Don't smirk, but a lot of audiophiles, including this writer and our esteemed editor John Atkinson, spend a considerable amount of time listening to music on their computers, especially at work. In fact, the results from our recent online poll about computers and listening habits indicate that at least 60% of our readers listen this way as well, with half of those using their PCs for music playback "quite often."
First, the bad news: Sales of stand-alone, two-channel audio products declined in the month of June by 1.8% to $164 million, according to recently published statistics from the Consumer Electronics Association.
After the 2001 show's wildly successful run earlier this year, Home Entertainment 2002 is heading back again to the heart of New York City. HE2002 will take place May 30–June 2, 2002 at the Hilton New York.
There are only a few short days left, but once again, audiophiles can help themselves and others at the same time by participating in The Cable Company's sixth annual "Summer Against Hunger" campaign. The Cable Company (and www.usedcable.com), along with several manufacturers and audiophile publications, have set up a program by which they offer to donate up to 10% of August sales to CARE and the International Rescue Committee, these contributions to be used to assist the worldwide disaster relief efforts of those humanitarian organizations.
From the August 2001 issue, we have Michael Fremer's illuminating review of the Audio Physic Avanti III loudspeaker. Fremer wonders how Audio Physic can top the outstanding price/performance success of its middle-of-the line Virgo model with a speaker that costs twice as much. As Fremer asks, "Is the Avanti twice as good as the Virgo? More than twice as good? Or is it just another competent but undistinguished design?"
Maybe it's because those Yanks are so contentious, but it appears that most of the initial CD copy-protection activity is taking place in Europe (see previous). Last week, Phoenix, AZ–based SunnComm announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with Sonopress of Germany for implementation of its MediaCloQ technology in manufacturing facilities located all over Europe.
Success can be a two-edged sword. With the Virgo (reviewed in September 1995), Audio Physic created a $5000/pair benchmark product at the midpoint of the company's speaker lineup. While an upgraded, $5800 Virgo is due out soon, the original version will remain in production, its price dropping to $4495/pair—less than it cost six years ago.
While Napster was thriving a few short months ago, the music business was noisily seething and quietly plotting. How could they put the digital audio genie back into the content-control bottle? Although Napster has since been gutted, the labels have identified the unprotected CD as the source of their woes, and now it's payback time.
When does cooperation become collusion? When does collusion become anti-competitive? Investigators at the US Justice Department have begun asking such questions in regard to plans by major music labels to make their wares available on the Internet.