Audio News for May 2, 2014

Harman Reports 32% Sales Gain – Harman International, which has acquired several audio brands recently, reported a 32% gain in net sales, with net income more than doubling year to year in its fiscal third quarter. All three division reported increased sales. Infotainment net sales went up due to higher automotive production, and Lifestyle growth was driven by a large order from a mobile telecom customer and new product sales in the home and multimedia business. Harman’s expansion into lighting increased professional net sales. Operating income rose from $21 million the previous year to $60 million for the year.

Yamaha Boosts Sales – Yamaha Corp. had a double-digital increase in sales for the fiscal year ending March 31. The company reported it was due largely to the changing value of the Japanese yen. The consolidated results included the firm’s musical instruments, electronic devices, and audio equipment segments. The audio section also includes routers and conferencing systems, and audio in total only accounted for 25.7% of the year’s consolidated sales.

AT&T Considers Purchase of DirecTV – AT&T has made inquiry to buy the No. 2 U.S. cable distributor, DirecTV, for some $40 billion. This could result in a combined entity reaching 26 million video subscribers, which would trail the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable by about 3 million subscribers and spell further consolidation of the U.S. TV distribution industry. [And move more of us to Cut The Cord…Ed.] It was reported that last month Dish Network approached DirecTV about a union that would have had about 34 million video subs.

Easy to Go Hi-Res on Your Computer – Even if you can’t hear up to 16K anymore, you will hear more detail, resolution and a better sense of the space where the recording was made. And since most computers can handle at least a 96K/24-bit audio file (which is good enough) it may not cost you anything except the slightly higher cost of hi-res downloads. There are also several inexpensive USB DACs which bypass the low quality circuitry in your computer. There are many options for music software that surpass the resolution offered by iTunes and Windows Media (but keep in mind that Apple will soon have hi-res files for iTunes). Among them are Foobar2000 for PCs and Audirvana for Macs. The latter has a $74 step-up version available. Is it worth it to go 192K, DSD or Double-DSD? We don’t think so.

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