Audio News for July 5, 2016

Panasonic Has a $699 UHD Blu-ray Deck – The DMP-UB900 has 60fps playback, HDR support, and can stream UDH content from Netflix and YouTube. Audio specs include hi-res playback of WAV, FLAC, DSD and ALAC files, digital tube-sound with up-sampling, isolated twin HDMI ports for audio and video, and 7.1 analog audio output. Samsung also has one, at about half the price, and the new Xbox One S will support UHD Blu-ray playback for as little as $300 later this year.

What Does a Classical Conductor Do? – The Helsinki Conservatory is the unique center for training of classical conductors. In many countries, student conductors rarely get to practice their conducting on professional orchestras, and the Conservatory solves this. To some audiences, orchestral conductors seem to dramatically wave their arms with no discernible effect on the music. In reality, they undergo rigorous conservatory training, followed by further feedback on the job as they move up the career ladder. What they learn, however, remains a mystery to most non-musicians, and what constitutes good conductor training even more so. Students come from all over the world to study at the Helsinki Conservatory. One of them said: “…you have to learn the mechanics, he technical side is not so difficult.” Getting the beat right simply involves thinking of your right hand like a hammer. The musicians have to know when the hammer will hit the nail and at what speed it will travel to the nail.

Commentary Tracks for Blu-ray Release – Commentary tracks are audio-only tracks in which the viewer can hear a filmmaker, actor, critic or expert talk the the film they’re seeing in real time as they watch it. The best ones (with Criterion reissues) can feel like you’re sitting in the room with the person as they explain the significance of one or another scenes. The two brothers who program the Wisconsin Film Festival are nuts about the 1970s triller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, and they were invited by the director of Theatrical Sales at Kino Lorber to do a commentary track for their release of that film. They had watched the movie several times beforehand and had taken extensive notes. They recorded their track in Madison near one of their offices, watching the movie as they talked. One of the brothers felt less pressure when he recorded his second commentary track for the teen drama My Bodyguard, partly because he had seen the film in theaters four times since he was 11 and his collaborator on the commentary track was the film’s director, Tony Bill, which meant mainly just asking questions of Bill.

For About $400,000 IMAX Will Build a Home Theater Into Your House – Up to 18 seats are provided by the “Palais” entry-level private theatre. You will get dual 2D/3D projectors, a proprietary IMAX sound system, and a media playback system supporting everything you might want to throw at it. Screen size will generally by 10ft. tall or more. There is automatic daily self-calibration to ensure optimal picture and audio setup, 24/7 remote monitoring, and of course design and architecture of the room that will make your friends think you have great taste.

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