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Jonathan Scull Posted: Nov 19, 2000 0 comments
Not too long ago, the word "convergence" had everyone in the High End ready to duck'n'cover. Asia was on the ropes, and a shakeout was thinning the ranks of high-end audio manufacturers. Some US companies were marketing and selling most of their output to the Pacific Rim. The writing was on the wall: High-end was dead, and we'd all just better get used to listening to music on our computers.
John Atkinson Posted: Nov 17, 2000 0 comments
In the early days of digital audio, I remember talking with Dr. Tom Stockham, the developer of the groundbreaking Soundstream system used then by Telarc. As well as using a 50kHz sample rate, the excellent-sounding Soundstream stored its 16-bit data on large drum-shaped Winchester drives connected to a minicomputer. Twenty years later, the advent of ultra-high-density magnetic storage media and fast microprocessor chips has put high-resolution digital audio manipulation and storage within reach of anyone with a modern PC or Mac. And facilitating the transformation of the PC into a high-quality DAW has been a new generation of soundcards, such as the Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe I reviewed in September 2000 and the subject of this review, the German RME Digi96/8 Pro.
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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 16, 2000 0 comments
Investors have shown an inexplicable willingness to foot the bill for MP3.com's $53.4 million settlement with Universal Music Group. In the four days following the announcement of a settlement on Tuesday, November 13, the now fully legitimate Internet music site watched its stock surge to four times the value it had only a month before. Shares of MP3.com closed Friday, November 17 at $9.42 each, triple the per-share price on the morning of the announcement. The stock had sunk to a 52-week low of $2.50 per share on October 11.
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John Atkinson Posted: Nov 15, 2000 0 comments
In his very English way, Sony's then managing director for the UK, Tim Steele, was getting a touch, er, desperate. His oh-so-cultured voice rose a smidgen as he resorted to a direct selling of the benefits of what he was talking about. "Look, you're all sitting on riches," was his fundamental pitch. "You can sell music-lovers your entire back catalog all over again—at a higher price!"
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David Rich Posted: Nov 15, 2000 2 comments
Although Philips invented the Compact Disc, it was only when Sony got involved in the early 1980s that it was decided—at the prompting of conductor Herbert von Karajan, a close friend of Sony's then-president Akio Morita—that the CD should have a long enough playing time to fit Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on a single disc (footnote 1). Even if the conductor was using very slow tempos, and even given the minimum pit size and track pitch printable at the time, the 16-bit data and 44.1kHz sampling rate they settled on gave them a little margin.
Chip Stern Posted: Nov 14, 2000 0 comments
Over the past two decades, enough advances in the high-end audio industry have trickled down to aspiring audiophiles that we now enjoy a level of high-value, high-resolution performance that would have seemed unattainable even just a few years ago. Still, immersion in a profound musical experience remains an ephemeral goal to potential converts, given the level of expertise that seems necessary to assemble a truly audiophile set of separates.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 12, 2000 0 comments
When CDs were becoming popular, Neil Young made no secret of his disdain for the sound of digital. Interviews from the period quoted him as saying that the sound "left him cold," and he would rather listen to an LP, thank you very much. To this day, his new CD releases also appear on vinyl, but with the advent of DVD-Audio, sampling and quantization rates have improved—enough, apparently for Mr. Young's approval.
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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 12, 2000 0 comments
Two top executives at Bertelsmann Music Group will depart in the wake of the company's recent settlement of its lawsuit against Napster. Citing irreconcilable differences with parent company Bertelsmann AG over company strategy, BMG chief executive Strauss Zelnick and chairman Michael Dornemann announced their resignations Sunday November 5.
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Barry Willis Posted: Nov 12, 2000 0 comments
For the music industry, copyright and royalty litigation is like an endless war fought on many fronts. During early November, as four of the industry's "Big Five" continued their pursuit of the file-sharing service Napster, a parallel trial in US Federal Court in New York against music archiving-and-accessing site MP3.com by Universal Music Group entered its penalty phase, that segment of the proceeding in which aggrieved plaintiffs seek to extract money from guilty defendants. Other plaintiffs in the trial—Sony Music Entertainment, BMG, Warner Music, and EMI—have all settled with the San Diego-based Internet service for an average of $20 million each.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Nov 12, 2000 0 comments
The Comdex trade show, taking place this week in Las Vegas, is flushing out scores of convergence consumer electronics products, in addition to the more traditional computer fare. Apogee Technology, formerly Apogee Acoustics, a name familiar to many Stereophile readers, is among the dozens of companies announcing technology for the modern consumer electronics marketplace.

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