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High-End Audio Industry News

 

12 / 13 / 02

  The world's oldest audio society (founded in 1972), the Boston Audio Society (BAS) will be holding their White Elephant Sale on December 15th. Both members and nonmembers are invited to bring along anything electronic they wish to sell, exchange, get rid of and never want to see again. The item(s) do not have to be directly related to audio, though it should appeal to the many unrelated hobbies BAS members enjoy. Details for the meeting are as follows:

Date: Sunday, December 15th
Time: 6:00 PM

Place: Room 120
National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

12 / 12 / 02

Classé Audio Inc. CDP-10 CD player/transport  Classé Audio Inc.'s new CDP-10 ($2,000) CD player/transport combines a highly sophisticated output stage with cutting-edge digital-audio technologies and transport components claimed to achieve "a musically organic and natural sonic reproduction." The CDP-10 power supply employs a segmented design with at least eleven separately regulated stages to ensure very stable operation. A professional optical disc transport from Philips with the addition of proprietary modifications, including Classé’s IMCTM system (Isolated Master Clock), further enhances the digital signal's time-based stability for virtually jitter-free operation. An extremely sophisticated PDXB (Pure Differential Cross Balance) arrangement, which combines two of the latest differential-stereo, delta-sigma digital to analog converters from TI/Burr-Brown. This is said to result in effectively unmeasurable departure from linearity and near-perfect stereo separation. Another benefit is the advantage of fully balanced audio signal chain.

 

12 / 11/ 02

Pioneer DVR-A05  Those seeking to replace limited CD-R with higher storage capacity recordable DVD media may enjoy Pioneer's new DVR-A05 DVD-R/DVD-RW drive ($299). Able to achieved 4X write speed to DVD-R and 2X speed to DVD-RW, upwards of 4.7GB of video can be stored in only 15 minutes! Of course the DVR-A05 is backwards compatible with standard CD-R (16X) and CD-RW (8X) discs, yet can also read DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, CD-DA CD-EXTRA, Video CD, Photo-CD and CD-Text. The Pioneer DVR-A05 uses a standard ATAPI interface and provides analog audio output on the rear of the unit. The front provides and in-use indicator light and stereo headphone jack with volume control for private listening to various audio media.

 

 

DVD-AudioDVD-Audio on your computer? A resounding yes as the new Sound Blaster Audigy 2 audio board by Creative Labs supports full 24-bit/192kHz DVD-Audio playback and also 6.1 surround sound. With a signal-to-noise ratio of 106dB and THX certification, the Audigy 2 also supports EAX Advanced HD and Dolby Digital EX. Audiophiles will enjoy the ability to produce 24-bit/96kHz recordings! Creative Lab's CEO Sim Wong Hoo said "The Sound Blaster Audigy 2 not only propels PC audio forward; it drives a new standard of quality for all audio. As we have done many times in the past, Creative has established yet another new platform for the PC with Sound Blaster 24-bit ADVANCED HD audio. With the introduction of the Sound Blaster Audigy 2, we are setting an audio standard for the PC that is currently emerging in consumer electronics."

 

12 / 10 / 02

  The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has announced that a call for Value Added Tax (VAT) reduction is appropriate for the European Union. According to the release on the IFPI website, "Music professionals and creators have joined forces to condemn the blatant cultural discrimination against music that sets VAT on sound recordings as high as 25 per cent while other cultural goods have rates upwards of 5 per cent.... Recorded music is unfairly treated in comparison to other cultural products and services that currently benefit from reduced VAT rates such as books, magazines, cartoons, entrance tickets to cinemas, museums and zoos. VAT rates on CDs in the European Union currently range from 25% in Denmark and Sweden to 15% in Luxembourg.... A VAT Coalition representing authors, composers, music publishers, collecting societies, artist managers and entertainment retailers as well as independent and major record companies, is calling for a VAT reduction that would help revitalize the entire European music market. The VAT Coalition comprises:

EMO - European Music Office,
GERA-EUROPE, Global Entertainment Retail Association-Europe
GESAC, European Group of Societies of Authors and Composers
ICMP/CIEM, International Confederation of Music Publishers
IFPI, Representing the recording industry worldwide
IMMF, International Music Managers Forum
IMPA, International Music Publishers Association
IMPALA, Independent Music Companies Association

 

12 / 09 / 02

Linn Unidisk 1.1  Linn's new Unidisk 1.1 is said to be the very first product designed to give high-end performance for all major disc formats including DVD-Audio, SACD and ESS Technology's decoding algorithms. The Unidisk 1.1 also decodes normal compact discs and DVD-Video. When the Unidisk in partnered with Linn's Kisto high performance AV processor/system controller, eight audio channels for THX, DTS, Dolby 7.1 and Dolby Enhanced playback are supported plus video switching between RGB, DVI, S-Video and Component Video. Linn will be unveiling these products at the CES 2003 and are expected to be available at stores the first quarter of 2003.

