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.
The world's two largest and most active music clubs may become one if preliminary talks between their parent companies bear fruit. Time Warner Inc. and Germany's Bertelsmann AG have conducted discussions with that outcome in mind, according to several reports appearing in late April.
The numbers are looking better for MP3.com, the music-archiving site under attack by the Recording Industries Association of America and its allies. Despite the legal pressure, MP3.com has seen its revenues surge as the popularity of downloadable music continues to grow. On April 20, the San Diego–based company reported that its revenue increased to $17.5 million for the first quarter of 2000 compared to $666,000 for the same period a year earlier. MP3.com now has 10 million registered users, according to CEO Michael Robertson.
The original PSB Alpha was reviewed for Stereophile by Jack English in July 1992 (Vol.15 No.7). A modest-looking two-way priced at just $199/pair, it combined a reflex-loaded 6.5" woofer using a plastic-doped paper cone with a 0.5" plastic-dome tweeter. JE summed up the Alpha by saying it "is simply one of the best buys in audio, providing a musically satisfying sound...a sensational audio bargain." It went on to become one of the best-selling audiophile speakers ever, with over 50,000 pairs sold.
After the bungled launch last year of DVD-Audio, where is a digital audiophile to turn? John Atklinson provides some answers in "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution," from the April 2000 Stereophile. "So while the DVD Forum argues about increasingly arcane aspects of the DVD-Audio medium, and John Lennon's record-industry 'men in suits' retreat further into their lawyer-built fortresses, I have bypassed all they have to offer . . . "