Not long after the single-disc CD player was introduced, the multidisc changer followed, with products from companies like Sony and Pioneer. Shortly after the changer was introduced, it became the most popular version of the new hardware format. In the past eight years, changers have consistently outsold single-disc machines. The high-end market was characteristically slow to embrace changers, but companies like California Audio Labs have been successful in this category with products like the CL-10, a five-disc carousel changer.
High-end journal The Abso!ute Sound, long rumored to be circling the drain, has been officially revived. According to a press release dated March 24, TAS will be operated under a new company, Absolute Multimedia, owned by Tom Martin, a vice-president at Dell Computer. Martin has reportedly arranged serious financing for the new venture, which will be based in Austin, Texas.
On March 20, at the CeBIT '98 convention in Hanover, Germany, several leading manufacturers of CD-ReWritable (CD-RW) drives and media announced that the market for CD-RW products has grown much faster than originally predicted.
On March 17, Recoton Corporation announced that it has licensed the NHT brand name to Vergence Technology, Inc. NHT is a name known among audiophiles for its line of loudspeaker products for home audio. Vergence intends to utilize the NHT brand name on its new line of products designed specifically for the pro audio and professional home music markets. Planning for this marketing agreement has been in development for many months with Vergence Technology's Chris Byrne and Ken Kantor, who were also the founders of NHT.
Concluding its six-year evaluation of Digital Audio Radio (DAR) systems, the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) filed its final report last month with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The report, "Technical Evaluations of Digital Audio Radio Systems: Laboratory and Field Test Results, System Performance, Conclusions," is available to the public from the FCC and through CEMA's website.
On March 12, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. announced that Sony Corporation has expanded its royalty-bearing license under ECD's proprietary phase-change rewritable optical-memory technology to include advanced technology for use in rewritable CD and DVD optical-memory products. Phase-change technology, invented by ECD, is used in PD and CD-RW rewritable optical-memory discs.
March 9, AKM Semiconductor, Inc. introduced the AK5392, a 24-bit stereo analog-to-digital (A/D) converter based on its proprietary dual-bit delta-sigma technology. The AK5392 reportedly achieves a dynamic range of 116dB, said to be a 15dB improvement over other single-chip alternatives.
Several companies spanning the personal computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries announced March 4th the formation of a working group that will develop a specification for wireless communications in the home. This specification will allow PCs, peripherals, cordless telephones, and consumer electronic devices to communicate and interoperate with one another.
In cooperation with the International Intellectual Property Alliance, the Recording Industry Association of America filed a report in February with the United States Trade Representative outlining the problems that US record companies face conducting business in foreign marketplaces. The report highlights inadequacies in copyright protection with respect to standards and enforcement, and identifies major impediments to market access.
The Crystal Semiconductor Products Division of Cirrus Logic Inc. announced last week the availability of the industry's first digital audio transmitters and receivers designed to support the emerging 96kHz digital audio sampling rate. The new mixed-signal receivers and transmitters are targeted at both the professional audio and consumer DVD audio markets.