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High-End Audio Industry News

 

04 / 15 / 03

Linn Classik Movie Di  Linn has added their new Movie Di to their Classik lineup. The Classik Movie Di technology is developed from the new Linn Unidisk 1.1 flagship Universal disc player with a new and very powerful processor that supports high-end surround sound playback of external analogue and digital sources. It also integrates higher quality DVD and CD playback with an AM/FM tuner, multi-channel power amplification and multi-room distributed audio. There is also two digital audio inputs for external sources as well as composite video, S-video and component video inputs and outputs, the CLASSIK Movie Di outputs concurrent digital and analogue audio. Specifications are as follows:

CD / DVD engine Triple beam laser pick up
Power amplifier is 75W RMS per channel into 4 ohms
Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic II, Dolby ProLogic, dts, Stereo
PAL and NTSC standards supported
DVD-Video, CD, Super Video CD, VideoCD, MP3, JPEG, CD-R
Audio 2 TOSLINK Digital Audio Inputs
2 Audio inputs on RCA phono connectors 
2 additional Audio inputs on SCART connector (TV, VCR)
1 TOSLINK Digital Audio Output 
1 Audio tape out
Composite, S-Video and RGB outputs 
Function switching ability 
VCR SCART 
Video in and pass through to TV on composite, S-video 
and RGB 
S-Video in & out (S-Video connector)
RCA Phono Version Composite video in & out - RCA phono 
S-Video in & out - (S-Video connector) 
YPrPb in & out - RCA phono
Tuner FM aerial-1 f-type terminal 
AM aerial-2 screw type terminals
Multi-room 4 RJ45 sockets 
Dimensions: 3.1 x 12.6 x 12.8 (HxWxD in inches)
Weight 11.1lbs

UK Retail incl. Tax Black £2,995 Silver/Colours £3,030
USA ex Tax Black $4,900 Silver/Colours $4,950
Canada ex Tax Black $7,600 Silver/Colours $7,675
Europe ex Tax Black €4,075 Silver/Colours €4,125
Sweden incl. Tax Black SKK30,840 Silver/Colours SKK31,340
Norway incl. Tax Black NOK24,375 Silver/Colours NOK24,875
Denmark incl. Tax Black DKK25,325 Silver/Colours DKK 30560 

 

04 / 14 / 03

  Canadian audiophiles may rejoice as EMI is releasing The Tom Cochrane and Red Rider Collection Trapeze, and Machine Punch Through, a MOIST compilation on DVD-Audio. These two new releases offer 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo (24-bit/96kHz), Dolby Digital 5.1 surround (16-bit/48kHz), and DTS 5.1 (16-bit/48kHz). In more Canadian news, EMI Music Canada announced that Pink Floyd's classic masterpiece Dark Side of The Moon has been certified Double Diamond by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA). And to finish off our news concerning Canada, Enjoy the Music.com™ is now offering their Le Festival Son et Image de Montréal 2003 audiophile show coverage. Please click here to see our show report... with more reports coming soon!

 

04 / 11 / 03

PS Audio P500 Power Plant AC Regenerator  PS Audio is now shipping their new P500 Power Plant AC Regenerator ($1,995). Incorporating two proprietary technologies, Multiwave II and Autowave, the P500 is designed to improve both the audio and video performance of a Home Theater system by generating "pure AC line voltage". According to their press release "Exclusive PS Audio technology enables it to produce instantaneous custom waveforms - perfect for each system's particular needs." The P500 Power Plant features:

* MultiWave II technology with four new patterns 
* AutoWave technology
* A power meter that displays wattage or percent of power available 
* A built-in Ultimate Outlet and improved surge protection 
* A unique computer-controlled heat reduction system

PS Audio's Multiwave II, an improvement over their Multiwave I, automatically adjusts the P500's output AC waveform to match the specific load in real time. A software upgrade will shortly be available to add Multwave II patterns to other Power Plant models. Due to the complexity of the circuitry, only new Power Plants will provide Autowave, adjusting the power output's frequency to meet the exact demands of the source material.

 

04 / 10 / 03

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)  According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) that comprises a membership of 1500 record companies, including independents and majors, in 76 countries, global sales of recorded music down 7 percent in 2002. According to the IFPI website "World sales of recorded music fell by 7 percent in value and by 8 percent in units in 2002. Mass downloading from unauthorized file sharing on the internet and the massive proliferation of CD burning continues to be a major cause of the fall in CD sales globally, combined with competition from other entertainment sectors and economic uncertainty on consumer spending.

