Meridian Audio's co-founder Bob Stuart (above) journeyed to Audio High in Mountain View, CA on April 8 for the US unveiling of Meridian's new Special Edition DSP Digital Active Loudspeaker. The tantalizing time I spent listening to the top-of-the-line DSP8000SE ($80,000/pair) convinced me that Meridian's slogan, "Redefine the Possible," is anything but hype.
Universal Music Group (UMG) is currently fulfilling its promise to release hundreds of 24/96 High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-Ray (audio only) titles in 14 countries by the end of 2014. While many of these titles are from its rich back catalog, a few are new. These include, on the pop front, George Michael's Symphonica, and for classical, one of my 2013 R2D4s, Jonas Kaufmann's Wagner.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Such is the story of the Montreal Audio Show aka Salon Son et Image (SSI), which takes place this coming weekend, March 2830. The Chester Group may be sponsoring the show for the first time, and longtime show organizer Michel Plante may have ceded the reins to his partner/wife, Sarah Tremblay, but both the location (the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel) and the show structure are pretty much the same. Tremblay expects about 80 exhibitorsthe same as last yearholding forth in 80100 rooms.
Thumbing their collective nose at pundits who predict the imminent demise of physical media, Universal Music Group has begun reissuing select back catalog and new releases in Pure Audio (audio only) Blu-Ray 24/96 and/or 24/96 download formats. The first of the classical titles appeared in February, with more rolling out all the time. To get the skinny on UMG's plans for Blu-ray and hi-res, I conducted two separate interviews with folks in the UK. The first, with Barry Holden, the extremely committed and highly articulate VP of Classical Catalogue at Universal Music, appears below.
Over half a century after the creation of the prized Everest Records catalog, most of whose 78 classical titles were recorded between 1958 and 1961 on 35mm magnetic tape in three-channel stereo, 61 titles have now been remastered and released in multiple formats. In addition to physical CD and downloadable Mastered for iTunes versions, a still-expanding, luscious hi-res treasure trove of Everest titles may be downloaded from HDTracks's Everest Records pages. All HDTracks titles, remastered from the master tapes in 24/192, are available in both 24/192 and 24/96 versions.
How often have you encountered someone reciting your obituary? That's what happened when he of the living dead visited Michael Woods' aesthetically sensational Elite Audio Systems showroom in San Francisco on February 22, only to discover Gary Leonard Koh, CEO of and chief designer for Genesis Advanced Technologies, declaring, "The days when people sat in one sole sweet spot listening to music are over."
Some months back, SACD and DSD champion Jared Sacks, founder of Channel Classics, stopped by Casa Bellecci-Serinus in Oakland for an extended chat about the history of his label, recording in DSD, and his new NativeDSD.com download site. I started our conversation by asking Jared to share his history with music and the industry with Stereophile:
Save the Stereo, a Web-based project dedicated to developing and promoting the best ideas for leading the next generation of music lovers to component-based high-fidelity, launched at the start of the year. Although we have seen a number of prior organizations dedicated to the cause of spreading the gospel of high performance audio wither and diesee John Atkinson's 2005 essay on the subjectthis one is different. Because its founder, Gordon White, is soliciting feedback from the audiophile community and developing a grounded action plan before proceeding, perusing the project's website and filling out its all-important, short survey seems more than worth the while of both high-performance audio consumers and industry members.
You don't need me to tell you that listening habits are changing. Although those who predict that the end of our beloved home stereo systems is near (footnote 1) have more than a little in common with those who predict the imminent destruction of humankind, there's no question that listening via computers, iPods, and headphones has become the order of the day among a large segment of younger Americans.