Responding to continued softness in the audio market, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) has finalized plans to hold its first annual Audio Industry Summit at the Westin Hotel O'Hare in Chicago, Illinois, May 29-31. CEMA audio company members will congregate in an effort to formulate strategies they believe will lead the category back to long-term prosperity and growth.
Recently, Sound Advice, Inc., a specialty retailer of high-end consumer electronics, announced plans to open five to six stores in Florida over the next 18 months. The company expects that two to three of the stores will be in operation by the end of this calendar year, with the balance to be opened in 1999. Sound Advice is also exploring other ideas, such as smaller-format specialty stores in upscale malls and other high-end retail locations that feature high-quality brand names.
On April 7, Carver Corp. announced an agreement in principle for the sale of 3 million shares of restricted Common Stock of the company to one of its preferred shareholders, Renwick Special Situations Fund, L.P., for $375,000, or $0.125 per share.
Not long after the single-disc CD player was introduced, the multidisc changer followed, with products from companies like Sony and Pioneer. Shortly after the changer was introduced, it became the most popular version of the new hardware format. In the past eight years, changers have consistently outsold single-disc machines. The high-end market was characteristically slow to embrace changers, but companies like California Audio Labs have been successful in this category with products like the CL-10, a five-disc carousel changer.
High-end journal The Abso!ute Sound, long rumored to be circling the drain, has been officially revived. According to a press release dated March 24, TAS will be operated under a new company, Absolute Multimedia, owned by Tom Martin, a vice-president at Dell Computer. Martin has reportedly arranged serious financing for the new venture, which will be based in Austin, Texas.
On March 20, at the CeBIT '98 convention in Hanover, Germany, several leading manufacturers of CD-ReWritable (CD-RW) drives and media announced that the market for CD-RW products has grown much faster than originally predicted.
On March 17, Recoton Corporation announced that it has licensed the NHT brand name to Vergence Technology, Inc. NHT is a name known among audiophiles for its line of loudspeaker products for home audio. Vergence intends to utilize the NHT brand name on its new line of products designed specifically for the pro audio and professional home music markets. Planning for this marketing agreement has been in development for many months with Vergence Technology's Chris Byrne and Ken Kantor, who were also the founders of NHT.
Concluding its six-year evaluation of Digital Audio Radio (DAR) systems, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) filed its final report last month with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The report, "Technical Evaluations of Digital Audio Radio Systems: Laboratory and Field Test Results, System Performance, Conclusions," is available to the public from the FCC and through CEMA's website.
On March 12, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. announced that Sony Corporation has expanded its royalty-bearing license under ECD's proprietary phase-change rewritable optical-memory technology to include advanced technology for use in rewritable CD and DVD optical-memory products. Phase-change technology, invented by ECD, is used in PD and CD-RW rewritable optical-memory discs.
March 9, AKM Semiconductor, Inc. introduced the AK5392, a 24-bit stereo analog-to-digital (A/D) converter based on its proprietary dual-bit delta-sigma technology. The AK5392 reportedly achieves a dynamic range of 116dB, said to be a 15dB improvement over other single-chip alternatives.