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High-End Audio Industry News

06 / 30 / 08

HOLFI Xandra MP  HOLFI's new Xandra MP (4500Ä) plays stereo and multi-channel digital discs with top-end sound via it's battery power supply. With CD still being the prominent force, and SACD and DVD-Video also desirable for audiophiles, the Xandra MP does not use a switch mode power supply, but rather a linear power supply backed up with battery power. This advantage it touted by the company to yield "around 30 times less noise than a switch mode power supply." HOLFI claims that this ensures a musical analogue sound that appears from a very quiet background. The Xandra MP also contains a unique HOLFI feature, The Virtual Center Speaker, which allows you to play full surround sound without the use of a physical center speaker. There are analog outputs for 5 channels plus another for subwoofer, a digital input (SPDIF via RCA) plus video outputs. The frequency range is from 1Hz to 50kHz with a low < 0.008% distortion. Dimensions are 45.5 x 8 x 33 (WxHxD in cm) and the unit weights 9 kg.


06 / 27 / 08

ADAM Professional Audio A5 Loudspeaker  ADAM Professional Audio, a manufacturer of high-end home loudspeakers and recording studio monitors, is now offering their A5 self-powered monitor ($699/pr). As the smallest model offered by ADAM, the A5 uses the same ADAM proprietary transducer technology (ART) and the same woofer consisting of a sandwich construction of carbon fiber and Rohacell. The 5.5-inch midrange/woofer is mated with an ART ribbon tweeter that produces accurate and extended uppermost frequencies. Overall frequency response is 55Hz to 35kHz (+/-3dB). A build in dual 25 Watt amplifier provides 25 Watts to each driver. On the rear panel resides both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) inputs plus adjustments for room tuning. To ensure seamless room integration and accurate sound, the room tuning adjustments consists of +/-4dB for tweeter, +/-6dB at 6kHz, and +/-6dB at frequencies below 150Hz. The bass reflex cabinet is offered in gloss piano black or white, with overall dimensions being 6.8 x 11.2 x 7.9 (WxHxD in inches) and weights 11lbs. Each unit comes with a five year warranty.


06 / 26 / 08

Loiminchay Audio Deags Loudspeaker  Loiminchay Audio, American designed and hand-crafted cabinets from beautifully formed Birch MultiPly laminate in China loudspeaker company, offers systems from $15,000 to over $70,000. Seen here is The Degas stand-mounted monitor that features top quality components, all housed with a sculpted 1.2-inch Birch MultiPly cabinet that features internal bracing and lamb's wool filling. The Degas' 1.2-inch ceramic tweeter extends to an impressive 28kHz, while the diamond tweeter option extends out to 40kHz. For the critical midrange and lowermost frequencies, a 6.8-inch ceramic midrange driver delivers bass down to 40Hz, with the upgrade version going down to 32Hz. The loudspeaker wire binding posts are conveniently located near the solid aluminum base plates to continue the visual styling of this design. Sensitivity is around 90dB/W/m with an impedance of 8 Ohms. With stands, dimensions are 10 x 50 x 15.5 (WxHxD in inches) and weights 40 lbs. "Measurements are very important but only part of the story," explains Patrick Chu, President Loiminchay Audio. "Everything makes a difference in the sound; the choice of drivers, the shape and density of the cabinet, how well it's braced, the quality and quantity of the lamb's wool stuffing, how the sound waves flow around the cabinet's exterior surfaces, and even which lacquer finish you choose! That's right, the two-way Degas in black piano lacquer sounds slightly different than a Degas with a MultiClear lacquer finish. It's the same with the Chagall, and that's why every pair's crossover is optimized for the best possible overall sound."


06 / 25 / 08

Aperion Audio Bravus Subwoofer  Aperion Audio, a manufacturer and direct seller of home loudspeakers and subwoofers, now offers their new Bravus line of subwoofers and updated Intimus loudspeaker series. The new Bravus subwoofer line is the result of over a year's worth of research and development. Designed to be both small and powerful, the new Bravus subwoofers offer ample bass performance without dominating your room with size. The new Bravus line features three models ó the 8D, 10D and 12D ($499, $799 and $,099 respectively) ó and come with a limited 10 year warranty on the drivers and cabinet (3 years on amplifiers). Bravus 8D employs dual 8-inch high-excursion custom aluminum active drivers and 150 Watt BASH amplifier while the top-of-the-range Bravus 12D has dual 12-inch high-excursion custom aluminum active drivers and a potent 500 Watt BASH amplifier. All models have parametric equalization, include remote control and can be fed an input signal from either a preamplifier via RCA or loudspeaker wires from an amplifier/receiver. Each Bravus subwoofer is available in either real cherry wood or high gloss piano black lacquer, thereby allowing them to effortlessly blend into one's home decor.


Aperion Audio Intimus Loudspeaker Line Aperion Audio's completely redesigned Intimus loudspeaker line ($130 to $695 each) is the result of over eight years of evolution of the popular series. Representing the company's best sonic performance ever offered, upgraded drivers and new curved design aesthetic may blends well with modern home decor. A staggering nine models across three loudspeaker series marks the company's thorough upgrades to loudspeakers from small monitors and large floorstanders to on-wall and subwoofer products. All Intimus speakers include 1-inch audiophile-grade silk soft dome tweeter with unique system of venting to a rear chamber that employs multiple rear vents outside the neodymium magnet structure. Woven fiberglass woofers are custom made from this strong material. These magnetically shielded drivers have cones that are mated to solid cast aluminum frame via heavy rubber surround that allows for extra-long excursion. All models' cabinetry are of furniture-grade finish in either real cherry wood or high gloss piano black lacquer. The cabinet itself is made of solid high density fiberboard (HDF) to eliminate unwanted cabinet vibrations while a limited ten year warranty in included. Aperion Audio's top-line Intimus 6T floorstander is a 2-way design with 1-inch tweeter, a 6.5-inch midrange and 6.5-inch woofer. Frequency response is from 36 Hz to 20kHz (+/-3dB) and has a 91dB/W/m sensitivity at 6 Ohms. Dimensions are 41.5 x 10.5 x 18.2 (HxWxD in inches) and each unit weights a hefty 70 lbs.

Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed various models from Aperion Audio including their Aperion Audio Intimus Blue Note Award winning 632-LR bookshelf monitors (click here), the 633T floorstanders (click here), model 522D powered towers (click here) and 422-LR speakers (click here).


06 / 24 / 08

D&M Holdings Inc.  Some interesting news that reached my inbox:
D&M Holdings Inc. and Bain Capital Partners LLC today announced that they have entered into an agreement, under which an acquisition corporation owned by investment funds advised by Bain Capital Partners LLC will launch a tender offer for all of the shares of D&M Holdings at a price of 510 yen per share of common stock. This price represents a premium of 37.1% over the average closing share price in the six months prior to June 19, 2008, and a premium of 68.9% over the unaffected closing share price on January 23, 2008, the day prior to the emergence of press speculation regarding a potential transaction involving the company.

Following the completion of the tender offer process, the shares of D&M Holdings would be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.... D&M Holdings is a global operating company providing worldwide management and distribution platforms for premium consumer, automotive, commercial and professional audio and video businesses including Denon, Marantz, McIntosh Laboratory, Boston Acoustics, Snell Acoustics, Escient‚, Calrec Audio, Denon DJ, Allen & Heath, D&M Professional and D&M Premium Sound Solutions.

Bain Capital is a global private investment firm that manages several pools of capital, including private equity, venture capital, and public equity and leveraged debt assets with more than $78 billion in assets under management. Since its inception in 1984, Bain Capital has made private equity investments and add-on acquisitions in more than 300 companies in a variety of industries around the world, including Burger King, Dunkin' Brands, AMC Theaters, MEI Conlux, NXP, Sun Telephone, Toys "R" Us, Warner Music Group, Sensata Technologies and FCI. The firm has a team of over 300 professionals dedicated to investing in and supporting its portfolio companies.


   08 / 31/ 05

Boston AcousticsD&M Holdings , a Tokyo based company that owns Denon, Marantz, McIntosh Laboratory, and ReplayTV, has acquired Boston Acoustics (including Snell Acoustics). For decades Boston Acoustics has been producing very high quality loudspeakers with constant investments into innovation. The company's audio business includes tabletop systems, micro systems and home theater products plus in-wall/in-ceiling loudspeakers. Boston Acoustics has formed strategic alliances with Chrysler in offering their branded speakers for the Chrysler 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Magnum, and the Dodge Charger. The Snell Acoustics brand is generally aimed at audiophiles and those seeking top-notch sound reproduction.


06 / 23 / 08

1946 Wurlitzer Jukebox Model 1015  Happy 60th birthday to the 45rpm vinyl record! It was on June 21, 1948 that RCA Victor division first launched their 45-rpm disc on 7-inch format. A year later Capitol and Decca joined in offering music on this new format and by 1954 there were over 200 million discs sold. While each record label used various equalization scheme for best sound, by the mid-1950s the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) standard was chosen and the rest, as they say, is history. So happy 60's birthday to the 45-rpm LP. Tens of thousands of jukeboxes owe their life to you. Seen here is a 1946 Wurlitzer jukebox Model 1015, also known as "The Bubbler" due to the air bubbles that would flow up within the front facade's colored liquid accents. Back then, a single song cost 5 cents and kept many people enjoying the music one song at a time. Today, jukeboxes play CDs and they cost at least 25 cents each. According to Wikipedia, "Eventually the 12-inch 33.3 rpm LP prevailed as the predominant format for musical albums and the 10-inch LP were no longer issued. The last Columbia records reissue of any Frank Sinatra songs on a 10-inch LP record was an album called Hall of Fame, CL 2600, issued October 26, 1956, containing six songs, one each by Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Ray, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and Frankie Laine." While Jukeboxes were a type of centerpiece back in the 50's, today they appear to be more for background music. One can only wonder what happened...


   11 / 25 / 99

It deeply saddens me to report the following. Enjoy the Music.com received this letter on the 19th yet did not post it per the request of an employee of Mobile Fidelity. Mo-Fi, as they are affectionately called, were at that time hoping for last minute financing which unfortunately never came. What spurred this situation? M.S. Distributing of Hanover Illinois, the company that distributes some of Mo-Fi's products and also other music and video labels, went bankrupt taking with them millions of dollars of inventory from many companies. This includes quite a large sum of Mo-Fi's software. While M.S. Distributing is trying to work out deals with some of the companies, this situation was not resolved in time to save Mo-Fi. With the very fragile economy some "high-end" companies work upon, this might spell just the beginning as companies become reliant on their distributors (or other county's sales). This is, perhaps, a wake up call? With the recent flat sales in the Far East within the past year has given a few manufactures a wake up call. Now Mo-Fi folds because one of their distributors goes bankrupt. Posted below is the actual letter, word for word, we at Enjoy the Music.com received on November 19, 1999 from Mobile Fidelity.

November 19, 1999

Dear Friend;

It is with incredible sadness that Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab announces its closure after more than 22 years in business. This announcement was made today after extreme, but unsuccessful, efforts were made to overcome the financial blow dealt by the events leading up to the abrupt closure of M.S. Distribution's music division.

Mobile Fidelity has remained a small, fiercely independent audiophile label since its inception in 1977. The company was able to weather and withstand several economic and industry upheavals throughout the years. As you know, for the past three or four years, much of the high-end audio industry has suffered through a recession. Mobile Fidelity, once again, undertook the necessary measures to ride out the downturn - especially with the anxiously-awaited new SACDs and DVDs with video soon to be in
the marketplace.

