As reported on this website on December 9, Joseph Cohen of the Lotus Group, exclusive distributor of Oyaide products in North America, discovered that Chris Johnson of Parts ConneXion was selling counterfeit Oyaide AC plugs at regular Oyaide prices. Given that Johnson had previously signed a contract with the Lotus Group to distribute genuine Oyaide plugs, Cohen immediately attempted to reach Johnson to resolve the matter.
Given the state of the economy, speculation abounds concerning major declines in the numbers of exhibitors and attendees at this year's audio/video shows in Las Vegas. If the advance numbers can be trusted, however, that will be anything but the case this January 811, when the high-end audio exhibits of both the Consumer Electronics Show and T.H.E. Show will be open.
ASL Group (formerly known as Audiophile Systems Ltd.) announced December 19 that it had acquired Naim North America, the US distributor of Naim Audio and NaimNet, a deal that strengthens both ASL and Naim NA. Naim Audio's CEO Paul Stephenson said, "It's like going home, since we originally were distributed by Audiophile Systems when we first moved into the US."
In the early morning hours of December 11, Joseph Cohen of the Lotus Group, the exclusive distributor of Oyaide products in North America, sent out a "Lotus Group News Flash!" The e-mail, dated December 10, declared:
Naim Audio's Naim Classics label has begun releasing recordings in Dual Pack format that contains both a Red-Book CD and 24-bit/88.2kHz audio DVD for $24.95. The exclusive US distributor of Naim's high resolution titles will be www.premieremusic.net.
Meridian Audio Ltd. announced at 4pm December 5 that it had acquired media server manufacturer Sooloos LLC. "Basically, it comes from [Meridian founder] Bob Stuart's appreciation of great industrial design and innovative technologies," said Meridian's Chief Marketing Officer Graeme Taylor. "That combination is what Meridian has always attempted to offer and when Bob saw Sooloos' products, he realized that Peter Wellikoff [COO], Enno Vandermeer [CEO], and Danny Dulai [CTO] shared those values. Over time, it became obvious that, between what we shared and what we each could offer each other, the acquisition made tremendous sense."
Michael Fremer will participate in a roundtable discussion titled, "Deep Listening: Why Audio Quality Matters," held at the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination (247 East 82nd Street, NY) on Saturday, December 6, at 2:30pm.
Naxos has taken a major step toward distributing higher-quality downloads of classical-music recordings. ClassicsOnline, the label's impressive download site, now offers the world's largest collection of classical-music recordings free of digital rights management (DRM). All of the site's nearly 22,000 albums, from more than 100 independent labels, are available at 320kbps.
As we reported almost a year ago, US District Court Judge Michael Davis awarded record labels $220,000 in damages for Jammie Thomas' having posted digital files to the KaZaa peer-to-peer site. To date, that has been the RIAA's sole victory in its prosecution of file sharers and it hinged upon an instruction Judge Davis gave the jury, specifically Jury Instruction 15, which said that Capitol Records did not have to prove anybody downloaded the songs, only that Thomas had posted them. This is known as the "making available" argument and was vigorously opposed by Thomas' lawyer.
In June 2007, I again recorded Minnesotan male choir Cantus live on location, this time in the glorious acoustic of Sauder Concert Hall at Goshen College, in Goshen, Indiana. The resultant CD, While You Are Alive (Cantus CTS-1208), is the eighth I have engineered of the group; it is a collection of 20th- and 21st-century works that explores, illuminates, and celebrates all stages of life, from birth to death.
There's good news on the download front. Two sites, one in the UK and the other in the US, are gearing up for major expansions of their catalogs. Both offer DRM-free files in both lossless and high-quality (320kbps) MP3 formats.
Well, I cannot say that I saw everything at the 2008 CEDIA Expo, nor can I say that my dreams came true. However, my major expectation for this show was to see that the major high-end manufacturers had bitten the bullet for HDMI and HD audio. I am happy to say, almost all have: some with products ready to ship; some with availabilities before the end of the year; and some with prototypes and promises for the 2009 CES in January. To list and illustrate them all would take more energy than I can conjure at this late day but here are a few.
Multichannel/surround is the default mode at CEDIA, of course, but there are interesting two-channel products to be found. Perhaps the most surprising was from McIntosh, released in celebration of the company's impending 60th Anniversary. Would you believe a mini-system from McIntosh? Well, it looks like a McIntosh but look at it. It consists of a two-channel preamp/amp (75wpc) with a prominent tube stage and characteristic McIntosh power transformer. Docked underneath is an SACD/CD player, and a pair of speakers complete the ensemble. Price is expected to be in the $6000$8000 range.