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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Dec. 12, 2001

First Truly Universal Hi-Res Player Out - Pioneer, who previously pioneered the combination laserdisc/DVD player, has now made truce with the current format war with their DV-747A player, which is capable of reading DVD-A, multichannel SACD and DVD video as well as standard CDs. The SACD signals are converted to multi-bit PCM before output as analog signals. The united player also features DTS decoding and progressive scan via component video outputs. SRP will be around $1500.

Autosound Goes Into High End Surround - The huge autosound market, which up to now primarily offered the identical signals to the rear speakers of a car as to the front, is showing concern for achieving a more natural and enveloping surround soundfield in passenger vehicles. The Circle Surround process was mostly ignored but provided a great improvement in any two-channel sources via their auto processor. The new Dolby ProLogic II already has an mobile processor that is reputedly even better at creating successful surround sound.

Now BMW and Lexicon have announced that the Lexicon Logic7 multichannel process will be offered as an option on two models of BMWs for 2002. The advanced technology converts any two-channel material to either five or seven-channel surround and in the BMWs is fed to a total of 13 speakers including two subwoofers under the seats. A center channel speaker is located in the middle of the dash, and the power ratings are 40 watts for the main speakers and 70 watts for the subwoofers.

Bose has also partnered with Porsche to offer a $3000+ option that shows advanced planning in the use of available space for speaker placement in a vehicle. Engineers made thousands of measurements of the Porsche interior acoustics to decide where to place the speakers to put all passengers in the sweet spot, how to equalize the car's cabin, how much power and processing to use, and what alterations to the interior of the car should be made to get the best overall sonics. This last point is something the after-market installers are stuck with - they have to work with the car they get.

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