One of the cooler toys being shown at the Westin–St. Francis is the $199 hp digital media receiver en5000. This nifty remote-controlled Ethernet device connects to any TV and stereo in your home and links it to your home computing network. After you've loaded its software onto the network's computers, it will instantaneously communicate with all of them, allowing you to access all digital media contained on any of them. You can create playlists, slideshows, or show movies from, say, the room containing your hi-fi without needing to have a computer in the space at all. This struck us as precisely the sort of product David Hyman was recommending in his keynote address on day one. Best of all, no noisy fans in the listening room!
Polk Audio completely redesigned its popular RTi series of loudspeakers. The RTis occupy the "better" position in Polk's good (R series), better (RTi), best (LSi) hierachy. The refurbished line features new drivers, higher quality cabinets, and handsome cosmetics—including real wood veneers in black oak and cherry.
The first day of the annual Home Entertainment shows is traditionally devoted to "trade" access only—that is to say, set aside for press conferences and dealer demonstrations (ie officially sanctioned schmoozing and cruising).
It is with regret that we belatedly note the passing of Joanna Nickrenz, one of the most respected American producers of classical recordings, on February 9. Within the small world of those who passionately care about the sound of recorded music, Ms. Nickrenz, along with her partner Marc J. Aubort, was a legend. Many audiophiles—including Stereophile's editors—considered the names Nickrenz and Aubort on a project a guarantee of natural, dynamic, accurate sound.
XM Radio held a press conference in New York City Thursday, April 18. The event was heralded with great secrecy—attendees were enticed with promises of "major news," but no one leaked details beforehand, and the press arrived expecting something juicy indeed.
When I read John Atkinson's reviews of the Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe (Vol.23 No.9) and RME Digi96/8 Pro (Vol.23 No.11 and Vol.24 No.1), I realized that soundcard technology had matured far faster than I had been aware. For about the price of a mainstream CD player, anyone with a reasonably powerful computer could add multitrack digital recording technology to his bag of tricks.
Igor Kipnis, virtuosic harpsichordist, prolific critic, and esteemed teacher died January 23. He was 71. According to his managing agency, Marilyn Gilbert Artists Management of Toronto, he had been suffering from cancer.