I'm pleased to announce that after thirty-three
years of quarterly or bi-monthly publication, The Absolute Sound will
now be published ten times per year. This new schedule, which begins later
this year, will allow us to bring you more equipment reports, features, news,
music reviews, and other coverage of the high-end scene. And because we're
keeping the subscription price the same, you'll receive those four additional
issues per year at no extra cost.
TAS Increases Publication
We're increasing the publication frequency in response to the tremendous
growth in circulation and advertising TAS has enjoyed over the past three
years. The move also demonstrates the deep commitment of Absolute Multimedia,
Inc., our parent company, to high-end audio, music, our readers, and this
special industry which creates the products that bring us so much pleasure.
It may be of interest to readers to know that in an age when
mega-corporations control the world, Absolute Multimedia is a small, privately
owned company founded and run by dedicated audio and music enthusiasts. AMI's
founder and CEO, Tom Martin, has been a TAS subscriber since Issue 1. He's
equally passionate about music, equipment, and expanding high-end audio to a
After leaving Dell Computer (where he was Vice President of Worldwide
Marketing) to start a private equity firm, Tom invested in The Absolute
Sound and its sister publication, The Perfect Vision, and launched
our free digital publication, AVGuide Monthly and our Web site
AVGuide.com." Tom's sensibilities and aesthetic as an enthusiast inform
everything we do. This is an editor's dream scenario that allows us to produce
the kind of magazine we'd want to read ourselves.
The High-Resolution Future
I think it's fair to say that the great promise of DVD-Audio and SACD has
been left unfulfilled. Although there are many wonderful titles and some great
players in both formats, neither DVD-A nor SACD has achieved its unstated goal
of replacing the Compact Disc. The consequence for audiophiles is that a great
deal of music remains unavailable in either of the high-resolution formats,
and the number of players is also limited. As a further result, the CD format,
created when a personal computer meant a Commodore 64, continues to hang on
well past its second decade.
So what's next?
There's a glimmer of hope that next year we'll get a music carrier that
finally fulfills the promise of high-resolution digital audio, not just
sonically (as DVD-A and SACD do), but in terms of a universal standard that
makes high-rez audio the norm rather than the audiophile exception. This hope
is based on the fact that both of the new optical-disc formats designed to
replace DVD — the Blu-ray Disc and the HD DVD — have provisions for up to
eight channels of high-resolution audio. There's no reason why these discs
couldn't be used as music-only carriers.
There are two clouds on the horizon, however. The first is that the
inevitable format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray may render both platforms
moot, as consumers sit on the sidelines waiting for a "winner" to emerge. The
second threat is that the music-only capabilities of these discs may be
trampled in the stampede toward the greater riches provided by the discs'
A new high-rez disc would serve the artists who create the music, deliver
better sound to listeners, and revitalize the music industry by giving
consumers a reason to buy packaged media again rather than listen to pirated
MP3 files. We've been stuck with the CD format long enough.