However, in September of 1999, the closure of M.S. Distribution's music division resulted in a substantial percentage of uncollectable receivables for MFSL, plus the inventory it represented. Without access to the funds or the availability of inventory for re-sale, the financial devastation was more than our small company could overcome. Therefore, as of November 19, 1999, the company that changed the way the world listened to music, itself has closed its doors.

Herb Belkin was a co-founder of Mobile Fidelity and a co-owner until his retirement nearly five years ago made this statement when contacted: "I am deeply saddened with the knowledge that the employee-owned Mobile Fidelity - which for so many years represented a major symbol of quality in the field of pre-recorded music - was in the end a victim of bigness and mediocrity. 1, along with all audiophiles every - where will deeply miss the musical efforts of MoFi."

Herb and the loyal employees of Mobile Fidelity wish to thank all of our friends and supporters throughout the years. Without everyone's belief in our efforts to make the very best audio reproductions possible, our star wouldn't have shone so bright for so long. We offer our best wishes to those companies that remain and hope they survive this most challenging era of high-end audio.

We sincerely hope that our memory and legacy will continued to be enjoyed for many years to come through the hundreds of classic LPs, aluminum and gold CDs, and even cassettes, that Mobile Fidelity has lovingly remastered for the enjoyment of music lovers, and for ourselves. It was a wonderful ride while it lasted.


As a side note, this also comes just as Mo-Fi released their first SACD disc whose own controversy is a story unto itself. In the end we here at Enjoy the Music.com are devastated at hearing on Mo-Fi's demise. Arguably the world's best remastering facility is now no more. The folks who brought us the UHQR and Anadisq 200 vinyl plus possibly the best sounding The Wall on CD. Of course there is also Muddy Waters, The Who, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Cream and too many more to mention here. We wish all past employees at Mobile Fidelity the best and hope the music loving community gathers together to pay homage to the late great remastering label that has brought so much musical joy to many people all around the world.


06 / 20 / 08

Apple iTunes  Online sales are on the increase as many retailer websites are experiencing excellent growth. On the music side, Apple just announced that their iTunes store has sold over five billion songs. Apple claims that iTunes is "the number one music retailer in the US and features the largest music catalog with over eight million songs." Also, iTunes customers are now renting and purchasing over 50,000 movies every day, making iTunes the world's most popular online movie store. While there are underground whispers of Apple suffering the same fate or worse as Microsoft, as Apple not only sells their own operating system, Apple does not allow others to sell computers that work on their platform. Add to that, Apple's iPod does not allow for Microsoft's widely popular WMA format. Could rough legal times be ahead for Apple? Only time will tell if Apple becomes the next target of lawsuits as Microsoft has experienced over the years. Sadly, Apple is still selling lossy compressed music that is far from CD sound quality standards, let alone true high resolution as offered from online music site MusicGiants and others. Therefore, iTunes consumers are paying what some consider full price and receiving perhaps half of the actual music fidelity as the musical artist intended. Those who truly care about their music should alert Apple iTunes customers that they are buying music that does not offer full musical fidelity.


   02 / 09 / 07

Apple iPodSteve Jobs of Apple fame, makers of the incredibly popular iPod device, has published a letter on the company's website asking the music industry to "open the digital rights management (DRM) system that Apple uses to protect its music against theft, so that music purchased from iTunes can be played on digital devices purchased from other companies, and protected music purchased from other online music stores can play on iPods." While Apple's iTunes currently offer users to play their DRM protected music on up to five computers and on an unlimited number of iPods, Steve Jobs' concern is that when, not if, the DRM is hacked that iTunes will have to patch their entire online music service or they may find that content owners will remove their content due to hacked DRM concerns. Recently, Norwegian regulators feel that the DRM scheme makes Apple's iTunes Store illegal and there has been speculation that Jobs' letter was in some ways a response to this recent decision. As pointed within Job's letter, "Music purchased from Microsoft's Zune store will only play on Zune players; music purchased from Sony's Connect store will only play on Sony's players; and music purchased from Apple's iTunes store will only play on iPods. This is the current state of affairs in the industry, and customers are being well served with a continuing stream of innovative products and a wide variety of choices." And while Job's letter also mentions an alternative for Apple to license the FairPlay DRM technology as used in the iTunes store, this would "involve disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak. The Internet has made such leaks far more damaging, since a single leak can be spread worldwide in less than a minute." said Jobs. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry, released a statement concerning Steve Jobs' recent letter and said "Apple's offer to license FairPlay to other technology companies is a welcome breakthrough and would be a real victory for fans, artists and labels. There have been many services seeking a license to the Apple DRM. This would enable the interoperability that we have been urging for a very long time." Of interesting note is that there may already be a crack for the Apple FairPlay DMR for those who do not already hold a license key and this letter may be a precursor before it goes public. Steve Jobs admits that "DRMs have not worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy. Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music. That's right! No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player... Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free. For Europeans, two and a half of the big four music companies are located right in their backyard. The largest, Universal, is 100 percent owned by Vivendi, a French company. EMI is a British company, and Sony BMG is 50 percent owned by Bertelsmann, a German company. Convincing them to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly." Perhaps Steve Jobs has some clout as over 90 million iPods and 2 billion songs from the iTunes store have been sold to date while the music industry is currently selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free on physical formats (CD, HD DVD, etc.).


