Record producer and critic John Marks, whose writing has appeared from time to time in Stereophile—his March "As We See It" triggered a deluge of letters—has started John Marks Recommends, a free e-mail newsletter on music and the arts. "Talking about my own work will be the exception rather than the rule," says Marks. "I tell people about great recordings, books, and videos, recipes, and an occasional wine recommendation."
For "Fine Tunes" #16, Jonathan Scull offers sage advice on handling the often ephemeral problem of microphonics in audio systems. "So here I am expounding on the tendency of audio components—especially tubes, capacitors, and resistors—to become microphonic, and you're wondering how you can find out if there's any of that shakin' goin' on in your system. And you want to do it easily and for next to nothing," he sez. The solutions await.
When polled earlier this month, Stereophile's online readers were split on the topic of DVD-Audio's surround capabilities: 30% expressed interest, but an equal number were not so thrilled with the idea. While the release of the official high-resolution DVD-A format is still several months away, some record labels have been quick to capitalize on the ability of current DVD players to play compressed AC3- and DTS-encoded audio DVDs, in the hopes of developing a market for a lower-fidelity surround-sound format.
Last week, e.Digital announced a licensing agreement to incorporate Sony's ATRAC3 sound-compression technology into e.Digital's portable Internet music-player designs. e.Digital claims that its multi-codec platform, including ATRAC3 support, can be incorporated into a variety of products including portable digital music players, home and automotive stereos, and functionally enhanced wireless phones.
Time magazine has chosen Albert Einstein as the Person of the Century. As the great man said, everything's relative, so in this installment of "Fine Tunes" I'll cover a few relatively inexpensive tips for homeowners, or those building their own audiophile domiciles.
The courtship between two music-retailing giants is over. CDnow and Columbia House have decided to call off a merger that had been in discussion since last summer. The official explanation from executives close to the deal was a sharp decline in Columbia House's profitability over the past several months.
On day two of Revel's early-March press junket, Stereophile and Guide to Home Theater writers and editors were treated to a discussion and demonstration of some superb audio and video equipment at Kevin Voecks' spacious home in the San Fernando Valley. Voecks spoke at length about the extensive research his company has done on the perceived realism of reproduced sound, under the leadership of Dr. Floyd Toole.
Regardless of what the skeptics claim, Jonathan Scull is a firm believer in resonance-control devices. For "Fine Tunes" #15, Scull investigates some products he has found useful. "Pssst," Scull whispers. "Hey you. Yeah, you . . . we know you're a tweaker. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You just wanna make it better, right? Even as everyone around you wants to know when enough's enough already."
As the boundaries between audio, video, and information technologies continue to blur, so will the corporate boundaries between Sony Electronics' audio, video, and information-technology divisions. Last week, Sony announced the creation of a new organization that the company says integrates its A/V and IT companies into one overall "Consumer Electronics Group," or "CEG." Sony adds that the new structure combines the company's Consumer Products Marketing Group and its Personal Network Solutions Company into one organization. Fujio Nishida was named president of CEG; the new organization will become effective April 1.