A highlight of recent Home Entertainment Shows has been the Sunday afternoon "Analog Clinic" presented by Stereophile senior editor Michael Fremer. Michael, who writes about vinyl playback every month in his "Analog Corner" column, spends an hour showing Show attendees how to set up a turntable and how to optimize the tonearm geometry. To judge by the attendance at Home Entertainment 2006, held last month in Los Angeles, this is a popular subject these days.
Classical music fans will be happy to hear that Image Entertainment has announced the signing of an exclusive license agreement with England's Reiner Moritz Associates (RMA) that will see the company releasing 50 classical-music programs on DVD in the coming year. In addition to the classical performance programming, Image will also release some of RMA's special-interest fare, featuring such luminaries as Marilyn Horne, Maria Callas, David Hockney, Jackson Pollock, and Margot Fonteyn.
The combination of accessible world music and transparent sound featured on Let Your Voice Be Heard, the CD released in 2001 by male-voice choir Cantus, made it an audiophile favorite. Stereophile editor John Atkinson returned to Minnesota earlier this year to record Cantus for a second time. This time, however, the program was very different: an ambitious sequence of choral works illustrating a musical and poetic progression from grief and sorrow to consolation and joy, following the tragic events of September 2001.
After 53 years of publication, Audio magazine, owned and operated by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, is closing its doors this week. Often rumored to be on the ropes, the magazine had recently attempted a new editorial direction and artistic facelift.
Primedia, the leading targeted media company, announced March 30 the newsstand arrival of its recently launched Connected Guide To The Digital Home. Part of Primedia's Home Technology & Photography (HT&P) Group, Connected is the first consumer magazine dedicated entirely to adopting and integrating audio, video, information, telecommunications, security and other personal and home technologies.
Rumors have been confirmed that high-end audio journal Fi Magazine, which just entered its fourth year of publication, closed its doors last Friday, February 26. In a conversation with Stereophile publisher emeritus Larry Archibald, former Fi editor Jonathan Valin commented that "It was really a shame. I never worked so long and so hard on anything, and it didn't have to end the way it did---but I don't want to go into it. The money was there to keep it going." John Atkinson had been told at CES by a Fi spokesperson that a new source of investment had been found, but we can only assume that the deal fell through.
Stereophile's owner, Source Interlink Media (SIM), announced today that it is merging the two most powerful print and online media brands in the home technology field, Home Theater and Sound & Vision, to create a single powerhouse consumer brand dedicated to electronic entertainment.
Internet audio continues to expand. Last week, at the first WebNoize conference, held in Los Angeles, JamTV/Rolling Stone Network and RealNetworks, Inc. announced the debut of Rolling Stone Radio, a new Internet audio service offering music in several genres. Rock star David Bowie announced that he would serve as a disc jockey for the new venture. Amazon.com has also signed on to participate as a music retailer.
Hachette Filipacchi Magazines (HFM) announced last week that two of its titles, Stereo Review and Video magazines, would be merged to form a new magazine titled Stereo Review's Sound & Vision. According to the statement, the new title will be launched in February 1999, with the premiere issue to coincide with next year's Consumer Electronics Show.
On August 25 and 26, John Atkinson and Wes Phillips were in Salina, Kansas. They were recording what will be Stereophile's first jazz album, at the deconsecrated downtown church Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds has transformed into Blue Heaven Studios. The band, led by acoustic bass guitarist Jerome Harris, featured alto saxophonist Marty Ehrlich, trombonist Art Baron, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, and percussionist Billy Drummond. Over the two days, the quintet recorded a striking set of original compositions by Harris, as well as a superb tribute to Duke Ellington in one of the great bandleader's signature tunes, "The Mooche."