Perhaps it's the air in San Francisco, or more likely the fact that exhibitors and attendees were equally upbeat, but I came back from Home Entertainment 2003, held at the grand old Westin-St. Francis Hotel days before I write this month's column, jazzed. I was one of 15,123 consumer, international press, and trade attendees, according to the official stats, and we were treated to more than 100 exhibit rooms showing and demonstrating 225 brands of audio and home-theater gear. Stereophile's full report on what we saw and heard at the Show will appear in our September and October issues, while our web coverage can be found starting here(footnote 1).
LED ZEPPELIN: How the West Was Won Atlantic 83587-2 (3 CDs). 2003. Jimmy Page, prod.; Eddie Kramer, orig. eng.; Kevin Shirley, reissue eng.; Drew Griffith, asst. eng. AAD?. TT: 2:49:51 Performance ****½ Sonics ***
For those who frequent the audio discussion groups on the Internet, the method by which Stereophile selects products for review seems to be a continuing source of fascination and conjecture. Supporters of fledgling manufacturers—whose products these Webcrawlers just happen to own—rail against the rule that products to be reviewed in the magazine must have at least five US dealers. Some suggest that Stereophile's selection of review products is all about catering to advertisers and friends in the industry, a process that seems intended to exclude their favorite products from consideration.
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.
The marque may be gone, but Proceed's PAV audio/video preamplifier is not forgotten. In 1994, Thomas J. Norton examined the breakthrough the PAV represented, stating, "It was inevitable that traditional high-end audio manufacturers would begin producing equipment for the fast-growing home-theater market."
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.
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.