By their very nature, most audiophiles seem perpetually restless, never content with that last tweak. Following in that hallowed tradition, PS Audio has been trying to reinvent the technologies traditionally used in power-line conditioners to optimize those pulses of alternating current that juice our audio systems. The company made waves with the introduction of their Power Plant line of products last year (see previous report); their P300 garnered a very positive review from Stereophile's Robert Deutsch.
The Experience Music Project (EMP), a 130,000-square-foot interactive music museum opening in Seattle in 1999, announced on April 30 that it has acquired 19 recently discovered audio tapes of rare Jimi Hendrix recordings from 1969 and 1970.
Citing large crowds of design engineers and consumers at its World PC Expo Pavilion in Japan last week, Texas Instruments' James Snider, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association, predicted a surge in product design based on the 1394/FireWire/i.Link standard in the coming year. Snider says that the demand for 1394 PC and consumer products is accelerating worldwide "as users become aware of the quality of video and audio that can be easily and efficiently transported in home, office, and theater environments."
Singer Dusty Springfield died at her home near Oxford, England last Tuesday, March 2, a few weeks before what would have been her 60th birthday and only one day before she was to have appeared at Buckingham Palace to be honored by Queen Elizabeth. The cause was breast cancer.
The Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) announced on January 23 that total November audio sales bounced back modestly from an anemic October, but were still off by 1% for both the month and year to date. Total dollars for the first 11 months of 1997 stand at $7.2 billion, compared to $7.3 billion at this time in 1996. Nevertheless, spectacular sales of audio systems are singlehandedly offsetting the lackluster sales in all other areas.
What a year. Stereophile.com ran hundreds of stories in 1998, covering events big and small in the intersecting realms of business, publishing, technology, and music---with some irresistible oddities thrown in here and there as journalistic spice. It's overwhelming to look back over Stereophile's first full year of online publishing and see exactly how much has happened. We've gone far, and sometimes wide, to bring you the news from an audiophile perspective.
For the seventh consecutive year, Stereophile has named a select few audio components the "Products of the Year." In doing so, we recognize those components that have proved capable of giving musical pleasure beyond the formal review period.
Naxos is making money from classical music. In the record industry, which seems to daily lament declining sales, piracy, and the demise of bricks-and-mortar retailers, that's news in itself. But when the world's largest independent classical-music company is able to turn a tidy profit while catering to the needs of audiophiles, that's cause for rejoicing.
The largest of six divisions of Royal Philips Electronics, Philips Consumer Electronics Mainstream intends to push the audio industry in several directions this year, according to a presentation made by the division's CEO Guy Demuynck at a January 5 press conference in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Long a dominant force in research and development, as well as in marketing consumer electronics, Philips has great hopes for every segment of the audio market. 2000 was a record year for the company, Demuynck said, and 2001 should be very good as well.
The release of our 2001 Recommended Components online last month was such a success, we now offer readers the opportunity to buy the 2002 "Recommended Components" from both the April and October issues as .pdf files.
The last day at CES always feels like one of those half-days at school: you may be getting out only a couple of hours early, but everyone starts thinking about going home way before the bell rings. Nonetheless, the die-hard audiophile exhibitors were working up to the last minute and confirmed that show attendance increased steadily right up to the end.
Exhibitors reported that traffic was improving Thursday, as the halls became more crowded and the music grew a bit louder. Plenty of new products are on hand and we're starting to realize that even four or five days may not be enough to see and hear everything the high-end has to offer.
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.
There's no denying that traffic at the Alexis Park is down from last year. But in spite of this, high-end audio continues to evolve and impress. There were plenty of two-channel audio systems to go around, including vinyl front-ends, while multichannel and video made a modest showing. It's hard enough to get decent sound out of two speakers in a hotel demo room, let alone five or six.