06 / 19 / 08

Audiomagus Aeolus Audio magiDAC  Audiomagus' new Aeolus Audio magiDAC ($255) offers versatility with AES/EBU (XLR via adapter), S/PDIF (RCA) and USB (1.0 and 2.0 compatible) inputs. The company says that "while most DACs feed the signal through an output stage consisting of an op amp (often with dubious power supplies and coupling caps), the magiDAC does not. In fact there are no active devices at all in the final output stage. No transistors, no op-amps, not even any tubes to get in the way of the musical signal. We use a custom built transformer instead." For those seeking further refinement, Audiomangus offers a $150 upgrade to transformers designed and hand-built by Bud Purvine of high-end transformer maker Onetics. There is also a TCXO Clock Upgrade available for $20. The magiDAC 1.0 is built around the CS4398 (up to 24-bit/48kHz) A/D converter, the flagship chip from Cirrus Logic. Stereo analog output is via a pair of gold-plated RCA jacks. The enclosure is natural finish brushed aluminum with laser-etched graphics and 6mm thick front and back panels.


International Audio Group (IAG) ECCSR99 SRPP Pre-Amplifier   It was five years ago to the day that...

The International Audio Group (IAG) ECCSR99 SRPP pre-amplifier ($499 fully assembled, $399 in kit form) appears to be a great value for the dollar. While they provide this in both kit and finished product, overall IAG focuses on solid engineering at down to earth pricing. With an ECC99 in SRPP and 6CA4 rectifier, this pre-amplifier provides three line inputs and two stereo p[airs of outputs. Upgrades include transformer attenuators for those who desire a attenuation adjustment via transformers . Fused IEC connector, LED tipped power switch, gold plated RCA connectors, and polished, painted, or raw (kit only) aluminum finishes highlight this design.


06 / 18 / 08

  Vinyl has made a surprising comeback in some retail circles as an employee of Portland-based retailer Fred Meyer mistakenly ordered music on vinyl, only to see sales unexpectedly fly out the door! These added profits has the retailer entering into the vinyl marketplace to boost their bottom line! With so many popular artists offering their new albums on vinyl, it is no surprise that there are reasons major recording labels are making these musical artists' music on the decades old analog format. The reason, you ask, is that vinyl records sell and add value and profit all around. Some artists also seek out to ensure their music is available on vinyl, perhaps they realize the joys of analog replay. Getting back to Fred Meyer, they are now ensuring that 60 of their stores are stocked with vinyl and are tracking sales to decide if they should further expand their vinyl product line. "It's not just a nostalgia thing," said Melinda Merrill, spokeswoman for Fred Meyer. "The response from customers has just been that they like it, they feel like it has a better sound." Naturally vinyl releases are not limited to newly released music, as reissues are also experiencing great growth. Some of the most recent vinyl releases include Madonna's Hard Candy, Weezer The Red Album, Judas Priest Nostradamus, Coldplay Viva La Vida, Or Death And All His Friends, plus truly vintage titles including Peggy Lee Black Coffee to name a few. Viva la vinyl!


   It was just over a month ago today that...

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group that represents approximately 90 percent of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States, has released their 2007 sales figures. While total hard copy music sales are down 16.9 percent with a 19.1 percent decrease of value as compared to 2007, digital downloads combined with music videos and kiosk sales combined are up a staggering 38.9 percent with a value increase of 43.2 percent. Hard copy sales reached 543.9 million units with a dollar value of nearly $7.5 billion dollars, with digital/kiosk being 868.4 million units for a total of $1.257 billion. Vinyl LP sales increased 36.6 percent, with the numbers showing sales going from from 0.9 million in 2006 to 1.3 million in 2007. Meanwhile, SACD sales decreased 30.5 percent to achieve a mere 0.2 million units sold while DVD-Audio increased 42.1 percent, going from 0.1 million to approximately 0.2 million units sold. Complete details of the RIAA's report can be downloaded by clicking here (Adobe Acrobat file).


06 / 17 / 08

hi-fi+  Issue 58 (May 2008) of our hi-fi+ preview is now available here on Enjoy the Music.com! This issue features many equipment reviews, including the Hovland STRATOS monoblocs, Reference 3A Grand Veena loudspeakers, Monitor Audio's Platinum PL100 loudspeaker, the  Electrocompaniet EEC-1 CD player and ECI-5 integrated amplifier plus much more. In this issue's editorial, Roy Gregory states "I know it's only May, but the year comes round so quickly, especially when your issues are two months apart. Which means that it's time to start thinking about the Autumn shows again... Having run a public demonstration in Denver last year, and dabbled a little with one in Bristol, it's time to firm-up plans for future events, making our demonstrations more frequent and more accessible. The problem has always been that the demonstrations need considerable planning and effort (both by ourselves and those companies loaning equipment) and in order to work effectively, they have to he closed door, ticketed presentations: which limits the number of people who get to see the results of all the hard work." To see the entire table of contents and read the complete editorial click here.


06 / 16 / 08

VSAC 2008  Enjoy the Music.com's June midmonth update features our  Review Magazine features an extensive report on the Vacuum Tube State of the Art Conference 2008 (VSAC) show. Journalist Jeff Poth provides three pages filled with nearly 40 photos! Everything from manufacturers to DIY craftspeople show their audio products! See the June midmonth update of our Review Magazine by clicking here.


