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.
Michael Fremer heard that the Alesis MasterLink ML-9600 Hard Disk/CD-R Recorder "can sound better than all but the absolute top-drawer analog," and, of course, had to investigate. Mikey 'splains why audiophiles should take note of a machine generally used as a mastering tool by the recording industry.
Some Webcasters were given a stay of execution in late June, when the Librarian of Congress announced that they would be required to pay royalties at half the rate proposed by an arbitration panel last winter.
SACD partisans Sony and Philips continue to release new disc players that also decode DVD-Video, but not DVD-Audio. And arch-DVD-A supporter Meridian, as well as companies such as McIntosh, are releasing DVD-A and DVD-V players that don't do SACD. But there are exceptions, notably Pioneer, who debuted the first widely available "universal" player, the DV-AX10 SACD/DVD-A/CD player, last year.