Last week, Texas Instruments, Liquid Audio, Fraunhofer, and SanDisk announced that they've teamed to offer what they describe as "the first complete solution" for the secure downloading of music off the Internet onto portable audio players. The companies say that their programmable DSP-based technology is the first to meet the newly released Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) guidelines for digital music portable devices, and is now available for manufacturers who want to develop secure players in time for Christmas 1999.
Loudspeaker designer Bill Eggleston has joined Cello Technologies Corporation. He will oversee the development of a new line of no-compromise loudspeakers, according to a company press release dated July 1. Eggleston designed the Andra loudspeaker, which was designated Stereophile's "Product of the Year" for 1997.
Want to start an argument on one of the audio newsgroups? Just mention ABX. Doesn't matter if you're for it, against it, or just curious about what it is---you'll start a fire that might take weeks to burn out. But before audio newsgroups even existed, J. Gordon Holt was probing the usefulness of the ABX Comparator in an "As We See It" column from 1982, "The Truth Should Out." His thoughts might surprise you.
Folk wisdom has it that it's wiser not to lock the gate after the horses have escaped. The Secure Digital Music Initiative, a consortium of 140 music, software, and hardware companies, has taken that adage to heart. In a significant departure from its original intent to block the distribution of free music on the Internet, the Secure Digital Music Initiative announced in the last week of June that its forthcoming specification for music software and hardware will accommodate the "legacy content" already in existence. There are reportedly as many as 500,000 songs available in the MP3 format, and they will continue to be available even as new, robustly encrypted music comes onto the market.
It's been 30 years since hordes of wild-eyed music lovers converged on White Lake, a small town just north of New York City, for an event that would soon become an icon for a generation. Could anyone back then have imagined that, three decades later, Woodstock would cost $150/ticket and evolve into a marketing opportunity and website?
At a hi-fi show in Germany a few years ago, an audio club had set up a room filled with a dozen well-known turntable/tonearm combos. I recall seeing the Clearaudio/Souther, Immedia RPM-2 and arm, VPI TNT Mk.IV/JMW Memorial, Basis 2500/Graham 2.0, Oracle/Graham, Linn LP12/Ittok, SME Model 20/SME V, and some others I can't remember, including a few not exported from Germany.
After establishing a reputation for building small, magnificent-looking, very expensive, stand-mounted loudspeakers, the Italian manufacturer Sonus Faber has hit the ground running. First came the moderately priced ($3500/pair) floorstanding Concerto Grand Pianos, and now the company's "statement" loudspeaker, the Amati Homage--a $20,000/pair visual stunner that earns its keep almost by looks and touch alone.
The high-end audio industry may be in a slump, but the public's appetite for recorded music appears as voracious as ever. MP3, the hottest upstart in the digital audio market, got a big boost in late June when Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. announced the next generation of its popular Rio digital music player, the Rio PMP 500, due to arrive in stores this fall.
Wednesday, June 23, was an auspicious day for Musicland Stores Corporation. That day the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based music and video retailer took its sales online. Four websites, each mirroring one of Musicland's four divisions, went live simultaneously with a promotional contest offering customers the chance to win daily and weekly prizes and a $10,000 grand prize---including a Sony home entertainment system. Participants can also win a trip for two to the World Wrestling Federation Summer Slam in Minneapolis on August 22.
Are audiophiles and recording engineers natural adversaries? From the many slings and arrows hurled back and forth between the camps, it would certainly seem so. Robert Harley asks, "But are recording engineers less concerned about sound quality than are audiophiles? If so, why? Isn't someone who has devoted his life to recording music more caring than the hobbyist audiophile? If not, why not?" Read his analysis of the issues in "A Clash of Values?" Also included is a lively volley of readers' letters.