As first reported April 8 in EETimes, Sony has made known its plans for the first generation of Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) players, to be released in Japan this May. For the last several months, Sony has been suggesting that the SACD format would be going head to head with the competing DVD-Audio format, despite overtures from the DVD-Audio Working Group to join in a single all-encompassing specification.
Lights out in Gloversville: Universal Music Group's record-pressing plant in Gloversville, NY will shut its doors on May 6, 2005. Founded in 1953 as part of the Brunswick Radio Corporation of America, the plant (and the parent corporation) were acquired in 1962 by Decca, which was itself merged into MCA—and later, UMG, now part of Vivendi Universal.
According to a report released last week by Cahners In-Stat Group, a high-tech market research firm, the market for personal digital music players using audio compression technologies will experience a tremendous increase in growth through the next several years. Nearly $800 million in player sales are expected in 2003, spurred largely by widespread Internet access. The report also states that products in this segment will initially focus on downloading technologies like MP3, and over the next 12 months consumers should expect to see more features integrated into the players such as FM tuners, increased storage capacity, and security systems like Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI).
Pauline Oliveros calls it "deep listening"—a way to pay attention to the sensual qualities of sound itself. Welcome to a world of music that defies categorization, that invites a listener to soak slowly into a deep and otherworldly zone. This music goes by many names: ambient, spacemusic, electronica, sacred music, tribal/trance. Alas, you'll often find it hiding in the New Age section. Unlike some fluffier New Age fare, good ambient albums can explore the deeper, more solitary spaces. At its best, ambient music can sensitize you to sound in unique ways. It can enlarge your listening space to cavernous dimensions, paint hallucinogenic sonic landscapes, summon primordial forces, or enshroud you in clouds of diffuse vapor.
Last week, Robert Rich began this two-part article (click here for part one) with an explanation of ambient music and pointers to some of his favorite artists' web pages. This week he wraps up with more web resources, including record labels, webzines, and online radio programs dedicated to the genre.
McIntosh Laboratory announced its $6000 MS750 music server on May 30. The second music server in McIntosh's line, the MS750 incorporates a 750GB hard drive and integrated Web interface capabilities. McIntosh estimates that the MS750 is capable of storing 2700 CDs at full resolution, or about 12,000 songs.
Chris Keeler was the first guy I ever knew with an exotic turntable and a record library that most radio stations would envy. The love of music was a driving force throughout his life, one that sustained him right to the end.
It starts quietly enough, with a simple falling-fifth motif, but the first movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff's neglected Piano Sonata 1 develops into a work of epic proportions nearly 40 minutes in length, with haunting melodies, massive dynamic contrasts, and lush, sensual harmonies.
I have been informed that there was a serious error at the shipping department. The September and October issues of Stereophile and Stereophile Guide to Home Theater have been sent via a very slow shipping method. This was due to a misunderstanding between the magazines' new printer and the new subscription mailing house.
Time to yank out the old oxygen-free crystal interconnects and gaze into audio's future for 1999. Now that www.stereophile.com has a year under its online belt, we should be able to read the sonic omens with greater resolution, or at least confine our mistakes to minor stumbles. First, we'll see how our prognostications for 1998 panned out, and spin them a little to tune in 1999. We'll add reader predictions at the bottom. Got your own predictions? Send 'em in!
Forget the SACD/DVD-Audio format wars, a more interesting (and potentially more devastating to consumers) battle is brewing among companies racing to add copy protection technology and other restrictions to compact discs.
Editor's Note:Lowther horn speakers and their "clubs" have been important to do-it-yourself hi-fi hobbyists in Europe for decades. A common question from readers in other parts of the world is "What are Lowther speakers, and where can I hear them?" We asked Mr. Doppenberg, of the Lowther Club of Holland, to give us a quick tour of the Lowther story. For more extensive information, check the links at the end of this piece.
You thought it was crowded last year? The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced last week that, as of the beginning of December, it looks like the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will feature a record-breaking amount of exhibit space, surpassing 1.2 million square feet.
Could this be a record executive's dream come true and the end of the need for watermarking as we know it? CantaMetrix has announced the further development of a new technology, MusicDNA, that the company claims is capable of identifying and tracking the billions of existing as well as new MP3 files on the Internet and providing an exact accounting for the copyright, "thus enabling legal file sharing and linking value-added data to songs."