Analog audio electronics are approaching "maturity," a state eventually achieved by most technologies, in which almost all the great discoveries have been made and progress becomes a process of increasingly arcane refinements. Digital audio is in no such danger, as evidenced by three new product announcements made the first week of April.
In a never-ending quest to control what it believes is an epidemic of piracy, the music industry in recent years has gone after Internet file-sharing startups, fly-by-night CD duplicators, foreign pirates operating on an industrial scale, college kids with too much time on their hands, and street-corner vendors hawking badly-duped cassettes. At times the anti-piracy campaign has reached the fervor of a witch hunt, with blame laid on the innocent as well as the guilty.
High-end audio and home-theater enthusiasts attending Home Entertainment 2002, The Hi-Fi and Home Theater Event in New York City on May 31–June 2, 2002, will have an opportunity to participate in a series of interactive seminars and panel discussions on the latest advances in technology—all included with the price of admission.
Back in September of 1986, the KEF R107 loudspeaker represented the flagship of KEF's much admired Reference Series. Dick Olsher and a variety of other Stereophile scribes profile this important audio achievement over the course of five years, wrapping up with Tom Norton's 1995 review of the R107/2 "Raymond Cooke Signature Edition."
You have to wonder what Sony is thinking. The product copy claims that the new Sony "VAIO Digital Studio" computer is the company's "incredible computing and entertainment hybrid combining television, recording, playback and even music." Oooops. Forget about that music part, especially if you purchase Sony Music's latest Celine Dion CD.
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.
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.
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."