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Barry Willis  |  Jan 16, 2000  |  0 comments
At the moment, music fans who want to add to their collections by trolling the Internet are limited to bootlegs of dubious quality and legality, low-resolution shareware from innumerable unsigned bands, and teaser samples intended to help sell CDs by mail. Despite the subject's near-constant presence in the media, sales of downloadable music amounted to only about $1 million in 1999—as compared to total music sales of approximately $13 billion. The trickle of business is in large part due to reluctance by the music industry to open up its vaults because of a lack of copyright protection.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 09, 2000  |  0 comments
Jonathan Scull writes: "Cable dressing is actually a rather delicate issue that requires a certain leap of faith. The concept is so simple that even I can explain the science to you." And explain he does. Read "Fine Tunes #7" to learn the whole story.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 08, 2000  |  0 comments
Digital perfectionists Meridian obviously pulled out all the stops on their new flagship speaker product, the DSP8000. Checking in at $45,000/pair, the eight-driver Digital Active design is expected to hit the market sometime in March. Meridian claims the three-way powered speaker has a 24/96 digital input on the back and processes the digital signal internally with two 100MHz DSP engines operating with 24/192 resolution. Also on display were the new DSP33s, also Digital Active but more modestly priced at $4500/pair.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 08, 2000  |  0 comments
The music business is a $13-billion-a-year industry, but the high-end audio industry reaches only a tiny fraction of the music lovers that number represents. "Everybody loves music, so why don't they love specialty audio?" was the question addressed to a group of industry experts at one of a series of panel discussions on Friday, January 7, at the Alexis Park, during the 2000 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 06, 2000  |  0 comments
High-end audio in trouble? That's been the consensus the last few years, but the sheer number of new products at this year's Consumer Electronics Show hints at a steady trend in the opposite direction. New developments in power conditioning abound, and several brave companies are even testing the SACD/DSD and DVD-Audio waters.
Barry Willis  |  Jan 02, 2000  |  0 comments
The month of December was particularly hard on the music world, which lost three of its greatest talents within a few days of each other: Curtis Mayfield, Grover Washington, Jr., and Charles Earland. All were in their late 50s.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 02, 2000  |  0 comments
Now that the big odometer has finally turned over, John Atkinson takes a moment to look back at the last 50 years of music reproduction—the era of high-end audio. Writing in "Happy New Audio Millennium," JA offers a little perspective on where audiophiles have traveled this last half century, and where we haven't.
Jon Iverson  |  Jan 02, 2000  |  0 comments
It's been a tough year for some of the audiophile record labels, as witnessed by the demise in late November of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (see previous story). The shock of MoFi's sudden departure even prompted Kimber Kable's Ray Kimber to fire off an e-mail to everyone within virtual reading range, urging them to buy a few audiophile CDs and LPs right now, before it's too late.
Barry Willis  |  Jan 02, 2000  |  0 comments
Owners of Threshold electronics will soon have an expert service organization available for their amplifiers and preamps. Threshold Corporation national sales manager Chris English reports that he has assumed the presidency of a new company to be devoted solely to servicing Threshold equipment. Based in Texas, Threshold Service Company will employ factory-trained technicians and engineers, and will offer warranties on all their work.
Stereophile Staff  |  Dec 26, 1999  |  0 comments
FireWire's prospects got a little hotter last week, as equipment manufacturers Denon Electronics and Onkyo announced new license agreements with Digital Harmony Technologies. The companies say that they have selected Digital Harmony to add standards-based IEEE-1394 (aka FireWire or iLink) interfaces to their product lines, and both companies expect to release Digital Harmony-powered products in 2000, each certified for compatibility with a number of 1394-based products made by other Digital Harmony partners in the US and Europe.
Jon Iverson  |  Dec 26, 1999  |  0 comments
In a move that is sure to enrage users of blank digital media, Canada's Copyright Board has finalized plans to add a levy of 5.2 Canadian cents on CD-Rs and CD-RWs, 23.3 cents on audio cassettes over 40 minutes in length, and 60.8 cents on MiniDiscs and recordable audio CDs. In a market in which blank CD-Rs used for computer backup typically cost less than C$1 each, this represents an increase of at least 5% per disc. Interestingly, DAT tapes are excluded from the tax, as they are not seen as a threat to the music business.
Barry Willis  |  Dec 26, 1999  |  0 comments
Do high-end cables make an audible difference? Or are they cosmetic enhancements, like fancy wheels on high-performance cars? The New York Times, the nation's foremost newspaper, took up the issue in a December 23 piece in "Circuits," its weekly technology section.
Barry Willis  |  Dec 26, 1999  |  0 comments
Despite the recent defeat of DVD-Audio's copy-protection scheme (see previous story), Pioneer Electronics has decided to move forward with its plan to release two models of its high-resolution players in Japan. The announcement was made December 14 by company executives in Tokyo, who said that delaying the format's launch at this late stage could do irreparable damage to its acceptance by music fans. Super Audio Compact Disc, a competing format developed by the Sony/Philips alliance, is already beginning to win converts.
Stereophile Staff  |  Dec 19, 1999  |  0 comments
Last week, Cello Technologies (formerly Cello Music & Film Systems) announced that it had acquired San Francisco Bay area custom installer and retailer The Audible Difference. According to a statement issued by Cello, The Audible Difference was founded in Palo Alto in 1976 and serves over 10,000 clients in the Silicon Valley area, and has 30 employees, "all focusing on audio design and home-systems design engineering, integration, and automation technologies."
Jon Iverson  |  Dec 19, 1999  |  0 comments
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is reporting that factory-to-dealer sales of audio equipment posted strong gains in October, rising by 8% over last October's sales figures and eclipsing the $1 billion mark for the first time since 1995. The CEA says that growth occurred in all segments of the audio market except portable audio, sales of which remained consistent with last year's levels.