LED ZEPPELIN: How the West Was Won Atlantic 83587-2 (3 CDs). 2003. Jimmy Page, prod.; Eddie Kramer, orig. eng.; Kevin Shirley, reissue eng.; Drew Griffith, asst. eng. AAD?. TT: 2:49:51 Performance ****½ Sonics ***
For those who frequent the audio discussion groups on the Internet, the method by which Stereophile selects products for review seems to be a continuing source of fascination and conjecture. Supporters of fledgling manufacturers—whose products these Webcrawlers just happen to own—rail against the rule that products to be reviewed in the magazine must have at least five US dealers. Some suggest that Stereophile's selection of review products is all about catering to advertisers and friends in the industry, a process that seems intended to exclude their favorite products from consideration.
Major Japanese electronics manufacturers reported mixed results for the quarter ended June 30, with Mitsubishi and Sharp posting sales gains, while Hitachi and JVC did not. Most electronics firms begin their fiscal year on April 1, making June 30 the end of the first quarter.
Satellite radio services Sirius and XM both appear headed for a healthy future. The companies both report robust growth in new subscribers. Sweetheart deals with automakers and car rental agencies will expose ever-increasing numbers of consumers to the benefits of commercial-free music.
The marque may be gone, but Proceed's PAV audio/video preamplifier is not forgotten. In 1994, Thomas J. Norton examined the breakthrough the PAV represented, stating, "It was inevitable that traditional high-end audio manufacturers would begin producing equipment for the fast-growing home-theater market."
Audio Research Corporation is often considered one of the greybeards of the hi-fi business, having begun its audiophile life way back in 1970. Even so, the company, often noted for its tube equipment, is proving that it can still make a run at the cutting edge of amplifier design.
SACD and DVD-Audio have brought multichannel music back into the mix for many audiophiles. However, without an official digital connection standard in place, consumers must contend with multiple cables and then find a preamp designed to manage the analog signals and send them to various amplifiers.
In his 1987 review of the Celestion System 6000 loudspeaker system, Martin Colloms notes, "In the audio field, the British have traditionally thought 'small,' scoring hits both with their compact loudspeakers and with medium-priced amplifiers." MC reveals why the compact but fullrange Celestions are one such hit.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is reporting that sales of DVD-Video players also capable of playing high-resolution audio formats have taken off this year, compared to 2002. According to CEA market research, manufacturers shipped 148,000 DVD-A and 100,000 SACD players to retailers through May of this year.