Recorded music sales worldwide fell to US$32 billion in 2002. Compared to 2001, sales of CD albums fell globally by 6 percent, and there were continued declines in sales of singles (-16 percent) and cassettes (-36 percent). Music videos however saw a growth in value of 9 percent, driven by strong growth in DVD. Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI said: "This year's figures hold no surprises. Widespread use of illegal sites, made easier with the growth of broadband access in the major markets, is affecting an industry that is also having to compete with increased sales of other entertainment formats such as DVD films and new video game consoles."

Other positive trends for the industry include the growth in sales of music videos, which saw a 12 percent rise in units sold. Growth worldwide is attributed to the increase in sales of DVDs overall and DVD players; DVD music videos rose by 58 percent compared to a 42 percent decline in VHS. With the release of over 1,300 new titles by record companies in 2002, DVD music videos are expected to become a growing contributor to music sales. New formats such as DVD Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) also did well. Music companies have launched new CD titles simultaneously on DVD-Audio or SACD. Since 2001, unit sales of both DVD-Audio and SACD combined more than trebled, with each format selling over one million each in 2002.

Sales By Region

The US saw a third consecutive year of decline, with album sales down 10 percent in units, mainly due to falling sales from major album releases affected by sales substitution from internet sources.

Japan has continued to suffer from internet piracy and CD burning. An estimated 236 million CD-Rs were burned in 2002, while legitimate CD sales were 229 million. Overall the Japanese market fell 9 percent, but has the biggest national market share for music video sales, valued at $US 407.5 million.

Several Western European markets performed relatively well in the context of the global decline. France, the world's fourth largest market, continued to defy the global trend with 4 percent growth in unit sales. This is largely attributable to the continued growth in sales of French repertoire. Norway, Italy and Portugal also saw more or less flat markets.

The German market stands out as worst affected by mass CD burning. Sales fell by 9 percent, Germany's fifth consecutive year of decline. Spain has now fallen behind other Western European countries in per capita sales, with a fall of 16 percent in value. Spain has seen a sharp increase in physical CD-R piracy: in 2002 some 24 million pirate units were sold, in other words two out of every five records.

The UK market in 2002 came to the end of its five-year growth run. While the number of albums sold remained stable at 226 million, downward pressure on prices meant the value of album sales fell by 3 percent and illegal downloading was just one of the factors contributing to the continued decline in single sales. However 2002 was a strong in the UK for domestic artists, who accounted for half of the top 40 selling albums.

Music sales across Asia fell by 10 percent, largely because of continuing economic difficulties and both physical and internet piracy. The exception was Singapore, which experienced a growth in both regional and international repertoire.

In Latin America, Brazil partly recovered from last year's severe decline (up 4 percent) due mostly to stock liquidations. Mexico remains the biggest Latin American market and 10th in the world despite a second consecutive year of decline, with sales down 19 percent. Piracy continues to plague the market with 50 percent of the population buying pirate music products. The Argentinean market continues to suffer from severe economic and political instability and has fallen steeply by 23 percent."

 

04 / 09 / 03

Aimee Mann Lost In Space MoFi Ultradisc UHQR SACD  Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL, also referred to as MoFi by some) has a one-two knockout punch with two new titles. Their new release of Aimee Mann's Lost In Space on MoFi's critically acclaimed Ultradisc UHQR SACD series features themes of addiction and social misconnections in songs such as "High on Sunday 51" and "Invisible Ink," Mann and producer Michael Lockwood sought to create an aural environment that matched the lyrics. "As we were recording, we started to put sounds in that we referred to as 'space noise,'" Mann explains, "which obviously tied in with the title of the record and the theme of the songs, which is feeling isolated and cut off from other people and yourself, trying to make connections to people and failing."

The other new title is on MoFi's Low Budget SACD that strikes back into the classic rock reissue arena with the upcoming issue of the Kinks, again on their Ultradisc UHR SACD series. One of the most popular Kinks titles ever, Low Budget is a dual-layered hybrid SACD derived from Ray Davies' original master tape. This edition also features extensive, new, illustrated liner notes and three additional single mixes. Ironically, present day world events bring renewed meaning and lyrical relevance to this 1979 masterpiece, as songs like "A Gallon Of Gas", "Low Budget", "Pressure" easily lend themselves to contemporary interpretation.

