Napster has been saved from what appeared to be certain death. A last-minute deal struck by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG will revive the company, which was reportedly near bankruptcy. It's the end of a long-running soap opera and the beginning of a new era for the company that began the audio file-sharing phenomenon.
Earlier this year, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) tried something a little different and ran the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas during the week, starting on a Tuesday, instead of in its normal slot over the weekend. The hope was that the show would not compete with the normally crowded Las Vegas weekends, and would offer showgoers more flexibility in finding hotel rooms and taxi cabs.
A pair of audiophile-friendly speakers for under $250? That prospect piqued Robert J. Reina into closely examining the PSB Alpha B loudspeaker. Reina notes that designer Paul Barton "is not one to rest on his laurels. Into this third and latest generation of the Alpha, the Alpha B, he has trickled down some of the design and manufacturing innovations of his more expensive Image series."
French-speaking Canada's premier A/V, home theater, and new technologies publication, Quebec Audio-Video has once again offered its readers an opportunity to attend Home Entertainment 2002 in New York City for free! Franco Moggia, editor of Quebec Audio-Video, says, "After the tragic events of September 11, we had to support our American friends and colleagues by repeating last year's contest."
Paul Barton is a legend in the speaker business. For 25 years this musician and engineer has dedicated his life to providing speaker purchasers with higher levels of sonic realism at lower prices. Barton is a frugal perfectionist, and his obsession with psychoacoustics is evident in all his designs. I was mightily impressed with his midpriced Image 4T (Stereophile, February 2001), which was, like all Barton designs, designed with the assistance of the facilities of Canada's National Research Council.
Single-ended triode (SET) amplifiers are typically paired with horn loudspeakers, for good reason: most SETs produce very low power, so to get acceptable loudness you need a highly sensitive speaker, which means horns. Similarly, horn owners are often advised that the best amplifier for their speakers is a SET. Certainly, the horn-SET combination can be magical, but, in my experience, SETs are not the only type of amplifier that can sound good with horns.
Sometimes tweaks take on a life of their own. Take the one of using Armor All to keep speaker surrounds from drying out, which you can read all about in the November 2001 "Fine Tunes No.41" I recently got another e-mail on the subject from Dan Mazza at Arizona Hi-Fi, who agrees with Mark Gdovin's objections to using Armor All. (Read Mark's comments on the entire issue in the readers' letters linked to "Fine Tunes No.41.").)
Ah me. Victoria's Secret underwear (sorry; lingerie) model Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' publicist politely declined my request for an interview with her. An interview with the model, not the publicist. But you already knew that, and you are (best Claude Rains voice) shocked—shocked!
John Atkinson heads across America's great plains toward Kansas to engineer a brand-new recording that he and Les Berkley document in A Mosaic of Music: Stereophile's Clarinet Quintet CD. For the new CD, JA returns again to Chad Kassem's audio Mecca, noting that "105 takes of the Mozart and 102 takes of the Brahms later, we had gotten everything down on tape in two days of intense music-making."