Last week, Philips Electronics and Sony Corporation announced the completion of Version 1.0 of the Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) format specification. According to a statement, the format specification will be released to licensees early this month to allow hardware manufacturers and software providers to begin preparing products for launch in the coming months.
Fans of Macintosh computers and Betamax videotape are fond of pointing out that in the free market, the best technologies don't necessarily win. That scenario may be playing out again in the case of VQF, a digital audio transfer and storage technology originally developed several years ago by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.
Singer Dusty Springfield died at her home near Oxford, England last Tuesday, March 2, a few weeks before what would have been her 60th birthday and only one day before she was to have appeared at Buckingham Palace to be honored by Queen Elizabeth. The cause was breast cancer.
The English flat-panel speaker company New Transducers Ltd., also known as NXT, recently announced a new transparent loudspeaker technology called SoundVu that the company says will enable television and computer screens to function simultaneously as loudspeakers.
Ethics and high-end audio have always been a tangled web---especially when it comes to deciding whether to purchase equipment from a helpful local dealer or trying to find the best price possible. In the web reprint of February 1999's "The Final Word," Stereophile's publisher emeritus, Larry Archibald, examines a recent high-end purchase of his own to shed a little light on the dilemma faced by the audiophile grinding for a great deal. Also included are some choice reader responses.
I first saw and heard SimAudio's Moon amp and preamp at WCES two years back, and something about their aesthetics appealed to me: Canadian ruggedness coupled with a decidedly French panache. I remember that those attributes also characterized the demo's sound, although I can't recall the speakers or the sources involved. At succeeding shows, it gradually dawned on me that the Moon components were the fixed elements in a succession of impressive demos.
Audio magazine has appeared to have been in difficulties of late, with falling circulation, advertising revenues, and issue size. The current editor-in-chief, Michael Riggs, has worked hard in the past few years to create a more appealing editorial product, since he replaced long-term editor Gene Pitts. However, an even bigger change is now taking place.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Tracks Columbia CXK 69475 (4 CDs). 1998. Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Plotkin, prods., engs.; Jon Landau, Stevie Van Zandt, Roy Bittan, Mike Appel, Jim Cretecos, John Hammond, orig. engs.; Ed Thacker, Bob Clearmountain, Thom Panunzio, remix engs. AAD? TT: 4:13:30 Performance ***** Sonics ****?
Rumors have been confirmed that high-end audio journal Fi Magazine, which just entered its fourth year of publication, closed its doors last Friday, February 26. In a conversation with Stereophile publisher emeritus Larry Archibald, former Fi editor Jonathan Valin commented that "It was really a shame. I never worked so long and so hard on anything, and it didn't have to end the way it did---but I don't want to go into it. The money was there to keep it going." John Atkinson had been told at CES by a Fi spokesperson that a new source of investment had been found, but we can only assume that the deal fell through.
Unit sales of CD players rebounded in 1998, rising 4% to $336 million, according to statistics from the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association. All segments of the CD hardware market---single-play, carousel changers, and mega-disc changers---improved over the big slump of 1997, when unit sales fell 60% and dollar sales fell 40%. Through November 1998, single-disc player sales were up 33% in units and 24% in dollar volume. Carousel changers, component-CD's largest segment, rose 15% in units and 7.5% in dollars during the first three quarters of 1998.