At the recently concluded SAE-CEA Digital Car Conference in Detroit, representatives of the recording industry joined Panasonic for a DVD-Audio love-fest hailing the format as the "in-car music delivery system of the future." Panasonic's automotive electronics division used the conference and exhibition to introduce and demonstrate its first mobile DVD-Audio systems for OEM distribution. The company also hosted seminars exploring how it imagines DVD-Audio will specifically apply to and benefit the automobile industry.
Back in November of 2000, Kalman Rubinson took on the McCormack DNA-225 power amplifier, following the rebirth of the company that he had so admired. "McCormack is still the guiding spirit behind these new models, which incorporate aspects of the original designs, much of the SMc upgrades, and some new wrinkles. I quickly put in my bid for a test sample of the DNA-225." His analysis awaits.
Echoing the sentiments of their American counterparts, German music industry executives are blaming the popularity of the CD burner for slumping music sales. "More music is probably being heard now than ever before," said German Recording Industry Association president Gerd Gebhardt, "but the music is not paid for, because copying has become so cheap and easy."
Those unhappy with today's over-the-air broadcasting choices will be glad to know that this is shaping up as a busy year for new radio formats. The commercialization of the IBOC AM and FM digital broadcasting system is about to be revealed at the same time that Sirius satellite radio announces that it will be accelerating its rollout schedule in an effort to compete with rival XM satellite radio.
In my January "The Fifth Element" column, I discussed the concept of value in the context of audio component manufacture. This month's "Letters" includes a response to that column from Austrian distributor Hans Hirner. In his letter, Herr Hirner writes about some of his Web-surfing non-customers: "If that weren't enough, they also call me or my dealers to tell them how proud they are, after having taken all from me that is possible in system matching and trial—and even denoising their systems—to have been able to find 'our' products cheaper out there."
What could be easier to review than a power amplifier? No features or functions aside from inputs, outputs, and a power switch. So when Jonathan Scull asked if I could help out by taking on the Rotel RB 1080, which another reviewer hadn't been able to get to, I accepted the assignment. Before I could click my heels and say "FedEx!" twice, Rotel's 200Wpc RB 1080 had appeared.
Both SACD and DVD-Audio have been slow finding their way into higher-end players. Sony dominates the market for SACD, and the other major consumer electronics manufacturers are trickling out DVD-A and universal players. The few exceptions include SACD machines from Classé and Accuphase. Soon to be added to the list: Linn.
EMI Group PLC has gotten serious about surviving in a depressed market. In the wake of a disastrous multimillion-dollar payout to pop singer Mariah Carey, the UK music label has announced sweeping cutbacks in its workforce—including many American executives—and in its roster of artists.
"Even right out of the box, it's obvious that the Wadia Digital 861 CD player is something special," writes Brian Damkroger in this month's issue. "Its heft and finish are beyond the usual high-end standards." But how about the sound?