Audio News

Audio News for September 4, 2012

Music Downloads for Those Without Computers; CSR Advances Smart Home Audio and Control; Stereo Hospital for Old Analog Gear

Published on September 4, 2012

Music Downloads for Those Without Computers – Some of the digital music services are doing well by luring those who might otherwise use their computers to download tunes illegally to pay for subscriptions to music streaming services. However, Muve Music has built a large subscriber base going after people who may not have a computer at all. Theirs is a phone-based music plan sold thru Cricket Wireless, offering unlimited song downloads for $10 a month, which is inconspicuously tucked into the customer’s monthly cellphone bill. Most of their customers are young, urban, lack credit cards, and prefer the month-to-month cash plan. Muve is now in the same league at Spotify and Rhapsody, and is posed for more growth due to a new line of phones they say could bring in millions of new users. Cricket’s new Android phones automatically include Muve, which is not available on iPhones. Muve users download over 70 million songs and spend over 30 hours listening each month. In comparison Pandora users listen about 20 hours a month. But critics say Cricket is trying to up customers’ monthly bills by selling them smartphones, and smartphones provide more choices for music services.

CSR Advances Smart Home Audio and Control – British company CSR entered the Smart Home area this week at the IFA 2012 consumer electronics show, with an extensive lineup of high-quality audio and wireless connectivity technologies, showing hos they can be used to create the next generation of immersive wireless home audio entertainment systems, advanced remote control, and flexible home automation systems. The systems use Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi, WOW HD audio enhancement, and the aptX audio codec in their complete digital audio solutions. CSR believes they are offering the first demonstration of an Apple iPad controlling and managing a Smart Home environmental system via low energy Bluetooth Smart connectivity. It can operate a graphical dimmer control for the lighting, see power consumption effects on a graph, and display current room temperature from a remote thermostat.

Stereo Hospital for Old Analog Gear – The owner of Tucson’s Stereo Hospital says that repairing and selling vintage stereo isn’t exactly a booming business, but it’s growing. The store’s shelves are stocked mostly with mid-fi 1970s & ‘80s audio receivers, power amps and cassette decks. There’s the occasional audiophile’s dream: a Macintosh tuner and power amp, Thorens turntable or Klipsch speakers. Some repair customers search out thrift stores, yard and estate sales and then bring the gear to the store for reconditioning. The owner says he prefers the sound of old analog gear. Turntables are selling well, for playing current bands’ first recordings on vinyl—usually turntables made long before the fans of the music were born. In other cases the charm of the retro devices is in the eyes of people who were around when the gear was new, but they couldn’t afford it. And that goes for the music too: Tony Bennett, Nat Cole, Peggy Lee, Julie London, and “lots of Dave Brubeck,” according to one couple who pick up the albums at various thrift stores.

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