Recently, the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) announced the release of a new CD compatibility specification called "MultiPlay" for the computer and consumer electronics industries. OSTA says that the new specification is intended to ensure that Compact Disc Recordable (CD-R) and Compact Disc ReWritable (CD-RW) discs created on personal computers can also be played in consumer CD and DVD players.
Radio will finally go digital in 2001. Among the oldest analog media, radio will be the last to make the transition, but it should make much faster headway in the market than digital television has. Satellite digital radio broadcasters XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. are both on schedule to go live in the coming year, aided by partnerships with automakers to make digital receivers available as options in new cars. A strong automotive aftermarket for digital radio receivers is expected, with some industry insiders predicting that the first models will retail at approximately $100 apiece. Both XM and Sirius will offer multiple channels of music, news, comedy, sports, and talk show entertainment—all for about $10 per month per subscriber.
As almost all audiophiles have discovered, headphone cables just don't reach far enough. You want to lie on the sofa for a late night listen, but you find out the cable is about two feet short. You can rearrange your room, buy a cable extender—or go wireless. That's what Grado is inviting you to do with the FreeSystems Grado Digital Headphone System.
The Revel Ultima Studios came to me by chance. I'd wanted to review Revel's high-value Performa F-30—see my May 2000 report—but the Studio was offered instead. By the time a pair of Studios had arrived, however, the F-30s were also on their way, and the Studios were put on the back burner. Because of the mix-up, I thought the Studios would be freebies—just listen for a while and send 'em back. I am now obliged to do the honest thing and fess up in public: Many months have passed and the Studios are still here.
In the ongoing audiophile debate over the relative merits of solid-state vs tube amplification, compelling cases can be made for the overall musicality of both methods. And while there's a lot to be said for the dynamic headroom, bass focus, clarity, frequency extension, and silent performance of solid-state gear, it's funny how much you can come to miss the aural verities of tube electronics after a prolonged absence.
Little Feat: Hotcakes & Outtakes: 30 Years of Little Feat Warner Archives/Rhino R2 79912 (4 CDs). 1970-2000. Russ Titelman, Ted Templeman, Lowell George, Van Dyke Parks, Erik Jacobsen, George Massenburg, Bill Payne, Paul Barrère, Bill Wray, Ed Cherney, Frank Zappa, Michael O'Bryant, Richard Moore, orig. prods.; Gary Peterson, Bill Payne, Paul Barrère, reissue prods.; Bill Inglot, reissue sound. AAD. TT: 5:13:48 Performance ***** Sonics ****
American radio stations which stream music programming over the Internet may be facing substantial outlays in royalty fees paid to record companies, under a December 8 ruling by the US Copyright Office, a division of the Library of Congress. After months of legal wrangling, the office decided that radio stations are just as liable for such fees as other music sites. "Transmissions of a broadcast signal over a digital communications network such as the Internet are not exempt from copyright liability," the ruling states.
DVD-Audio has been brewing for a couple of years now, finally going public with the Technics DVD-A10 DVD-Audio player. Jonathan Scull got his eager hands on this groundbreaking machine last September, only to find that evaluating a new format is a complicated affair. Will this player, and DVD-Audio in general, soothe the audiophile heart? Scull takes a listen and spills the bits.
The fate of Hales Loudspeakers has been a subject of much concern and discussion among audiophiles since the shuttering of parent company Wadia Digital a few months ago. There is now considerable light at the end of the tunnel, as revealed by Hales founder L. Paul Hales in a telephone interview December 22.
If it's the software that sells a new format, then several recent announcements bode well for both SACD and DVD-Audio. Last week, DTS announced plans to begin shipment of the first DVD-Audio music recordings produced by its company-owned DTS Entertainment record label by late February 2001. Also, the first multichannel SACD to be produced by a major label from an original multitrack master, Mike Oldfield's recently remastered 1971 classic Tubular Bells is due for release from Virgin Records in February 2001.