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Audio News for June 24, 2016

Portland’s Allegro Distributors Out of Business – Brothers Joe, Vince and Rico Micallef have run Allegro Media Group since 1982, specializing in indie music label CDs and DVDs. But when music streaming caught on, the bottom fell out. There used to be seven major label groups – now there are just two. The same thing basically has happened to independent distributors. Allegro’s liquidation leaves many labels in the lurch. The company is a year or more behind on some sales payments, and about half the staff have lost their jobs.

More Robots Than Humans in 20 Years – A British study asked over 2000 Americans a series of questions about how they believed their lives would be transformed by technology. Over half predicting that we will regularly wear clothing connected to the Internet within the next 20 years, and one in four American adults think robots will outnumber humans by 2036, and two-thirds think physical money will be totally replaced by cashless computer technologies. The group felt that they will no longer visit the doctor but will instead consult them from home using VR.  A large number also believe 3D printers will be used to producer human organs, potentially removing the need for human donation. Half of the group felt the world’s first cloned human will have been born by 2036.

Music of Mozart and Strauss Can Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Rate –  A study by researchers in a German publication covers the effect of different musical genres on the cardiovascular system. 120 participants were played recorded music by either Mozart, Johann Strauss Jr. or ABBA. There were also 60 subjects in a control group. All participants had their BP, heart rate and cortisol concentration measured. The classical music of Mozart and Strauss notably lowered blood pressure and heart rate. A drop in cortisol concentration was much greater in men than in women.

Video Conferencing Hurt by Cloud – The latest video conferencing report shows that that the market is tumbllng as virtual and cloud-based products grow in popularity.  A shift to cloud services is essentially wiping out a significant amount of infrastructure equipment revenue. The dedicated system segment is declining, while alternative approaches such as embedded, virtual and cloud-based multi-point control units gain acceptance.

Do Hi-Res Headphones Really Sound Better? – Due to the industry’s emphasis on putting a hi-res label on everything, hi-res headphones now need to produce a bandwidth of at least 40kHz. That’s at least double the limit of human hearing, but doesn’t necessarily mean that the sound information sitting outside this range is useless to us. It may help ensure that the part we can hear is as fully formed as it can be, rather than being clipped in any way. The theory is that hi-res phones will handle the full spectrum of hi-res audio so no sonic details are lost. Of curse you only get this frequency range from true hi-res music sources, so if your collection doesn’t stretch past CDs and streaming, it’s unlikely you will benefit from this spec.

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