Blaming a falloff in CD sales on the popularity of CD burners, BMG Germany recently issued approximately 100,000 copy-protected discs in an attempt to thwart the problem—and had to take a substantial portion of them back because consumers said the discs wouldn't perform in car players and in some home audio systems.
Spring typically sees Stereophile release its coveted "Records To Die For" feature, wherein everybody working for the magazine gets to make like a music critic and add their two cents about what gets them excited (musically speaking). R2D4 2000 is on newsstands right now, in the February issue of Stereophile; to commemorate its publication, we add the 1999 "Records To Die For" to the online archives.
Visitors to the Listen.com website will find a headline on the home page: "Your Guide to MP3 and More." MP3 recordings, while a big hit with young music fans, have not been a favorite of the music business. The key to Listen.com's financial future as a download site is likely whatever ends up falling under "and more."
Last week, the Consumer Electronics Association reported that sales of audio products during November constituted the largest monthly increase since August 1994. Total revenues for the month reached $901 million, representing a 16% increase over last year's figure. The CEA adds that November's sales brought total year-to-date sales to $7.5 billion—2% ahead of the same period last year.
It's been three years since the February 1997 issue, when I last talked with Klaus Heymann, founder and chairman of HHN, the parent company of the Naxos and Marco Polo labels. When I heard that he'd be in New York for a visit, I jumped at the chance for another interview.
When I describe the Thiel CS7.2 to friends, the word that gets the biggest reaction is "simple." Veteran audiophiles protest, noting the big Thiel's multiple drivers, complex cabinet, and elaborate, zillion-element crossover. Nonaudiophiles just glance at the 5'-tall speaker, smile sympathetically at Bonnie, and roll their eyes.
One of the challenges I faced in optimizing the performance of the Thiel CS7.2 loudspeakers that I reviewed in February 2000 was controlling and tuning their interaction with my listening room. Intuition, experience, trial and error—all came into play, as did several of the procedures and calculations covered by Jonathan Scull in his "Fine Tunes" column.
The Home Entertainment 2000 show, originally planned to be held in Rye, New York this spring, has been canceled. Show staff has received feedback from manufacturers and dealers, who feel that the rooms at the Rye venue are too small, and that a suburban location is not optimal. EmapUSA VP Jaqueline Augustine states that "We want to hold a successful show, and this venue could not guarantee our success."
There's not a lot of music in the bottom octave, and there's not a lot of information in the low bass of a movie soundtrack. But there is a lot of power down there in the rumbling subterranean region—power that adds palpable realism to every type of home entertainment. That's why we go to extremes in our search for low-frequency reinforcement: full-range loudspeakers, and multiple subwoofers, and digital room-correction systems.
The FM radio spectrum could soon get a lot more crowded, thanks to rules recently adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. New stations with broadcasting power of between 1W and 100W will be cropping up soon in communities all over the country, provided they don't interfere with existing stations, and provided they remain strictly noncommercial.