Every summer, I invite a representative sample of Stereophile's equipment reviewers to the magazine's Santa Fe HQ. For the third successive year, I decided to tape some of the free-for-all discussion that takes place and offer readers the opportunity of peeking over the participants' shoulders by publishing a tidied-up version of the transcript.
One of the differences between mass-market and high-end audio is in product model longevity. By this I don't mean that high-end products necessarily last longer—although I think they generally do—but that models remain in a manufacturer's product line longer, perhaps being refined in an evolutionary manner. This helps products retain their value, and, when new models are introduced, these involve more than a cosmetic upgrade and some additional bells'n'whistles.
Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)---the well-publicized successor to VHS tapes, compact discs (CDs), and CD-ROMs---will struggle in the video and music industries, but be a major success for the personal computer industry, according to a recent report from Forrester Research. The report concludes that PC manufacturers will rapidly embrace DVD, resulting in an installed base of 53 million DVD-equipped PCs by 2002.
Only a few days remain until Christmas. Trees, tinsel, twinkling lights, and . . . tunes. It's the audiofool's most dreaded time of the year, when he once again suffers through his nine-thousandth experience of Bing Crosby crooning "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Sheer torture.
Rolling Stone is going head-to-head with MTV. Last week, Wenner Media, Inc, announced a partnership with JamTV to create a music site on the Web. Wenner is the parent company of Rolling Stone magazine. JamTV is an eight-month-old Internet start-up that broadcasts live concerts.
More high-end audio company musical chairs: Howard Schilling, co-founder and Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Camelot Technology, will now also join Genesis Technologies as National Sales Manager after having "quietly" worked with them in the past.
UK electronics specialty manufacturer Audiolab has been taken over by leading Grand Prix car-racing company TAG McLaren---or, more precisely, by the TAG McLaren Group. A newly formed company, TAG Electronics Holdings Ltd., will be the parent of both Cambridge Systems Technology Ltd. (which trades as Audiolab) and TAG Electronic Systems Ltd. (which supplies specialist, low-volume electronic engine-management systems to exclusive high-end automobile brands).
You'd be hard-pressed to find a company more protective of its reputation than Krell. At a recent meeting of the Academy for the Advancement for High End Audio and Video, a motion was made to replace the phrase "High End" with the more purely descriptive "High Performance." Krell's CEO, Dan D'Agostino, objected—while he knew the description fit his products, he wasn't sure about those from some of the other members.
It's been a tough couple of years for those who like to make digital copies of audio recordings. What started with SCMS copy-restriction schemes in DAT machines has quickly spilled over into current digital formats such as those proposed for DVD-Audio. But a glimmer of hope has shone through the haze.