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.
The first day of CEDIA, like the first day of CES, is clogged with highly structured press conferences by the major international electronics companies and, since the show floor is not yet ready for primetime and there is the minute possibility that they might actually say something interesting, all the press faithfully parade from one to the next. Sure, I am little less enthusiastic than most since my, and, I hope, our interests are focused on audio, much less so on video and progressively less and less on home integration and central vacuum systems.
While most of the speakers at CEDIA seem to be designed for concealment, from on-wall to in-wall and, even, behind-wall in the case of the Stealth Acoustics designs. The latter mount in the wall but with the expectation that the installer will plaster over them. As a result, no pix from me but you can imagine what they look like by viewing your own wall.
Let's do the It's a Wonderful Life exercise, shall we? Imagine what popular music would sound like today without Jerry Wexler. Aretha Franklin would have never returned to her gospel roots, Ray Charles would have continued imitating Charles Brown and Nat Cole, Stax would have been a tiny regional record label, and denatured white covers of R&B songs would dominate the charts. In fact, the music we know today as rhythm and blues would still be called "race music"Wexler having coined R&B while working at Billboard in 1949.
On August 14, Logitech International announced that it intended to acquire privately held Ultimate Ears for $34 million in cash. "Ultimate Ears is a perfect fit for Logitech and our audio business," said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech's president and CEO. "Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience. Logitech's success has been built on using a deep understanding of our customers to create products that let people immerse themselves in their pursuits."
PSB came to New York in late July to debut its new line of loudspeakers, giving journos an advance peek at them before the official launch at the CEDIA Conference in early September. Paul Barton, showing a lot of emotion for a normally reserved Canadian, was frankly in love with the four new loudspeakers.