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AUDIOPHILE AUDITION - web magazine for music, audio & home theater

August 11, 2004

Circle Surround Selected for HD Radio - iBiquity Digital Corporation and SRS Labs have announced the selection of SRS Circle Surround technology as the compatible surround format for the new HD terrestrial radio broadcasting authorized by the FCC for both AM and FM bands in the U.S. CS technology will allow over 300 FM stations in over 100 U.S. markets to encode any multichannel content to two-channel output for broadcast, which can then be decoded for surround sound by any CS or Dolby matrix decoders in car units, preamps and receivers. The digital terrestrial broadcasting outlets so far licensed will reach 67% of the U.S. population.

Three-Channel SACDs Coming - When Alan Blumlein invented stereo in the early 1930s he foresaw it as employing at least three channels, not just two. But the difficulties of matrixing three channels into disc grooves required limitation to two channels. Not long after the launch of the first Ampex tape decks in the late 1940s, three-channel models were developed. These were used by both RCA Victor for many of their Living Stereo original recordings as well as by Mercury for their Living Presence series. The three channels were mixed down to two for both pre-recorded tape and later stereodisc release. Now for the first time collectors and audio buffs will be able to hear these recordings in their original state for three channel reproduction. Both BMG and Mercury/Philips will soon each be releasing their series of SACD reissues direct-to-DSD three-channel as the multichannel option. There will also be a new two-channel mix as the stereo option on the Mercury discs and the CD layer will carry the original stereo mix made by Wilma Cozart Fine. (The RCA options are not jelled but will probably be similar). The program on the discs will match that of the previous standard CD reissues rather than the much shorter original LPs. SSfM audiophiles with identical or similar trios of speakers across the front are going to be in for a sonic treat!

RealNetworks/Apple Altercation - Apple was surprised by the recent release of software from RealNetworks which allows music downloaded from their RealPlayer web store to be stored and played on Apple iPods. Previously the iPod could only play back downloaded iTunes. When RealPlayer paid tracks are downloaded, the software detects what hardware will be used to play the tune and changes the format accordingly. Apple announced that Real’s technology may cease to work when they update the iPod software.

New Pop SACDs Coming - Universal Music has announced upcoming SACD releases by three of their top artists - Björk, Mark Knopfler and Elton John. And rumors that Sony had given up on SACD have been squelched by the release of three new pop SACDs from that label.

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