On Tuesday, March 29, 2005, the US Supreme Court heard the oral arguments for the case of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. This was widely covered in the mainstream news media, as well as all over the Web, but none of the synopses of the case did true justice to the give-and-take of the arguments, as I discovered this week when I stumbled upon a .pdf transcription of the complete oral arguments.
On Thursday, June 28, the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 that manufacturers could impose minimum prices if "they promote competition." The case—Leegin v. PSKS—involved Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc., a California-based manufacturer of women's fashion accessories, which argued that it had the right to set minimum consumer prices on its products to maintain price consistency among the niche retailers it sold to. Those stores, Leegin argued, emphasized customer service, which allowed them to compete with discount retailers that are selling more widely distributed, inexpensive products.
As we reported last January, The Tape Project, a collaboration among mastering engineers Paul Stubblebine and Michael Romanowski, both of Paul Stubblebine Mastering, and Dan Schmalle of Bottlehead, plans to release 10 master-quality tapes per year. The Tape Project's inaugural outing, available now, is The Number White by jazz vocalist Jaqui Naylor.
Back in the bad old pioneer days of high fidelity, the 1960s and early 1970s, amplifier manufacturers embarked on a specifications war, claiming ever lower percentages of total harmonic distortion. But, as J. Gordon Holt presciently pointed out in the 1960s, without reference to the spectrum of the distortion harmonics, the actual percentage was not in itself a reliable indicator of an amplifier's sound quality. And as those early low-THD models had distortion spectra that were heavily biased toward the sonically objectionable fifth, seventh, and ninth harmonics, and suffered from other related ills, they tended to sound quite nasty.
The Burning Amp Festival is almost upon us. The day-long DIY (do-it-yourself) love fest, held within yards of the San Francisco Bay, attracts a good 150 DIYers from around the world who engage in the annual ritual of demming their homemade gear for other avid audio enthusiasts.
There are a variety of ways to empty a large bucket of water: The entire contents can be quickly dumped in a dramatic rush, or a small hole can be punched in the bottom, allowing a smaller but continual flow over an extended period of time. Digital data can be seen as the water in the DVD "bucket," with 24/192 multi-channel sound being the equivalent of a big audio splash.
MTV published an end of the year review of the music business on December 17, "Madonna Ditches Label, Radiohead Go Renegade: The Year The Music Industry Broke." Month by month, it's a litany of bad tidings for the biz, from January 14, 2007, the day the Dreamgirls soundtrack hit number 1 on Billboard's pop charts with a scant 60,000 copies sold (lowest #1 ever) through December 3, 2007's announcements that Def Jam and EMI were laying off employees and Warner Music Group would cut executive bonuses (awww).
Flexibility is the name of the game as Theta Digital plays it. The innovative Agoura Hills, CA company has announced the Casablanca II, a modular upgradable preamp/processor for music and cinema applications, as well as two-channel modules for its Dreadnaught power amplifier.
Thiel co-founders the late Jim Thiel (left) and Kathy Gornik (right) at the 2009 CES
We received the following press release last night. No more information was available and there was no word when this story was first posted on whether or not Thiel cofounder Kathy Gornik will remain with the company. Since then, however, CEPro.com has reported that Kathy and her daughter Dawn Cloyd, who was director of international sales, will both leave Thiel. Why the sale? Our suspicion is that while Thiel remains a great brand, it is too small a company, with no access to a significant source of capital, to be able to compete effectively in today's market.
The quest for new speaker technologies has resulted in some novel approaches to the reproduction of sound, as witnessed by products announced in the last few years by NXT and 1 . . . Ltd. (See previous story.) Some of Stereophile's readers may also recall that, back in May 1996, American Technology Corp. shook things up in the audio world by announcing what the company described as its "breakthough" new technology, the much-debated HyperSonic Sound (HSS). This was followed up in February 1997, when ATC announced the introduction of its Stratified Field Technology SFT, which company literature touted as "a significant improvement over conventional loudspeakers."
A look inside the impressive Emotiva ERC-2 CD player.
Audiophiles have been buzzing about Emotiva for a few years now. The attraction is no mystery: Emotiva’s products are solidly built and modestly priced, and the company takes pride in its strong relationships with customers. Yet, other than in the usual show report, Emotiva’s products have been absent from Stereophile’s pages.
The Sirius Satellite Radio constellation will soon be in position, thanks to the successful launch November 30 of Sirius-3, the third satellite in the Sirius system. The transponders are being arrayed in geosynchronous orbits above North America for maximum radio coverage, which will begin in 2001. The previous two satellites were launched last summer and in early autumn.
On December 2, we posted an article based on conversations with Benchmark Audio's John Siau, which described Siau's thoughts on the bit-transparency of later versions of iTunes. On December 9, Gordon Rankin weighed in with Wavelength Audio's thoughts on the subject.
It has now been over a month since Mark Russinovich broke the story about Sony BMG's DRM software that installed root kit code onto consumers' hard drives—exposing infected computers to malware intrusions and reporting back to Sony's servers via spyware installed without consumers' knowledge or consent. Rather than growing stale, however, the story just keeps going and going as new details come to light almost every day.
The MP3 digital music format continues to gain momentum. Only two weeks ago, Thomson S.A., the international electronics conglomerate (parent of RCA and ProScan), announced a 20% investment in MusicMatch, Inc., the San Diego, California-based maker of management software for the upstart format. Last week Thomson took a further radical stance by announcing RCA's own MP3 player, the Lyra, to a gathering of more than 400 dealers at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.