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High-End Audio Industry News


03 / 14 / 03

Vassen Audiodesign Prado  Vaessen Audiodesign loudspeakers is now offering their Box, Box Floorstander, Prado (pictured right) and Aquarius. The Box is a compact, two-way studio monitor using a single 1-inch silk soft-dome tweeter and two 5-inch Aluminum woofers in a D'Appolito configuration. Sensitivity is rated at 86dB/W/m at 4 ohms with a frequency response from 38Hz to 30kHz. The Box Floorstander add a built-in 10-inch Kevlar subwoofer. Vaessen Audiodesign's Prada, as seen here, is a two-way D'Appolito design with the same configuration as the Box Floorstander. The woofer is mounted on the rear of the unit and total power handling capability is from 25 to 750 Watts. Sensitivity is 87dB/W/m at 6 ohms with an overall frequency response from 26Hz to 30kHz. Available finished include Sanded Aluminum, Brushed steel, and Royal Black Leather. Lastly, their model Aquarius is a three-way reference monitor with 1-inch titan tweeter, 2-inch titan midrange, and 12-inch Kevlar composite woofer. Sensitivity is 92dB/W/m at 8 ohms with an overall frequency response from 22Hz to 30kHz. All loudspeakers can be magnetic shielding on request.


03 / 13 / 03

HiFi-Tuning Big Gold II  HiFi-Tuning has introduced one of the world's only 24 carat gold-plated safety (Schuko) plug Type "E" / "F" (CEE7) electrical plug, with plans to release their Big "Gold II" Plug with Rhodium over silver plated contacts. All "Gold II" are exposed to long endurance tests and easily withstand heat, cold, dust, dirt, moisture, or water. They are said to be extremely durable, employ temperature-resistant material (PA 6), and is resistant against light acids, oil, grease, dust, solvents, aggressive gases and vapors! In fact it is watertight up to 7.5 meters below water. In addition to the high quality materials this plug is capable of holding up to 4 mm² (AWG11) wire.


03 / 12 / 03

McIntosh Laboratory  This just received: "D&M Holding Inc. To Acquire McIntosh Laboratory, Legendary High-End Audio And Home Theater Specialist

-- Acquisition of McIntosh adds
ultra premium A/V Brand to D&M Holdings --

D&M Holdings Inc. (TSE II: 6735), parent company of Denon, Ltd. and Marantz Japan, Inc., announced today that it has agreed to acquire McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., a world leader in home entertainment systems, from Clarion Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Clarion Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of car audio and electronics.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed

McIntosh, a 53-year-old company based in Binghamton, N.Y., designs and manufactures high-end audio, home theater and car audio products. The McIntosh brand has a well-known reputation for quality, high performance, hand craftsmanship and stellar customer support and service. McIntosh has annual revenue of approximately $25 million. The financial impact on D&M Holdings is not expected to be material in fiscal 2002 ending on March 31, 2003, but it is expected to be accretive in fiscal 2003.

Tatsuo Kabumoto, president and chief executive officer of D&M Holdings, said: "McIntosh is one of the most highly acclaimed brands in the world. The company is revered by audiophiles and has a loyal customer base. In addition, McIntosh brings to D&M an exclusive worldwide dealer network that will yield synergies with our current distribution channels." This acquisition is consistent with the company's strategy to consolidate the premium audio/video industry through acquisitions.

The McIntosh brand, along with its sales and marketing operations, will be maintained as a stand-alone operation, following the same strategy employed by D&M Holdings with Denon and Marantz.

Commenting on the transaction, McIntosh Laboratory President Charles M. Randall said: "We are extremely excited about the opportunity to join forces with Denon and Marantz-two of the industry's premier audio/video brands. Both companies have long and well-respected records in the industry, and all three brands will continue to deliver the highest-quality products in their respective niches."


03 / 11 / 03

Cary Audio Silver Oak Loudspeakers  Cary Audio's new Silver Oak loudspeakers ($4,000 per pair in Lacewood/Silver Oak finish or Kavazinga wood finish) are claimed to bring together the best of old and new technology. As a cross between a transmission line and a back loaded horn, the tuned pipe design enables the woofer driver to reach lower frequencies than it would normally reproduce. The tuned pipe loudspeaker is claimed by Cary to have a different sound character than a conventional box loudspeaker with wide dynamic range from low power amplifiers. A 6.5-inch SEAS Excel midrange/woofer employs a magnesium cone and is mounted to a "large window" aluminum basket to reduce sound reflection from the back wave of the driver. The tweeter is the matching SEAS Excel Millennium soft-dome driver that has a neodymium magnet. The woofer and the tweeter are paired together in a two-way configuration using an efficient, steep slope crossover. The woofer has a third order (18dB per octave) crossover network while the tweeter uses a third order crossover network with careful high frequency contouring and impedance matching. The hand tuned crossover coils are air core inductors and the capacitors are the highly regarded AuriCaps. Each Silver Oak loudspeaker is hand built utilizing 1-inch thick Medite (MDF) 40 while the interior surfaces are lined with acoustical foam for proper damping and absorption of unwanted resonances. Specifications are as follows:

Frequency Range: 38Hz to 23kHz
Sensitivity: 88dB/W/m
Rated Impedance: 8 ohm
Recommended Power: 7 to 150 watts
Bass Loading Principle: Tuned Pipe
Crossover Point: 2,200Hz
Terminals: WBT BI-Wiring
Dimensions: 42 x 8.5 x 11 (HxWxD in inches) 
Weight: 82 lb.


