After a four-year hiatus, the Vacuum State of the Art Conference and Show has been resurrected. Scheduled for next weekend, May 24–26, at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, Washington, just across the river from Portland, Oregon, VSAC owes its renewal to audio enthusiasts and software company owners Carolyn S. and Michael Kilfoil, who have taken over from founders Dan and Eileen Schmalle.
A few nights ago, I listened to mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's recording of J.S. Bach's great solo cantata, "Ich habe genug" (It is enough), BWV 82 (Nonesuch 79692-2). Hunt Lieberson was one of those rare mezzos, like Janet Baker and Kathleen Ferrier before her, whose voice conveyed an innately spiritual sense of connection with something greater than the individual self. Especially when she sang softly, she was able to imbue her tone with a hallowed reverence that is easier to feel than describe in words. To the extent that anyone can communicate the "tender mercies" and sacred intimacies of life, love, and spirit, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson proved herself a master.
Our industry has again honored its own. The Consumer Electronics Association, sponsors of the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), has announced 12 new inductees to the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame. Awards will be presented October 21 at a special Hall of Fame Dinner, scheduled for the Four Seasons in Las Vegas as part of the CEA's annual fall Industry Forum.
It's said that your first experience on entering a space sets the tone for all that follows. At LP pressing plant Record Technology, Inc. (RTI), that experience is my encounter with veteran pressman Richard Lopez, who responds to my request for direction. As he leaves his vintage record press to lead me to owner Don MacInnis, Lopez reads aloud the sticker on a box of recently pressed LPs. "WORLD'S FINEST PHONOGRAPH RECORDS," he declares with pride. As I reflect on how few workers today feel so connected to the products they make, I sense that something special lies ahead.
If you watch mainstream TV, you've probably seen it: The American Express Plum Card ad that features catalog/online analog retailer MusicDirect. Filmed in December, with little advance notice, the ad debuted on February 19, and is expected to run for several months.
How could he?, they seem to say. In obituary after obituary, one reads how tenor Guiseppe di Stefano squandered his voice. Too much smoking, too much drinking, too much shouting at late-night parties, they declare. It's almost as though opera lovers feel betrayed, unable to forgive an artist who abused such glorious gifts so early in his career.
Sony has triumphed once again. The company that has until now held control of the dominant audio format, "Red Book" CD, and the dominant high-resolution audio format, SACD, will now dominate high-resolution video as well with its Blu-ray technology.
You thought the only new articles about CDs you'd be reading would be about further declines in sales? Well, it turns out that ArkivMusic, the country's leading website for new and formerly out-of-print classical recordings, posted, um, record sales last year.
Although Allen Perkins' Spiral Groove has until now focused exclusively on analog products, the company has taken a big step into the digital domain by announcing the forthcoming Spiral Groove DP1 line stage preamp and 24/96 DAC. Projected to become available in four months, the DPI is so new that it has yet to be priced.
So why is Amanda Sweet from Telarc smiling? Well, in addition to being a wonderful person, she's happy that the Concord Music Group chose to sell its wares in The Venetian. Rather than the nightmare everyone predicted, customers only had to walk 20 steps to the official CES cashiers to purchase their SACDs and CDs from Telarc, Heads Up, Concord, Prestige and the like. With only one other CD vendor—5.1—in the area, Telarc did a booming business.