If you peer back into audio history, you'll discover that long-term formats are generally established at the mass-market level and then perfected or re-invented by those with audiophile inclinations. One could argue that SACD and DVD-A are attempts at turning that rule on its head. But the slow start exhibited by both formats (with the copy-restriction issue a new and rather large stumbling block) indicates that, once again, the mass market needs to get involved before we can really move forward.
I had a wonderful audio moment the other night. It was late in the evening, after a long day. I was standing in the middle of my makeshift listening room—Trish's dining room—and in spite of the fact that we were moving in just a few weeks, I'd just unpacked and set up my combo of VPI TNT Mk.V-HR turntable and tonearm with Grado Statement cartridge and dug a box of LPs out of the stacks in the garage. I cued up Dave Brubeck's Time Out (Columbia/Classic CS 8192), and the first notes of "Blue Rondo à la Turk" froze me in my tracks.
For quite a while now, Pioneer and Marantz have stuck their necks out with the few universal SACD/DVD-A/DVD/CD players available. Not any longer, as Onkyo, Teac and Yamaha join the club with new machines, aimed at consumers hedging their bets as to who will win the high-rez format wars.
The Monsters are Due on Maple Street: In the 1960 Twilight Zone episode with this title, inexplicable power outages and celestial lights cause the citizens of an idyllic American town to accuse one other of being aliens. Fear feeds suspicion, hysteria turns to mayhem, and soon lynch mobs roam the streets and former friends are burning down each other's homes.
Following Apple Computer's lead in bringing high-resolution audio to the computing environment, Creative Technology announced last week several audio products intended to facilitate DVD-Audio playback via personal computer. The company is also offering suggestions for making a PC quiet enough for use in a dedictated listening system.
Everybody's favorite writer (according to the latest Stereophile poll), Sam Tellig, reviews the Conrad-Johnson MV60 power amplifier and explains "hanging beef." "For $2795, I loved the Conrad-Johnson MV60," says Tellig.
Hard as it is to believe, next year will be the 40th anniversary of Stereophile's famed "Recommended Components" feature. J. Gordon Holt first set the list to paper when the Beatles were first breaking big in the US, and its April and October appearances have stood as biannual audiophile institutions ever since.