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High-End Audio Industry News

 

08 / 15 / 02

Classé Omega SACD-1  The Classé Omega SACD-1 can play both CD, HDCD and SACD discs, with up-sampling to 96 kHz on normal CD material. With an impressive, highly refined and outboard power supply, the SACD-1 employs fully-balanced audio circuitry and provides both balanced (XLR) and single ended (RCA) outputs. For reading the data on digital discs in the Classé Omega SACD-1 the Sony reference-level SCD-1 mechanism was chosen due to it being Sony's top-level piece. Six channels of the Crystal CS4397 delta-sigma converter provide digital to analog audio conversion. The power supply has been well thought out with the use of a 55VA transformer and eighteen capacitors that total 84,600µF. Digital outputs for CD audio include AES/EBU, coaxial, Tos-Link, and ST Glass.

 

08 / 14 / 02

B&W Bowers & Wilkins  B&W changed identity while also releasing two new subwoofers. Hoping to garnish a more international appeal and recognition, B&W has changed their logo to now say "B&W Bowers & Wilkins" as seen right. This will help to further identity their products from others within the marketplace.

B&W Bowers & Wilkins ASW-675Two new subwoofers by B&W Bowers & Wilkins are the ASW-675 ($1,000, pictured right) and ASW-CM ($1,300). Both units are self amplified with a "Class D" 500 watt amplification that drives a 10-inch subwoofer. The ASW-675 supercedes their compact ASW-2500 model and is only slight larger than its predecessor, yet is said to go "demonstrably lower, louder, and 'quicker'" according to Chris Browder, Executive VP of B&W. Mr. Browder also said "Despite the resemblance to the earlier design this is an all-new sub: new driver; new enclosure, and innovative, super-powerful amplifier, which combines with our proprietary smart electronics to extend the performance limits for compact subwoofers yet again." Developed specifically for the ASW-675, the 10-inch driver employs a unique combination of Kevlar/pulp composite and aluminum that results in a very high stiffness to mass ratio.

With development help from Netherlands based Philips, the new 500 watt "Class D" amplifier provides plenty of headroom while the other supporting electronics include a continuously variable crossover with two-way crossover filtering (providing third-order 80 Hz high-pass "returns" on its line-level outputs), and unique A/B bass-rolloff switch with two distinctive filtering curves. The ASW-675 is offered in black ash, and "sorrento" light oak woodgrain exteriors. Their new ASW-CM incorporates extensive bracing and if offered in real-wood veneers including rosenut, maple, and black ash finishes.

 

08 / 13 / 02

  There is much ado in the DVD world as Digimarc and Verance have settled a lawsuit while Dolby Laboratories has a new decoder. Meanwhile recordable DVD discs have hit an all-time new low. Digimarc and Verance have settled a dispute over the use of Digimarc's intellectual property concerning the use of watermarking on Verance DVD discs. According to reports, over $2 million to cover licensing fees will be paid by Verance to Digimarc. Verance's President and CEO Bob Cerasoli said, "We view this settlement as the first step in what we expect to be a long-term, constructive relationship between Verance and Digimarc that is sure to accelerate the growth of the significant market for digital watermarking technology and related services."

Dolby Laboratories has a treat for those attending the AES Convention will showcase their DP564 multichannel audio decoder at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in October. Their new next generation DP564 supercedes the DP562 with expanded features and usability including DVD authoring, DTV broadcasting and high-end decoding. This new version is capable of decoding and monitoring many different type of Dolby technologies including Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Surround Pro Logic II, Dolby Surround, headphone monitoring, and PCM soundtracks. The DP562 also supports two AES inputs, an optical input, a linear timecode (LTC) output, and of interesting note, an Ethernet port that provides audio streaming.

Lastly, blank recordable 4.7GB DVD discs have broken the $1 barrier with prices now dipping to as little as 79 cents per disc. Website www.qtccdr.com is now selling DVD-R discs for as little as 79 cents each in minimum quantities of 540 while a pack of 90 discs is priced at 82 cents per disc. Soon audiophiles can make their very own high resolution DVD-Audio discs for under 50 cents each, well under the price of retail discs and begs to ask, will pirated DVD-Audio discs soon be reaching the streets of China, let alone America and Europe.

