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Stereophile Staff Posted: Oct 03, 1999 0 comments
MP3 players are going to hit the market in waves this fall, and manufacturers will be trying hard to make their products stand out from the pack. Several companies are bringing out combi MP3/CD portables, including consumer-electronics newcomer Pine Technology USA, of Fremont, California. Pine has long experience in the manufacture of motherboards, modems, and other computer components. The company is now shipping its $189 D'Music SM-320V MP3 portable. Its $219 model SM-320 includes an FM tuner. Both players have 32Mb of embedded solid-state memory and will accept a 32Mb SmartMedia card. Pine's players operate on two AAA batteries, and can double as voice recorders with up to 4.5 hours of recording capacity. Retailers include Fry's Electronics and Office Depot.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Oct 03, 1999 0 comments
One of the challenges facing audio equipment manufacturers as we enter the Internet age is how to handle online retailing of products to consumers. A manufacturer that has so far shunned mail-order in favor of bricks-and-mortar retailing runs the risk of alienating its established distribution base by jumping online ("mail order with a web address"), where traditional territorial sales boundaries are often rendered meaningless.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Sep 26, 1999 0 comments
Last week at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York City, Sonic Solutions announced that it plans to introduce what it says is the world's first digital audio workstation based on Sony's new Direct Stream Digital (DSD) technology. Sonic says that the new system, SonicStudio HD-DSD, is being developed in cooperation with Sony Corporation and will provide the recording industry with a mastering tool for the new Super Audio CD (SACD) format.
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Barry Willis Posted: Sep 26, 1999 0 comments
The Walkman is 20 years old. As part of its celebration of one of the most successful audio products in history, Sony has introduced its first personal music player with the capability of downloading music from the Internet. The new Walkman employs Sony's "memory stick" technology to store audio files as large as 32 megabytes. The latest Walkman, which was unveiled last week in Japan and New York, is expected to retail at approximately $400 and should appear in stores in January.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Sep 26, 1999 0 comments
Last week, Cirrus Logic unveiled two new Crystal digital-to-analog converters that the company says will support both dueling high-definition audio standards: DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD). As a result, the new DACs should enable the creation of universal DVD players for both the mass and high-end audio markets. The new DACs are the CS4397 "SuperDAC," which the company describes as a "high-performance audio DAC on a single chip" with 120dB dynamic range performance; and the CS4391, a lower-cost DAC also supporting DVD-Audio and SACD and sporting a 108dB dynamic range.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Sep 26, 1999 0 comments
When it comes to power, VTL's Luke Manley is definitely in the "more is better" camp. But when Lonnie Brownell sat down to listen to the VTL ST-85 tube power amplifier, he elected to start with a single amp and go for more power later. Lonnie writes: "How's about I go with just one amplifier for a while? After all, that's what most people would buy, at least at first. Then I can drop in another one and see what that does." But in the end, was one enough? Brownell tells all.
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Barry Willis Posted: Sep 26, 1999 0 comments
Sudden awareness of free digital downloadable music on the Internet sent the music industry into a panic last year. The Secure Digital Music Initiative, a coalition of record labels, software companies, and electronics manufacturers, worked overtime developing standards for encrypting music in an attempt to thwart piracy. Preliminary guidelines for copyright protection were issued in June. Most recently, the SDMI completed a series of listening tests intended to find the least intrusive form of encryption. The organization seemed to present a united front in the anti-piracy war.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Sep 19, 1999 0 comments
Citing large crowds of design engineers and consumers at its World PC Expo Pavilion in Japan last week, Texas Instruments' James Snider, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association, predicted a surge in product design based on the 1394/FireWire/i.Link standard in the coming year. Snider says that the demand for 1394 PC and consumer products is accelerating worldwide "as users become aware of the quality of video and audio that can be easily and efficiently transported in home, office, and theater environments."
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Sep 19, 1999 0 comments
Want to know how Michael Fremer is able to tie a story about his baffled plumber into an equipment review? Find out in his report on the Audio Physic Virgo loudspeaker. About the speakers, Mikey writes: "Clearly, the Virgos disappeared, leaving one of the most credible three-dimensional soundstages I've ever experienced in any of my listening rooms over the years."
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Wes Phillips Posted: Sep 19, 1999 0 comments
Troy Kosovich, Dynaudio's director of marketing, died Tuesday, September 14 in a single-car accident near Bozeman, Montana. According to a newspaper report, he apparently lost control of his Isuzu Rodeo while returning to his hotel after an evening with a client. Troy was 37 years old and is survived by his wife, Angel, and his three-year-old son, Killian.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Sep 19, 1999 0 comments
Imagine yourself a recording artist just signed to a contract with one of Sony Music's record labels. You put out a couple of albums and start a website using your own name (say, for example, www.bobdylan.com). But the music wind starts blowing in a different direction, your contract comes up for renewal, and, either through your manager's insistence or that of one of Sony's big cheeses, you decide to leave the label and sign with someone else.
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Barry Willis Posted: Sep 19, 1999 0 comments
A company unknown outside the broadcast industry is poised to become the next big player in radio. Entercom Communications Corp, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, has moved to the head of the pack in the race to buy 31 FM and 15 AM stations from Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation. The $824.5 million purchase is being financed in part by a public stock offering that Entercom floated last January.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Sep 19, 1999 0 comments
Nationwide electronics retailer Best Buy has reported a record $59 million in profits for the second quarter of its fiscal year. Profits were up 34% from the previous year, according to a September 15 report in the Wall Street Journal. The Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based chain is one of the largest outlets for consumer electronics, and is Circuit City's only serious rival.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Sep 12, 1999 0 comments
Back in 1985, J. Gordon Holt wrote: "It seems, these days, that many of us audiophiles have become so preoccupied with the minutiae of sound reproduction that we haven't even noticed that it doesn't sound like music any more." He was talking about the obsession with soundstaging and detail at the expense of musical accuracy. In "Getting the Notes Right (Midrange Madness)," he renders his lesson in classic JGH style, observing that "I have played on this old saw in these pages for so many years that it has turned into a dead sawhorse, but somehow the message never seems to get through. There should be no harm done by beating it into the ground a little farther."
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Jon Iverson Posted: Sep 12, 1999 0 comments
Earlier this month, at the Internationale Funkausstellung 1999 in Berlin, Germany, Syrinx music & media announced that, together with Panasonic/Technics and their new DVD-Audio players (see previous story), they successfully presented the world's first DVD-Audio disc. The Internationale Funkausstellung 1999 ran from August 28 until September 5 under the theme of "Your World of Consumer Electronics."

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