A surreal event took place at the 1991 Audio Engineering Society Convention when loudspeaker cables were put on the witness stand. Robert Harley details the amazing event as it unfolded, along with many unexpected twists and turns, in "Audio McCarthyism."
Last week, The Recording Industry Association of America released its year-end anti-piracy statistics, which it says reveal an increase in the number of counterfeit and pirate CDs and CD-recordables confiscated in 1998. "We've had tremendous success this year with our anti-piracy initiatives," said Frank Creighton, senior vice president and director of anti-piracy. "Between the many CD plants around the country adopting better business practices to the scores of universities signing up for our copyright education program---we're making strides on all fronts."
Stereophile magazine is pleased to announce that senior contributing editor Jonathan Scull has joined its full-time staff as senior editor. As of April 19, 1999, he will be based at parent company Emap Petersen's office on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan's Flatiron district.
Nagra's VPA amplification system consists of two slim, handsome monoblock amplifiers intended for vertical placement. They look good adjacent to the speakers. However, two 845 tubes put out a lot of heat, so the amplifier should be at least a foot away from your speakers...unless you're looking for a nice crackle finish.
Last month (click here for previous Fine Tunes) I tipped you on how to check the AC plug orientation for transformer current leakage—the best sound is often found at the lowest voltmeter reading. Roger Skoff of XLO suggests another technique that's worth passing on to you, if only because the imagery is so . . . piquant: Leave the speaker cables hooked up and pull the interconnects from the power amplifier. Turn it on and "stick your head in the speaker," as Roger puts it, checking for the level of hum. (Imagine a pair of bony audiophile legs waving crazily out of the bell of an Avantgarde Acoustics horn speaker.)
Advances in audio reproduction typically proceed with tiny steps that, in time, add up to major systemic improvements. In this industry, quantum leaps in basic technology rarely happen. DiAural Doppler decoding may be one of them.
Last week saw a flurry of announcements in the online audio and video streaming business, capped off by Yahoo!'s acquisition of Broadcast.com. Yahoo! says it has signed a definitive agreement with Broadcast.com whereby Yahoo! will issue 0.7722 of a share of Yahoo! common stock for each share of Broadcast.com common stock. In addition, all outstanding options of Broadcast.com will be converted into Yahoo! options. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 1999 and is valued at around $5.7 billion, including $4.8 billion in Broadcast.com common stock and $900 million in stock options.
Any audiophile who stumbles onto one of the more cantankerous audio newsgroups ("wreck audio opinion," anyone?) may wonder what has happened to the modern breed of audiophiles. One suspects that religious wars pale when compared to how some audio pundits jostle against each other! But over the years, there has always been a wide variety of opinion. For a perspective written decades ago that still holds true today, we present J. Gordon Holt's classic "Why Hi-Fi Experts Disagree."
History teaches us that the full flowering of any social phenomenon takes place after the seeds of its destruction have been sown. That tourist magnet, London's Buckingham Palace, for example, was built decades after the English Revolution and the Restoration had redefined the role of the British monarchy as being merely titular, and made the elected Parliament the real seat of power.