Back in 1985, J. Gordon Holt wrote: "It seems, these days, that many of us audiophiles have become so preoccupied with the minutiae of sound reproduction that we haven't even noticed that it doesn't sound like music any more." He was talking about the obsession with soundstaging and detail at the expense of musical accuracy. In "Getting the Notes Right (Midrange Madness)," he renders his lesson in classic JGH style, observing that "I have played on this old saw in these pages for so many years that it has turned into a dead sawhorse, but somehow the message never seems to get through. There should be no harm done by beating it into the ground a little farther."
CD recorders are the hottest ticket in audio at the moment. Philips and Marantz once dominated the category, but other manufacturers have recently jumped on board with their own versions, among them Pioneer and Harman/Kardon. Onkyo will introduce its DX-RD511 dubber later this month at the 1999 CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis. The machine is expected to arrive in stores in October—just in time for the holiday season.
J. Gordon Holt founded Stereophile in the fall of 1962 in order to promote the idea that the optimal way to judge audio components was to do what end users did: listen to them. Since then, Gordon has had an unbroken relationship with Stereophile, through its sale to Larry Archibald in 1982, my coming on board as editor in 1986, the sale of the magazine to Petersen Publishing in 1998, and the subsequent sale of Petersen to Emap in 1999. Through all this time he has been listed on the magazine's masthead as "Founder & Chief Tester." (A fascinating interview with Gordon, conducted by his associate and friend Steven Stone, can be found in this website's "Archives.")
More than a million CD recorders have been sold in the last 21 months, making the category one of the most rapidly developing segments in the history of the consumer electronics industry. The news was delivered by Philips executives at the end of August at the IFA trade and consumer exhibition in Berlin, Germany.
Earlier this month, at the Internationale Funkausstellung 1999 in Berlin, Germany, Syrinx music & media announced that, together with Panasonic/Technics and their new DVD-Audio players (see previous story), they successfully presented the world's first DVD-Audio disc. The Internationale Funkausstellung 1999 ran from August 28 until September 5 under the theme of "Your World of Consumer Electronics."
A quarter-million dollars' worth of recording and duplicating equipment and hundreds of thousands of counterfeit compact discs and cassette tapes were just part of the booty seized by New York's Suffolk County police in what has been called the "biggest bust of bootleg music in US history." Twelve people were arrested in raids during the first week of September at warehouses in Manhattan, Queens, and Long Island.
Want to start an audio newsgroup fire-fight? Just put the three letters "ABX" in the subject line of your post, sit back, and watch the pros take over. Read where it all started 15 years ago in "The Highs & Lows of Double-Blind Testing," which John Atkinson has compiled from the years 1985 and 1986, when an argumentative thread ran through Stereophile's pages discussing the benefits (or lack of) of double-blind testing methods in audio component reviewing—all triggered by J. Gordon Holt's review of the ABX Comparator.
Beginning September 21, more than 50 music retailers will offer David Bowie's new album, hours . . ., as a digital download from their websites. Other companies have released promotional singles, but the event will be the first time an entire album has been offered by a record company over the Internet. The Internet release will run about two weeks, leading up to the October 5 debut of the album in stores. Bowie was one of the first major recording artists to venture onto the Internet, with his 1997 single, "Telling Lies."
When Sony introduced the first Super Audio CD (SACD) player, the SCD-1 (see previous report and Jonathan Scull's forthcoming review in the November 1999 Stereophile), audiophiles who heard it were impressed with its performance, but wondered if its $5000 price tag would keep it out of the market for a while. Last week, Sony announced their second SACD player, the SCD-777ES, to appear in October at the slightly more wallet-friendly price of $3500.
The year was 1956, and Elvis had just finshed his set on the December 15 Louisiana Hayride radio show. Elvis was one of a half-dozen acts that were broadcast that night on KWKH, the radio station that originated Hayride. After his encore, Elvis left the stage and the crowd went wild—so wild that they would not stop screaming for more of the soon-to-be king of rock'n'roll. Because several acts on the bill had not yet performed, the show's announcer, Horace Logan, went to the microphone in an attempt to quiet the audience, and ended up making a little music history.