The fate of Tower Records has been the subject of music industry speculation for months. The company's financial difficulties have been no secret; several stories recently appeared alluding to a new Tower policy of making some suppliers share the burden—especially distributors of small specialty classical labels.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. This is especially true for music lovers who have begun to fear that record companies purposely corrupt the data on audio CDs in an effort to restrict their use as a source for copies or MP3 files.
John Atkinson and I recently spent a few hours talking to cable manufacturer Tributaries' president and founder, Joe Perfito. Perfito had come to NYC to meet the press and introduce his company's newest cable families, the high-end Series 7 and the higher-end Series 9. "The Series 9 cables are the best cables we know how to make," Perfito told us. "The interconnects are hand-made of 20AWF solid OFHC signal conductor and a 1.25% silver-plated 46-strand 20AWG OFHC return conductor. We use an LDPE dielectric and an OFHC copper-braided shield and a double-sided copper foil secondary shield for 100% freedom from interference. The conductors are double-soldered to the solid brass connectors, then pressure welded—they will not let go of one another."
It's been a rough season for some in the e-commerce crowd, as several consumer-electronics Internet startups find themselves amid changes. Last week, CyberShop.com announced that it will close the e-tailing sites CyberShop.com and electronics.net (created as a joint venture with Tops Appliance City, which is now under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection) and sell these operations' remaining retail assets. At the same time, the company says it will launch an "Internet incubator" through the establishment of Grove Street Ventures to attract and develop startup Internet companies.
Troy Kosovich, Dynaudio's director of marketing, died Tuesday, September 14 in a single-car accident near Bozeman, Montana. According to a newspaper report, he apparently lost control of his Isuzu Rodeo while returning to his hotel after an evening with a client. Troy was 37 years old and is survived by his wife, Angel, and his three-year-old son, Killian.
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.
Youth may not be the only thing that's wasted on the young. Many recent studies have shown that as people age, they have increased difficulty getting a good night's sleep. A new study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing indicates that listening to soft music may help people with sleep disorders to fall asleep faster.
With the plethora of CD and DVD formats out there, it can be confusing figuring out what will work with what. Standards can help define specifications for a particular format, but often do little to guarantee compatibility between them.
Using personal computers to listen to music may be heresy in some audiophile circles, but the practice is definitely on the rise. Recognition of the fact has led at least one maker of computer motherboards to introduce a model with a vacuum-tube audio circuit.
It may read like a page out of a classic corporate crime thriller, but the threat is real. ExpoPul, a company whose factory in Saratov, Russia manufactures vacuum tubes under the brand names Sovtek, Electro-Harmonix, Tungsol, Svetlana, Mullard, and others—tubes that include the 6H30 "super tube"—is threatened by one of the many Russian corporate "raiders" who are increasingly stealing businesses from their rightful owners. If the threatened hostile takeover proves successful, two-thirds of the world's supply of vacuum tubes—tubes vital to the sound of audiophile gear and instruments from such well-known companies as McIntosh, Audio Research, BAT, Jadis, Fender, KORG, Peavey, Vox, Soldano, Carvin, Ampeg, and Crane—could become a thing of the past.
The one-two punch known as the Holiday Season is only half finished; Christmas is simply the warmup for the biggest blowout of the year. For a successful New Year's party, the only ingredient more essential than a well-stocked liquor cabinet is an ample supple of party tunes. (Recommended accessory: a reliable CD changer. It's hard to play host and DJ at the same time.)
As the cost of data storage has continued to plunge, some industry pundits (well, www.stereophile.com's Jon Iverson) have predicted that the next step in adding value to them would be to give the devices away, but sell the music or data they contain. On March 10, online music label Magnatune and Samsung spin-off Hana Micron fulfilled that prediction with a product called the TunePlug: It's a reusable USB flash memory drive that comes loaded with 10 complete albums from Magnatune artists in MP3 file format.
Tired of the controversy over whether expensive audio cables might make a difference in your system? The best approach would likely be to try a few sets with your own equipment and room and see for yourself. But cost has prevented more than a few audiophiles from spending quality time with the pricey stuff.