Lights out in Gloversville: Universal Music Group's record-pressing plant in Gloversville, NY will shut its doors on May 6, 2005. Founded in 1953 as part of the Brunswick Radio Corporation of America, the plant (and the parent corporation) were acquired in 1962 by Decca, which was itself merged into MCA—and later, UMG, now part of Vivendi Universal.
When I submitted my Records 2 Die 4 selections this past winter, it seemed inevitable that I include a web radio station. Not only had I enjoyed listening to www.techwebsound.com more than anything else last year, but it had exposed me to more new music and led to more music purchases than any other source—by a wide margin.
Mozart: Piano Music
Sonata in a, K.310; March in C, K.408; Courante in E-flat, K.399; Gigue in G, K.574; Rondo in a, K.511; Sonata in F, K.533/494
Richard Goode, piano
Nonesuch 79831-2 (CD). 2005. Max Wilcox, prod., eng. DDD. TT: 59:32
These days, too many audio stores are like hushed mausoleums. Audio gear is displayed like dead art, and the sales staff, unless you're known as a regular customer, either greets you with a predatory gleam or, certain that you've wandered in by mistake, ignores you.
In 1985 or so, a middle-aged audiophile who lived in New York City called to invite me to come listen to his stereo: It was, he assured me, the best in the world. All he wanted was the pleasure of my opinion, for which he offered the princely sum of $100. (As I learned in the months and years to come, this same audiophile called virtually every other audio writer in the metropolitan area whose phone number he could get hold of, making the same offer.)
Twelve years ago, loudspeaker manufacturer NHT launched its model 3.3, a floorstanding, full-range design that Corey Greenberg summed up in the March 1994 Stereophile as doing "everything I want a He-Man reference loudspeaker to do...I find myself without a single area of performance I've heard bettered by any other speaker." The NHT 3.3 basically combined a high-performance monitor with a sideways-firing subwoofer in the same enclosure, and when I first saw NHT's Evolution T6 system at the 2002 CEDIA convention, I was reminded of the classic 3.3, but a 3.3 updated for the needs of home theater as well as music. And despite inflation and the incorporation of a line-level crossover and a pair of monoblock amplifiers to drive the subwoofers, a two-channel T6 system costs the same as a pair of 3.3s: $4000.
T+A adds tubes and analog to SACD: German high-end manufacturer T+A has announced its new, tubed, $9500 D10 SACD/CD player. The D10 incorporates many of the same components found in the company's SACD 1245R, including the disc mechanism and DAC However, the D10 contains two more powerful power supply sections, a toroidal transformer with a secondary switching section for its digital parts, and a high-voltage mains section with 100,000µF of reservoir capacity for its analog tube stage.
On Tuesday, March 29, 2005, the US Supreme Court heard the oral arguments for the case of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. This was widely covered in the mainstream news media, as well as all over the Web, but none of the synopses of the case did true justice to the give-and-take of the arguments, as I discovered this week when I stumbled upon a .pdf transcription of the complete oral arguments.
As Jon Iverson points out in another posting this week, a surprising number of readers expect downloads to be a viable music acquisition option in the very near future. Perhaps it's closer than we think.