Audio News for May 13, 2014

Daniel Barenboim Launches New Download-Only Label – Together with Universal Music Peral Music will document Daniel Barenboim’s work as conductor, pianist and chamber musician. Among the planned releases are Bruckner symphonies and piano studies. The downloads will be in the ‘Mastered for iTunes’ format and will be either standard CD quality or 24-bit/96K studio master files. Peral is Spanish for ‘pear tree’ and Barenboim’s name is a Yiddish form of the German word for pear tree. Barenboim will also continue to record for DGG and Decca.

CEA Study reveals Smartphone Ownership Surpasses Basic Cell Phones – 64% of U.S. households now own smartphones, surpassing the ownership of basic cell phones (51%) for the first time. The mobility trend continues in 2014 with four of the top five planned purchases this year focused on a mobile lifestyle. The highest gains in household penetration came from Internet-enabled TVs, Blu-ray players, tablets, smartphones and portable wireless speakers.

New Mark Levinson Integrated Amp at Munich High End Show – The No. 585 is said to be the finest integrated amp created by anyone.  It has 200 watts per channel, six digital and four analog inputs. The digital processing stage is an ESS Sabre 32-bit D/A converter, and separate left and right channel regulated linear power supplies are used. A subwoofer output with a selectable 80Hz high-pass filter is included, along with Ethernet, RS-232, IR and 12V trigger ports. Suggested price is $12,000.

Sony Formally Releases UHD TV Pricing – The suggested pricing of many of the Bravia UHD TV products have been revealed by Sony. They have three series and nine new models. Selected ones feature 4K X Reality Pro picture engine to up-scale a variety of content and Triluminos Display wide color spectrum for more lifelike color reproduction, and a heightened sense of depth and accurate shading. One model has a wireless subwoofer, and PlayStation 3 games may be streamed directly to the TVs using a Dualshock 3 controller. The top-of-line models offer X-tended Dynamic Range Pro technology, driven by direct LED arrays arranged in the backside of the panel, to achieve a wider dynamic range of brightness, with improved peak whites and deeper blacks. The XBR-X900B 55” is $3,999, the 65” is $4,999 and the 79” is $8,999. The Sony UHD Media Player (FMP-X10) can download, stream and store native UHD content. Hundreds of titles are available from Video Unlimited 4K (called that even though it’s not 4K, which is only in theaters), which so far offers more than 200 titles for the home. The device will also stream UHD content from Netflix, and it has 1TB of built-in storage.

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