Anyone who has experimented with wireless local area networks for audio—feeding rear/side speakers in a multichannel system, for example—can attest that the technology is far from ready for prime time. Prone to noise, interference, and dropouts, wireless audio systems require a tremendous amount of refinement before they'll meet audiophile standards.
There's a certain commercial symbiosis between audio companies and public performance spaces. Tokyo has its Yamaha Hall; New York has its Avery Fisher Hall (1, 2), named for the hi-fi pioneer whose products were among the best available in the early 1960s.
Satellite radio goes high-end: Beginning early next year, Krell Industries will enter the booming market for satellite radio receivers with an XM Radio tuner. The $4000 unit will reportedly also receive traditional AM and FM broadcasts; an optional module will let it stream Internet audio via 802.11g wireless connection to a broadband modem, according to the September 27 edition of This Week in Consumer Electronics (TWICE). The tuner will join Krell's line of custom installation products. In a similar but less expensive vein will be new Sirius tuners from Russound. At $699 and $999, the two new models will also include AM/FM tuners.
Apple vs Apple: Despite persistent rumors of an impending settlement, the trademark dispute between Apple Corps, the Beatles' record company, and Apple Computer remained unresolved as of late September. The rift arose from the computer company's entry into the music business with its iTunes Music Store, in apparent violation of a previous deal in which it agreed not to do so. One possible outcome of current discussions between the two companies could be the first-ever online availability of Beatles recordings, an exclusive arrangement that might give iTunes an advantage over its competitors.
Two-channel lives: Once the bread-and-butter of electronics retailers everywhere, the two-channel receiver has become all but extinct. Rotel America is making a valiant effort to save this endangered species with its new RX-1052, a remote-controllable 100Wpc unit claimed to offer "audiophile-grade sonics"—it includes a phono preamp, and a "massively overbuilt" power supply—with versatile four-area multiroom/multizone capabilities and basic video-switching features. Whole-house system integration is made easier via three IR links and 12V trigger outputs. An RS-232 interface connects to touchscreens and other media controllers, and provides an upgrade path for the unit's firmware. Available with either matte black or black-and-silver front panels, the RX-1052 goes on sale in October at a suggested price of $899.
Johnny Ramone: 19548–2004: Rock fans were saddened by the September 16 death of guitarist Johnny Ramone, founding member of pioneering punk rock band The Ramones. Surrounded by friends and family, he passed away at his Los Angeles home after losing a five-year struggle with prostate cancer. His death came just a few days after a concert held to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary and to raise funds for cancer research.
Ashland, OR cable maker, TARA Labs, was raided by a combined force of federal agents and local police, acting on a warrant issued after investigators found sufficient evidence that the company may have mislabeled some of its products as "Made in USA."