In "Working in the Front Line," Martin Colloms writes: "A committed audio equipment reviewer operates at the front line of audio subjectivity. How is it possible to do this successfully, when a similar task undertaken by an industrial laboratory or test house would take five times as long, cost ten times as much, and deliver a verdict of arguably poorer relevance?" How indeed . . . Colloms explains himself.
San Diego-based MP3.com, a premier website for distributing the music of unsigned bands, has announced a new program called Beam-it, via which copies of commercial CDs will be stored at the site. The copies will be instantly available to customers who have purchased the music from affiliated online retailers, company officials said. About 40,000 CDs have already been archived on the site.
On January 14, anyone calling Naim Audio heard an Elgar recording, and visitors to the Naim website forum learned the sad news that founder and managing director Julian Vereker had died. The company—indeed, British hi-fi as a whole—is mourning the loss of one of its brightest and strongest personalities.
If you've read Stereophile regularly over the past decade, you know that ProAc Audio's Stewart Tyler has a winning formula for designing loudspeakers. In review after review, this magazine's writers have celebrated the sonic profile he has created for ProAc speakers: a spacious soundstage with a big, coherent image; a clean, grain-free midrange; extended highs that don't intrude on the music; and tight, tuneful bass response.
Jonathan Scull writes: "Cable dressing is actually a rather delicate issue that requires a certain leap of faith. The concept is so simple that even I can explain the science to you." And explain he does. Read "Fine Tunes #7" to learn the whole story.
Digital perfectionists Meridian obviously pulled out all the stops on their new flagship speaker product, the DSP8000. Checking in at $45,000/pair, the eight-driver Digital Active design is expected to hit the market sometime in March. Meridian claims the three-way powered speaker has a 24/96 digital input on the back and processes the digital signal internally with two 100MHz DSP engines operating with 24/192 resolution. Also on display were the new DSP33s, also Digital Active but more modestly priced at $4500/pair.
The music business is a $13-billion-a-year industry, but the high-end audio industry reaches only a tiny fraction of the music lovers that number represents. "Everybody loves music, so why don't they love specialty audio?" was the question addressed to a group of industry experts at one of a series of AudioCafe.com-sponsored panel discussions on Friday, January 7, at the Alexis Park, during the 2000 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
High-end audio in trouble? That's been the consensus the last few years, but the sheer number of new products at this year's Consumer Electronics Show hints at a steady trend in the opposite direction. New developments in power conditioning abound, and several brave companies are even testing the SACD/DSD and DVD-Audio waters.
Judy Spotheim, maker of the SpJ arm and the gorgeous La Luce turntable that I reviewed a while back for Stereophile (October 1998) and that has subsequently become one of my references for LP playback. She's an intelligent, well-read individual who has a penchant for asking me, "You didn't read that in the manual?!" Ahem. Although the following interview was taped on the phone from her home in the Netherlands, I hope to meet her sometime soon.
The month of December was particularly hard on the music world, which lost three of its greatest talents within a few days of each other: Curtis Mayfield, Grover Washington, Jr., and Charles Earland. All were in their late 50s.