 

12 / 06 / 02

Naim Audio Classic CDX2 CD Player  Naim Audio North America's new Classic line components cover a wide variety of features and benefits. The Classic series is an evolution and refinement of their previous offerings culminating after many years of research and development. Many of these developments, along with elegant new styling, have been incorporated and can now be experienced with the new Classic line-up. The CDX2 player ($4,950, pictured here) and optional XPS2 ($4,350) power supply comprise the newest source components. Both the transport and chipset have been upgraded for the new Classic CDX2. The new HDCD decoder/digital filter is only activated when playing encoded discs. Eight-times over sampled data is then sent to two (one per channel) Burr Brown PCM mono D/A converters. A separate, fully optimized master clock controls all main digital functions, and the clock configuration and layout are engineered to minimize jitter. A seven-pole analogue filter follows the DAC to remove spurious noise.

The CDX2 has a fully double-regulated power supply with 20 low-noise, regulated power supplies on the main circuit board, plus a separate supply on the servo control board and another on the display board. It is a stand-alone, 120V powered machine, which may also be used with the XPS2 ultra low noise power supply, providing a substantial improvement in sound quality. The Naim XPS2 power supply is extremely sophisticated with six separately regulated, ultra low noise outputs, featuring a toroidal transformer and six power regulators. This ensures complete stability of the ultra-sensitive circuitry in the CDX2. The same external supply is used with the Naim flagship CDS2 (soon to be CDS3) CD player, thus providing a further possible upgrade path.

The Naim NAC 202 pre-amplifier may either be powered by a NAP 150 or NAP 200 amplifier or significantly upgraded by adding Naim power supplies to independently feed the analogue audio and digital control circuits. The NAC 282 pre-amplifier ($5,200) includes NAPSC that independently powers the digital and control circuits while the audio circuits are fed either from a NAP 150 or NAP200 amplifier or for better performance; from a stand-alone power supply such as the new Naim Hi-Cap2 or Super-Cap2. Meanwhile the top-line NAC 252 preamplifier ($7,700) has ten independently regulated powers supplies feeding from the matching Naim Super-Cap2 ($4,950) power supply. Totally separate regulated supplies for the digital control and switching ensure no noise is generated in the audio circuits. All of the aforementioned pre-amplifier feature:

· Six line-level inputs including two user-configurable versatile (DIN / phono) inputs.
· User configurable unity-gain AV input.
· Powered input for use with Stageline or Prefix phono stage.
· Full infrared remote control. 
· RC5 input for wired remote control in complex installations.
· Optional RS232 port for use in home automation systems.

Because clean power is just as important as having top quality analog audio circuitry, Naim is now offering two new power supplies. The Hicap2 ($1,700) and Supercap2 ($4,950) to be exact. While Naim is quick to point out that the stock power supplies within their amplifiers are very adequate, the use of a separate Naim ultra-low noise power supply is said to bring "substantially improved musicality to the whole system." Both the Hicap2 and Supercap2 utilize selected regulators for optimum performance. A substantial toroidal transformer and smoothing capacitors provide more than ample power and are said to "provide exceptional dynamic stability." The Hi-Cap2 may be used to power all Naim phono stages, active crossovers and pre-amplifiers except the NAC 552 and NAC 252; in the case of the NAC 282 pre-amplifier a second Hi-Cap2 may be employed. The Supercap2 may replace the Hicap2 and is the only choice for supplying power to the NAC 252 pre-amplifier. Other new products by Naim include the NAP 200 amplifier ($2,550), NAP 250 amplifier ($4,250), and NAP 300 amplifier ($8,950).

