We all know that women generally have better hearing than men and enjoy music at least as much as men do, but women are conspicuously absent from every segment of the high-end audio scene. The vast majority of high-end companies are owned by men, and any head count of female designers, retailers, reviewers, or consumers will yield a pitifully small number. High-end audio is a man's, man's, man's world.
Recent news from Universal Music Group should bode well for the SACD format. It's not exactly a flood, but the world's largest music company finally made good on the promise it made at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and announced last week its first Super Audio CD (SACD) titles to be released in the United States.
Making good on a promise made several months back, Avantgarde Acoustic is moving into the retail realm. The company's German-made horn loudspeakers are the featured products at Avantgarde Music & Cinema, a new showroom at 27 West 24th Street, Suite 502 in Manhattan. The store is privately owned and operated by Bob Visintainer, who emphasized that his business is "definitely Avantgarde focused" but also carries other brands of electronics and accessories.
To date, record label attempts at adding copy-control systems to CDs to restrict their use have been less than totally succesful. We've had Sony discs that get stuck in computers, discs that don't reliably play in all CD players, trademark violations, and CDs that generate lawsuits and consumer frustration from not being able to create a "fair-use" personal copy of a disc to throw in the car.
In August, the future looked cloudy for Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. Despite the eventual commercial promise of satellite radio, the startup suffered from massive debt accrued during its development and from a slow initial subscription rate. Company officials had discussed a possible bankruptcy filing if additional financing couldn't be found.