The shock news on November 18, 1998---that the highly regarded British speaker brand Mordaunt-Short was to be closed down (see previous story)---seems to have achieved the desired result. On December 30, Audio Partnership plc announced it was acquiring the Mordaunt-Short brand from TGI plc (Tannoy Goodmans International).
We are saddened to learn of the passing, on December 13, of audio writer Ann Turner. Ann, who was diagnosed earlier in the year as suffering from clear cell carcinoma, was a stalwart of high-end audio magazine The Abso!ute Sound---Editor Harry Pearson tells me he used to refer to her as "the Aquarian War God," a phrase she liked. She was also the inspiration and the driving force behind that publication's web site, The Abso!ute Sound.
Time to yank out the old oxygen-free crystal interconnects and gaze into audio's future for 1999. Now that www.stereophile.com has a year under its online belt, we should be able to read the sonic omens with greater resolution, or at least confine our mistakes to minor stumbles. First, we'll see how our prognostications for 1998 panned out, and spin them a little to tune in 1999. We'll add reader predictions at the bottom. Got your own predictions? Send 'em in!
J. Gordon Holt, founder not only of Stereophile but also of high-end audio journalism as we know it, reveals all in a comprehensive interview with writer Steven Stone: 35 Years and Just Getting Started.
Branding was once reserved for cowhide and breakfast cereals, but changes in the retailing landscape have fostered new approaches for everything from running shoes (Niketown) to cartoon-character merchandise (Disney and Warner Bros. stores) to clothes (Gap, etc.). In the audio market, Bose stores are now common sites in shopping malls, but few higher-ticket companies have taken the brand-store plunge.
What a year. Stereophile.com ran hundreds of stories in 1998, covering events big and small in the intersecting realms of business, publishing, technology, and music---with some irresistible oddities thrown in here and there as journalistic spice. It's overwhelming to look back over Stereophile's first full year of online publishing and see exactly how much has happened. We've gone far, and sometimes wide, to bring you the news from an audiophile perspective.
Really Big Hi-Fi came to live with me for a couple of months this past spring in the form of a pair of Tannoy Churchill loudspeakers. They were trucked directly to San Rafael, California from Kitchener, Ontario, in flight cases so bulky they could double as coffins for NFL offensive linemen. Once ensconced chez moi, the Tannoy dreadnoughts provoked bewilderment, alarm, curiosity, envy, admiration, awe, and amazement in all who heard and saw them.
As expected, the Recording Industry Association of America held a press conference last week to announce the formation of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), with which they hope to develop Internet downloading technologies for music. The move comes after a rough year for the music business, which has seen thousands of unauthorized websites offer copyrighted material for free using the MP3 audio format.
It helps to know the technical basics when building the ultimate audio system. J. Gordon Holt, pointing out that "knowledge is power," would like to see thousands of knowledgeable audiophiles girdling the planet, and so has created an excellent primer on audio basics called A is for Ampere.