It's the final day of the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show. I'm walking down the Alexis Park's long corridors, beneath its archways and palm trees, wondering where I'll end up next. The air is cool, but the sun is out and I'm feeling very much alive, energized by all the morning's music.
The Consumer Electronics Association announced last week its finalists for the 2005 "Demmy Awards," a collection of audio demonstration music that the group puts together for retailers and manufacturers. The panel of judges for the awards include Stereophile's own John Atkinson.
As big a shock as it was to see the Halloween candy and decorations in the stores by mid-September, the real sign that the year is drawing to an end has been the flurry of news concerning the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This year, CES guarantees that it will refund the registration price of anyone who attends "any of the 2006 International CES conference sessions and fail[s] to gain even one new insight, tip, or piece of information you can use when returning to your place of business."
The 2006 edition of the Stereophile Buyer's Guide is out now. Listing the specifications of more than 5000 audio components within its 212 large-format pages, the Buyer's Guide is exclusively concerned with products for music reproduction, as opposed to the bangs, bonks, and battle noises typical of movie soundtracks.
One year after the Consumer Electronics Show switched venues from the Alexis Park to The Venetian/Sands Expo and Convention Center, leaving "renegade" exhibitors at T.H.E. Show's less costly St. Tropez venue isolated from the rest of the action, both shows are back stronger than ever. CES's "high-performance audio" exhibits in the Venetian's Tower Suites have increased to 173 from 122, while T.H.E. Show has expanded to a total of 90 exhibit rooms in the Alexis Park and the St. Tropez.
The 2011 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, which runs October 1416 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, promises more exhibits than ever before. With 480 exhibitors spread over 176 hotel rooms and three vendor areas, and advance attendance figures indicating at least 3500 attendees, the show continues to attract even more of the industry and public despite the economic slowdown. While the proportion of East and West Coast attendees remains stable, you'll see more international attendees, including folks from Thailand, India, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Mexico, and the UK.
"The big news is that we've scheduled a special exhibit at the Hyatt down the block," show organizer Marjorie Baumert told Stereophile. "We've expanded because Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds and Analogue Productions has put together a preview presentation of the new 5.1 surround sound SACD of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, running all three days, and played through the same Acoustic Transducer Company (ATC) loudspeakers that were used to mix the project.
A highlight of recent Home Entertainment Shows has been the Sunday afternoon "Analog Clinic" presented by Stereophile senior editor Michael Fremer. Michael, who writes about vinyl playback every month in his "Analog Corner" column, spends an hour showing Show attendees how to set up a turntable and how to optimize the tonearm geometry. To judge by the attendance at Home Entertainment 2006, held last month in Los Angeles, this is a popular subject these days.
It's a sobering thought: it was the computer manufacturers and software developers, not the consumer electronics industry, who enabled the biggest audio format since the CD to become popular. The format, which hasn't done much to impress audiophiles, but has greatly enhanced the portability of music, is MP3 and CE manufacturers are only now trying to catch up with products that take advantage of its widespread use.
2L, the Norwegian label that made audiophile history in 2006 when one their early high-resolution SACDs, Immortal NYSTEDT, received Grammy Award nominations for "Best Surround Sound Album" and "Best Choral Performance," has taken a big step back to the future. After releasing a number of recordings packages that feature both hybrid SACD and hi-resolution Blu-ray discs, as well as making their DXD (352.8kHz/24-bit) recordings available for download, 2L has just ventured into the black hole known as vinyl.
Over three quarters of a million readers served! With several million "page views" and dozens of millions of "hits" in the past 365 days, the Stereophile website has continued to grow steadily, with a record number of folks visiting practically every week. We've also dished out over 300 news articles---practically an article each day---covering everything audio, from important new-technology announcements to the demise and then rebirth of several legendary brands.
iTunes is proving every day that some music fans love to procure music through the Internet. On the other hand, audiophiles often complain about the poor sound of the "CD quality" compressed files that Apple and others offer for download at similar prices to those of their uncompressed CD counterparts.
Classical music fans will be happy to hear that Image Entertainment has announced the signing of an exclusive license agreement with England's Reiner Moritz Associates (RMA) that will see the company releasing 50 classical-music programs on DVD in the coming year. In addition to the classical performance programming, Image will also release some of RMA's special-interest fare, featuring such luminaries as Marilyn Horne, Maria Callas, David Hockney, Jackson Pollock, and Margot Fonteyn.
More than 50 independent music labels ("indies") have signed on with Liquid Audio, the leading provider of music downloads over the Internet. The announcement was made March 19 at South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual music and media conference in Austin, Texas.
Could the average computer hard drive soon be able to store the equivalent of over 80 DVD-Audio discs or 600 CDs? Last week, IBM announced that it is using just a few atoms of what it has termed "pixie dust" to push back the data storage industry's most formidable barrier, and will effectively quadruple disk drive densities in the next two years.