Chip manufacturer ESS Technology is no stranger to audiophiles interested in new formats. It was responsible for one of the first "universal" SACD/DVD-Audio decoding chips and more recently was the supplier of a special-purpose chip for Linn's SACD "Silver Disk Engine" designs.
Brian Damkroger finds that the Magnepan Magneplanar MG1.6/QR loudspeaker and a 1973 Porsche 911 have much in common: "Each has grown out of the vision of a single, brilliant designer. Each reflects the long, steady evolution of a basic design, and the consistent focus on a core set of engineering criteria." BD then listens for the fruits of this approach to speaker design and writes up the results.
Joe Abrams has an impressive audio resume. "I've been on the manufacturer's side of the desk since 1979," he says. That's when he started as national sales manager for Monster Cable. A few years later found Abrams as director of sales at Sumiko, and then in 1987 he started as VP of sales at Threshold. In 1991 Abrams joined cable start-up Tara Labs and quickly helped them establish a dealer network before moving on to MIT.
Beginning next year, XM Satellite Radio won't merely offer 100 channels of news, sports, talk shows, and the entire spectrum of music nationwide. Thanks to a partnership announced May 30 with Command Audio Corporation, XM will allow listeners to personalize their radio programming.
In his review of the Meridian 508.24 CD player, Wes Phillips finds the machine "a beautiful design with impeccable technical credentials—a CD player that belongs, with only a few others, at the very sharpest portion of the leading edge, and that joins them in producing sound that is highly musical and hard to criticize."
If you think the name Viola Audio Laboratories sounds familiar, wait 'til you hear the names behind it: Tom Colangelo, Paul Jayson, and Tony DiSalvo—all former officers at Cello. Viola, working out of Cello's former New Haven facilities, is now producing a complete line of electronics, from the $18,000 modular Spiritu preamp to the $12,000 Bravo Double Set monoblock amplifier. The company also manufactures audio cables and a modular loudspeaker, the $18,000/pair Allegro, as well as an $18,000 subwoofer, the Basso. The system certainly is elegant-looking, and it sounded impressively coherent in a small hotel room—and that was with both the Allegro's bass module and subwoofer disconnected!
HE 2002's first day was filled with press conferences, but none was more widely anticipated than Sony's. The pre-conference chatter was filled with insiders insisting they positively knew for a fact that Sony was confirming last week's rumor that Universal and Sony were discontinuing CD manufacture in favor of dual-layer SACDs—and also by insiders who insisted it was simply a rumor.