 

12 / 05 / 02

  Quantum has announced their new RT-800 AC power source distributor ($1,995). Designed for both high-end audio and home theater system, the RT-800 features proprietary Quantum Resonance technology (QRT) electromagnetic field stabilizer/enhancement technology said to be "a material treatment system utilizing electromagnetic field theory in a proprietary manner to enhance the transfer function characteristics of conductive materials." The RT-800 employs microprocessor controlled oscillator electronics to generate and transmit a quantum field to resonate and filter noisy EMF around system components. Other features include LED monitoring (switchable) QRT field effect sweep rate, eight hospital grade Bryant Electric sockets, fourteen gauge silver coated Teflon insulated wiring, and gold plated IEC AC inlet.

 

12 / 04 / 02

  The world's largest music company, Universal Music Group (UMG) will have over 43,000 songs available for downloading both on the Internet and at brick and mortar music stores (including Best Buy, Circuit City, MP3.com, Rolling Stone, and Tower Records). UMG is trying to reach consumers who desire paying for songs on an individual basis over a monthly subscription service. Complete album download will cost $9.99 while downloading on a song by song basis will cost only 99 cents each.

In other news concerning recording labels, Bertelsmann Music Group BMG will be making "sweeping changes" in the way they pay royalties to music artists. They will stop making deductions for various services (i.e. packaging, free/promotion goods, etc.) and enact a new formula to pay royalties that is more simplified. Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, BMG's chairman and CEO, said "BMG's new royalty accounting model will bring clarity and simplicity to a process that is outdated, inefficient and confusing. We are committed to doing what we can to foster and maintain strong relations with our artists and hope the changes announced today help them see clearly that our dealings are clear, unambiguous, and demonstrate our respect for the creative process."

 

12 / 03 / 02

Peak Consult InCognito Loudspeaker  thm audio  is now the official USA distributor of the Danish designed and manufactured Peak Consult loudspeaker line. Their InCognito model (as seen here) employs a multi-faceted 1.5-inch thick HDF sandwich material covered by 1-inch solid wood with rear-ported cabinet. This two-way design features the Scan-Speak 1-inch silk dome tweeter and 6-inch Audiotechnology midrange/woofer. Frequency response is rated from 35Hz to 30kHz with an 89dB/W/m sensitivity at 7 ohms. Dimensions are 42.5 x 11 x 15 (HxWxD) and each loudspeakers weighs a very hefty 92 lbs.

 

 

Beach Boys Pet SoundsCapitol Records will soon be releasing the classic Beach Boys album Pet Sounds on DVD-Audio! Due to the flexibility of the DVD-Audio format, music lovers will be able to enjoy this album in the original monophonic format, then also in stereo, and enhanced 5.1-channel sound. The complete listing of audio playback options include DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, Advanced Resolution Surround, stereo, and monophonic sound. This special Pet Sounds DVD-Audio release will have the thirteen songs plus seven more specially prepared additional songs. The DVD-Audio format also allows for track-by-track notes, discography, liner notes, a Pet Sounds promotional film, and various photo galleries.

 

12 / 02 / 02

  Enjoy the Music.com has released the December 2002 edition of their Review Magazine. Equipment reviews include:

* Book Reviews - Building Pro Audio Loudspeaker Enclosures and Sound Recording Advice For The Home Recording Studio

* Bottlehead's $549 Paramour 2A3 Monoblock Amplifier Kits

* The Bybee Technologies Quantum Purifier

* The Konus Audio Essence Loudspeakers

* Manley Neo-Classic 250 Monoblock Amplifiers - Power and Passion

* Stereovox's Remarkable SEI-600

The December 2002 edition also offers many music and performance reviews plus various editorials including Extreme Hi-Fi - Ecumenical Style and another edition of Karl's Korner! Please see the Review Magazine at by clicking here.

 

 

Wavelength Audio Triton BlueWavelength Audio has announced their new Triton Blue monoblock amplifier. This 16-watt unit employs a 300B triode tube for output duties and a GZ34/5AR4 for power rectification. Choke technology as found within Wavelength Audio's Napoleon and X1 amplifiers are part of the new Triton Blue design and are claimed to provide "unlimited dynamics". Also part of the design are the unprecedented and very highly regarded Black Gate capacitors in "L-canceling pairs". The use of 14 Black Gate capacitors are in a "paralleling Non Polarized electrolytic capacitors cancels the inductance found in the capacitors and extends the frequency response of the circuit." Frequency response is rated at 5Hz to 45KHz (-3dB).

 


 

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2002

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2001

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1999

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