We Get Letters Department:Stereophile editor John Atkinson recently received the following email from Tony Fisch, the director of corporate development at MusicGiants: "MusicGiants (www.musicgiants.com) will be the first company to offer high-fidelity downloads from all record labels. MusicGiants uses Microsoft WMA 'lossless' codec (450kbps) to preserve 100% of the music. The result is music that sounds just like the artist intended. Finally, real music downloads up to 1100kbps. MusicGiants' downloads will be $1.29 per track, and $15.29 per album.
When audiophiles speak of the pioneers who laid the foundation for their hobby, certain names are spoken with particular reverence: Kellogg, Rice, Klipsch, Voigt, Walker, and Janszen all indisputably make the all-star team. Arthur A. Janszen, like John Hilliard at Altec Lansing, worked on US Navy projects during WWII, but after the war focused on developing an electrostatic speaker for cockpit use in Naval aircraft. The resulting Office of Naval Research Technical Memorandum was groundbreaking in its description of construction techniques and sonic performance, but the Navy declined to develop the project further and, in fact, phased out the developmental aspect of the department.
As I walked through the corridors of HE2005, I kept hearing audiophiles asking one another, "Have you heard Mark Levinson's demo yet?" Yes, that was Mark Levinson, the man, and the Burwen Bobcat was possibly the most discussed item at the Show.
We get so confused department: Officially, it's day one of the show, even though we've already been here a whole day. But—as we keep having to remind ourselves—it's not all about us. Today was the day the showgoers arrived.
Day one of the Home Entertainment Show is always set aside for the press (and "the industry," which is an apparently elastic term meaning "everybody else"), but this year it seems as though there's more press than ever. Every press conference—and there was a steady stream of them—was standing room only and the halls were already thronged with showgoers. It looks like HE2005 is already a hit.
As we enter the week of The Home Entertainment Show (HE2005), you can almost hear the audio industry holding its breath, waiting for the Show's April 28 opening date to announce new products, alliances, and strategies. However, despite the lack of hard news coming across the www.stereophile.com newsdesk this week, we have been receiving almost daily hints concerning the must-hear products and rooms awaiting us at the Hilton New York Hotel.
It was late May 2002 and I was about to leave the Free Republic of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, for the high-class hallways of the New York Hilton and Home Entertainment 2002, so I could file daily reports for www.stereophile.com. As he was giving me last-minute instructions, webmaster Jon Iverson said, "I don't know whether or not you followed Hervé Delétraz's articles on building his amplifier, but he's going to have a sample at the Show. You should drop in and check it out. It sounds kind of interesting."
On April 14, Krell Industries invited the New York–based audio press to its first-ever American demonstration of its Evolution electronics separates, at Sound By Singer. In a surprise move, the company also debuted a complete "re-imagining" of its flagship loudspeaker, the LAT-1: the $55,000/pair LAT-1000. "We set out to improve the LAT-1," Krell CEO Dan D’Agostino said, "and in the end, probably the only parts we retained from the original design were the top and bottom panels. The LAT-1000 is essentially a completely new design—although it does retain the same footprint as the LAT-1, since that proved so popular in Japan that we didn't want to mess with it." And, he said, patting the aluminum top-plate, "Let me tell you, it was hard to pack all of this new technology into a package this size."
Lights out in Gloversville: Universal Music Group's record-pressing plant in Gloversville, NY will shut its doors on May 6, 2005. Founded in 1953 as part of the Brunswick Radio Corporation of America, the plant (and the parent corporation) were acquired in 1962 by Decca, which was itself merged into MCA—and later, UMG, now part of Vivendi Universal.