Linear, LLC of Carlsbad, CA, an innovative firm specializing in radio frequency products, has announced its acquisition of Niles Audio Corporation, the Miami, FL company best known for its whole-house audio and video products.
Ready or not, here comes the audio download future—and a sizable portion of it may be wireless (think cellphones). Or at least that's what IDC is predicting in a new study called "US Wireless Music 2005-2009 Forecast and Analysis: Grooves on The Move."
One thing we've learned about Stereophile readers is that, no matter the subject, they all have opinions. We'd like to hear yours and also enter you in a chance to win a $250 American Express gift certificate.
You'd think I'd be used to Charlie Hansen by now. After all, I've been speaking to Ayre Acoustics' renaissance man for a decade, having first encountered him when I was trying to arrange the review of Ayre's 100Wpc V-3 power amplifier that was published in the August 1996 Stereophile (Vol.19 No.8). I thought the V-3 was impressive.
Here we are, back to the Arcam I know and love: a company that not only invents good products, but good product categories as well. Like the Arcam Black Box of the 1980s, which gave so many people fits at the time—yet which, once you heard it, made good musical sense. It made good marketing sense, too: With that one stroke, teensy, weird, nestled-away-in-the-English-countryside Arcam did nothing less than create the domestic market for outboard digital-to-analog converters.
A straight wire with gain? That's what a line stage is supposed to provide, but few in my experience actually accomplish it, and I'm not sure that most audiophiles would really want it that way. Some want a bit of tightening and brightening, while some prefer a bit of added warmth and richness. But whatever the preference, none of us wants too much of a good thing—the tighter, brighter line stages better not sound etchy and hard, and the warmer, richer ones better not sound thick and plodding.
Back in 2003, while auditioning the Burmester 001 CD player ($14,000, reviewed in the December 2003 Stereophile, Vol.26 No.12), I discovered that my system sounded much better if I bypassed my preamplifier and ran the 001 directly into the power amps. I concluded by suggesting that potential customers consider building a system around the 001 itself and forgo a preamp altogether. The response from Burmester fans was immediate and unambiguous: As good as the 001 was on its own, it sounded even better run through its stablemate, Burmester's 011 preamplifier ($15,999). The pair had, they claimed, a significant synergy that I absolutely had to hear. It's hard to argue with determined German logic, and I'd begun shopping for a new preamp anyway. So here we are.
At HE2005 last April, Daniel Khesin's brawny $3000 150Wpc DK Designs VS-1 MK2 hybrid integrated amplifier had the crowd buzzing with its expansive sound driving Von Schweikert speakers—and bang-for-the-buck pricing. We spoke with Khesin and he was passionate about breaking into the high-end big leagues. Therefore, it came as a surprise to receive notice on July 8 that DK Design had been purchased by LSA Group LLC of Louisville, KY.
Back in June, we reported on the BBC's "The Beethoven Experience", described as "a bold experiment in whether or not free music stimulates legitimate music sales or suppresses them." Last week, The Independent published a terse 200-word article, reporting that the Beeb had downloaded one million files during the Experience, and stating "The initiative has infuriated the bosses of leading classical record companies, who argue the offer undermines the value of music and that any further offers would be unfair competition."
We were saddened to learn (via the website Boing-boing) that Dr. Robert A. Moog, inventor of the world's first real-time reconfigurable music synthesizer, is being treated for a brain tumor (glioblastoma multiforme or GBM), for which he is receiving radiation treatment and chemotherapy.