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High-End Audio Industry News


12 / 31 / 02

  Recoton Corporation has closed two asset dispositions consisting of their AAMP-mobile and security after-market accessory business and its NHT (Now Hear This) loudspeaker business. This sales will bring Recton approximately $35 million. NHT, located in California, is well known by audiophiles for manufacturing high-quality loudspeakers for the home theater, stereo, custom installation and professional audio markets under the brand names of Evolution, Super Audio and Architectural. NHT branded products are premium priced products generally offered through high-end specialty audio stores. Rockford Corporation, who also has assumed the assets of companies such as Acoustat, Fosgate, Hafler, and MB Quart now can add NHT to their list. Robert L. Borchardt, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Recoton, commented, "These two sales are part of the Company's previously announced total restructuring of Recoton, which, at its conclusion, is expected to reduce the Company's overall debt structure, enhance cash flows and restore profitability. While we expect being able to announce the sale of additional non-strategic assets in the coming weeks, there can be no assurances that any such asset sales will be consummated. Recoton maintains an industry-leading position in the consumer electronics audio and accessories marketplace. We remain committed to strengthening our presence in this industry by leveraging our well-known family of accessory and audio brand names, introducing new and exciting technologies, and elevating customer service and support to establish new industry-standards."


12 / 30 / 02

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  Is the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) honest? Of course not (but we already knew this years ago)! We here at Enjoy the Music.com™ were purposefully mislead by the RIAA in their claims to have conducted the largest illegal music raid (see 12/26/02 Industry News article). Naturally the truth always comes out and per recent statements by the RIAA "Perhaps the truth is less interesting than the facts?" asked Amy Weiss, the RIAA's Senior Vice President of Communications. The press release concerning the finding of 421 CD-R burners was a complete fabrication. The simple truth is that the RIAA (with help from the Secret Service) found only 156 CD-R burners. So how does the RIAA justify their blatant lie? "There were only 156 actual burners, but some run at very high speeds: some as high as 40x. This is well above the average speed" said an RIAA representative. Therefore whatever arbitrary speed the RIAA feels equals is a single CD-R burner can be called one, two, or even three units due to a faster burning rate. One can also wonder about the downward spiral of music sales over the past few years as there have been fewer music titles released. So is it that music sales are down or that the music industry is providing less unique music titles for the public to buy that is leading towards downward music sales? Naturally the RIAA may simply be following their statement of "Perhaps the truth is less interesting than the facts?". Fact is, approximately 27,000 music titles were released in 2001, down from 38,900 in 1999. Those who love mathematics realize that if each of the 12,000 missing titles only sold 3,000 units, then music sales would have experienced a sales growth instead of a decline.


12 / 27 / 02

Canton Karat S model 8 DC  Canton has announced the "S"series on their Karat line of loudspeakers. The Karat S model 8 DC ($2,000 per pair), S 1 ($750 per pair), and CS 4 ($500) benefit from using Canton's new 5-inch concave aluminum-manganese midrange driver. The S 1 is a two-way bookshelf unit while the CS 4 is for home theater center channel use. The large floorstanding 8 DC (pictured here) is a three-way floorstanding bass reflex design employing a side-mounted 8-inch polypropylene bass driver, two 5-inch midrange drivers and a single 1'' aluminum-manganese tweeter. The Canton Karat S series 8 DC loudspeaker also provides four wire terminals for bi-wiring/bi-amplification. Sensitivity is rated at 87dB/W/m and the unit's frequency response is 22Hz to 30kHz. Dimensions are 5.5' x 37.4' x 13 (WxHxD in inches) and the entire unit weighs in at 15 kg.



Trying to understand the difference between different audio compression schemes and bit/sampling rates, then Sound Expert's codec rating system may be just what you are seeking. Designed for both home users and semi-professionals, various sound samples have been recorded for download so users can hear for themselves how different codecs can alter an audio signal. To quote their website "Taking all this into account the more traditional methodology was employed in SoundExpert test engine - double blind, A/B scale with hidden reference or in ITU-R terms - double stimulus / hidden reference / double blind methodology. Participants download a sound file with two samples of the same sound excerpt. One of them is a reference sound material and the other is coded-decoded. Testers have no information either about the order of samples or about the codec used. Listeners are asked to point the reference sample and then to grade Basic Audio Quality (BAQ) of the other sample according to standard five-grade impairment scale. The absence of the third stimuli - non-hidden reference is not essential for sound signals with medium impairments as it could be determined between two samples with ease."



12 / 26 / 02

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  What many are calling the largest ever bust to combat music piracy, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) with help from U.S. Secret Service agents have stopped a major raided a major New York City operation. The raid netted 421 CD-R burners, 35,000 ready-for-market CD-R and 10,000 DVD units. The RIAA has claimed this New York City operation was capable of producing a devastating $90 million in illegal goods annually. The RIAA also feels this operation was the largest producer of goods with a well-organized group of vendors. Those caught at the location face stiff penalties from charges including trafficking in counterfeit labels, criminal copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting. Frank Creighton, executive vice president and director of the RIAA's Anti-Piracy Unit said "This is a major blow to the music pirates who were robbing record companies, artists, legitimate retailers and countless others in the industry of millions of dollars."


12 / 23 / 02

  We at Enjoy the Music.com™ are saddened to report that Riccardo Kron of KR Audio Electronics has passed away at age 68. The press release we received says "Riccardo believed in tube technology and in its development as the future of sound reproduction in audio. The KR sound is unique in that it brings more texture, dynamics and detailed resolution to your audio system. His accomplishments deliver very close to live sound, reproduced in your home. His designs and projects are the basis for the technological legacy he left at KR Audio Electronics sro in Prague, Czech Republic.... All the KR employees including Mr. Marek Gencev, the product development engineer, will be carrying on Riccardo's work. Eunice Kron will continue, as she always has, with passion and commitment in every aspect of KR."