 

04 / 08 / 03

Naim CDS3 Reference CD Player  Naim's  new CDS3 reference CD player ($9,150) benefits from Naim's twelve years of research and development on the CD format. The CDS3 employs the latest generation Philips transport utilizing a high quality motor disc drive (VAM 1250 mechanism) and three tuned leaf suspension system to insure disc speed stability and resistance to degrading vibrations. Two additional independent suspension systems isolate both the digital and analog circuit boards for optimal damped spring decoupling. The Naim-designed E.F.M signal "eye pattern" processing filter precedes a Philips CD10, SAA 7324 servo controller chip which is responsible for transforming wave patterns into digital data, error correction and all transport drive functions. Following this, the digital data is routed to a 24-bit/8x oversampling digital filter with HDCD decoding. The data is then sent to two (one per channel) Burr-Brown PCM 1704-K, 24-bit mono D to A converters. HDCD decoding is only activated when playing encoded discs. A separate, fully optimized master clock controls digital to analog conversion and the clock circuit configuration and layout are engineered to minimize jitter that is further reduced by special Naim designed data re-clocking circuitry. A seven-pole analog filter follows the DAC to remove spurious noise. The current to voltage conversion stage and all analog filter stages use discrete transistor amplifiers to optimize performance. Specifications are as follows:

Frequency Response: 10Hz to 20kHz
Peak Output Level: 2.0V rms at 1kHz
Output Impedance: 50 ohms maximum
De-Emphasis: +/- 0.1 dB referred to main response
Distortion and Noise: <0.1% 10Hz to 18kHz at full level
Dimensions 87 x 432 x 314 (H x W x D in mm)

 

04 / 07 / 03

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group that represents the business interests of United States recording industry including all major record labels but not individual artists, is now attempting to combat a perceived growth of alleged piracy as found on some college campuses. As internal Intranets may have Napster-like software allowing for file exchanging within a college campus, the RIAA is hoping to stop this as they feel copyrighted music files are also being illegally shared within these networks. "These systems are best described as 'local area Napster networks,'" said Cary Sherman, President, RIAA. "The court ruled that Napster was illegal and shut it down. These systems are just as illegal and operate in just the same manner. And just like Napster, they hurt artists, musicians, songwriters, those who invest in their work and the thousands of others who work to bring music to the public." Sherman said that the RIAA will continue to investigate these types of services on college networks and that anyone with knowledge of such systems should report them to RIAA's music piracy hotline, 1-800-BAD-BEAT. "We hope that these suits serve as a stiff deterrent to anyone who is operating or considering setting up a similar system."

 

NVIDIA Corporation, a computer hardware manufacturer, and Dolby Laboratories have teamed up to release specifications for approved personal computer audio performance. NVIDIA's new SoundStorm Program is in hopes of making sure their computer audio that includes Dolby Laboratories' features are completely compliant with Dolby Digital 5.1. These new specification currently include the new NVIDIA nForce2 MCP-T platform processor that supports realtime Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding; discrete (non-shared) front left and right analog outputs; discrete (non-shared) rear left and right analog outputs; discrete (non-shared) center and subwoofer analog outputs; discrete (non-shared) S/PDIF digital output (coaxial recommended, but optical acceptable); discrete (non-shared) line-in analog inputs; discrete (non-shared) microphone analog input; minimum 85dB signal-to-noise ratio on all analog outputs; minimum 80dB signal-to-noise ratio on all analog inputs.

 

04 / 04 / 03

  Silverline Records has announced their From The Front Row series with plans to release forty DVD-Audio titles. These recordings were originally made during the musician's prime and have recently undergone careful 5.1-channel mixing for the upcoming DVD-Audio releases. Live performances include 10cc, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Pat Benatar, Commander Cody, David Crosby, Foghat, Humble Pie, Kansas, Greg Lake, Iggy Pop, and The Romantics plus many others. Jerry Lee Lewis From The Front Row...Live was recorded in Worcester in 1984 that features wild performances of "Great Balls of Fire" and classic "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." The Iggy Pop release was taken from the Blah Blah Blah tour, recorded in 1986 at his sold out performance at the Ritz in New York City. Despite numerous ups and downs throughout the Godfather of Punk’s lengthy career, Iggy Pop almost single-handedly created an entire genre of music and remains one of rock's top live performers and all-time influential artists. Bachman Turner Overdrive and Pat Benatar are now available while scheduled for April 8 releases are Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvin Bishop and Iggy Pop.

