Paul Hales does things differently. "I set out to build a true reference speaker," he asserted when I asked him about the, er, concept behind his Concept Five loudspeaker. For a mere six grand? The other guys don't even blink at $20k, $30k, even $70k statement speakers.
ListenUp NHT: NHT's 75W M-00 powered two-way studio monitor has long been an audiophile favorite for the title of "best computer loudspeaker"—not that the competition has been all that fierce. The Benicia, CA–based loudspeaker manufacturer recognized that the powered monitor, initially marketed direct to recording engineers and in-home studio owners, was selling beyond its target audience and repositioned it as part of its PC Hi-Fi line. When Walt Stinson, co-founder of Colorado-based Audio/Video chain ListenUp discovered the M-00s when he was searching for something to pair with his portable player, he was so taken with their performance that he called ListenUp's marketing manager, Phil Murray, and told him that the chain had to carry them, because they were "simply the best multimedia speakers, bar none."
Broadcast flag on trial: On February 22, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit brought against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its plans to institute the broadcast flag rule. The "broadcast flag" is essentially encryption embedded in digital television signals that would not permit recording devices such as personal video recorders, iPods, cellular phones, or VCRs to record over-the-air digital transmissions without the permission of the broadcaster. The suit, sponsored by diverse organizations including the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and the American Library Association, charges that the FCC decision to require the broadcast flag "exceeds its authority."
Youth may not be the only thing that's wasted on the young. Many recent studies have shown that as people age, they have increased difficulty getting a good night's sleep. A new study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing indicates that listening to soft music may help people with sleep disorders to fall asleep faster.
CBGB, the legendary Bowery club frequently cited as the birthplace of America's punk movement, is the latest in a growing list of urban nightclubs getting priced out of the neighborhoods they helped create. According to a February 11 article in The Village Voice, CBGB's lease will end in August, and its landlord wants to see the club's monthly rent increase from $20,000 to $40,000.
How times have changed. When Krell first debuted its KAV-300i, in 1996, it risked having people question its high-end credibility simply for having considered producing an integrated amplifier, much less an affordable one. After all, Krell was the company best known for massively overbuilt—and, many claimed, overpriced—power amplifiers that were uniquely capable of driving speakers of ridiculously low impedance. In Martin Colloms' review of the 300i in the July 1996 Stereophile, he asked the question on everyone's minds: "Is Krell risking its reputation?"
EMI drops: The EMI Group, the British music company, sent its stock prices plummeting 16% with its announcement last week that sales for the fiscal year ending next month would be as much as 9% below those of last year.
At last week's International Solid-State Circuits Conference, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony unveiled details of their new Cell processor chip—a device that The New York Times proclaimed would create "a new digital computing ecosystem that includes Hollywood, the living room and high-performance scientific and engineering markets."
As 2004 wound down, the Los Angeles sheriff's department successfully conducted five simultaneous raids on illegal CD replication plants in southern California on December 15. Dubbed "Operation Final Release," the joint operation between the Southern California High Tech Task Force and the LA sheriff's department put 65 officers into action, closing down five optical disc replication facilities in LA and Orange counties suspected of churning out millions of pirated CDs, which were sold throughout the United States.