The EE Times is reporting that the DVD Forum is getting close to finalizing a specification that would allow audio signals to be available via digital outputs on DVD-Audio players. Audiophile frustration with the new DVD-A format has mounted in the months since its introduction, with lack of access to a high-resolution digital signal from players, which currently have analog-only outputs, and the possibility of watermarked discs.
Loudspeaker designer and manufacturer Richard Vandersteen has heard enough: He is embarking on a crusade to right an egregious wrong he sees being perpetuated by the marketing scribes and salesfolk working in the consumer electronics business. Though he was miles away, at his company headquarters in Hanford, CA, his passion for spreading the audiophile word came through the telephone loud and clear.
After enduring frustrating delays, XM Satellite Radio announced the successful launch last week of its first satellite, which the company has named Rock. XM reports that lift-off occurred off the Sea Launch Odyssey Launch Platform in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean on the equator, and that the first signals from the satellite were captured by a ground station in Australia a little over an hour later, as planned.
The prognosis was looking dim for yet another Internet music business, but last week the Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA), revealed that it has signed an agreement to be acquired by Vitaminic, a European digital platform for the promotion and distribution of music over the Internet. IUMA had recently run out of cash and says that the acquisition will allow it to relaunch all suspended services within the week.
Savvy music fans willing to ignore the built-in copying restrictions on consumer-targeted CD recorders have always had their computer-based CD and DVD recorders and hard drives to play with, especially when it comes to manipulating MP3 files. Maybe not for much longer. A new content-protection approach is attempting to tighten the digital noose around the necks of PC users who have spent the last few years virtually unencumbered when it comes to—as Apple so succinctly puts it—rip, mix, burn.
Last week, the US Secret Service reported that, assisted by the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) New York Anti-Piracy Unit, it had executed two search and seizure warrants in Queens and Manhattan, resulting in what the agency called "the break-up of a massive counterfeit music operation." The Secret Service reported that approximately 20,000 recorded CD-Rs and 1200 masters were seized from the Queens and Manhattan locations.
There are a variety of ways to empty a large bucket of water: The entire contents can be quickly dumped in a dramatic rush, or a small hole can be punched in the bottom, allowing a smaller but continual flow over an extended period of time. Digital data can be seen as the water in the DVD "bucket," with 24/192 multi-channel sound being the equivalent of a big audio splash.
One of the dirty little secrets of the recording business is that some of its most precious assets are slowly self-destructing. In one example, a popular mastering tape supplied by Ampex to recording studios during the '70s and early '80s has been found to prematurely shed its oxide coating at an alarming rate due to poor quality control of the binding agents that hold the magnetic particles to the Mylar.
Who says classical music is having trouble finding a contemporary audience? According to the latest Arbitron webcast ratings, for December, 2000, classical music and internet-only webcaster Beethoven.com ranked number one with the most aggregate tuning hours (ATH) for the month. ATH describes the sum total of all hours that listeners tune to a given channel.
If you've visited this website before, you'll notice that we're sporting a new look this week. You'll also find that, in addition to the new sheet metal and colors, there are also plenty of changes under the hood. The Stereophile site was originally launched on December 1, 1997. The old model lasted over three years, but three years is an eternity in Internet time, and we couldn't resist taking all of the comments readers have sent in over the months and sorting through them for fresh ideas.