CD reproduction," according to a June 16 press release.
Now that we've gained a basic understanding of speaker setup, cable dressing and hygiene, and electrical theory, it's time to consider where and how to site your equipment. I've seen all sorts of weird, jerry-rigged shelves and poor component placement, some of the worst in pricey systems whose owners really should have known better. But you can achieve a stunning level of improvement from a haphazardly set-up system---even an entry-level one---when it's rearranged so as to let the components breathe.
John Wright was one of the most important figures on the British hi-fi scene since the mid-1960s. His natural modesty and reticence made it easy to underestimate a working life that encompassed an unusually wide range of different roles: from inventor to speaker engineer to reviewer to businessman.