Last week, Cirrus Logic unveiled two new Crystal digital-to-analog converters that the company says will support both dueling high-definition audio standards: DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD). As a result, the new DACs should enable the creation of universal DVD players for both the mass and high-end audio markets. The new DACs are the CS4397 "SuperDAC," which the company describes as a "high-performance audio DAC on a single chip" with 120dB dynamic range performance; and the CS4391, a lower-cost DAC also supporting DVD-Audio and SACD and sporting a 108dB dynamic range.
Citing large crowds of design engineers and consumers at its World PC Expo Pavilion in Japan last week, Texas Instruments' James Snider, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association, predicted a surge in product design based on the 1394/FireWire/i.Link standard in the coming year. Snider says that the demand for 1394 PC and consumer products is accelerating worldwide "as users become aware of the quality of video and audio that can be easily and efficiently transported in home, office, and theater environments."
Imagine yourself a recording artist just signed to a contract with one of Sony Music's record labels. You put out a couple of albums and start a website using your own name (say, for example, www.bobdylan.com). But the music wind starts blowing in a different direction, your contract comes up for renewal, and, either through your manager's insistence or that of one of Sony's big cheeses, you decide to leave the label and sign with someone else.
Earlier this month, at the Internationale Funkausstellung 1999 in Berlin, Germany, Syrinx music & media announced that, together with Panasonic/Technics and their new DVD-Audio players (see previous story), they successfully presented the world's first DVD-Audio disc. The Internationale Funkausstellung 1999 ran from August 28 until September 5 under the theme of "Your World of Consumer Electronics."
Want to start an audio newsgroup fire-fight? Just put the three letters "ABX" in the subject line of your post, sit back, and watch the pros take over. Read where it all started 15 years ago in "The Highs & Lows of Double-Blind Testing," which John Atkinson has compiled from the years 1985 and 1986, when an argumentative thread ran through Stereophile's pages discussing the benefits (or lack of) of double-blind testing methods in audio component reviewing—all triggered by J. Gordon Holt's review of the ABX Comparator.
When Sony introduced the first Super Audio CD (SACD) player, the SCD-1 (see previous report and Jonathan Scull's forthcoming review in the November 1999 Stereophile), audiophiles who heard it were impressed with its performance, but wondered if its $5000 price tag would keep it out of the market for a while. Last week, Sony announced their second SACD player, the SCD-777ES, to appear in October at the slightly more wallet-friendly price of $3500.
The year was 1956, and Elvis had just finshed his set on the December 15 Louisiana Hayride radio show. Elvis was one of a half-dozen acts that were broadcast that night on KWKH, the radio station that originated Hayride. After his encore, Elvis left the stage and the crowd went wild—so wild that they would not stop screaming for more of the soon-to-be king of rock'n'roll. Because several acts on the bill had not yet performed, the show's announcer, Horace Logan, went to the microphone in an attempt to quiet the audience, and ended up making a little music history.
It's been a busy week for Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) pioneers Lucent Digital Radio. (See previous report.) The company has announced that a new entity, Lucent Digital Radio, Inc., has been created as a result of an investment by Pequot Capital Management. The new company will be owned by Pequot Capital investors and Lucent Technologies, which will hold a majority ownership stake. Lucent says it will continue to support the new venture and provide ongoing access to research from the company's Bell Labs research and development unit.
Last week, Burr-Brown Corporation announced the development of the DSD1700, which the company says is its first Direct Stream Digital (DSD) audio digital-to-analog converter. According to Burr-Brown, the converter is designed for Sony's DSD technology, which is used in Super Audio CD players, professional DSD processors, and DSD mixing consoles.