03 / 10 / 03

CoDrive  From CoDrive comes US Patent 6,466,676 (Compound Driver for Acoustical Applications) that shows a way to increase the effective surface area of a loudspeaker driver. The clever design couples a rear cone to the front air mass through a vent in the center of a front cone. This makes a subwoofer with a much higher air load than any conventional unit of equal diameter. A "drive link" moves the two cones in phase and creates the central "throat" for the rear cone to fire forward through. The compression loaded rear cone lowers the "Q" of the speaker, which prevents system Q from rising sharply even in small sealed systems. The smaller face profile of a 12-inch CoDriver is claimed to have the cone area of a 15-inch subwoofer.


03 / 07 / 03

Coincident Speaker Technology ships Super Eclipse III  Coincident Speaker Technology began shipping their Super Eclipse III (price unchanged compared to series II, $5,899 per pair). The Series III is said to represents a significant sonic advance with smoother midrange, more delicate and detailed highs while the bass is tighter and more coherently integrated. To increase the music reproduction qualities of the Eclipse, the following changes were made:

1. New carbon fiber midrange drivers (the same used in the Partial Eclipse Series II) replace the previous Seas Excel magnesium units. This carbon fiber driver has a very flat frequency response from 50Hz to 8kHz.

2. The midrange drivers are now flush mounted as opposed to the previous surface mount method. Not only is this more aesthetically pleasing, flush mounting the drivers reduces diffraction affects thereby enhancing tweeter/ midrange integration.

3. Due to the new midrange drivers, the geometric alignment of the midranges in relation to the tweeter has been altered to minimize lobing affects to an appreciable degree. This eliminates any residual roughness at the crossover frequency.

4. The suspension of the midrange drivers mandated a ported sub enclosure for optimum performance. A 1-inch port has now been incorporated on the front of the speaker just below the bottom midrange driver. This results in midrange reproduction that is more open and transparent.

5. The bass tuning has been tightened to closely resemble the bass performance of Coincident Speaker Technology's Total Eclipse model. The Series III low frequencies are now said to be extremely tight and articulated with no compromise in terms of dynamics or impact. The Series III will now perform more optimally in smaller environments than did its predecessor.

6. The crossover has been suitably altered to optimize the performance of the new drivers.


03 / 06 / 03

Cyrus DVD8  Cyrus has unveiled sixteen new components in the past year, reinforcing Cyrus' well-established reputation for outstanding quality at competitive price points. Developing ten new components while replacing and updating many models, the three new ranges of product line include 6 series, 8 series and ten or X series. The new Cyrus 6 series range includes DVD 6 (£750) , CD 6 (£600) and Cyrus 6 amplifier(£600). Cyrus' 8 series expands with a high-performance, upgradeable CD player, CD 8 (£1,000), 8 amplifier, AV 8 digital AV processor and a new disc player, DVD 8 (pictured right). Top-of-the-range X series includes Pre X high quality pre-amplifier (£1,000), new Mono X zero-feedback monoblock power amplifier (£1,200), and an upgradeable new FM tuner, FM X (£500). New Cyrus Interconnects (available in 0.2, 0.5 and 1 meter options all at £90) are solid core and feature non-magnetic connectors and specially chosen materials. Their Speaker Cable is available in 2 x 5 meter packs (£250) including high quality connectors and is configured as 4 solid core conductors providing ideal bi-wire and bi-amplifying opportunities.


03 / 05 / 03

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  While the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) website has been once again hacked, this time by "Avri the Hacker", the RIAA also released their 2002 Year-End Shipments and 2002 Year-End Anti-Piracy Statistics. While they dare not blame sales declines due to less new music (or quality thereof) becoming available in 2002 as compared to 2001, they do say "The music industry... implemented aggressive initiatives that address rising levels of piracy. While these activities have laid the foundation for the music industry’s growth in the future, the ongoing problem of music piracy and the nationwide economic downturn are reflected in data released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, CD shipments dropped almost 9 percent in 2002, while unit shipments of all music formats decreased 11 percent."

A prepared statement by Hilary Rosen, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA, said "A major cause of the decline in 2002 includes the ongoing problem of online and physical music piracy. As we have seen piracy rise, we are responding aggressively online and have dramatically upped the activities of our Anti-Piracy Unit, increasing our seizures of counterfeit and pirate CDRs by 89.5 percent in 2002." Naturally there are new formats such as DVD-Audio and to quote the RIAA "high-density disc format that uses a proprietary audio system of very high quality developed by Philips and Sony" describing the SACD (proprietary) format. In fall 2002, the MUSIC (Music United for Strong Internet Copyright) Coalition launched a campaign to increase awareness of illegal downloading.

