There's no question that restricted-use or copy-protected CDs are finding their way onto retailer shelves and into unsuspecting consumer hands—often with frustrating results. What is in doubt in many consumers' minds is how to recognize a restricted-use disc before purchase.
The entertainment industry has been crying wolf about the impending death of its collective livelihood since the first recording device hit the market decades ago. In spite of those dire predictions, reel-to-reel tape decks, cassette recorders, and VCRs hardly dented sales, and may in fact have contributed to unprecedented world-wide growth.
Sometimes it all comes down to the shape of the side panels. I was smitten by the gentle curves of the Burmester B99 loudspeaker's aluminum side grilles, which have uncommon grace. A love affair with an enclosure? Well, yes. After all, beauty is an intensely personal matter. In the words of Burmester's motto: "Art for the ear."
I once got a fortune cookie that read, "Ask and ye shall receive. This includes trouble." A few years back, shopping for speakers, I inquired about reviewing the B&W Nautilus 802, but it was too soon after Wes Phillips had reviewed the Nautilus 801 for Stereophile. So, other auditioning and reviewing (and buying) other speakers, I asked again, and again was met with deferral. Recently, out of the blue, B&W offered the Nautilus 802—then, in the next breath, asked if I'd rather have the Signature 800s.
In his first e-mail to "Fine Tunes," Rafael Teodoro (RBT@wolfenet.com) addressed a subject that Mark Gdovin, that faithful frequenter of the Stereophile soapbox, had already brought up. Mark had gone so far as to give readers sage advice from his brother, a materials engineer, regarding the dangers of applying Armor All to speaker cones and surrounds.
It's the grain elevators that break the monotony of driving across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle. As you pass one, another one appears on the horizon. Thus you know you're making progress, despite the fact that the landscape remains unchanged.
Chip manufacturer ESS Technology is no stranger to audiophiles interested in new formats. It was responsible for one of the first "universal" SACD/DVD-Audio decoding chips and more recently was the supplier of a special-purpose chip for Linn's SACD "Silver Disk Engine" designs.
Brian Damkroger finds that the Magnepan Magneplanar MG1.6/QR loudspeaker and a 1973 Porsche 911 have much in common: "Each has grown out of the vision of a single, brilliant designer. Each reflects the long, steady evolution of a basic design, and the consistent focus on a core set of engineering criteria." BD then listens for the fruits of this approach to speaker design and writes up the results.