McClain Productions is happy to announce the new album with audiophile music fave Mighty Sam McClain One More Bridge To Cross. This album is Sam's first to be produced and recorded by his own independent label, Mighty Music. Music lovers can expect to hear the soulful combination of Sam's unique blend of the Blues and R&B, yet with a different combination of guitars and horns. Scheduled for late February 2003 release, One More Bridge To Cross was recorded at CedarHouse Sound and Mastering in Sutton, New Hampshire (USA).


12 / 20 / 02

  Sanibel Sound, US importer of the critically acclaimed Piega line of loudspeakers, has announced the new C-Series Limited loudspeaker that incorporate Piega's unique concentric ribbon mid-range and tweeters. All four of the bass-reflex loudspeakers are from advances learned after designing their Piega C-40. The C-Series Limited will be at lower price points than the C-40, yet include many of it's advancements. The quartet ranges in price from $18,495 per pair for the C-10 Limited down to $6,995 for a pair of the new C-2 Limited. Newly designed woofers for the C-Series Limited are said to mate extremely well with the Piega high-speed ribbons that produce midrange and the uppermost frequencies. High quality internal wiring and binding posts plus an elegant aluminum tower (enclosure) ensure high-end performance. The top of the line C-10 Limited produces frequencies from 22Hz to 50kHz with a three-way bass-reflex design employing two passive Piega C-1 (8.5-inch woofers) and C-2 co-axial ribbon midrange/tweeter. Dimensions are 49 x 10.5 x 11 (HxWxD in inches), weighs 110 lbs., and has a suggested retail price of $18,495 per pair.


12 / 19 / 2002

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)  Sending a clear and strong message to the illegal production and distribution of pirated music in Italy, a court in Naples had levied relatively long jail sentences to the four Italian Frattasio brothers and thirteen others. The court's hopes are to send a very firm message that pirating music in Italy will not be tolerated. With a sentence was generally four and a half years in jail, the Frattasio family is being set as an example to others within their home country. A grand total of 1seventeen people were sentenced in one of Italy's largest anti-piracy investigation during the late 1990s. To quote the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) "The Frattasio brothers ran a major pirate network supplying the whole of Southern Italy with pirated music cassettes and CDs. The cassettes were recorded in a sophisticated laboratory located in Naples. The CDs were imported from Eastern Europe and from South East Asia." Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI said "We applaud the Italian justice system for finally bringing these pirates to book. This kind of tough sentencing is just the message we want to send to the pirates: music piracy is a highly organized criminal activity and it needs to be dealt with as such. This is a good example."


12 / 18 / 2002

  With the help of the Grammy Foundation, which Enjoy the Music.com is proud to be a member of, on December 26th The History Channel will be showing their Save Our Sounds project. This new documentary is part of the History Channel's Emmy award-winning Save Our History series that hopes to save 8,000 of the most endangered recorded artifacts now located at the American Folklife Center within the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. "There is a good bit of America's cultural heritage that's not in bricks and mortars -- that's the voices of its people," says Richard Kurin, Director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. "It is those voices that have inspired the American people.... We have in our collections hundreds of thousands of field recordings documenting the lives of American people, from the Okies going West to the last songs of ex-slaves to 19th century songs of the American Indians collected by Smithsonian ethnographers documenting disappearing American ways of life," says Kurin.


12 / 17 / 02

  Wireworld Inc. has released information their Cable Comparator Disc. Wireworld believes wholeheartedly in the scientific and analytical approach instead of snake oil and marketing hype. The Cable Comparator Disc CD has seventeen tracks of the same song. Fifteen of these tracks were made by feeding the analog audio signal through a selection of 1 meter interconnects. Six of the cables are Wireworld's brand new Series 5 models and the others are well-known competitors. Another track is made with a 10-meter long pair of the same type of cable that was used in a 1-meter length to make one of the other tracks. The 17th track is made with a direct connection to serve as a benchmark of comparison. The disc is claimed by Wireworld to "demonstrate objectively that most cables cause substantial amounts of audible distortion, and that Wireworld Series 5 cables effectively minimize this distortion to provide greatly improved sound quality." The Cable Comparator Disc also contains a CD-ROM section with background information on the testing, product literature, and technical discussions on the issues of cable performance. It is a promotional product and is free of charge while supplies last.


12 / 16 / 02

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)  According to the the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), "online music industry has exploded in 2002 providing more legitimate service offerings for consumers than ever before. The recent wave of new agreements between record companies and legitimate online music services caps a year of dynamic progress in which the labels delivered hundreds of thousands of music tracks to fans. Consumers now have access to a variety of feature-rich services offering a breadth of music, permanence and portability options." This includes not just listening to, but downloading and burning music from various subscription services, a la carte download offerings and streaming services made available through dozens of distributors. A listing with many of the legitimate services can be found at www.musicunited.org.

The RIAA website continued by saying "Hundreds of thousands of tracks are available through online services, such as Emusic, Full Audio, MusicNet, Pressplay, and Listen.com's Rhapsody, which provide permanent downloading, burning or portability features. These services all have an ever-growing library of songs from all genres including rock, pop, jazz, country, hip-hop and R&B. Subscribers to these services can also enjoy music from thousands of classic and current artists from the world’s five major companies -- BMG, EMI Recorded Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, as well as from a host of independent labels."


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