Hundreds of manufacturers will be demonstrating state-of-the-art audio products at HI-FI '98---some of which have never before been seen by the public. We are running several announcements each week leading up to the Show to give you a taste of what to expect. Here's the third assortment:
I don't know how many of you buy disposable diapers, but while Harry (now 6) and Emily (now 5) were still toddlers, diapers played a large role in my life. I can still remember my panic when I first saw the miles of drugstore shelves devoted to Pampers and Huggies—not just large, medium, and small, but such a variety that it could almost have been possible that each child had a diaper tailored for him or her. I'm sure that even the weirdly shaped backside of Tommy Pickles could have been securely wrapped.
Back in the Spring of 1990, Stereophile introduced its first Test CD. Featuring a mixture of test signals and musical tracks recorded by the magazine's editors and writers, it sold in large numbers—around 50,000 had been produced at last count. Even as we were working on that first disc, however, we had plans to produce a second disc that would expand on the usefulness of the first and feature a more varied selection of music. The result is our Test CD 2, introduced this month for just $7.95 plus postage and handling. With a playing time of over 74 minutes, the new disc should prove an invaluable tool to help audiophiles optimally set up their systems and rooms by ear—and the music's pretty good, too!—John Atkinson
Returned products are problematic for consumers, retailers, and manufacturers. Returns have always eaten into profits in the audio and video business. Everybody knows that. What isn't widely known is that the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association sponsors an annual conference to help deal with the problem.
On May 18, 1998, James D. Dunning, Jr., Chairman and CEO of the Petersen Companies, Inc., announced an agreement to acquire Stereophile Magazine and Stereophile Guide to Home Theater---two of this country's leading high-end audio and home-theater publications---as well as HI-FI '98, The Home Theater & Specialty Audio Show.
Media conglomerate Viacom, parent company of Blockbuster Music, has reportedly put the ailing chain on the auction block. Most likely buyer is Torrance, California-based music retailer Wherehouse Entertainment, Inc., which has 220 stores of its own, primarily on the West Coast. On Wednesday, May 13, Reuters news service reported that Wherehouse had tendered an offer of $200 million for Blockbuster. Wherehouse has been in intermittent discussions for several months with Viacom.
Author and television producer Howard J. Blumenthal has completed his Jazz and World Music CD Listener's Guides, the first two volumes in a four-volume series. The publications include brief biographies of the top artists in each genre, arranged alphabetically, and hundreds of short reviews of the discs the author considers essential.
I've never heard a pair of the Italian Sonus Faber speakers I didn't like. What I've never liked was the US price: too high. And then you have to put them on costly stands. Plus, you're paying a premium for the magnificent woodworking and exquisite design—something I wasn't into, since I live with my stereo in a basement office/workshop/listening room some (who shall remain nameless) refer to as the "habitat for inhumanity."
Almost two years ago, Conrad-Johnson's Lew Johnson came to Santa Fe while visiting his western dealers. We were chatting about acquaintances in the industry as I showed him the new house I'd barely moved into when he spread a blueprint across a stack of record boxes and showed me a design for a new product.