When it comes to power, VTL's Luke Manley is definitely in the "more is better" camp. But when Lonnie Brownell sat down to listen to the VTL ST-85 tube power amplifier, he elected to start with a single amp and go for more power later. Lonnie writes: "How's about I go with just one amplifier for a while? After all, that's what most people would buy, at least at first. Then I can drop in another one and see what that does." But in the end, was one enough? Brownell tells all.
The Walkman is 20 years old. As part of its celebration of one of the most successful audio products in history, Sony has introduced its first personal music player with the capability of downloading music from the Internet. The new Walkman employs Sony's "memory stick" technology to store audio files as large as 32 megabytes. The latest Walkman, which was unveiled last week in Japan and New York, is expected to retail at approximately $400 and should appear in stores in January.
Last week at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York City, Sonic Solutions announced that it plans to introduce what it says is the world's first digital audio workstation based on Sony's new Direct Stream Digital (DSD) technology. Sonic says that the new system, SonicStudio HD-DSD, is being developed in cooperation with Sony Corporation and will provide the recording industry with a mastering tool for the new Super Audio CD (SACD) format.
Last week, Cirrus Logic unveiled two new Crystal digital-to-analog converters that the company says will support both dueling high-definition audio standards: DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD). As a result, the new DACs should enable the creation of universal DVD players for both the mass and high-end audio markets. The new DACs are the CS4397 "SuperDAC," which the company describes as a "high-performance audio DAC on a single chip" with 120dB dynamic range performance; and the CS4391, a lower-cost DAC also supporting DVD-Audio and SACD and sporting a 108dB dynamic range.
When we reviewed Pioneer's flagship Elite DV-09 DVD player in our September 1998 issue, it blew us away so much that it garnered an Editors' Choice award (see the February 1999 issue) as the best DVD player we had reviewed up to that time. This opinion has not changed in the intervening months, but at $2000, the DV-09 is more than many home-theater fans can afford (or justify) for a DVD player. The Elite DV-05, introduced earlier this year, provides many of the features and most of performance capabilities of the DV-09 at a more affordable price.
Call me sentimental, but I'm sad to see turntables disappear. They were my original calling. Back in 1973 or so, when a kid from my neighborhood insisted that I see his brother-in-law's "fantastic stereo," I was entranced by a huge Pioneer receiver and walnut AR3a speakers. But most alluring by far was the Marantz turntable. Its brushed stainless-steel controls and gleaming, chromed tonearm made it look like some delicate and expensive scientific instrument. Compared to the all-in-one plastic unit I played my Partridge Family records on, the mere sight of it put me on the audiophile path. (And I mean just the sight of it. We weren't allowed to touch.) Eventually, his brother-in-law played a record for me—Gordon Lightfoot's Endless Wire. Since that day, I can chart the passage of my life according to the turntables I've owned—if it's VPI, this must be Chicago.
Citing large crowds of design engineers and consumers at its World PC Expo Pavilion in Japan last week, Texas Instruments' James Snider, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association, predicted a surge in product design based on the 1394/FireWire/i.Link standard in the coming year. Snider says that the demand for 1394 PC and consumer products is accelerating worldwide "as users become aware of the quality of video and audio that can be easily and efficiently transported in home, office, and theater environments."
Troy Kosovich, Dynaudio's director of marketing, died Tuesday, September 14 in a single-car accident near Bozeman, Montana. According to a newspaper report, he apparently lost control of his Isuzu Rodeo while returning to his hotel after an evening with a client. Troy was 37 years old and is survived by his wife, Angel, and his three-year-old son, Killian.
Want to know how Michael Fremer is able to tie a story about his baffled plumber into an equipment review? Find out in his report on the Audio Physic Virgo loudspeaker. About the speakers, Mikey writes: "Clearly, the Virgos disappeared, leaving one of the most credible three-dimensional soundstages I've ever experienced in any of my listening rooms over the years."
A company unknown outside the broadcast industry is poised to become the next big player in radio. Entercom Communications Corp, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, has moved to the head of the pack in the race to buy 31 FM and 15 AM stations from Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation. The $824.5 million purchase is being financed in part by a public stock offering that Entercom floated last January.