 

04 / 03 / 03

Classé Omega Mark III Pre-Amplifier  Classé Audio has announced the re-invention of its Omega stereo pre-amplifier. The Classé Omega Mark III ($14,000) is a new ground-up design that serves as a switcher, volume control and buffer. This new version is a complete redesign of their previous Omega Mark II, yet still employs a two-chassis affair separating the power-supply components from the critical analog circuitry. The Mark III is entirely new within, with all-new circuit boards, layouts, and designs. Hybrid "Class-A" push-pull topology is claimed to deliver "rock-steady constant load, never varying in its current demands on the AC source, nor the impedance it presents to the pre-amplifier itself, thereby ensuring perfect power supply isolation." The analog section boasts two independent input stages for each channel, one optimized for balanced operation via XLR jacks, one for unbalanced via RCA jacks. Both are refinements of Classé's PDXBTM (Pure Differential Cross Balance) circuit topology. The volume control's true "R2-R" resistive network maintains a constant-load and constant source-impedance operation. At its outputs, the Classé Omega Mark III pre-amplifier relies on proprietary discrete-complementary cascode (DCCATM) circuitry running from ±30-volt supplies said to ensure unrestricted dynamics and noise-free output. In the analog circuitry, non-inductive metal-foil resistors of 0.1% and temperature-compensated circuit layouts to insure optimum performance. THD+noise is less than 0.0002% (at 2-volts output on RCA jacks), a maximum signal-to-noise ratio of 121dB, and response from 10Hz to 100kHz (within an astonishing ±0.15dB). Channel-to-channel gain matching of better than 0.05dB at any volume level is also insured in this no-holds-bared design.

 

04 / 02 / 03

Sonic Studio DSD.1  Sonic Studio is now offering DSD mastering and SACD authoring hardware and software for computers. The three new products consist of their DSD.1 (pictured here) and DSD.X hardware plus their SACD.1 software. The DSD.1 is an eight-channel processor computer card featuring eight channels of playback with crossfades or sixteen without. Sonic Studio's DSD.X computer board is an optional add-on processor that supports the DSD.1. The DSD.X includes four Sony Oxford D-MAP DSD processing and mixing modules and the Sony Oxford SuperMAC 24 channel DSD interface. This, in turn, adds another eight channels along with multi-channel DSD-native EQ and dynamics processing. Lastly, SACD.1 is Sonic Studio's Scarlet Book layer authoring software for Sony's proprietary SACD. Made only for the Macintosh, it provides the ability to separate mastering and authoring functions. Sonic Studio claims the release date of their DSD.1 and SACD.1 will be during the second quarter of 2003 with the release of their DSD.X shortly thereafter. No prices have been set at this time.

 

 

Solid State Logic has debuts their C200 console for both television surround sound and DVD-Audio production. This compact inline digital mixing console is designed for multi-bus production and supports DVD-Audio. The C200 also features automation, integrated DAW control, scalable DSP, and complete layer and signal path metering. The built-in Centuri processor provides options for 64, 128, or 192 signal paths, with up to 12 programmable Main and Group outputs, 48 utility busses, 96 direct outputs, 12 auxiliary busses, and 12 stereo direct inputs. The C200's twelve main mix busses can provide multiple 5.1 and/or Stereo groups, and full Stereo or 5.1 monitoring facilities are also included. This is obviously far and away more advanced than the feature-limited SACD production tools as mentioned above.

 

 

Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced their commitment to make music available on DVD-Audio. Beginning with twenty United States releases slated for the second half of 2003, UMG plans an ongoing program to make a combination of best-selling artists and core catalog titles available on DVD-Audio in major markets worldwide. "Universal has always played a leading role in the development and implementation of new technologies and formats," states Larry Kenswil, president, eLabs, Universal Music Group. "Over the past five years DVD has established itself as one of the fastest growing formats. The huge penetration of DVD makes DVD-Audio a natural progression for music lovers who are already owners of DVD players, taking them from the familiar world of stereo to the 21st Century world of multi-channel surround sound."

 

04 / 01 / 03

  Enjoy the Music.com has released the April 2003 edition of their Review Magazine. Equipment reviews include:

* Audiophile Sound Solution - Home Overall Liquid Energizer

* A Pro's Point Of View Analysis Plus Pro Oval Microphone Cables

* Balanced Power Technologies Clarity Power Cords Used With Mil Spec Interconnects and Loudspeaker Cables

* Dynaudio Confidence C2 Loudspeaker- Coherent, Competent, And Elegant

* Linn Sizmik 12.45 Subwoofer

* Silverline Audio Panatella III Loudspeakers

* $400 Two "Pi" Tower Loudspeaker Kits

* Roly-Poly Loudspeakers

* Bright Star Audio Isolation Devices 

* B&W DM602 Series 2 Loudspeakers

* WAVAC Model MD-811

The April 2003 edition also offers many music reviews including The Bad Plus These Are The Vistas, Benjamin Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Ernst von Dohnamyi Variations on a Nursery Tune, June Christy Something Cool, The Doors Live in Detroit, Milstein's Dvorak & Glazunov (Cisco LP Reissue), and many more. To read all the above reviews, a special manufacturer's article, and our editorials please see the Enjoy the Music.com™ Review Magazine by clicking here.

 


 

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2002

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