The number of two-channel Super Audio Compact Discs seems to grow by the week. There are now several hundred titles to choose from—and hundreds on the way, with the recent endorsement of the format by major record labels. Even so, there are still very few SACDs that exploit the multichannel capabilities of Direct Stream Digital.
Wes Phillips pries a hard-to-acquire Ayre Acoustics V-3 power amplifier out of company hands and puts it to the sonic test. Does the amp live up to its legendary "Best of Show" status? Phillips has the answer.
Citing increasing competition from stronger companies and online music ventures about to debut from major record labels, an investment group has taken the drastic step of calling for the sale of Liquid Audio.
AVALON BLUES: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt Dave Alvin, Beck, Peter Case, Bruce Cockburn, Justin Earle, Steve Earle, Richard Greene, Ben Harper, Alvin Youngblood Hart, John Hiatt, Taj Mahal, Bill Morrissey, Clare Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Jenni Muldaur, David Rawlings, Mark Selby, Chris Smither, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams Vanguard 79582-2 (CD). 2001. Peter Case, prod.; Francisco Lugo, Dawn Hopkins, Ray Kennedy, Mark Raines, Mark Wilkins, Jeff Landrock, Matt Andrews, David Rawlings, engs. AAD.? TT: 51:29 Performance **** Sonics ***?
Every once in a while, a piece of super-esoteric gear crosses my path that, on the face of it, makes no sense whatsoever. Eventually, however, the component is revealed as being "merely" simple and elegant, begging the question: Must it always be done the way it's always been done?
For the last several months, the major record labels have been ramping up what some have viewed as a stealth assault on their customers by increasingly deploying technology that restricts the use of audio CDs (see previous). While an increasing number of music fans have been crying foul, one consumer has decided to fight back in court.
Breaking news at the 2001 CEDIA Expo, held this past weekend in Indianapolis, IN, was that Harry Pearson, founder and editor of bimonthly high-end audio magazine The Absolute Sound, has apparently been moved to one side. According to TAS publisher Mark Fisher, with whom I spoke briefly Sunday morning on the Show floor, the day-to-day editing of the magazine will become the responsibility of erstwhile Stereophile consulting technical editor Robert Harley.
Forget the SACD/DVD-Audio format wars, a more interesting (and potentially more devastating to consumers) battle is brewing among companies racing to add copy protection technology and other restrictions to compact discs.
In his review of the Toshiba SD-9200 DVD-Audio player, Chip Stern asks the question "In a rollout of new technologies more or less driven by the expectations of the home-theater crowd, what's in it for us music-lovers?" Stern uncovers the answer and then some, while Kal Rubinson explores the player's surround-music performance.