Audio News for June 19, 2015

Sleep – An Eight-Hour Work Intended to Put Listener to Sleep – Max Richter, one of the UK’s leading contemporary composers, has created what may be the longest single piece of classical music ever recorded. Sleep – an eight-hour lullaby is is actually intended to send the listener to sleep. At a concert performance of the work – for piano, strings, electronics and vocals – in Berlin in September, the audience will be given beds instead of seats and programs. It will also be released on vinyl, CD, download and streaming by DGG, in a one-hour adaptation. Richter says the long one is designed to be heard while sleeping, and he describes it as “a series of windows opening into the big piece.”  It coincides with the renewed interest in durational works within the fine art community, and Richter says “…it’s coming around again partly as a reaction to our speeded-up lives – we are all in need of a pause button…Modernism gave us so many stunning works but we also lost our lullabies.”

Panasonic Joins “Netflix Recommended” 4K TVs – The official Netflix Recommended TV designation has been given to Panasonic TVs, who join a list already carrying designation including TCL, LG, Son, Sharp, and Vizio. The Panasonic Ultra HD smart TVS which meed the criteria include screen sizes from 50 to 65 inches. Criteria include instant-on capability to display as soon as the TV is turned on, a dedicated Netflix button on the remote, the latest version of Netflix, fast app launch and resume, and fast playback start.

Toshiba Goes 4K With New Notebooks – Upgraded audio system systems from Harman Kardon, Onkyo and Skullcandy grace the new Toshiba line of notebooks, including 4K displays and Windows 10 optimization. Built-in Harman Kardon stereo speakers and DTS sound are optimized by exclusive Slipstream port technology in the speakers to reduce distortion and create a more precise and rich sound at maximum volume. TruTalk dual-array mics enable voice apps like Cortana and Skype. Casings are sculpted aluminum and less than an inch thick.

RDA Gets a Boost – The international group RDS Forum (a mostly European organization) met in Switzerland and announced plans for an updated RDS standard to launch in 2016. It wants to provide “a unified platform for FM broadcasting and data services worldwide.”  It proposes to add up to three new data subcarriers in addition to the existing 57kHz carrier – some are to address limitations of the original spec. One was that it was easy to exceed the current 64-character length when transmitting song titles, artist or album text. Faster RadioText transmission rates will permit receivers to display their RadioText sooner and not be truncated as under the existing standard. The new standard will be backwards compatible but only new receivers will pick up the added subscarriers. In the U.S. there may be less interest in this than elsewhere because the two major RDS national networks are transitioning to HD Radio-delivered services.

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