 

08 / 12 / 02

Meridian Audio Limited 598, 568.2, and 562 V3  England based Meridian Audio Limited has announced three newsworthy events. Specifically, their 598 DVD-Audio player ($5,495-$5,999), 568.2 Digital Surround Processor ($6,995-$7,745), and 562V3 Digital Surround Processor ($2,700). The 598 is in version 3 is a standalone component for DVD-Audio or can be used within an all digital Meridian system. The 568.2 Digital Surround Processor can serve as the core component for a multi-channel system. It is configurable for replay of both music and film based material while the new 562V.3 Multimedia Controller provides flexibility in signal selection and routing of video, analog audio, and digital audio. The 598 DVD-Audio Player and 568.2 Digital Surround Processor feature Meridian's proprietary MHR Smart Link interconnection, an encrypted digital multi-channel conduit that permits DVD-Audio and other multi-channel digital signals to be transferred securely between components.

 

 

Meadowlark Audio OspreyMeadowlark Audio's new Swift ($995), as first seen worldwide on the Enjoy the Music.com PRIMEDIA NYC show report, are a two-way floorstanding ported design loudspeaker that stands 36" high and weights in at 35 lbs each. With an overall frequency response from 35Hz to 22KHz and sensitivity of 89dB/W/m with an 8 ohm load, Meadowlark claims it is easy to drive for low-powered tube amplifiers. Available finishes include Light Ash, Dark Ash, and Black. The new three-way Osprey ($2,995, pictures right) is available in standard and custom finishes. The Scan Speak carbon graphite woofer, high quality midrange, and fabric dome Scan Speak tweeter all work in concert to provide a frequency response from 30Hz to 24kHz.

 

08 / 09 / 02

  Vinyl Record Day to be celebrated in San Luis Obispo, California! Taking place August 17th in the Mission Plaza from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the purpose of this day-long event is to encourage celebrating those good, positive memories associated with great music. All ethnic backgrounds, ages, economic levels, makes no difference. Everyone has a favorite song to enjoy with a good memory. Vinyl Record Day is the brainchild of Gary J. Freiberg, a music enthusiast and patent holder of "The Record Album Frame," an acrylic frame to display album cover art. The frames have decorated the halls of the Smithsonian, the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando; they are the only product of their kind sold at Graceland and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. "The objective of Vinyl Record Day," says Freiberg, "is to remember that, whatever we go through on a personal or national level, life has its goodness. Music is the primary vehicle to our fondest memories, Vinyl Record Day is to celebrate and remember them. This event will hopefully say, 'Let's remember our favorite music, let's remember fond memories, let's celebrate our good times" says Freiberg, host of KVEC radio's popular "Financial Fitness" program.

 

 

Shindo Laboratory Aurieges Pre-AmplifierShindo Laboratory's new Aurieges pre-amplifier is the most affordable model in their pre-amplifier line ($2,495). With an outboard power supply to keep noise away from the critical analog circuitry, the Aurieges features and MM phono stage plus three other line level inputs. With tubes for amplification the new Shindo Laboratory unit has 0.04% total harmonic distortion with a signal to noise ratio of an outstanding 120dB. Frequency response is from 10Hz to 50kHz and overall dimensions are 285 x 80 x 300 (WxHxD in mm per unit, two unit set).

 

08 / 02 / 02

Genesis Advanced Technologies  What is old is new again as a new company headed by longtime and highly respected loudspeaker designer Arnie Nudell, Genesis Advanced Technologies, will soon be launched! Continuing the Genesis line of products, this new venture will soon be releasing new products that should reach stores worldwide. Many people remember Mr. Nudell from decades ago as the founder of Infinity (now owned by Harmon). In those days Infinity was one of the best, and some considered the best, loudspeaker of its time. While he will be the chief designer of new products, CEO and Managing Director Gary Leonard Koh will take care of the business side of things. Mr. Nudell says "We have assembled an awesome team! You will see some of the old stalwarts; and will also see Genesis bringing new blood into the industry. I’ve always designed the best loudspeakers I could. With this team now, we will be able to make performance improvements to existing designs and come up with completely new ones, knowing all these efforts will be supported by a rock-solid business base." Mr. Koh has said in a prepared statement "We have a number of investors who will ensure that the new Genesis has the financial muscle to regain its position as the makers of the best loudspeakers in the world. Everyone involved has a passion for the product, and yet have the ability to bring real-world business skills to the table to run this as a long-term business." The Genesis 501 full range floorstanding loudspeaker and 928 subwoofer are being prepared for launch by Genesis Advanced Technologies. Meanwhile the APM-1 will be updated and is to be released within the next six months.

 


 

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