Pass Labs SR1 LoudspeakerPass Labs' new SR1 loudspeaker ($25,000) is a four-way floorstanding design for high-end audiophiles and those passionate about music and home theater. The new SR1 is the company's second loudspeaker, following and replacing the Rushmore, and is said to produce "a highly refined sound stage, deep awareness of micro-detail, and effortless dynamics deliver superb, accurate musical reproduction." The SR1's drivers are claimed to be the best available, and employ Nextel-coated cones and a Crescendo tweeter from the renowned Seas of Norway. This presents the best combination of low distortion, high dynamics, and predictable performance. It takes a minimum of four sizes of these drivers to span the SR1's 10-octave audio range. The SR1 uses dual enclosures, with the 10-inch bass drivers and eight-inch drivers handling the bottom four octaves. An adjustable smaller enclosure carries the midrange and the tweeter. The SR1 is available as a bi-amplified or quad-amplified system, complete with active crossover filters. Upgrades and conversions between the systems are easily accomplished, and the speaker is compatible with a wide range of power amplifiers. The impedance does not dip below 4 Ohms, while the sensitivity is 90dB/W/m. Enjoy the Music.com has reviews various Pass Labs products including their Aleph X2.5 stereo preamplifier (click here), the Supersymmetry balanced single-ended Class-A X250 stereo amplifier (click here) and Nelson Pass' First Watt Model F1 current drive power amplifier (click here).


Louis Fischer has won the Enjoy the Music.com's MusicGiants Concierge Collection contest! Soon to receive $250 in DRM-free lossless high-resolution music, this collection should allow Louis to enjoy many of his favorite artists. The collection consists of a variety of music genres including classic rock, jazz, blues, R&B and classical. MusicGiants will construct the Concierge Collection prize with a totally non-DRM collection. Everyone here at Enjoy the Music.com congratulated Louis and am sure he will enjoy the music. To learn more about this contest and enter to win our future prizes click here.


06 / 13 / 08

Argentum Acoustics  Ultralink / XLO, a manufacturer of premium audio/video cables and AC power products, has announced their new Argentum Acoustics cable line. Argentum cables include the RCA/XLR Mythos interconnect, the Millena AES/EBU digital datalink, the Proteus-12 AC power cord and the Aureus-2 loudspeaker cable in single and bi-wire versions ($300 to $1000 at standard lengths). All models feature lab-grade UPOCC (Ultra-Pure Ohno Continuous Cast) copper conductors. The Argento Digital, a high-frequency 75 Ohm coaxial cable, employs laboratory-grade silver conductors. All cables are hand terminated with industrial designed connectors and an elegant black jacket gracefully wraps around each unit. Insulation between connectors is top quality DuPont Teflon insulation while minimal mass and nonmagnetic connectors ensure low self-inductance and feature direct 24K gold-plated contacts. Speaker cables are terminated with interchangeable 8.0mm billet-cut spade lugs made from CDA alloy 101 (99.994% pure) copper and all are direct gold plated, with no intervening layer of nickel to spoil the sound. Argentum Acoustics cables are cryogenically treated during the manufacturing process.


   It was one year ago that...

Furutech Power 6 AC Mains DistributorAward winning manufacturer Furutech announced the availability of their new Power 6 AC Mains Distributor ($6,400). As "the ultimate expression of Furutechís Pure Transmission Technology, " the company's engineers set out to refine every part and step in the process of power conditioning. This includes the use of the Furutech's proprietary Formula GC-303 EMI-absorbent material, two-stage cryogenic and demagnetizing Super Alpha Treatment applied to all metal parts. The main housing is made from precision CNC machined solid aerospace-grade aluminum alloy that also protects internal parts and doubles as a shield against RFI (Radio Frequency Interference). Within the three internal compartments house three independently-wired duplex receptacles using twisted multi-gauge Teflon-shielded high-purity silver-plated Alpha-OFC. Furutech also takes advantage of their patented Power Plate Receptacles to further enhance the vault-like build quality while the Rhodium-plated 20 Ampere rated receptacles are not simply flush with the outer chassis, but tapped 25mm into the thick aluminum for a tight fit. The entire unit measures in at 8x8x3 (HxWxD in inches) and weighs 22 lbs.


06 / 12 / 08

Axiom Audio Garage Loudspeakers  Audiophiles looking for that perfect Father's Day gift may want to check out the Axiom Audio Garage Speaker ($375/pr). Covered in a brushed silver tread pattern as seen on tool boxes and cabinetry, this speaker blends seamlessly into the most man-sized garages. Based on Axiom's award-winning M3, the Garage Speaker features a 1-inch titanium tweeter, 6.5-inch aluminum woofers, anti-standing-wave cabinets and vortex porting. Minimum power requires is 10 watts, with maximum being 175 watts per loudspeaker. Freq response is from 60Hz to 22kHz ( +/-3dB), impedance is an easy to drive 8 Ohms and sensitivity is 92dB/W/m. Dimensions are 13.5 x 8.5 x 8.25 . (HxWxD in inches). Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed various Axiom Audio loudspeakers including their Audiobyte system (click here), EP500 subwoofer (click here), Millennia M80Ti floorstander (click here) and Millennia M3Ti bookshelf unit (click here).


   It was seven years ago today that...

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)Enjoy the Music.com dares to publish Professor Edward Felten's scientific paper as online music service Listen.com will remove some of the features within their website and also withdraw from the lawsuit being waged against the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA). Of course the RIAA is enjoying great revenue through royalty payments and is glad to see Listen.com remove themselves from the upcoming royalty rate-setting legal debate during the Copyright Office's rate-setting proceeding being held on July 30th within a California federal court. The RIAA has recently decided to sue webcasters Xact Radio, MusicMatch and MTVi to consolidate those cases.

Meanwhile, as posted within our June 7th, 2001 news report (see here), Princeton Researcher Edward Felten is continuing his fight to publish his scientific papers concerning defeating the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) and Verance protection schemes. Strangely, while the RIAA had an official response on their website as seen on our June 7th news report, that response has now disappeared from the RIAA's website. Furthermore, we here at Enjoy the Music.com believe in the Freedom of Speech act and now present to our readership the Professor Felten paper in it's entirety. Please click here to see the official scientific paper that is causing this lawsuit. Click here to see the letters Professor Felten received from the RIAA and also the SDMI.


