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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Jan. 2, 2002

New Software Allows Convincing Simulated Stereo Mixes From Mono Sources - Two easily-available audio applications now allow PC savvy music fans to create often convincing two-channel stereo from mono originals. Syntrillium's Cool Edit Pro and Sonic Foundry's SoundForge allow for homemade re-masters in which the vocal, for example, has been isolated on one channel with the instruments on the other and a binaural ambience created that can fool one's ears into thinking it is a genuine stereo original recording. It's certainly light years beyond the primitive, distortion-wreaked "rechanneled for stereo" of many LPs back in the 60's. The work takes a great deal of time to do properly, and there is a philosophical debate - as there was with colorized black & white films - as to whether this trickery is musically appropriate.

Dolby Laboratories Acquires Stake in Australia's Lake Technology - Dolby Labs in San Francisco has announced a three million dollar investment in the audio enhancement specialist Lake Technology. The relationship of the two companies began in l998 with Dolby licensing the intellectual property that is now the basic technology of the Dolby Headphone process - a circuit which produces surround sound from 5.1 channel sources with any stereo headphones. Lake is also involved in enhancements of both binaural and Ambisonics processes.

Major Record Labels Plan to Insert Massive Playback Restriction Software in CDs - Sales figures for recorded music were very poor everywhere for the past year, with Latin America down from 20% to 30% but the North America also hit hard. The MP3 revolution and the widespread use of CD burners are considered two of the causes. Therefore Universal Music, for one, has announced that they have no choice but to protect their artists and rights holders by instigating CD copy-protection technologies. The protected CDs, launched first in Europe, are not marked as such. Similar schemes in the past have been marked by technical, functional and musical difficulties. [AUDIOPHILE AUDITION was one of the first to speak out against the CBS Copy Code that was attempted in the 1970s.] A spokesman for the UK Campaign for Digital Rights spoke out for audiophile victims of the Big Music Biz crusade, saying " quality is no longer a primary motivation for the media distributors. They have already shown they are quite willing to sacrifice the purity of audio quality and even the reliability of CD media, in order to install copy protection mechanisms."

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