Getting down to the numbers of 2002 sales as compared to 2001, vinyl LP/EP sales are down approximately 24 percent while vinyl singles are down over 20 percent. DVD-Audio is experiencing a healthy growth of over 40 percent. The proprietary SACD format is not accounted for, possibly due to it not being an officially recognized format within various standards organizations. Overall "Total Retail Units" sales in 2002 were down 7.8 percent to 675.7 million with value of these units down 6.8 percent to 11,549 million. To see the complete 2002 Year-End Shipments and 2002 Year-End Anti-Piracy Statistics please click here (Adobe PDF file).


03 / 04 / 03

Blu-ray Disc  While Enjoy the Music.com was among the very first audiophile source to report on the high-storage recordable Blu-ray Disc optical 12cm disc format that holds 27GB of data (almost six times current DVD's capacity) on March 7, 2002, it has been officially announced that a grand total of nine consumer electronics firms have licensed this technology. Consumers can expect commercial Blu-ray products from founders Hitachi, LG, Matsushita, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Thomson in 2004. Other companies can obtain ten year renewable licenses for the development, manufacture and sale of Blu-ray products. This new mass storage medium could easily shatter the current "high-resolution" audio formats allowing ever-higher bit and sampling rates. It could also allow for current audio-only "high-resolution" audio formats combined with HDTV video clips all on one disc. It has been reported that Sony will have their model BDZ-S77 in Japan at a cost of approximately $4,000. If the new Sony unit is akin to virtually all current trend consumer electronic format launching, second generation units will be easier to use, cost approximately 30% less, and offer higher usability/features.



With Blu-ray Disc technology on the horizon with 27GB of storage possibilities, the recent acquittal of nineteen year old Norwegian programmer Jon Johansen who helped create the DVD-cracking code known as DeCSS that could defeat Decode Content Scrambling System copy protection, we now have 321 Studios shipping software that allows copying DVD discs. Like video tape and other copying mediums fought for legalization by the Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRCC), 321 Studio is now on the forefront to set precedence in the legality of selling software that can copy the currently popular DVD format. Natural Hollywood, with a grand total of seven major enterprises, would prefer to not have such software available to the mass market. So in natural Hollywood fashion, the lawsuits and claims of lost revenue has begun. We have all heard this before with VHS/Beta, CD-R, and now comes DVD. "The documentation presented to the court in 321 Studios' recent filing illustrates that the position taken by the major movie studios and the legislation behind which they hide -- the DMCA -- is unconstitutional," said Daralyn Durie who is an attorney with Keker & Van Nest that represents 321 Studios. In the United States, consumers/voters can take a stand against Hollywood and other business interests by submitting letters to their voted representatives from the Protect Fair Use website.


03 / 03 / 03

Colie Brice Chameleon  Popular cable channel MTV will be airing a music track called "Discovering Joy" from ex-Classic Records and current Mobile Fidelity employee Colie Brice's album Chameleon. The song "Discovering Joy" will be background music for MTV's show "Fraternity Life" that airs March 4th and 5th. MTV may also be licensing more of Colie Brice's music for use in the future. You can vote to hear more of Colie Brice's music by going to www.mtv.com/news/youtellus/.



SpJ Alba TurntableSpJ's Alba turntable offered by Arcici ($26,000, shown here with the accompanying SpJ Lyla pick-up arm), rests upon three stainless steel contact points and is leveled by the two knobs on either side of the T-bar support. The asymmetric ground-base is made from aluminum and is 41mm thick while the stand alone motor housing weighs in at 8 Kg. The direct-coupled synchronous AC motor drives the turntable platter via a semi-soft single belt. Outer diameter of the platter is 330mm and height is 185mm giving a total revolving mass of an impressive 30 Kg.


03 / 01 / 03

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

* CES Show Report Part II by Chris Boylan

* Music, Sound and Personalities: The 2003 CES and T.H.E.
Show by Dave Glackin

* CES and T.H.E. Show 2003 by Gigi Krop

* CES and T.H.E. Show 2003 Report by Dick Olsher

* CES and T.H.E. Show 2003 Report Part II by Bill Gaw

* Atma-Sphere M-60 Mk.II.2 OTL Monoblock Amplifiers by Wayne Donnelly

* BV Audio's PA300 Amplifier- A Mighty Engine That Does by Jim Merod

* Ecosse Reference Cable Ltd. Baton Interconnects, Conductor MK11 Interconnects, and ES 2.3 Loudspeaker Cables by Karl Lozier

The March 2003 edition also offers many music reviews including Beethoven Symphony No. 5, Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, Reinhold Gliere Symphony No. 3, Op. 42, Sonny Rollins Plus 4 and many more. Please see the Review Magazine by clicking here.



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