The quest for new speaker technologies has resulted in some novel approaches to the reproduction of sound, as witnessed by products announced in the last few years by NXT and 1 . . . Ltd. (See previous story.) Some of Stereophile's readers may also recall that, back in May 1996, American Technology Corp. shook things up in the audio world by announcing what the company described as its "breakthough" new technology, the much-debated HyperSonic Sound (HSS). This was followed up in February 1997, when ATC announced the introduction of its Stratified Field Technology SFT, which company literature touted as "a significant improvement over conventional loudspeakers."
For quite a while now, Pioneer and Marantz have stuck their necks out with the few universal SACD/DVD-A/DVD/CD players available. Not any longer, as Onkyo, Teac and Yamaha join the club with new machines, aimed at consumers hedging their bets as to who will win the high-rez format wars.
Corporate consolidation has been likened to gravity: an inexorable, hard-to-resist force of nature always lurking in the background. D&M Holdings, parent company of Denon and Marantz Japan, has clearly felt its effects, announcing last week its latest acquisition: McIntosh Laboratory.
Threshold Corporation, long known as one of the original high-end audio equipment pioneers, is discussing plans to restructure the company to meet new market conditions. Threshold, based in Camarillo, California, manufactures high-end audio amplifiers, preamplifiers, and digital products under the Threshold, FortT, and PS Audio product lines. (PS Audio, of which Threshold Corp. is the majority owner, is currently a separate corporation.)
Music buyers will find a new report issued by Parks Associates both interesting and disturbing. Interesting in what it purports to reveal about consumers, and, as we shall see, disturbing in how the music industry is being urged to interpret the data.
At one time the music industry was known as a cultural force. It could excite the public and change the course of history, even prodding some governments to attempt censorship. These days, the record labels themselves are acting more and more like a police force, looking for ways to restrict and control how music consumers behave.
The music industry's worst nightmare is coming true: feeble attempts to shackle compact discs with "protection" are falling prey to simple felt pen hacks. And it's too late to build use-restriction and tracking technologies directly into CD players and existing computer CD drives.
After more than ten years in development, Sirius Satellite Radio announced last week that it will be officially launching its service with two events in Jackson, Mississippi beginning February 13. Sirius' competitor XM Satellite radio was able to get its service up and running last September.
While bunches 'o companies were hopping on the USB DAC bandwagon, Weiss quietly goes their own way, focusing on getting the audio out of your computer via FireWire. The company also sells professional audio equipment.
Embattled audio brand TAG McLaren Audio is showing more signs of life since hitting the ropes earlier this summer. After completing "a full strategic review of its participation in the audio market," the company had announced a re-focused effort to continue.