Audio Research Corporation is often considered one of the greybeards of the hi-fi business, having begun its audiophile life way back in 1970. Even so, the company, often noted for its tube equipment, is proving that it can still make a run at the cutting edge of amplifier design.
SACD and DVD-Audio have brought multichannel music back into the mix for many audiophiles. However, without an official digital connection standard in place, consumers must contend with multiple cables and then find a preamp designed to manage the analog signals and send them to various amplifiers.
Major Japanese electronics manufacturers reported mixed results for the quarter ended June 30, with Mitsubishi and Sharp posting sales gains, while Hitachi and JVC did not. Most electronics firms begin their fiscal year on April 1, making June 30 the end of the first quarter.
In his 1987 review of the Celestion System 6000 loudspeaker system, Martin Colloms notes, "In the audio field, the British have traditionally thought 'small,' scoring hits both with their compact loudspeakers and with medium-priced amplifiers." MC reveals why the compact but fullrange Celestions are one such hit.
Once again, audiophiles can help themselves and others at the same time by participating in The Cable Company's eighth annual "Summer Against Hunger" campaign. The Cable Company and a wide cross-section of its vendors (listed below) have set up a program by which up to 10% of The Cable Company's August sales are donated to CARE and the International Rescue Committee, with contributions to be used to assist the worldwide disaster relief efforts of those humanitarian organizations.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is reporting that sales of DVD-Video players also capable of playing high-resolution audio formats have taken off this year, compared to 2002. According to CEA market research, manufacturers shipped 148,000 DVD-A and 100,000 SACD players to retailers through May of this year.
The international uncertainties of 2003 have not been kind to the specialist hi-fi sector, and are probably a key factor in this week's shock announcement. In a statement that sounds depressingly valedictory, the press release (reproduced in full below) baldly states: "TAG McLaren Audio ceases development of new products and commences a full strategic review of its participation in the audio market," before signing off with, "TAG McLaren Audio would like to thank everybody for their kind support over the years."
Downloading audio files, whether through a paid music service or not, continues to grow as a means to accumulate music in the US. According to a recent Ipsos-Insight study, as of April 2003, nearly one-third of the general US population aged 12 or older has downloaded a music or MP3 file from the Internet. This translates into roughly 65 million downloaders.