According to the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA), the month of August saw hot increases in the sales of audio products. Factory sales of audio products rose 7%, to $694 million, equaling year-to-date revenues of $4.7 billion, slightly ahead of the first eight months of 1998.
Steven Stone writes that "the Signature SC-VI is probably the most 'anti-tweak' flagship high-end speaker ever made." In his very thorough review of the Dunlavy Audio Labs Signature SC-VI loudspeaker, Stone details this legendary audiophile favorite from top to bottom. Is it the perfect speaker? Stone lays down his verdict, and more.
One of the most amazing things about the march of technology is the way quality goes up as prices go down. Only a few years ago, CD recorders were among the rarest and most expensive audio components. Now they're beginning to appear at budget prices.
Madrigal Audio Labs designed the original Mark Levinson No.30 nearly 10 years ago with the idea that, as a Reference Series product, it would never be made obsolete. John Atkinson reviews the No.30's latest upgrade, the Mark Levinson No.30.6 Reference D/A processor, after sending his personal unit from 1992 back to the factory for the required work. What he got back included new D/A converters in the unit's twin towers. Was it worth the effort, and does this processor still define the state of the art? You'll want to read his report to find out.
The ultra-High End may be stagnant in some areas, but the rebound in mainstream consumer electronics is visible everywhere. Canton, Massachusetts-based Tweeter Home Entertainment Group has announced record results for the quarter ended September 30, 1999: an increase of 39.5%, or $74.6 million compared to $53.5 million in the same period last year. The results are similar to those posted recently by nationwide electronics chain Best Buy, which also had a record quarter. Tweeter's comparable store sales increased 5.2%, not counting results from the recently acquired Home Entertainment and DOW Stereo/Video chains.
Hoping to "forever alter the way people shop for medium to high-end home entertainment products," KnowledgeLINK has launched its e-commerce website, GetPlugged.com, which it claims will "educate and entertain consumers, and seamlessly link them with the nation's best A/V specialty retailers and custom installers." The site offers what it calls "a highly informative, fun, uniquely interactive shopping experience for the audio-video consumer."
In his review of the Wadia 830 CD player, Brian Damkroger states: "My take on the Wadia was that: a) it probably wasn't going to sound that much better than the best of the $1000-ish players I had around, and b) even if it did, the differences wouldn't matter enough to me to justify its cost. My audio path took a dramatic turn one weekend, however, when a pair of cable manufacturers stopped by to demo their new products." Read about his journey and the ultimate audio destination will be revealed.
MP3 players are going to hit the market in waves this fall, and manufacturers will be trying hard to make their products stand out from the pack. Several companies are bringing out combi MP3/CD portables, including consumer-electronics newcomer Pine Technology USA, of Fremont, California. Pine has long experience in the manufacture of motherboards, modems, and other computer components. The company is now shipping its $189 D'Music SM-320V MP3 portable. Its $219 model SM-320 includes an FM tuner. Both players have 32Mb of embedded solid-state memory and will accept a 32Mb SmartMedia card. Pine's players operate on two AAA batteries, and can double as voice recorders with up to 4.5 hours of recording capacity. Retailers include Fry's Electronics and Office Depot.
Last week, Peavey Electronics and Digital Harmony announced a licensing agreement that they say aims to revolutionize audio production, music publishing, and distribution. By licensing Digital Harmony Pro technology, Peavey says it plans to create the pro-audio industry's first non-proprietary 1394-equipped digital audio products and systems.