Analog audio electronics are approaching "maturity," a state eventually achieved by most technologies, in which almost all the great discoveries have been made and progress becomes a process of increasingly arcane refinements. Digital audio is in no such danger, as evidenced by three new product announcements made the first week of April.
Those unhappy with today's over-the-air broadcasting choices will be glad to know that this is shaping up as a busy year for new radio formats. The commercialization of the IBOC AM and FM digital broadcasting system is about to be revealed at the same time that Sirius satellite radio announces that it will be accelerating its rollout schedule in an effort to compete with rival XM satellite radio.
Despite our best efforts, things can still go awry with Stereophile's "Recommended Components" listing, the most recent edition of which appears in the current, April 2002 issue. I reported a couple of errors a couple of weeks ago and now, sadly, I have more corrections to offer.
Back in November of 2000, Kalman Rubinson took on the McCormack DNA-225 power amplifier, following the rebirth of the company that he had so admired. "McCormack is still the guiding spirit behind these new models, which incorporate aspects of the original designs, much of the SMc upgrades, and some new wrinkles. I quickly put in my bid for a test sample of the DNA-225." His analysis awaits.
Echoing the sentiments of their American counterparts, German music industry executives are blaming the popularity of the CD burner for slumping music sales. "More music is probably being heard now than ever before," said German Recording Industry Association president Gerd Gebhardt, "but the music is not paid for, because copying has become so cheap and easy."
At the recently concluded SAE-CEA Digital Car Conference in Detroit, representatives of the recording industry joined Panasonic for a DVD-Audio love-fest hailing the format as the "in-car music delivery system of the future." Panasonic's automotive electronics division used the conference and exhibition to introduce and demonstrate its first mobile DVD-Audio systems for OEM distribution. The company also hosted seminars exploring how it imagines DVD-Audio will specifically apply to and benefit the automobile industry.
In my January "The Fifth Element" column, I discussed the concept of value in the context of audio component manufacture. This month's "Letters" includes a response to that column from Austrian distributor Hans Hirner. In his letter, Herr Hirner writes about some of his Web-surfing non-customers: "If that weren't enough, they also call me or my dealers to tell them how proud they are, after having taken all from me that is possible in system matching and trial—and even denoising their systems—to have been able to find 'our' products cheaper out there."