Last week's online poll indicates that many Stereophile readers have an ongoing affinity for the retro design style of older audio gear. Several respondents say they find the warm glow of tubes and backlit displays seductively attractive in a darkened room, while others pine for the days of analog dials and softly lit meters with gently bouncing needles.
Record companies are having a tough time making new friends these days as they toy with ways to restrict consumer use and distribution of their products. Amid sliding sales, mediocre new releases, high prices, and failed attempts at implementing restricted-use CD technology, the big labels clearly need some advice on getting back on track.
In addition to fostering the exchange of audio files, peer-to-peer websites may be sharing the problems of increased legal liabilities and bandwidth drains for businesses which allow employees to access file-sharing sites from corporate networks.
What's a home-entertainment show without an assortment of state-of-the-art audio demonstrations? EgglestonWorks has announced that its next generation Andra II speaker will be featured as part of what it calls an "unprecedented" demonstration of multichannel Super Audio CD (SACD) to be conducted during the upcoming Home Entertainment 2002 Show May 30 through June 2 at the New York Hilton.
Like the companies in most high-tech industries, audio businesses are a volatile lot, with startups, mergers, acquisitions—and the occasional bankruptcy or flame-out—not uncommon. In that ongoing tradition, at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ultralink Products announced on January 7 its intention to purchase the assets of cable manufacturer XLO Electric.
There are probably only a handful of recorded works which could successfully survive the transition from the original two-channel release to a 5.1 surround remix. Queen's 1975 release A Night At The Opera is certainly one of them, and, in fact, the recording was originally scheduled to hit the streets last November as a 5.1 DVD-Audio disc from DTS Entertainment.
You have to wonder what Sony is thinking. The product copy claims that the new Sony "VAIO Digital Studio" computer is the company's "incredible computing and entertainment hybrid combining television, recording, playback and even music." Oooops. Forget about that music part, especially if you purchase Sony Music's latest Celine Dion CD.
Those unhappy with today's over-the-air broadcasting choices will be glad to know that this is shaping up as a busy year for new radio formats. The commercialization of the IBOC AM and FM digital broadcasting system is about to be revealed at the same time that Sirius satellite radio announces that it will be accelerating its rollout schedule in an effort to compete with rival XM satellite radio.
Both SACD and DVD-Audio have been slow finding their way into higher-end players. Sony dominates the market for SACD, and the other major consumer electronics manufacturers are trickling out DVD-A and universal players. The few exceptions include SACD machines from Classé and Accuphase. Soon to be added to the list: Linn.
The record companies have declared war on their customers when it comes to the fair use rights of purchased music, and it would appear that they want the government to enlist in their crusade. Previous weeks have seen South Carolina senator Ernest Hollings propose draconian copyright legislation as well as recent pro-Hollywood remarks from California's senator Diane Feinstein.