The Internet is beginning to pose quite a dilemma for high-end audio manufacturers, especially ones with limited distribution in major markets such as the US. Do you risk alienating potential bricks-and-mortar dealers in an effort to gain widespread exposure by offering your products online? Or do you slowly build distribution through the traditional stores that for years have been high-end audio's haven?
Last week, Capitol Records announced that it will release expanded DVD and VHS editions of Endless Harmony: The Beach Boys Story. The documentary, produced by Stephanie Bennett and directed by Alan Boyd, made its US television debut on VH1 in 1998. A soundtrack CD of Endless Harmony, originally released to coincide with the VH1 airing, is also available.
We'd have to go back to September 2005 to recall the last major changes
made to our website. It was then that we began adding our forums and
blogs, which moved slowly at first, went through some growing pains, and
finally became some of our most popular online destinations. About a
year later, we made other minor revisions, altering the look and feel of
our site to make it friendlier, more attractive, and easier to use.
These were all great moves, but the nature of the Web demands
near-constant renewal. The time had come for some tube-rolling. Or, if
you prefer, we needed to augment our physical media with a high-res,
lightning-fast, computer-based system. Look at it however you like.
The situation was clear: We were overdue for a facelift.
We all know that audiophile products are dangerous to the pocketbook, but one high-end audio manufacturer is notifying its customers that one of its subwoofers may be dangerous to the listener's health as well.
Several recent surveys on the Stereophile website have uncovered a surprising trend among audiophiles: Many of you are heading online to both used- and new-product vendors to make equipment purchases that have traditionally been made at specialty audio retailers.
Sim Audio's Lionel Goodfield notes that CDs are still major parts of most audiophile music collections, so he wanted to develop a player to maximize the format's potential while keeping costs under control. The result is the Neo 2600 for $2,000 that features a floating transport and borrows much of its technology from the company's more expensive 650D from the Evolution Series.
The 2600 also has SPDIF and AES/EBU inputs and can be upgraded for $1,000 with an internal 32 bit DAC that also adds a USB input. Available in black, silver and 2-tone.
"It's really red" I exclaimed, "bright, give-me-a-speeding-ticket red." Simaudio's Lionel Goodfield and distributor Michael Baskin were both quick to respond with "is there really any other color when it comes to special cars? So it is with special audio components."
Introduced a couple months back, the Moon 100 D DAC includes coax and optical SPDIF as well as USB inputs. It also features an asynchronous sample rate converter and operates at 24bit/192 via SPDIF and 16/48 via USB.
All this for $699. "It's a killer" says Simaudio's Lionel Goodfield.
Most DACs are pretty straight forward and simply convert an digital signal to analog. But with the array of choices widening every few months, it might be handy to have a DAC that could do a bit more.
With this in mind, Simaudio is introducing the Moon 180 MiND Music Streamer (at top left in photo). MiND, which is short for Moon intelligent Network Device, allows the user to stream digitally stored music from a computer, NAS drive, the internet, subscriber-based music services or a UPnP enabled device to your DAC via either SPDIF, AES or Toslink outputs.
The MiND will available in April for $1,250 and Simaudio's Lionel Goodfield says that they will be releasing DACs with the MiND built in as an upgrade later this year.
Simaudio also revealed the 32-bit Moon 380D DAC designed around the M-AJiC32 circuitry (an asynchronous jitter elimination system) performing in true 32-bit fully asynchronous mode. There are eight digital inputs, all able to handle up to 24/192 sources. Available in April for $3,900.00 and you can add the MiND streamer for an additional $1,200.00.