Stereophile Staff  |  Jul 04, 1999  |  0 comments
Last week, Texas Instruments, Liquid Audio, Fraunhofer, and SanDisk announced that they've teamed to offer what they describe as "the first complete solution" for the secure downloading of music off the Internet onto portable audio players. The companies say that their programmable DSP-based technology is the first to meet the newly released Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) guidelines for digital music portable devices, and is now available for manufacturers who want to develop secure players in time for Christmas 1999.
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 03, 1999  |  0 comments
At a hi-fi show in Germany a few years ago, an audio club had set up a room filled with a dozen well-known turntable/tonearm combos. I recall seeing the Clearaudio/Souther, Immedia RPM-2 and arm, VPI TNT Mk.IV/JMW Memorial, Basis 2500/Graham 2.0, Oracle/Graham, Linn LP12/Ittok, SME Model 20/SME V, and some others I can't remember, including a few not exported from Germany.
Michael Fremer  |  Jun 29, 1999  |  0 comments
After establishing a reputation for building small, magnificent-looking, very expensive, stand-mounted loudspeakers, the Italian manufacturer Sonus Faber has hit the ground running. First came the moderately priced ($3500/pair) floorstanding Concerto Grand Pianos, and now the company's "statement" loudspeaker, the Amati Homage--a $20,000/pair visual stunner that earns its keep almost by looks and touch alone.
Stereophile  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  130 comments

Some audio companies, such as Bang & Olufsen, concentrate just as many resources into their products' appearance as into their sound. Does this matter to you?

How important is the visual design of an audio product to you?
Extremely important
17% (44 votes)
Very important
35% (90 votes)
Somewhat important
31% (79 votes)
Not important at all
16% (42 votes)
Total votes: 255
Stereophile Staff  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments
Collectors will go to to any lengths to track down the objects of their obsession. Record collectors, a particularly extreme species, are known for their incredible attention to detail and their astounding capacity for absorbing vast quantities of minutiae.
Barry Willis  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments
The high-end audio industry may be in a slump, but the public's appetite for recorded music appears as voracious as ever. MP3, the hottest upstart in the digital audio market, got a big boost in late June when Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. announced the next generation of its popular Rio digital music player, the Rio PMP 500, due to arrive in stores this fall.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments
Are audiophiles and recording engineers natural adversaries? From the many slings and arrows hurled back and forth between the camps, it would certainly seem so. Robert Harley asks, "But are recording engineers less concerned about sound quality than are audiophiles? If so, why? Isn't someone who has devoted his life to recording music more caring than the hobbyist audiophile? If not, why not?" Read his analysis of the issues in "A Clash of Values?" Also included is a lively volley of readers' letters.
Jon Iverson  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments
The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) has released its Annual Survey Results for the 1998 business year, indicating that gross dollar volume for all music products grew by 10%, to $9.69 billion, with the CD market (83.3%, or $8.1 billion) continuing to build on its dominance. The report reveals that DVD sales "literally exploded in 1998," up a staggering 400% to $259 million.
Barry Willis  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments
Wednesday, June 23, was an auspicious day for Musicland Stores Corporation. That day the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based music and video retailer took its sales online. Four websites, each mirroring one of Musicland's four divisions, went live simultaneously with a promotional contest offering customers the chance to win daily and weekly prizes and a $10,000 grand prize---including a Sony home entertainment system. Participants can also win a trip for two to the World Wrestling Federation Summer Slam in Minneapolis on August 22.
Jon Iverson  |  Jun 27, 1999  |  0 comments
The Internet is beginning to pose quite a dilemma for high-end audio manufacturers, especially ones with limited distribution in major markets such as the US. Do you risk alienating potential bricks-and-mortar dealers in an effort to gain widespread exposure by offering your products online? Or do you slowly build distribution through the traditional stores that for years have been high-end audio's haven?