IPOs are jumping and the Nasdaq is up—some mid-summer economic indicators point toward a recovery, but you wouldn't know it from retail reports. Circuit City, Good Guys, and Harvey Electronics are singing the blues, while discounter Costco is whistling all the way to the bank.
Have you ever had one of those conversations with your Significant Other that begins "But I thought you said..." and goes downhill from there? The Other's tone is condescending, and the body language—hands on hips, head slightly tilted—lets you know you're in big trouble.
There's nothing groundbreaking about the technology included in Naim's new $22,400, two-box, remote-controllable, top-of-the-line NAC 552 preamplifier. Still, the inclusion of two sets of RCA input jacks is a departure from Naim's tradition of DIN jacks, and the NAC 552's programmability is unusual for a high-end two-channel audio product. And you can order RCA output jacks at no extra cost, which is how my review sample was configured.
Dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, the music industry may finally be settling into an uneasy acceptance that its market and business model have changed. Only two months after the successful launch of Apple's iTunes Music Store, Billboard magazine announced that it would begin accounting for downloads in its weekly music rankings.
Harman International announced July 1 that it will close its Madrigal facility in Middletown, CT on August 30 as it continues to consolidate and reorganize its high-end brands under the Harman Specialty Group banner. Although the name Madrigal was itself not used as a brand on audio products, it had been the umbrella under which Harman had produced and distributed its Mark Levinson, Revel, Audio Access, and (recently discontinued) Proceed brands.
Beginning in November 1996, Sam Tellig, Muse Kastanovich, and John Atkinson took turns with the Musical Fidelity X-10D line-level preamplifier. "I'll reveal the true identity of X-10D in a moment," Tellig writes. "But I'll say straight off that for those of you with such CD players as the Marantz CD 63, RadioShack Optimus CD-3400, etc, this may be the most cost-effective CD upgrade ever to come down the pike."