There may be thousands of audio manufacturers around the world, but there are only a handful of ways for them to sell their products. These include your traditional bricks-and-mortar dealer network (everything from small audio boutiques to mass-market chains), the online or mail order retailer, direct sales via the Web or catalog, or direct sales via a company store.
Jonathan Scull gets intimate with the HeadRoom BlockHead headphone amplifier stating, "I listen to headphones for hours at a stretch while writing my reviews. The equipment I listen to spoils me to death, and I need a headphone rig to match." Has J-10 found the ultimate headphone amp? We'll see.
As almost any Stereophile reader could tell you, if the record labels want to stem the rushing tide of big-time music piracy, they should consider starting with lower CD prices at retail. In other words, lessen the incentives that drive the illicit music market, and eliminate a sizable percentage of the problem overnight.
With whom are you most intimate? Your wife? Husband? Your modern-times Significant Other? Your pet? Or, like a lot of audiophiles, is it your audio system? Do you nitpick and tweak it as if it were your pet?
We've learned to pretty much ignore consumer electronics company announcements for their latest CD and DVD players/burners. The usual "breakthrough" turns out to be yet another faster record/playback speed bump, or a longer list of compatible formats (Panasonic's latest recorder, announced last week, can handle—take a deep breath—DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, and CD-ROM discs).
The copy cat will soon be out of the bag down under. Australia's musical copyright society has reluctantly agreed to the deployment of CD-copying kiosks throughout the nation in exchange for what an Australian news site calls "a modest royalty payment" of about 6% of the $5AUS copying fee—or 30¢ per disc.
Earlier this year, Kalman Rubinson spent some time with the Rotel RB 1080 power amplifier. "What could be easier to review than a power amplifier? No features or functions aside from inputs, outputs, and a power switch," remarks KR. But as Rubinson finds, it's the details that count.