Do good things come in small packages? Audio technology over this past half century offers pretty good evidence that they do. Fifty years ago, the long-playing record amazed people with a half-hour of music per side, compared to the 78's few minutes. Thirty years ago, the cassette tape replaced bulky open reels, ushering in a new era of recording capability—and portability—for millions of people. Twenty years ago, the CD began to push the LP out of the way because it packed a little more music into a much smaller and more durable package. Personal radios have long been hugely popular, and portable audio players are consistently among the industry's best-selling products.
Napster may be down for the count, but its millions of former members are happily swapping audio files elsewhere, according to an October 10 report from technology research firm Jupiter Media Metrix Inc.
As the results from last week's Vote prove, having the right tool for the audiophile job makes all of the difference. And a lot of you selected the Stereophile Test CD 3 as your weapon of choice for uncovering the good, the bad, and the ugly of a component under consideration. Here's the complete story on the most recent test disc from Stereophile and company.
The final numbers aren't in yet, but all indications point to an astounding show of support from the audiophile community for the Audio Charity Auction conducted by Audio Asylum's Rod Morris and Audiogon's Arnie Chinta. The numbers are still stacking up, but as of Sunday, October 7, the benefit had raised $173,738 from over 400 closed auctions.
Last week, Napster announced that it had reached a preliminary agreement with US songwriters and music publishers to settle a class action lawsuit currently pending in federal court in California. The beleaguered company says the agreement includes terms under which the songwriters and music publishers will license their music to Napster's new membership-based service.
Last week, Cirrus Logic unveiled what it is calling the world's highest-performance six- and eight-channel D/A converters, which the company says will give consumers the ability to decode high-resolution multichannel surround content at home or in the car. The converters are the latest addition to Cirrus Logic's Total-E platform group of products.
How likely would you be to buy a computer, TV, or DVD player knowing that it could monitor your activities and automatically report possible copyright violations to the federal government? That's one of the nightmare scenarios that could evolve from the proposed Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA), drafted by Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings and strongly backed by Walt Disney Company and other members of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Let's try to imagine the ideal music-buying landscape from a record company's point of view. As distasteful as this may seem to an ever-growing legion of unhappy audiophiles and music fans, it can go a long way towards explaining why the major labels appear to suddenly be at war with their customers.