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Audio News for March 13, 2015

Mark Waldrep of AIX Comments On Hi-Res Mis-promotion – Excerpts of note from recent newletters from the proponent of original hi-res multichannel PCM recording (he supports true 96K/24bit hi-res): [On Pono:] The numbers just don’t add up…If the (original) recording was done at more than 44.1K/16-bit, then the artist heard something that Pono is not delivering in 99% of the cases. They’re presenting CD rips. [And so are some of the other online hi-res sites…Ed.]… The music industry train has left the station and frankly I’m uncertain whether it’ll come back…It strikes me as odd that the only labels that are actively producing and releasing surround music are focused primarily on classical repertoire…[And this from Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio:] There’s nothing else that 24-bits can offer other than quieter silence… because the “total silence of 24-bit zero” is quieter than we can actually reproduce or, according to particle physics, ever will. The electrical noise made by electrons as they whiz around wires and circuits limits us to the equivalent of a roughly 20-bit world as soon as we get back to analog.

Apple TV Losing Share of Streaming Video Devices – Apple recently cut the price of Apple TV from $99 to $69, but will likely clear out inventory of the three-year-old device to make room for a more competitive version. There is now a selection of streaming-video devices at $99. Apple TV can only use iOS mobile devices as controllers and can only stream AV from Apple devices, whereas Google’s $25 Chromecast HDMI stick offers multi-platform compatibility and a much lower price point. There are also full-featured HDMI sticks from Amazon and Roku.  Apple needs more powerful hardware due to evolving market needs.

Music Streaming Continues to Rise – According to a survey from The Infinite Dial, more and more people are listening thru cellphones, connected TVs and cellphone-connected car audio systems than are listening thru desktops, laptops or tablets. However in their vehicles, consumers most often listen to their music via FM/AM, CD or MP3 players. 143 million people listened to online radio in the past month, up 47% from last year.  Online listening is heavily skewed to 12- to 54-year-olds. 77% of those in the 12 to 24-year-old group listened to online radio in the past month, whereas the figure was only 26% for those age 55 and older.  73% now use a smartphone, and 32% a tablet. A spokesman said “…for the first time it’s apparent that streaming audio has become an ingrained part of our lives…”

Connected Audio Products Connect With Consumers –  Connected products are wireless speakers, soundbars, and AV receivers using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi network technology. A spokesman observed “Over the next few years, wirelessly-connected audio…will render the traditional wired audio system an obsolete concept for consumers.” [Wonder why they call them connected when they are in fact unconnected?…Ed.]

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