Long-simmering disputes about peer-to-peer file sharing, or P2P, will finally come to a boil sometime next year. On Friday, December 10, the US Supreme Court agreed to examine whether online services Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks, Inc. are liable for copyright infringement. Both services enable users to share music and other forms of copyrighted material, and both derive revenue from advertising.
Denmark has probably contributed more to loudspeaker technology than any other country in the world. Vifa, Dynaudio, ScanSpeak, and Peerless driversused in a huge variety of speakersare all Danish. Products from companies such as JBL, Spendor, Linn, B&W, Celestion, KEF, Audio Physic, ProAc, and others are partially or wholly made in the little Scandinavian nation.
System Audio originated in 1984, when guitarist and electronics technician Ole Witthoft grew dissatisfied with the lack of realism he heard from most home audio systems and figured he could do better. He built some speakers for himself and for a few friends, with encouraging results. It's a familiar story: we all know competent hobbyist speaker builders. A few of them gain a bit of local notoriety, but most never venture further than making a few units for friends and relatives.
But Witthoft's reputation grew rapidly, and so did his business. Fourteen years later, his little startup has become a serious player in the loudspeaker market, with annual production in excess of 18,000 units.
Really Big Hi-Fi came to live with me for a couple of months this past spring in the form of a pair of Tannoy Churchill loudspeakers. They were trucked directly to San Rafael, California from Kitchener, Ontario, in flight cases so bulky they could double as coffins for NFL offensive linemen. Once ensconced chez moi, the Tannoy dreadnoughts provoked bewilderment, alarm, curiosity, envy, admiration, awe, and amazement in all who heard and saw them.
Respondents to our weekly Stereophile polls often tell us they would buy more CDs if the prices weren't so high. So would their European counterparts, according to a survey released February 18 by the International Federation of Phonograph Industries (IFPI). Prices for recorded music are even higher in Europe than they are in the US.
Making good its intention to move heavily into the ever-expanding consumer-electronics market, Texas Instruments has announced that it will acquire chipmaker Burr-Brown Corporation for $7.6 billion in stock. Burr-Brown makes some of the most highly regarded A/D and D/A converter chips on the market, many of them used in high-end audio and home-theater products.
Doug Sahm, of the Grammy-winning Tex-Mex group the Texas Tornados, was found dead in a motel in Taos, New Mexico on Thursday, November 18. He appeared to have died of natural causes, possibly a heart attack, Taos police said. Sahm was 58.
Nothing at 41 E. 62nd Street in Manhattan offers any clue as to what sort of business that takes place inside. The waiting room feels vaguely monastic: straw mats on the floor, a row of shoes near the door. Like a day spa offering acupuncture and shiatsu. There's no corporate name, no logo, no mission statement.
A clock running six and a half hours late hangs above a receptionist's unoccupied desk. An enormous white dog is asleep under framed pictures of old blues artists: Son Thomas, Etta Baker, Pernell King, Cora Fluker, Big Joe Williams.
When it comes to digital music players and the future of computer-based entertainment, the computer industry appears to be going in two directions at once. Apple Computer has recently made a strong move into the portable music arena with its $399 iPod, a player that can store as many as 1000 songs. The company is also rumored to be developing software and computer-based editing equipment for the pro-audio industry.