"We did this for audiophiles, really," says the San Francisco Symphony's general manager, John Kieser. "Our distributors around the world have been telling us that it would be terrific if our Mahler series were available as a complete set on vinyl. This is a major endeavor, in that we're talking about 22 LPs."
We'd have to go back to September 2005 to recall the last major changes
made to our website. It was then that we began adding our forums and
blogs, which moved slowly at first, went through some growing pains, and
finally became some of our most popular online destinations. About a
year later, we made other minor revisions, altering the look and feel of
our site to make it friendlier, more attractive, and easier to use.
These were all great moves, but the nature of the Web demands
near-constant renewal. The time had come for some tube-rolling. Or, if
you prefer, we needed to augment our physical media with a high-res,
lightning-fast, computer-based system. Look at it however you like.
The situation was clear: We were overdue for a facelift.
Robert Silverman, whose many recordings for Stereophile have made him a living legend among audiophiles, continues his series of performances of all of Beethoven's piano sonatas in San José, California, November 11 and 18. Held in San Jose's lovely and acoustically superior Le Petit Trianon Theatre, the concerts mark the halfway point in Silverman's eight-concert series. All proceeds go toward building, at Stanford Children's Hospital, an Elf Foundation Room of Magic: a private entertainment theater in which uplifting music and films can be shared with patients.
Axpona lives! The Audio Expo of North America, the consumer high-end audio show whose successful 2010 launch in Jacksonville, Florida, established it as the premier high-performance audio show on the East Coast, has moved to the far more accessible and convention-friendly Sheraton Atlanta, in Georgia. Scheduled for April 1517, 2011, with a special four-hour trade preview on April 14, the show is cosponsored by Stereophile and Goldmine.
La Stupenda is no more. The brilliant coloratura soprano Joan Sutherland, who died a thousand deaths onstage after emitting flawless high E-flats, died at her home near Montreux, Switzerland, on Sunday, October 10. Her death was confirmed by her frequent stage partner and friend, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne.
Next weekend's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) is bigger than ever. Scheduled to be held October 1517 in the Denver Marriott Tech Center, the seventh annual show has expanded from last year's 145 display rooms to a record 174. Add in silent displays in hallways, and there were products in every price range from a good 400 companies (up from 350 in 2009). Now occupying six floors in the Marriott Tower (including the mezzanine) and two in the Atrium, the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest has well earned its reputation as the largest consumer-audio and home-entertainment show in the US since the demise of the Stereophile Shows.
Looking back at the 2010 CEDIA Exposition, I was struck by a couple of new products which, I hope, presage a rethinking of modern electronics design. Today, the streaming of program content can be accomplished by TVs, by Blu-ray players, by dedicated servers and, for all I know, someone will put that capability into a speaker system. The result is that, unless one chooses very carefully, one will be buying the same technology redundantly. By contrast, high-end companies have striven to separate their dedicated analog/stereo products from their digital/multichannel products, forcing the very picky among us into a kludgy home-theater-bypass. Again, we end up buying more boxes and interconnections than should be necessary.
Back in Atlanta's World Congress Center for the second year it is hot (around 90°F) and humid outside but it is cool at the 2010 CEDIA Exposition. On the very first full day, I found a slew of interesting new loudspeakers and that's despite having seen less than a third of the Show floor. Undoubtedly more will be discovered but it is great to say that all of the most intriguing new ones are relatively inexpensive.
I start my second report from the 2010 CEDIA Exposition by returning to MartinLogan. As well as their $2000/pair ElectroMotion electrostatic hybrid that I described in my first report from CEDIA, the Kansas company showed the appealing new 2-way Theos. This hand-built floorstander combines a 9.2"-wide by 44"-tall XStat electrostatic transducer with a 8" aluminum-cone woofer in a bass reflex enclosure. Its large electrostatic radiator and passive woofer can be bi-wired or not with a unique tool-less binding-post design. At $5000/pair, the Theos will be the most affordable speaker in the Reserve Series of floorstanders.
Even as editing continues on his forthcoming Stereophile recording of Brahms' Handel Variations and Schumann's Symphonic Études, Canadian pianist Robert Silverman is set to perform and re-record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. Silverman's eight-concert series of Beethoven sonata performances and recordings will take place in San Jose's lovely Le Petit Trianon Theatre, beginning this coming Thursday, September 9 and ending on April 14, 2011.
According to a recent Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) press release, "CE Industry to Surpass $174 billion in 2010, Reach Record High by 2011," sales forecasts are far more optimistic than had been expected. While the figures aren't easily translatable to the high-end market (which the CEA identifies as "high-performance audio"), some consumer-electronic (CE) trends give cause for qualified optimism, and provide clues as to which products may prove most profitable for manufacturers and dealers.
Klaus Heymann has some surprising news. During an in-person chat in the lobby of San Francisco's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the founder of the label that turned the classical-music recording industry on its ear revealed that, in the US, classical-music sales for the labels that Naxos distributes are stable.
Reflecting dramatic changes in the high-end industry, British loudspeaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins has developed for its products a new US retail outlet. Beginning in October, audio shoppers will be able to audition and buy the company's loudspeakers in Best Buy's chain of Magnolia stores.
After a gap of far too many years, Northern California again has a high-end audio show. Sponsored by Constantine Soo's DaGoGo.com, the fledgling California Audio Show will take place July 30 August 1 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Emeryville. That location next to Interstate 80, just across the bridge from San Francisco, midway between Oakland and Berkeley, and a free (albeit time-sensitive) shuttle ride from the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) MacArthur lineis expected to draw a good cross-section of audiophiles from throughout the Bay Area.