Mastering engineer Denny Purcell let out a long sigh. "Does anyone in this room really believe that any of this is going to do any good?" he asked. Of the eight or nine people—each with decades of experience in the music and/or audio industries—hanging out at Georgetown Masters Studios in Nashville for SDMI's Phase II listening tests, no one said "Yes." The consensus: The watermarking issue will probably be dead and forgotten within a year.
Following on the heels of its announcement last week of the first commercially available DVD-Audio disc (Swingin' for the Fences, by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band), Silverline Records says that Aaron Neville will become the first major artist to release an album in the format. Silverline expects that, on October 24, Neville's solo album Devotion will be released on DVD-A. The disc will also include audio tracks compatible with standard DVD players.
After a difficult gestation, DVD-Audio may finally be moving toward becoming a market reality now that a major record label has stepped forward to support it. Warner Music Group (WMG) has issued several recordings in the new format, covering a range of genres. DVD-A is "the most significant industry format launch since the introduction of the CD nearly 20 years ago," according to an October 2 WMG press release.
Slap echo got you in a flutter? Jonathan Scull writes, in "Fine Tunes" #27, that "last month I delved into avoiding reflective, parallel-wall slap echoes from ruining your audiophile day. But I've since learned of a perfectly useful workaround that's much less costly and involved than horsing around the Sheetrock." George Cardas lends a hand.
Warner Music Group may have just announced its first DVD-Audio titles (see related story), but an upstart independent label is claiming the first DVD-A discs actually available for sale. In an attempt to establish itself as the leader in the new DVD-Audio format, 5.1 Entertainment Group's Silverline Records says it has begun shipping the first commercially available 24-bit/96kHz DVD-Audio disc, Swingin' for the Fences, by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.
In an unusual move, chipmaker Cirrus Logic has purchased patents for Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) technology owned by B&W Loudspeakers, a leading UK manufacturer. The patents will be used in combination with current Cirrus Logic technology in a new line of digital amplifiers, according to an October 2 news release.
According to a report just released by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), Digital distribution—particularly streaming technology—will seriously disrupt the music industry, but has the potential to "benefit all segments of the business if companies can leverage their traditional strengths and create compelling consumer value propositions."
The subject of audiophile-grade AC outlets, which I have been discussing in previous Fine Tunes" columns is more contentious than I'd ever imagined. In August's episode of "Fine Tunes," I forwarded you an e-mail from audio worthy Glen Bartholomew, who waxed poetic about the inexpensive and therefore (he felt) oft-overlooked hospital-grade devices from Leviton. He found the Levitons to be the equals of, if not better than, the Hubbell, Bryant, and Eagle units I'd previously recommended.