While decidedly "niche products," as Martin Colloms describes them, single-ended (SE) tube amplifiers have still found a happy home in many audiophile systems. But a trap awaits those who wish to evaluate the differences between an SE and a solid-state or push-pull tube amplifier, or between two SE amps. In "The Unseen Variable," Colloms digs to the bottom of this complicated matter.
The age of digital music downloads has begun in earnest. On July 20, EMI Recorded Music announced that it has signed a deal with Digital On-Demand and its subsidiary, RedDotNet Inc., to make the EMI catalog available for downloading to kiosks in music stores. The kiosks will be equipped with CD "burners" where customers can copy EMI recordings not in stock in the stores. They will also be able to print out the original cover art and liner notes. Discs can be copied at high speed in 5 to 15 minutes using RedDotNet's technology, the announcement noted.
Winter had just touched down in Santa Fe two days before the recording sessions were to begin, leading Wes Phillips to wonder if the damp air would wreak havoc with tuning. But he needn't have worried, writing that violinist Ida Levin "played with such intense concentration that sometimes she seemed about to levitate off the floor as she chased a melodic line into the ether." In Duet: And Two to Carry Your Soul Away, Ida Levin and John Atkinson join Wes Phillips in chronicling the recording from both musical and technical perspectives.
Internet music retailer CDnow has formed a partnership with Sony Corporation and Time Warner to build a music and video retailing behemoth. The July 13 announcement came in the wake of online bookseller Amazon.com's recent move into the music market. With the backing of corporate giants Sony and Time Warner, CDnow could be able to mount a challenge to the growing presence of Amazon, which is also expanding into toy sales and consumer electronics.
Last week, Philips Semiconductors announced the CD10 chipset, which the company describes as the world's first two-chip solution to deliver CD-RW (compact disc, re-writeable) compatibility for CD audio players. According to Philips, one chip provides a data amplifier and laser supply circuit, while the other is the digital servo, decoder, and DAC. As a result, Philips claims that the new chipset allows designers to build audio players that can read all forms of CDs without an increase in component count.
The Jeff Rowland Design Group is alive and well and in no danger of going out of business. The company was the victim of hackers who recently broke into the company's website and posted a notice to the contrary.
According to a recent report released by Information Technology researchers Frost & Sullivan, the world Internet audio market generated revenues totaling $42 million in 1998, which dwarfs the 1997 revenues by 1516%. The report predicts that this market will continue growing at a healthy rate, achieving an increase into the triple percentage digits by the end of 1999.
Wes Phillips writes, "I catch John's eye and wonder if he's pondering the same question I am: What were we thinking?" In addition to trying to push forward the limits of getting great sound onto tape, Stereophile's release of Rhapsody In Blue would offer the public a groundbreaking arrangement of George Gershwin's most popular orchestral work. In "The Rhapsody Project," Hyperion Knight and John Atkinson join Wes in chronicling their perspectives on the processes leading to this landmark recording.
Last week, Texas Instruments, Liquid Audio, Fraunhofer, and SanDisk announced that they've teamed to offer what they describe as "the first complete solution" for the secure downloading of music off the Internet onto portable audio players. The companies say that their programmable DSP-based technology is the first to meet the newly released Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) guidelines for digital music portable devices, and is now available for manufacturers who want to develop secure players in time for Christmas 1999.
Loudspeaker designer Bill Eggleston has joined Cello Technologies Corporation. He will oversee the development of a new line of no-compromise loudspeakers, according to a company press release dated July 1. Eggleston designed the Andra loudspeaker, which was designated Stereophile's "Product of the Year" for 1997.