The most comprehensive seminars ever devoted to high quality computer-based playback in the home will take place at the fabled headquarters of Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA the last weekend of June. Entitled Computer Audiophile Symposium: From Performance to Playback, the two "identical" seminars are scheduled for Saturday, June 27 from 37pm, and Sunday, June 28, from noon4pm. Admission to each seminar is $279.00.
With good news to share about new downloads, let's dispense with the downer first. As reported by Twice.com, HDGiants, aka MusicGiants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US Bankruptcy Court on May 18. Although the site, often praised by Stereophile as a leader in CD-quality and high-resolution music and video downloads, still appears to be operating, the layoff of its sales and marketing staff raises serious questions about its future.
After four years of virtual inactivity, new and updated Aragon and Acurus high-end amplifiers, preamplifiers, and processors are slated to return to the marketplace. The long-established brands, which have been the property of Klipsch since 2001, are now in the hands of two enthusiastic veteran Klipsch electronics engineers, Rick Santiago and Ted Moore of Indy Audio Labs, LLC.
Despite the recent affirmation by Stereophile's Kalman Rubinson that the Super Audio Compact Disc remains "the best available all-around physical medium for music" (May 2009, p.47), audiophiles in the US continue to declare it a dead format. Regardless, independent record producers such as Jared Sacks, founder and managing director of Holland's Channel Classics Records, continue to champion and promote SACD.
Two unusual download sites now offer high-resolution 24-bit files for audiophiles with a taste for adventure. The first, the UK's B&W Music Club, is a one-album-per-month subscription service that premieres complete, audiophile-quality albums in a wide variety of genres chosen and recorded by "curator" Peter Gabriel. The second, HifiTrack.com, is a Hong Kong-based site that offers Chinese and Asian traditional and pop music, Zen and meditation music, and Chinese-flavored Western pop, jazz, and classical.
Three years ago, as the shift to downloadable media gathered momentum, Concord Music Group purchased Telarc International. The suspicion of those who then saw the handwriting on the wall were confirmed this past December, when a company-wide restructuring by CMG included the layoffs of 27 Telarc employees. Among those now on their own are the entire Telarc Production Department, as well as former classical publicist Amanda Sweet.
As reported on this website on December 9, Joseph Cohen of the Lotus Group, exclusive distributor of Oyaide products in North America, discovered that Chris Johnson of Parts ConneXion was selling counterfeit Oyaide AC plugs at regular Oyaide prices. Given that Johnson had previously signed a contract with the Lotus Group to distribute genuine Oyaide plugs, Cohen immediately attempted to reach Johnson to resolve the matter.
Frank Cheng's Acoustic System International now produces LiveLine cabling. Combining acoustic resonator technology with super thin, solid-core wire, the cabling is composed of different segments that contain wires made from different metals that are ultimately soldered together at 850 degrees. The RCA interconnect costs $995 (length not stipulated in the press materials), XLR interconnect $1450, 1.8m power cable $995, and 2.4m speaker cable $1750. One online publication gave each of these cables a product of the year award.