Last week, USA Digital Radio, a developer of In-Band On-Channel Digital Audio Broadcast (IBOC DAB) technology, announced an "aggressive" field-test campaign at 12 radio stations across the country. The company will be conducting the digital tests under experimental licenses issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With most equipment already installed, according to USA Digital Radio, test efforts are currently underway at several stations.
Progress toward a working digital radio technology took a big step forward in April with the addition of Lowpass Prototype Inc. to the development team. According to an April 27 press release, USA Digital Radio, Inc., a privately held digital radio technology company owned by the nation's largest radio broadcasters, has added the manufacturer of radio-frequency systems for radio and television transmission to its coalition to develop and commercialize digital AM and FM radio.
Record companies are having a tough time making new friends these days as they toy with ways to restrict consumer use and distribution of their products. Amid sliding sales, mediocre new releases, high prices, and failed attempts at implementing restricted-use CD technology, the big labels clearly need some advice on getting back on track.
Aboveground Records, obligatory cedar shingles and all.
The Massachusetts island called Martha's Vineyard, a tourist destination with a year-round population of only 18,000, is home to at least a hundred T-shirt shops, scores of seafood shacks (the calamari at Nancy's is amazing), dozens of ice-cream parlors, and three unpleasant cute-tiques called The Black Dog. Residents and vacationers alike are also served by an excellent store called Aboveground Records (8 Great Harbor Triangle, Edgartown, MA 02539).
The Silverdale by the Bay Resort Hotel in Silverdale, WA, will be the site of the second annual Vacuum State of the Art Conference, scheduled for August 21-24. The conference will feature new and vintage equipment, tube electronics seminars, a used-gear swap meet, and demonstrations of audio creations by both amateur and professional designers.
Vacuum Tube Valley, "The Classic Tube Electronics Journal & Tube Audio Electronics Resource," is hosting the VTV Audio and Music Expo at the Piscataway Embassy Suites May 6–7, 2006. (Embassy Suites, 121 Centennial Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 08854. Tel: (732) 980-0500.)
San Francisco---Vacuum Tube Valley's tube and antique audio show here last week drew dozens of exhibitors and hundreds of attendees to the Airport Clarion Hotel over the Feb. 6-7 weekend. The heavy rains that caused mudslides in some Northern California communities, combined with high tides that flooded some freeways, kept attendance down. The show's turnout was "about half of what we expected," said VTV publisher/editor Charlie Kittleson.
Last week, Verance announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued them a new patent intended to prevent the disabling of a watermark on recorded content. The patent is entitled "Method and Apparatus for Preventing Removal of Embedded Information in Cover Signals." The company has recently drawn the ire of audiophiles, who claim that its watermarking methods are audible in high resolution media such as DVD-Audio recordings (see previous report).
The Secure Digital Music Initiative has decided to reconfirm San Diego–based Verance Corporation's watermarking technology as its choice for inhibiting piracy in digitally recorded music. The May 21 announcement was made by the SDMI Plenary after a year-long campaign to evaluate the effectiveness and audibility of watermarks from 14 different vendors. The group has also apparently decided to halt further research and development efforts, which have been widely blamed for hobbling the rollout of DVD-Audio.
Music fans are mourning the passing of swing era giant Lionel Hampton. The vibraphonist, band leader, and multi-instrumentalist died August 31 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan of complications from age and a recent heart attack, according to his manager Phil Leshin. Hampton was 94.
During the recent, successful Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) predicted that manufacturer-to-dealer sales of consumer electronics products will total a record $101 billion in 2004—a 5% increase over 2003.
Using a personal computer as an audio component has certainly gained ground with gearheads in the last several years, and many new products, such as media servers, blur the line between a traditional component and a PC. At the same time, the general public is still resisting the idea of booting up their stereos or TVs.
Stereophile readers with a hunger for licorice pizza may wish to turn their attention to the Phonogram mailing list---an online, noncommercial discussion forum for those interested in vinyl and related topics. According to Phonogram's material, "the group is an open, informative, interesting, and just plain fun place for people to share their enthusiasm for, knowledge of, and opinions on music on shiny black discs. Although the focus is primarily on 33 1/3rpm vinyl LPs, comments and questions on 45s, 78s, open-reel tapes, or other media (even CeeDees) are welcome. Discussion of hardware supporting record playback (e.g., turntables, tonearms, cartridges, phono stages, and accessories) is fair game as well."
"The vinyl record should be commemorated, not forgotten, for its unique contribution to our society. Therefore the County of San Luis Obispo, in the state of California, proclaims a celebration of the memories of music. 'Vinyl Record Day' will be celebrated to acknowledge vinyl records' influence on individuals and cultures worldwide. The date is August 12th, the date of the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877."