The audio tribe is converging once again in Las Vegas for one of its its three annual gatherings (the others being CEDIA-Expo and the Home Entertainment Show, of course), and so far so good. Although the show officially opens Tuesday this year, several of the major manufacturers took advantage of the calm before the storm to hold their press conferences on Monday.
The slippery slope established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 could soon get much slipperier. Three major media conglomerates have teamed up to pressure the Federal Communications Commission to drop the remaining restrictions on the ownership of broadcasting stations.
A year-end report by Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks retail activity, states that compact disc sales through December 22, 2002, were off 9.3% compared to the same period the previous year, with 624.2 million units sold compared to 688.2 sold in 2001. Of all recorded music sold, 94% of it was on CD, the remainder on cassette tape and vinyl records. An insignificant amount of music was sold as legitimate downloads from industry-sponsored music sites. SoundScan did not expect the last week of December to impact the year's total.
NAD has been out there on the leading edge of entry-level high-end sound long enough that some audiophiles reckon they invented the category. Sure, we should give serious props to the likes of Creek, Rotel, Musical Fidelity, Arcam, Denon, and Parasound, all of which have made significant contributions to the musical aspirations of budget-conscious pilgrims. But I continue to harbor warm feelings about my last extended visit with an NAD component: the inexpensive yet supremely musical L40 CD Receiver, which I reviewed in the June 2000 Stereophile.
Film sequels are a mixed blessing. If an action movie holds my attention, I can't wait to see the sequel: same characters, same actors, new adventures. And if the first film was successful, studios are more than willing to oblige. So Jurassic Park begat The Lost World, which begat Jurassic Park III. But the results are often unsatisfying.
As Jonathan Scull reports in his review of the Classé Omega Super Audio CD player, "Classé has guts. These are uncertain times, but here they are with an audiophile classic: an expensive two-channel Super Audio CD player." Read how one of the first SACD machines from a high-end audio company stacks up.
Genesis Technologies, one of the audio industry's most respected names throughout the 1990s, has ceased operation and has filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 7 of US bankruptcy law. The company's website (www.gen-tech.com) has gone dark. Genesis was more than a million dollars in debt near the end, according to a source familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Well known in the European audiophile community, British hi-fi manufacturer Cyrus Electronics is preparing for the introduction of its brand in America. The company says it plans to use the upcoming 2002 Consumer Electronics Show next month to scout out US dealers and introduce several new products.