06 / 11 / 08

Krell Evolution 707 Surround Sound Preamplifier and Processor  Krell Industries, a manufacturer of high performance music and home theater systems, has announced the initial shipments of the Evolution 707 surround preamp/processor ($30,000). The Evolution 707 took the company a mere two years or so of design effort and the company's first audiophile quality component to feature HDMI 1.3 functionality. The unit has twelve output stages with two center channel and four subwoofer outputs, in an 8.4 channel configuration. All channels feature Evolution CAST circuitry, which is short for Current Audio Signal Transmission that sends audio signals between components in the current domain. Both balanced outputs and single ended outputs are included. Preamplifier mode bypasses all digital circuitry and routes the analog input, stereo or 7.1 multi-channel, directly to the 16-bit balanced resistor ladder volume control for the purest signal path. For home theater enthusiasts, there are four HDMI 1.3 inputs plus surround sound processing in Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio lossless surround formats. Additionally, two Crystal CS497004 DSPs, running in 64-bit dual precision mode, decode Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 6.1 ES, DTS 5.1, DTS NEO:6, Dolby Pro Logic II modes as well as nine proprietary Krell Music Surround modes. Krell's Evolution 707 stands nearly 10-inches tall and weighs in at over 50lbs. The custom machined aluminum chassis includes diamond cut detailing


   It was five years ago today that...

Recording Industry Associaion of America (RIAA)The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is on the warpath as they have begun collecting evidence in preparation for various lawsuits. Specifically targeting those who use peer-to-peer software, yesterday the RIAA began seeking those who "illegally" offering to "share" substantial amounts of copyrighted music over peer-to-peer networks. In making the announcement, the music industry cited its multi-year effort to educate the public about the illegality of unauthorized downloading, and underscored the fact that major music companies have made vast catalogues of music available to dozens of services to help create legitimate, high quality and inexpensive alternatives to online piracy." RIAA president Cary Sherman said "The law is clear and the message to those who are distributing substantial quantities of music online should be equally clear --- this activity is illegal, you are not anonymous when you do it, and engaging in it can have real consequences. We'd much rather spend time making music then dealing with legal issues in courtrooms. But we cannot stand by while piracy takes a devastating toll on artists, musicians, songwriters, retailers and everyone in the music industry." Sherman continues by saying "Once we begin our evidence-gathering process, any individual computer user who continues to offer music illegally to millions of others will run the very real risk of facing legal action in the form of civil lawsuits that will cost violators thousands of dollars and potentially subject them to criminal prosecution."

Peter Gabriel, Grammy award winning multi-Platinum artist, said "In some ways we are the canary down the mine, the first battle ground, but behind us goes anyone who creates anything that can be turned into data whether its software, films pictures or music. Do people who create material have entitlement to get royalties? That's a bigger question for society. I would argue that you would get better range, better quality and better choice if you do pay the creator something. We live in the luxury of the in between world at the moment where some people pay for the records while others get it for free. It is the part of it that is the market stall, and at a certain point there will be less fruit on the stall if there's no money coming in."

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), that represents the recording industry worldwide including 1,500 independent and major record companies in 70 countries, has supported the RIAA's actions. Commenting on the announcement IFPI Chairman and CEO Jay Berman said "This action is not taken lightly and it is critically important to protect the livelihoods of many thousands of people who make music and who work in the music industry. The industry is now offering a vast catalogue of music for consumers to buy or access legitimately on the internet - but unauthorized file sharing and uploading is spreading so rapidly that it is stifling the development of this new legitimate business."


06 / 10 / 08

Sine Kosmos Cable  Sine, a high-end accessories company developed by the collaboration of Hong Kong and China audiophiles and now distributed in America by tmh audio, produces cables and power conditioners. The top Kosmos series is designed to be the absolute best cables and features 'Super Alloy Conductor' that are annealed at 1500 degrees, then cryo'ed at -320 degrees. In fact Sine does this four times and boasts that their cable is "more conductive than pure silver or copper." Carbon powder is added within the design to absorb micro-vibrations and RFI/EMI. Sine's SAF-60 power filter features ultra high-end 60 Amperes EMI filter, silver wiring and copper ground, platinum plated phosphorous bronze connectors and internal vibration damping. There are eight outlets total, including a bypass outlet, that in total can handle 6,600 watts maximum. The enclosure is made from 15mm solid aluminum and in total the unit weighs over 30 lbs.


Ming Da MC-08PPA PhonostageMing Da, a Chinese manufacturer specializing in tube audio since 1991, offers their MC-08PPA phonostage. handling moving magnetic (MM) cartridge, input impedance is 47kOhms at a level of 2.5mv. Output impedance is 100 kOhms and overall signal-to-noises is 91dB. Tubes employed within the phonostage include a 6N6,5687, 12AX7 and a pair if 6N3. The lustrous black main chassis is highlighted by six gold colored legs. Each unit is hand built and wired point to point using high quality copper cable for power and American made Teflon silver cable for audio signals. Ming Da designs and produces their own output and power transformers with Zll and H18 long grain annealed and directed steel sheets. Each transformer is hand wound with low-oxygen copper cable.


06 / 09 / 08     Six years ago...

Aopen AX4B-533 Tube Motherboard   AOpen Inc. has announced the world's first vacuum tube motherboard! Their new AX4B-533 Tube Motherboard ($215) incorporates is directly targeted at audiophiles. AOpen decided to employ a single dual-triode for amplifying the audio, though a separate input connector is also provided on the motherboard to allow consumers to use other sound card devices. To reduce the noise factor as found within a computer, their "Frequency Isolation Wall (FIW) is strategically placed at all regions throughout the motherboard that separates each operating frequency regions such as CPU, memory, AGP and PCI where the operating frequency ranging from 133MHz, 66MHz and 33MHz. Cross talk among each regions had been reduced greatly for overall system stability as well as minimize inherit noise that may go to tube amplification circuitry." Audiophile quality MultiCaps and Cardas wire are also used within the motherboard circuitry to insure high audio standards.

