George Harrison, the youngest Beatle, and the least comfortable with the band's renown, died November 29 at 58, following a battle with cancer. Harrison, one of rock's most distinctive guitarists, was also a songwriter and singer of the first water. It could be said that it was his misfortune to be the third songwriter in a band that featured the two most significant tunesmiths of his era. On the other hand, without Harrison's unique, exquisitely tasteful, musically wide-ranging guitar playing—which, in its consistent submission to the requirements of the individual songs, rarely drew attention to itself—Lennon and McCartney might have just been another band.
Dolby Laboratories was demonstrating its new Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) consumer encoder, which the company says complements its professional AAC encoder, at this year's New York AES Convention. Dolby says it will license the encoder to enable "high-quality AAC encoding" for CD-rippers, hard disk–based jukebox products, Internet-based music distribution systems, portable players, and other digital audio products aimed at the consumer market.
PS Audio's Power Plant AC-regeneration devices have taken the audio and home-theater worlds by storm. The P300 was voted 2000 Accessory of the Year in Stereophile (December 2000), and the P600 won the Editors' Choice Platinum Award in Stereophile Guide to Home Theater (January 2001). The Power Plant differs from conventional power-line conditioners (PLCs) in that it doesn't just "clean up" AC but actually synthesizes (or regenerates) it. Each Power Plant is essentially a special-purpose amplifier, producing AC to run the equipment plugged into it, the maximum output wattage indicated by the model number. (The most powerful Power Plant available is the P1200, which produces 1200W.)
Record label attempts at restricting the potential uses of their CDs have hit another bump in the antipiracy road. Music label BMG had announced earlier this year that it would try to find ways to restrict its CDs, in an effort to stem piracy and the trading of MP3 files. But those plans appear to have backfired, so far.
Citing poor sales in North and South America, EMI reported that it lost $77.6 million during the first six months of its business year, ended September 30, compared to a loss of $44.3 million for the same period last year.
Purported financial difficulties haven't prevented Tower Records from developing a massive new flagship store in Los Angeles. Occupying more than 33,000 square feet, the new store in the renovated Sherman Oaks Galleria features a "state-of-the-art" performance stage and a Super Audio CD demonstration room.
Jonathan Scull takes a gander at the dCS Purcell D/D converter, and tries to make sonic sense out of the merits of upsampling. Scull writes, "So while the true differences between upsampling and oversampling remain murky, my pleasant mission is to report on the sound of the Purcell and compare it to the latest version of the pro-audio version, the 972."
Classé's Mike Viglas watched the audiophile skies, scratched his chin, and thought about his business. As he gazed, it occurred to him that if everyone in audio was moving downmarket to invade his territory, why not take his company and head upmarket? Thus was born Classé's much-lauded Omega series.