Audiophiles cringe at the idea of downloading blurry, compressed representations of once-detailed recordings (even CD seems high-rez these days). But that hasn't stopped average music fans from trying online music services.
We all know by now the perils of proclaiming a winner before all of the votes have been cast, but with the possible future of high-resolution audio and video data storage at stake, the temptation to call it early is great.
First, a prediction: some day we'll buy the nearly complete music library and the player will be free. Imagine getting a player pre-loaded with most songs in your favorite genre already installed, with room left over to add more and a subscription service for instant updates. Imagine even being able to buy the high-resolution library.
DualDisc has apparently stumbled hard right out of the gate. Earlier this year, test marketing of the DualDisc in Boston and Seattle indicated that music fans would eagerly accept the new format, one that combines standard Compact Disc audio content on one side with DVD (audio and video) on the other.
The surging popularity of portable music players has been a boon to makers of accessories for them, especially earphones. Many music fans travel for business, requiring long hours in noisy airplanes and other forms of mass transit, and earphones that offer the added benefit of blocking or reducing noise are always desirable.
Grokster, Ltd. plans to expand its Internet file-sharing services to include leveraging users' computers as sources for music streaming, according to news reports from Silicon Valley on Monday, November 15.
At nearly simultaneous press receptions in London and New York on November 17, B&W unveiled its new 800 series loudspeakers, the first complete redesign of this respected and venerable line in more than six years. Wisely, the presentation began with cocktails and a surprisingly entertaining technical description of the innovations. The latter offered many reassurances that, although all aspects of the 800 line were examined, no changes were made simply for the sake of change, and the basic design principles withstood this re-examination. Thus, when we were, at last, treated to the displayed speakers themselves, we were not surprised that they greatly resembled their predecessors, and we focused, instead, on the new features.
Karmazin joins Sirius: The satellite radio service gained some serious traction in its recent acquisition of former Viacom, Inc. president Mel Karmazin. Just one month after signing "shock jock" Howard Stern to a multimillion-dollar contract, Sirius signed Karmazin to a five-year contract, bringing him in as its new chief executive officer. Joseph Clayton will relinquish the CEO title but remain chairman of the board. Karmazin departed Viacom in June and began discussions in earnest with Sirius after the satellite service landed Stern, in a move Karmazin described as "brilliant." Karmazin had previously dismissed the potential of satellite radio, but now believes it could be huge—larger, perhaps, than the growth he helped nurture at Infinity Broadcasting, which he took from a few stations to more than 200. Sirius stock rose more than 10% on the day Karmazin's contract was announced.
In the world of digital audio, jitter has been a focus of audiophile attention for well over a decade. It is blamed for many of the sonic ills of which CD and other digital media have been accused. But here's a puzzle: The major source of frequency intermodulation distortion in audio systems—the loudspeaker—has largely escaped such withering inquiry. Why?