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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for April 3, 2002

Audio Rumor and Fact on Firewire - In January the DVD Forum released its guidelines for the use of Firewire/iLink (IEEE 1394) with the DVD-Audio digital interface. The news release indicated that no digital interface for SACD was planned, leading to the misunderstanding that it would be hampered by being restricted to the present six-channel analog outputs rather than Firewire. Well of course no plans for SACD were announced at the same time - this was the DVD Forum - which wants nothing to do with SACD. Firewire is not dependent on the platform and will be used with both formats eventually. What’s holding it up now is the continuing hassle over digital copy protection systems, which is much more a concern of the DVD-A camp than the SACD proponents due to copying protections built into the DSD/SACD approach. When the new digital interface between nearly everythingelectronics becomes standard, advantages will include: dispensing with six analog cables between the source and receiving equipment for surround, the possibility of better D-A converters and especially analog stages in high-end hardware (vs. including those in players), and bass and time management performed in the superior digital domain rather than in analog.

Universal Music Delays SACD Releases - Indications are that the originally proposed May launch of the first Universal Music SACD releases will be put off an undisclosed amount of time. SACD supporters were elated to hear that the world’s largest record company was going to be on their side, and it will still probably happen.

Surround Sound True Story - (From a Net home theater forum, so veracity is not totally guaranteed, as with anything on the Net - including what you’re reading...): Someone who worked for Sharp Electronics back when HDTV was first being evaluated described a showing for test audiences featuring two same-screen-size video monitors - one HDTV and the other standard NTSC TV. The HDTV had only plain stereo sound, while the standard TV had 5.1 surround sound. People were asked to rate the video quality. The large majority picked the standard NTSC TV with the 5.1 surround sound over the HDTV with stereo. This seems to explain how surround sound has been the big selling point for the home theater phenomenon - not bigger and better images.(And why this publication continues to be called AUDIOPHILE AUDITION.)

Adcom Electronics Sold - The current owners of the moderately-priced high performance audio components line Adcom (who represent Celestion and KEF speakers in the U.S.) have sold the electronics company to Klein Technology Group LLC. No plans have been announced as yet for the brand.

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