Computers and vacuum tubes go together like Trent Lott and flyaway hair, right? The last time filaments glowed in computers was during the 1960s, when a computer was a building. I remember laughing at the ponytailed computer-science dweebs back then, who spent their college days playing nursemaid to a football field's worth of electronics capable of little more than adding two plus two. Chained to a computer half the day, as most of us now are, guess who had the last laugh?
John Atkinson and Stephen Mejias tally the writer and editor votes to present "The 2002 Products of the Year." As JA comments, "For more than a decade now, Stereophile has recognized components that have proved capable of giving musical pleasure beyond the formal review period."
You thought it was crowded last year? The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced last week that, as of the beginning of December, it looks like the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will feature a record-breaking amount of exhibit space, surpassing 1.2 million square feet.
As tighter restrictions on the use of both audio and video digital content loom in the legislature, the Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) have teamed up to counter the ever-increasing demands from copyright holders. The HRRC, founded in 1981, is a leading advocacy group for consumers' rights to use home electronics products for private, non-commercial purposes.
Singer Sam Moore has won a protracted lawsuit brought against retirement fund trustees of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). The settlement of the nine-year-old case was announced in an Atlanta federal court on Wednesday, December 5.
It's no longer news that uncontrolled spurious vibration is one of the greatest threats to high-quality sound and video reproduction. Source components are, by themselves, a nightmare to isolate from the omnipresent vibrations in the environment. The intrusion of uncontrolled spuriae into the playback of LPs, CDs, SACDs, and DVDs has a deleterious and occasionally disastrous effect on the ability of the stylus or laser to precisely do its almost-molecular-scale job. Electronics are nearly as susceptible to such vibration-induced headaches as microphonics.
When it comes to dynamic range, it's the little things that count. As Texas Instruments explains, "Dynamic range is a parameter that expresses numerically how accurately sounds of small amplitude can be reproduced without distortion." In other words, the higher the dynamic range, the higher the quality of the sound, especially at low levels.
As any major college dude will tell you, the file-sharing genie can never be put back into the digital audio bottle. But that hasn't stopped the music business from pursuing its scorched-market policy while simultaneously applying various use-restriction technologies to every digital audio format in sight.