Consolidation is a fact of modern corporate life, but the consumer electronics industry has generally bucked this trend and remained relatively fragmented. Notable exceptions include Harman International and Rockford Corporation (which recently acquired loudspeaker manufacturer NHT)—now it's time to add D&M Holdings to that sparse list.
Recent financial reports from the consumer electronics industry are all over the map, with some manufacturers reporting declines while others report gains. Sony and Samsung have both posted losses, but Toshiba and JVC made money. Pioneer is holding steady.
Federal judges have issued somewhat conflicting rulings in the ongoing legal battle over illegitimate file sharing. As the situation stands at the end of April, individuals may be held responsible for copyright violation, but the services they use in the process may not.
At one time the music industry was known as a cultural force. It could excite the public and change the course of history, even prodding some governments to attempt censorship. These days, the record labels themselves are acting more and more like a police force, looking for ways to restrict and control how music consumers behave.
The dCS Verdi/Purcell/Elgar system's ultra-high resolution and superb focus, and its ability to drive an amplifier directly, provided a good opportunity to compare my current reference cables, Harmonic Technology's Magic Woofer ($2000/8' set) and Pro-Silway II interconnects ($399/m pair, $240/add'l. meter) with Analysis Plus's far less expensive Solo Crystal Oval 8 speaker cable ($969/8' set) and Solo Crystal Oval 8 interconnect ($399/m, longer lengths available).
The streak of acquisitions for D&M Holdings continues. Last month saw the company pick up its third major consumer electronics brand when McIntosh Laboratory was brought into the fold with Denon and Marantz. Last week, D&M announced that it was successful in a bid to acquire certain assets comprising the digital video recorder and MP3 business units of troubled SONICblue.
Last week found Recoton struggling to keep its head above water. This week Gemini Industries tossed the beleaguered company a rope, announcing that it had reached an agreement to acquire Recoton's consumer electronics accessories business. In support of this transaction and Gemini's growth plan, the company raised new funding from Boston-based Parthenon Capital.
While doing background on the InnerSound Eros Mk.III electrostatic loudspeaker, Larry Greenhill discovers that "the presidents of all three American ESL companies share common names." But do they share a common sound? Greenhill investigates.
Over the past few years, PS Audio's P300 AC regenerator has been very well received by the audiophile community, winning praise (and a Stereophile "Recommended Components" listing) for its ability to lower the noise floor to vanishing levels and to extract unforeseen levels of performance from users' hi-fi systems. Good as it is, the P300 disappointed some because it can't supply enough current for power amps or other juice-hungry gear needing more than its 300W maximum. Some users also complained that despite the sonic improvement offered, the P300 was too bulky for its power rating, ran too hot, and drew too much current when simply idling.