Audio News for August 18, 2015

Astell & Kern Add Second Hi-Res Home Audio System – The AKT1 is a slim 39-inch-tall sound ssytem standing on the floor and incorporating stereo speakers. It offers a space-saving way to play back hi-res audio at home, and at $3700 is a lower-cost alternative to their original home audio program, the 500N Network Music Player with 1TB drive.  The six drivers of the AKT1 are in a three-way configuration. The units plays back 192/24 PCM files and native DSD64 or double-rate DSD128 audio files. Playback cources include a microSD card, optical and auxiliary inputs, and network sources via wired Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Bluetooth 3.0 with aptX is included, along with a variety of streaming services and Netcasters.

Sony Pictures to Offer Classic Films in Dolby Atmos Surround – Two Luc Besson films will be added on October 27: The Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional.

Classical News – The Italian Ministry for Culture has announced that over 60 orchestras and music organizations had been denied public funding this year. Monies already spent or committed by the organizations will not be reimbursed by the government. Among those particularly effact as Opera Barga, have produced over 90 operas in 49 years o existence, many of them first performances, and Parma-based Orchestra Toscanini, part of a Festival Verdi where all Verdi operas are performed. Italian tenor Marco Volari suffered a broken spine when part of the outdoor stage on which he was performing in Italy collapsed, sending the tenor plummeting nearly seven feet.  Conductor Seiji Ozawa has had to cancel performances at the Ozawa Matsumoto Festival due to broken hip. He still plans to conduct his 80th birthday concert on Sept. 1.  A 25-year-old Swiss conductor won the Nestle and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award. Lorenzo Viotti got a prize valued at 15,000 euros and much prestige.

Integra Expands Audio Components with Dolby Atmos and Upgrades for DTS:X – The DHC-60.7 preamp/processor ($2000) and the DTR-50 7.2-chhanel AV receiver ($1700) are both Atmos-equipped and DTS:X-ready when firmware upates are made available later this year. Both new components have network capabilities, THX certification, hi-res audio playback,full-speed 18bps HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2 copy protection in five HDMI inputs, and support 4:4:4 color space and high dynamic range (HDR) in the on-screen picture.

Smart Phones with Walkie Talkie Feature – A couple of headphone makers now offer wireless fitness-oriented headphones which also have Bluetooth music-sharing and walkie talkie features. They are sweat-proof and have built-in controls on the ear cups. One even shocks the user if he doesn’t do his daily run or gym routine and doesn’t allow turning off the alarm when it rings in the morning.

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