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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 18, 1999 0 comments
After months of wrangling, the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) has announced its first set of standards for portable digital music devices. Manufacturers can now incorporate these standards into the designs of new products. Many industry observers believe that portables will be the next big wave in consumer audio, expected to hit the market by the winter holiday season.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
Wes Phillips writes, "I catch John's eye and wonder if he's pondering the same question I am: What were we thinking?" In addition to trying to push forward the limits of getting great sound onto tape, Stereophile's release of Rhapsody In Blue would offer the public a groundbreaking arrangement of George Gershwin's most popular orchestral work. In "The Rhapsody Project," Hyperion Knight and John Atkinson join Wes in chronicling their perspectives on the processes leading to this landmark recording.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
One would think that the Internet was growing crowded with online music retailers such as CDnow/N2K, Amazon.com, EveryCD, and Tower Records, just to name a few, all hustling CDs. But the lure of gold in them e-commerce hills is hard to resist. Last week, barnesandnoble.com jumped into the fray and announced the launch of its own Music Store, featuring what the company describes as the first "online classical music superstore." Notably late to market with its online bookselling franchise, barnesandnoble.com hopes to gain ground against arch-rival Amazon.com by expanding beyond books and better focusing on niche markets.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
According to a recent report released by Information Technology researchers Frost & Sullivan, the world Internet audio market generated revenues totaling $42 million in 1998, which dwarfs the 1997 revenues by 1516%. The report predicts that this market will continue growing at a healthy rate, achieving an increase into the triple percentage digits by the end of 1999.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
Last week, the Secure Digital Music Initiative announced that it would allow free MP3 downloads to co-exist with new encrypted forms of digital music transmission. Despite this, widespread concern in corporate legal departments about copyright-violation liability has prompted software developers to come up with blocking techniques to prevent pirated music from entering company "Intranets."
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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
Since the earliest days of stereo—the first experiments with more than single-channel sound happened back in the 1930s—recording and playback have been based on a horizontal model: left-center-right, left-rear, right-rear. "Laterality," as it's sometimes called, can be exploited very well in creating plausible sensations of spatial events, especially by film-industry sound engineers. The believable reproduction of music is considerably more problematic.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 11, 1999 0 comments
The Jeff Rowland Design Group is alive and well and in no danger of going out of business. The company was the victim of hackers who recently broke into the company's website and posted a notice to the contrary.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Loudspeaker designer Bill Eggleston has joined Cello Technologies Corporation. He will oversee the development of a new line of no-compromise loudspeakers, according to a company press release dated July 1. Eggleston designed the Andra loudspeaker, which was designated Stereophile's "Product of the Year" for 1997.
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Jon Iverson Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
It's been 30 years since hordes of wild-eyed music lovers converged on White Lake, a small town just north of New York City, for an event that would soon become an icon for a generation. Could anyone back then have imagined that, three decades later, Woodstock would cost $150/ticket and evolve into a marketing opportunity and website?
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Want to start an argument on one of the audio newsgroups? Just mention ABX. Doesn't matter if you're for it, against it, or just curious about what it is---you'll start a fire that might take weeks to burn out. But before audio newsgroups even existed, J. Gordon Holt was probing the usefulness of the ABX Comparator in an "As We See It" column from 1982, "The Truth Should Out." His thoughts might surprise you.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
If Lydstrom, Inc. has anything to do with it, the next hot ticket in home audio won't be just another CD player, but a musical database manager capable of organizing and playing as many as 5000 songs, from CDs or from Internet downloads. The Boston, Massachusetts-based company announced June 30 that it has licensed Lucent Technologies' Enhanced Perceptual Audio Coder (ePAC) for inclusion in a product as yet unnamed but projected to be available by Christmas 1999.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Folk wisdom has it that it's wiser not to lock the gate after the horses have escaped. The Secure Digital Music Initiative, a consortium of 140 music, software, and hardware companies, has taken that adage to heart. In a significant departure from its original intent to block the distribution of free music on the Internet, the Secure Digital Music Initiative announced in the last week of June that its forthcoming specification for music software and hardware will accommodate the "legacy content" already in existence. There are reportedly as many as 500,000 songs available in the MP3 format, and they will continue to be available even as new, robustly encrypted music comes onto the market.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Jul 04, 1999 0 comments
Last week, Texas Instruments, Liquid Audio, Fraunhofer, and SanDisk announced that they've teamed to offer what they describe as "the first complete solution" for the secure downloading of music off the Internet onto portable audio players. The companies say that their programmable DSP-based technology is the first to meet the newly released Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) guidelines for digital music portable devices, and is now available for manufacturers who want to develop secure players in time for Christmas 1999.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
Wednesday, June 23, was an auspicious day for Musicland Stores Corporation. That day the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based music and video retailer took its sales online. Four websites, each mirroring one of Musicland's four divisions, went live simultaneously with a promotional contest offering customers the chance to win daily and weekly prizes and a $10,000 grand prize---including a Sony home entertainment system. Participants can also win a trip for two to the World Wrestling Federation Summer Slam in Minneapolis on August 22.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jun 27, 1999 0 comments
The high-end audio industry may be in a slump, but the public's appetite for recorded music appears as voracious as ever. MP3, the hottest upstart in the digital audio market, got a big boost in late June when Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. announced the next generation of its popular Rio digital music player, the Rio PMP 500, due to arrive in stores this fall.

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