Who wouldn't want to know what's in store for the extreme audio devotee? So we rolled a special set of aluminum Tiptoes, read the auspicious signs (you've got to understand how the tips point), and divined our first set of predictions. We'll have more next week, if the Mpingo dots line up just right.
It only makes sense. PBS, the most visible national broadcaster of classical-music-related programs, has decided to launch its own classical-music label. According to a recent story in Variety, several major record labels are competing for the rights to distribute the new label. It's common in the music business for larger labels to distribute smaller ones, and an association with the new PBS label is seen as a feather in the cap of whoever makes the deal.
As of October, Meridian America's new VP/Sales, replacing the late Ross Keim, was industry veteran Andy Regan, who started his high-end career at Manhattan retailer Sound by Singer. Most recently, Regan was VP/Sales at cable manufacturer AudioQuest. Not uncoincidentally, Joe Abrams has moved from cable manufacturer MIT to AudioQuest.
How much power do you really need? What does it do for you, anyway? Even before the single-ended renaissance, the prevailing wisdom was that you really didn't need that much power. When I had a pair of Met 7 speakers, even the "1 watt" indicator LED was hardly ever lit. Ditto for my time with a Threshold Stasis Two—all those cool power-indicator LEDs just sat there dark. Besides, everyone knows that power can be had only at tremendous cost, both monetary and in terms of other performance attributes.
Brilliant designs, spectacular initial success, rave reviews, explosive growth that stretches resources way beyond limits, too much attention to technology and too little to manufacturing and business practices, long hours, quality problems, conflicts between partners, and finally...
It won't be long before the Net-connected music lover will be able to sample and hold the tunes of his choice without having to visit Tower Records. High-speed transmission, high-density storage, and CD-quality music online---the three parts of the downloading puzzle---all fell into place the week of November 10.
When I first attended Comdex several years back, it was easy to feel like a fish out of water. My core interests were always high-end audio---and the computer biz at the time would get excited about anything that sounded as good as a telephone. But I was still curious about what all the brainiacs were up to.
"Comping," they call it at Madrigal. Once a circuit and its board layout have been finalized, passive components are substituted one by one in an exhaustive series of listening tests to determine the places where use of a premium part, or one of closer tolerances, results in an audible benefit. This fine-tuning process cannot be open-ended, however, as products do have to shipped. So what happens when new parts become available, or new manufacturing processes allow a better-sounding part to be used without financial penalty?