"We were all together late one night, kicking around lots of crazy ideas when I proposed it would be really cool if we could combine the warmth and depth - tonal realism, if you will - of the sound produced by an audio tube, with one of our state-of the-art motherboards" says Al Peng, product manager at AOpen America Inc., an audiophile for more than 10 years. "Laughter turned into raves a few months later when we did our first lab demo of our unique hybrid creation. The reproduced sound was absolutely amazing. It left everyone stunned. What we realized at that moment was how the limitations of typical audio output from a PC as we knew it, had come to an end - and what we were pioneering was a way to literally combine the best of two audio worlds - old and new."

According to their Web site "The AX4B-533 Tube Motherboard comes with latest Intel 845E chipset design and features DDR SDRAM memory channels delivering 2.1 GB/s of memory bandwidth to the processor - maximizing the full performance of the Intel Pentium 4 processor with 533Mhz FSB offers best overall performance and longevity. It comes with a 4X AGP slots; with new ICH4, the AX4B-533 Tube supports 4 ports of USB 2.0 and Ultra ATA/100 interface. With Intel 845E chipset, AOpen's AX4B-533 Tube provides a revolutionary fusion of old and new technology, producing unsurpassed PC audio output that takes full advantage of the Intel Pentium 4 processor's capabilities."


NapsterIn June 2002... Napster Incorporated has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday on the heels of their founder and CEO Konrad Hilbers resigned from the company (see our May 20th, 2002 Industry News article). Napster was the belle of the ball just over a year ago with a staggering 60 millions users! Alas, it was not to last as major recording labels such as AOL-Time Warner, BMG, EMI, Sony Music, and Universal Music began suing Napster for illegally distribution copyrighted music. Today with a reported $7.9 million in assets and nearly $100 million in liabilities, Napster is seeking protection against their debtors.


06 / 06 / 08

Diy HiFi Supply Do-It-Box Stereo Passive Preamplifier  Diy HiFi Supply now offers a really great, simple DIY project called the Do-It-Box stereo passive preamplifier ($99 on up depending on options). The basic unit includes a 100k/100k one percent stereo stepped attenuator with 23 positions. The attenuation is via surface mount resistors. Also included is a four input stereo selector, the chassis, knobs and feet. Note that RCA jacks and connecting wire is optional. Add a mere $20 for the RCA jacks and Teflon copper connecting wire. Of course you can choose to purchase uprated silver RCA jacks, other stepped attenuators and various wire types. Dimensions are 18 x 17 x 7 (WxDxH in mm). Who says that being an audiophile is expensive, or that DIY kits are hard to build. This makes a great gift and/or DIY beginner project that can be built within an hour or two! Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed the DIY HiFi Supply Ladyday Signature 300B SET 91, which can be seen by clicking here.


TACET, a company founded in 1989 that produces high quality music, has announced the release of Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Camille Saint-SaŽns. The Four Seasons is available in CD and SACD versions and performed by Daniel Gaede with the the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. The Welte-Mignon Mystery Vol. IX features Camille Saint-SaŽns playing his own work, Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin. This CD continues TACET's Welte-Mignon Mystery series. According to the booklet, Saint-SaŽns was the only single pianist, no less, whom Franz Liszt would suffer next to himself! Camille Saint-SaŽns was a man of exceptionally wide-ranging talents, a truly universal genius. Yet as a poet, dramatist, philosopher, astronomer, biologist, archaeologist, ethnologist, artist and caricaturist, and even as a pianist, he is completely forgotten; indeed even as a composer he went through a period of neglect. Yet the piano was his constant companion in a matchless career lasting more than three-quarters of a century, from his beginnings as a child prodigy to the last day of his life. Enjoy the Music.com has reviewed various TACET recordings within our Review Magazine's classical music archives (click here).


06 / 05 / 08

Headroom Desktop Amp  HeadRoom, headed by audio personality Tyll Hertsens who for over 15 years has been in the business helping "turn your headspace into a perfect place for superb personal listening", offers such products as the company's Desktop Amp


Kimber Kable 4VSKimber Kable, a longstanding and well-respected cable manufacturer, meets the needs of both finished products and 'raw' wire for DIY'ers. Kimber Kable's 4VS consists of four gray and four black conductors that utilize the company's proven braiding technique. The aggregate wire size is two 13 awg conductors, which are of VariStrand, ultra-pure copper. For those technically minded below are the specifications of the 4VS i 2.5 meter bare wire length:

ē (Cp) parallel capacitance: 340.0 pF @ 20 kHz
ē (Ls) series inductance: 0.596 H @ 20 kHz
ē (Rdc) dc loop resistance: 0.041
ē (Xt) total reactance: 0.075 @ 20 kHz
ē Frequency response ? 0.5 dB dc - 250 kHz


06 / 04 / 08

  MusicGiants, an online high-resolution album and song sales site, has announced they now offer The Rolling Stones in HD. Martin Scorsese's concert documentary "Shine A Light" will show the world the Rolling Stones as they've never been seen before. Filmed at the famed Beacon Theater in New York City in Fall 2006, Scorsese assembled a legendary team of cinematographers to capture the raw energy of the Stones. To honor this epic rockumentary, MusicGiants is featuring its Rolling Stones catalog worthy of the band's legendary fame. Spanning back to 1961, this discography captures the best of the Stones from their initial landing on the hard-core blues music scene through decades of hits that have come to define their one-of-a-kind sound.


