Audio News for July 28, 2015

Stan Ricker Dies – Mastering engineer Stan Ricker passed away last week, leaving behind a legacy involving dozens of reference-grade audiopile recordings and an unyielding commitment to excellence, quality and accuracy that made Mobile Fidelity the reissue specialist it is. He was the biggest champion of half-speed mastering and mastered the entire Beatles catalog for MoFi as well as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tellerman, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Deja Vu. He knew that rock paid the bills at MoFi but constantly pushed for doing more classical and jazz. He played his doublebass on a Sheffield recording, and loved to admonish workers to never use the “C word” – compromise.

Classical News –  At the end of the current season, the director of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival – James Conlon – will be leaving. CEO Welz Kauffman may not select a replacement, exploring the model of the Ojai Festival – chosing a different music director every year. The Berklee College of Music in Boston has published a 29-page report on the numerous disconnected agencies and outdated methodologies in use in the music business titled Fair Music: Transparency and Money Flows in the Music Industry. It says “The problems…concern a failure to address and embrace ‘new’ technologies that would give artists and their managers a clear picture of who is listening to what and how much they are owed for it.” It also says that artist royalities are often not properly distributed and go back to the labels and publishers. It says that royalty statements are “a complete mess.”

TV’s Future: 8K? – NHK’s Super Hi-Vision system has been used in broadcast demos in the U.S., following a widely-tracked experiment in 2014 with World Cup matches being beamed to sites in Japan and Brazil. Test satellite broadcasts will start in 2016 and full satellite broadcasts in 2018. Those who have viewed it say it is incredibly sharp, but this giant leap in technology must be balanced against the needs and limitations of the commercial marketplace.

FCC Approves Merger of AT&T and DirecTV – The FCC has blessed the $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV by AT&T but with a host of conditions, which will be explained shortly.

Lincoln MKX Offers 13-Speaker Revel Audio System – Using Harman International’s QuantumLogic Surround, the audio system in the new Lincoln MKX delivers a multi-dimensional experience in three listening modes: Traditional stereo, Audience – the boundaries of the vehicle seem to disappear, and On Stage, which is a 360-degree experience putting the listeners in the middle of the soundstage. The system ensures that all occupants – not just the driver – enjoy the best listening experience.

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