The sixth annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is about to get underway at the end of this week. Scheduled to take place October 24, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, the largest high-end audio show in the US that's open to the public will offer 150 exhibit rooms packed with products from 479 companies. Despite the economic slowdown, at least 3500 audiophiles, the same number as last year, are expected to attend.
Wilma Cozart Fine died Monday September 21 at age 82. Together with her husband Bob Fine, Cozart was responsible for producing and engineering Mercury's superb-sounding series of "Living Presence" classical recordings in the 1950s and '60s.
Emerging technology was also a theme at this CEDIA, even apart from the various 3D video schemes. RoomEQ is, of course, not a new concept and Audyssey treated us to an introduction and demonstration of their new Subwoofer Equalizer that uses the AudysseyPro software and of DSX, their technology for adding additional channels (for width and height) to the standard 5.1 and 7.1 configurations. I have a Subwoofer Equalizer in house now and hope to report on it shortly. In addition, DSX has made its appearance in a new generation of preamp-processors (and AVRs) from Denon, Onkyo, and Integra, so I am planning on experimenting with that, as well, using one of the new Integra processors, the all-inclusive DHC 80.1 ($2300).
To celebrate the release of jazz group Attention Screen's new Stereophile CD, Live at Otto's Shrunken Head, we are having a release party at New York's Otto's Shrunken Head Tiki Bar next Thursday from 7pm to 9pm. All are invited, admission is free, Attention Screen will be playing two sets, and the first 50 to arrive will get a free CD!
CEDIA Expo 2009 was off and running on Thursday September 10. The two large convention floors in Atlanta are packed with displays and products. The focus, of course, is on video, home theater, home integration and, even, centralized vacuum-cleaning systems. Of greatest interest to audiophiles remains the obvious: we all need loudspeakers! (Well, perhaps not the vacuum cleaner systems.) Unfortunately, the buzz on the floor precludes useful auditions and is so great that even the dedicated sound-rooms suffer from excessive noise. So, you will understand that good looks grab my attention.
The Hovland Company is no more. Less than 10 full years after its incorporation, the manufacturer of highly coveted Hovland Musicap propylene-film and aluminum-foil capacitors and visually striking electronic components has dismissed its staff and closed the doors of its manufacturing facility and headquarters in Los Angeles.
Tell the truth, now: When you're traveling on vacation, and supposedly engaged only in the normal tourist activities of seeing the sights, visiting museums, etc., aren't you also on the lookout for interesting audio stores?
For 14 years, The Cable Company has been running its annual Summer Against Hunger campaign to raise money for those in need. As was the case last year, The Cable Company says they "are again able to guaranty that 100% of purchases of sponsored products in August will benefit CARE!"
It is with immense sadness that I heard of Gordon's passing, in an announcement from his long-time friend, Bob O'Neiil: "A few minutes after 12 noon mtn time, July 20, 2009, J. Gordon Holt passed away in his home in Boulder, Colorado. A memorial service will be held in a week or two. There will be, of course, martinis and the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams." According to his son Charles, Gordon had suffered a long fight with COPD/Emphysema and he died in his home with his family around him.
Blue Circle Audio, the Ontario-based company that has championed the use of "no frills" packaging and solar powered devices, recently issued the latest addition to its line of minimal cosmetics audiophile products. The BC301FY preamplifier, which looks nothing like other companies' products, dispenses with the standard aluminum or steel box, engraved logo, designer controls, and other cosmetic frills. Housed in nine ABS cansa type of heavy-duty plastic commonly encountered in drainage and sewer pipingits packaging is said to reduce consumer cost by over 40%.
NHT is back. Less than five months after the veteran speaker company, aka Now Hear This, declared that it would sell off remaining inventory, pay its bills, and spend time rethinking its future, it has regrouped and returned with a new marketing approach.
Released in July, Live at Otto's Shrunken Head (STPH020-2) is the latest Stereophile CD from reviewer Bob Reina's jazz quartet, Attention Screen. Unlike the group's first CD, Live at Merkin Hall (STPH018-2, released in 2007), which was recorded with multiple microphones, I captured the eight improvisations on Live at Otto's using a single pair of mikes.
On June 2, Stereophile reported that HDGiants.com, formerly known as MusicGiants.com, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The future of the high-quality music and video download site that had most recently begun offering "Super HD" 24-bit surround-sound downloads was unclear.