An improved digital-audio compression standard has been adopted by the Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and the Universal Music Group for commercial music downloads. "Advanced Audio Coding" (AAC) is said to offer higher audio quality while occupying 30% less bandwidth and storage space than the popular MP3 format, according to an announcement from San Francisco–based Dolby Laboratories.
Music lovers who availed themselves of MP3.com's uploading-archiving-and-accessing services are about to become the next target market for the music industry. Nearing the end of protracted litigation brought against it by the music industry's "Big Five," the online music venture has announced a marketing service that will promote new commercial recordings directly to its users through e-mails. The recordings will be on labels under the control of MP3.com's opponents in the year-long copyright wrangle.
Dynaudio US's president, Al Filippelli, tells Wes Phillips that "Dynaudio speakers are a lot like the Danes who make them. They don't look all that fancy, but they tell the truth and they get the job done. To a lot of audiophiles, that's boring. But there are a lot of people who have been looking for those qualities in a loudspeaker, and for them, boring can be cause for excitement." Phillips takes an in-depth look at the Dynaudio Contour 3.3 loudspeaker to determine if "boring" can make him happy.
Spotting another online niche, Hifi.com announced the debut of CustomHifi.com last week. The new site is aimed at custom installers. HiFi.com claims that CustomHifi.com is the first "comprehensive national, Internet-centric marketplace to offer custom electronic design and installation professionals access to leading audio/video products, information, and installation support."
Bright April Sunday sunshine beams through the bay window of my listening room. The light catches four loudspeakers on stands, two stacks of electronic equipment, a small video monitor, black cables strung behind furniture, and a pile of freshly opened DVDs. I sit in the center in a large, overstuffed chair covered in blue velvet, listening to an array of six loudspeakers and a TV monitor playing The Haunting's DTS soundtrack. The floor rumbles as the sounds of creaking timbers come up from below.
Bonnie and I decided to avoid the crowds last weekend, and instead settled in at home to watch the recent remake of Great Expectations, with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow. It seemed like a pretty good movie, but before long I found my thoughts drifting to the review I had in progress: my audition and analysis of the Magnepan Magneplanar MG3.6/R. True, Great Expectations is a little slow, and a few explosions or car chases might have better held my attention, but if ever there was an audio product to which the phrase "great expectations" applied, it's the Magnepan 3.6/R.
MAHLER: Symphony 6 Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra, Glen Cortese (cond.) Titanic 257 (CD). 2000. Charles G. Thomas, exec. prod., Jerry Bruck, eng., Michael Karas and Eric Wagner, assoc. engs. AAD? TT: 76:27 Performance: ****? Sonics: *****
The public auction of the assets of Wadia Digital Corporation has been postponed for at least two weeks, according to an employee of the Minneapolis law firm Siegel, Brill, Greupner, Duffy & Foster, P.A., which is handling the liquidation.
Back in 1997, DVD-Audio was still miles away—and it may still be! But, as John Atkinson writes, "After a decade of stability, with slow but steady improvement in the quality of 16-bit/44.1kHz audio, the cry among audio engineers is now '24/96!'—meaning 24-bit data sampled at 96kHz. Not coincidentally, DVD offers audiophiles a medium with the potential for playing back music encoded at this new mastering standard." The dCS Elgar D/A processor was one of the first consumer units able to decode 24/96, and still stands as a benchmark product. JA gives the details.