Times are obviously tough for personal computer manufacturers, who, in the quest for new sources of revenue, are increasingly dipping their toes into consumer electronics waters. The latest firm to join IBM, Intel, and Compaq (see previous) in the rushing stream is Hewlett-Packard which announced last week the expansion of the company's drive into the living room. HP says that its new initiative is intended to "blend interactive product innovations with easy-to-use services and offer consumers new ways to enjoy digital music, streaming video, and Internet information in the living room."
The compact disc has given rise to all sorts of questionable accessories: magic pens with green ink, reflective stickers, rim dampers, absorbent mats, spindle weights, cleaners, buffers, polishers, and demagnetizers. It's amazing how many products are needed to make perfect sound perfect.
As Michael Fremer reports, critics have universally hailed Infinity's $8k flagship Prelude MTS. But can the success of the MTS trickle down to the lower price points? For his review of the $2000/pr Infinity Intermezzo 2.6 loudspeaker, Fremer set out to determine if the more modest sibling is a "worthwhile chip off the old block or just a marketing divot."
You can bet Infinity plans on selling a respectable number of $8000/pair Prelude MTS speakers (reviewed in the May 2000 Stereophile) over this ambitious, full-range design's anticipated lifespan. But will the company make enough money to recoup the megabucks spent on researching, designing, and developing the all-new CMMD (Ceramic Metal Matrix Diaphragm) drivers, BASH (Bridge Amplifier Switching Hybrid) powered subwoofer, and RABOS (Room Adaptive Bass Optimization System) bass-equalization system? NOWAY (Never Over-Estimate What Acronyms Yield).
Paul Kelly (email@example.com) recently sent me a most interesting e-mail titled "Cones, Stones, & Groans." I'll share it with you now, as I gave "Sean" (firstname.lastname@example.org) a chance to expound on cones and how they work under equipment in the February "Fine Tunes." After reading through all the "Fine Tunes" archived on the Stereophile website (I thank him for his positive remarks), Paul wrote:
More good news for budget-conscious audiophiles who are waiting for that all-in-one universal high-resolution audio player: Yet another chip manufacturer is announcing a decoder IC that will allow new DVD machines to untangle just about any audio file format. Last week, LuxSonor Semiconductors joined the growing list (see previous) of chip manufacturers that are including both DVD-Audio and SACD in one package.
First, the sobering reality: Among the world's billions of music lovers, probably a million or fewer are true audiophiles, for whom sound quality is a primary concern. The uncritical majority will embrace any audio technology that offers economy and convenience. Case in point: the popularity of the MP3 digital format, widely derided by audiophiles for its compressed dynamics and lack of detail, but adopted readily by the general public because of its ease of use.
The European Commission isn't especially fond of joint ventures by international media conglomerates. Last year, the EC successfully squashed a proposed merger of EMI and Warner Music Group on the grounds that WMG's parent company, AOL Time Warner (then simply Time Warner), combined with the UK's biggest name in music, would create "a virtual monopoly" of the European music market. A few months later, merger discussions between EMI and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) similarly went nowhere. EC investigators also looked into price-fixing in the European CD market early this year.
They've been around for years, under a variety of guises and from an evolving list of manufacturers and distributors. But the BBC LS3/5a loudspeakers still cling to their legendary status. We provide not only J. Gordon Holt's original 1977 review for Stereophile, but also follow-ups from 1984, 1989, and 1993. Read about the little speaker that could.