Sometimes you have to wonder why big corporations gobble up small speaker companies. Most such firms are built by individualist entrepreneurs chasing an elusive dream—an up-close and personal thing that is the antithesis of the corporate mentality. That's why speaker companies are so often named after the founder.
In hopes of stoking the multichannel DVD-Audio engine, Burr-Brown announced last week the PCM1604 audio digital-to-analog converter, which they describe as a high-performance, 6-channel audio DAC featuring 24-bit capability and 192kHz sampling, for use in a "wide variety of multichannel audio applications."
The roller-coaster fortunes of MP3.com took a downturn April 28, when US district judge Jed S. Rakoff found in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America in its copyright-violation suit against Internet music site MP3.com. Investors in the once–high-flying startup immediately began unloading shares of the company's stock, which had dropped 40% by the end of the trading day.
It's been an up-and-down week for consumer-electronics companies, as revealed by recent earnings reports surfacing around the globe. First, the bad news: Sony reports that its profits fell 32% in the latest fiscal year, and cites the strong yen for depressing the value of the consumer-electronics and entertainment company's overseas earnings.
Progress toward a working digital radio technology took a big step forward in April with the addition of Lowpass Prototype Inc. to the development team. According to an April 27 press release, USA Digital Radio, Inc., a privately held digital radio technology company owned by the nation's largest radio broadcasters, has added the manufacturer of radio-frequency systems for radio and television transmission to its coalition to develop and commercialize digital AM and FM radio.
The Napster saga continues. As reported last week, software maker Napster and several colleges were looking at a likely court battle, instigated by music group Metallica and others attempting to prevent their songs from being distributed via MP3 audio files without official consent or payment of royalties. After Metallica announced its suit, rapper Dr. Dre also jumped in, giving Napster until last Friday to remove links to his work.
Can Jah Atkinson believe his ears? The PS Audio Power Plant P300 touched an audio nerve with JA, who interviewed the designer, Paul McGowan: High-End Survivor, for the May 2000 Stereophile. As a bonus, we include JA's follow-up to Robert Deutsch's review of the P300, also from the May issue.
The healthy trend for the audio market continues: the Consumer Electronics Association reported last week that revenues from factory shipments of audio products to dealers this February increased by 8% over last February, to a total of $542 million. "The fantastic sales in February spurred the year-to-date total for audio sales to more than $1 billion; a 6% increase over the first two months of 1999," said the CEA.