M-Audio Studiophile BX8aM-Audio, a leading provider of creative tools for musicians and a part of Avid Technology, today announced their Studiophile BX5a and BX8a Deluxe monitors that builds on the previous version ($399.95 and $599.95 per pair respectively). The monitors feature new waveguides, enhanced driver integration and other advancements to deliver a cohesive and refined sound. New waveguides deliver improved imaging over the previous version, for precise placement of each instrument within the soundscape. New custom amplifier tuning enhances the integration between the high and low frequencies, delivering refined spectral balance and a smoother overall response. Rounding out the improvements over the previous version, a new low-frequency transducer in the BX5a Deluxe system adds extra definition to the bass response, while the BX8a Deluxe system features tight tuning to generate 'large sound' for its modest footprint. M-Audio's Studiophile BX5a and BX8a Deluxe monitors feature 5-inch and 8-inch Kevlar low-frequency driver cones, respectively. The BX5a Deluxe monitors provide 70 watts of bi-amplified power, while the BX8a Deluxe monitors include 130 watts of amplification. Enjoy the Music.com reviewers have used M-Audio products within reviews including M-Audio's 1010 10-channel balanced audio card and 410 8-channel audio card (click here) plus the M-Audio Audiophile 192 PCI Sound Card (click here).


06 / 03 / 08

Sound Performance Lab Phonitor  Sound Performance Lab's Phonitor ($2000) is the company's high-end interpretation for what a complete headphone amplifier should be. The basis for this high-end development is SPL Labs proven 120 Volts reference technology based upon their handmade operation amplifier. It corresponds to approximately twice that of most modern analog audio semiconductor technologies. This 120 Volt technology is based on discrete operation amplifiers having SUPRA OPs work with high-performance semiconductors in Class A technology at a symmetrical voltage of +/-60V. Nine SUPRA OPs are employed in such a way that SNR is a low 116dB and offers nearly 34dB of headroom. The phase stability is said to be "always perfect." Aside from standard monitoring functions, the Phonitor offers new controls such as "Crossfeed", "Speaker Angle" and "Center Level". These are the essential parameters to create what with loudspeaker monitors are perception of width, balance and overall space and how we humans recognize them coming from the loudspeaker. The unit's frequency response is from 10Hz to 200kHz (-3dB) with THD of 0.005% and a dynamic range of 129.5dB.


NuVo NV-T2SIR AM/FM Sirus-Ready Dual TunerNuVo's new NV-T2SIR AM/FM Sirus-ready dual tuner ($699) allows the use one or two Sirus modules at the same time. The signals received by the NV-T2SIR can then be distributed throughout a home using NuVo's Grand Concerto and Essentia E6G whole-home audio systems. The NV-T2SIR features an OLED capacitive touch front control panel and can communicate among the source components, amplifiers and control pads that compose the NuVo whole-home audio ecosystem. The tuner also delivers metadata such as song titles and artists information to NuVo Control Pads, as well as to supporting third-party automation systems. For AM/FM and Sirus reception, the unit requires only a single RG6 run from the base tuner unit to the antennas. A diplexer can be used at the end of the run to split the RG6 between the AM/FM and SIRIUS antennas.


06 / 02 / 08

Audiophile Equipment Reviews  Enjoy the Music.com's June Review Magazine features some excellent think pieces plus equipment and music reviews. Add to that, we have completed our Munich High End Society event coverage and America's AKfest show reports. Within this month's editorial Steven R. Rochlin asks you, the reader, for input concerning giving out awards to high-end audio products. Meanwhile Dr. Bill Gaw discusses his experience with the Marchand XM-44 crossover. We also revisit electrical gremlins and Steven Stone's The Nearfield reassess the merits of five minimonitor loudspeakers. Our Sound Practices section covers the early days of the Triode Renaissance while the Boston Audio Society BAS Speaker section walks you, the reader, through the intricacies of live vs. recorded music with excellent comparison of the John Oliver Chorale's Performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.

New equipment reviews include Audio Art Cable's IC-3 interconnects, SC-5 loudspeaker wire and their Power 1 AC cable. Other reviews cover the Audioengine W1 wireless audio adapter, Marantz's CD5001 CD player, the Raysonic CD-168, and we revisit the Reference 3A Veena loudspeaker and the VISATON NoBox BB loudspeaker Kit. All this plus over a dozen music reviews! See the June issue of our Review Magazine by clicking here.


Canadians may once again get hosed as their elected officials put further clamps on how copyrighted music and movies are enforced by officials. The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will bring boarder officials into the fray as they may choose to handle your iPod, laptop computer, and anything else that may hold your legally-owned copyrighted material. While ACTA is "spearheaded by the United States along with the European Commission, Japan, and Switzerland ó which have large intellectual property industries. Other countries invited to participate in ACTA's negotiation process are Canada, Australia, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand" according to Wikipedia. Canada is in the news specifically because they have just begun finalizing the legal documentation such that it is a federal trade agreement and, therefore, circumvents parliamentary approval. If you plan to enter or leave Canada it is up to the boarder guards on what they feel is infringing content and what is legally owned. The repercussions if a guard feels you have broken copyright laws could be fines, confiscation of the device that hold the content, etc. Worse still, the Canadian ACTA agreement includes "civil enforcement" measures that provides the security personnel the "authority to order ex parte searches" (without a lawyer present) "and other preliminary measures". It gets worse, though am sure you get the idea. "The Canadian government is secretly negotiating to join the United States and the European Union in an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The agreement would give border guards the power to search iPods and cell phones for illegal downloads, as well as to force ISPs to hand over customer information without a warrant" said David Fewer, staff counsel at the University of Ottawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. What, the Canadian government can use force to obtain data from internet service providers (ISP) about their customers? Wow! You can learn more about this on Wikipedia at this link and what IP Justice has to say at this link. Perhaps those legally owned Rush albums and collection of The Red Green Show on your iPod are at risk!

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