Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Oct. 1, 2003

DVD & CD or DVD-A Combo Albums - There has been a greater increase in the sales of music video DVDs lately than that of the two new hi-res audio formats. This seems to support the idea that many people accept lesser-fidelity surround sound - meaning either Dolby Digital 5.1 or in some cases DTS 5.1 - if it means they get to see their favorite performers in action. This goes for all genres of music. The stills and occasional video clip with some DVD-As are not enough for them, and the cost of a DVD video is often only slightly more than the hi-res audio disc.

In our last issue we reviewed the Simon Rattle Mahler Fifth Symphony on EMI, which provides two discs as a solution to this problem - one a widescreen video with DTS 5.1 soundtrack and the other a hi-res DVD-A with stills and some other extras. Artist House has released a series of two-disc albums in which one is a standard audio CD and the other disc is a DVD video. Some even include MP3 audio files. Now Thelonious Records has issued a two-disc album titled Monk in Paris, in which the first disc is a DVD of a live concert the quirky pianist gave in l965, and the other is bonus DVD video of a performance for Norwegian television in 1966. They titled the second disc “You Haven’t Heard Monk Until You’ve Seen Him.”

Five Millionth Pioneer DVD Burner - Illustrating the rapid growth of the recordable DVD, Pioneer Electronics announced they have shipped their five millionth DVD-R & DVD-RW unit. While preserving home movies and slides to DVD and timeshifting telecasts with greatly superior visual quality to VHS is the main attraction, audiophiles have realized that they can record up to 192K/24bit resolution on DVD vs. only 44.1K/16bit on CD. Unfortunate they can’t do that with a digital connection due to Hollywood’s paranoia about piracy.

Naxos Releases SACDs in Hong Kong - Naxos Hong Kong has just released its tenth SACD - the soundtrack to The English Patient - licensed from Fantasy Records. Most of the previous nine releases were from Naxos’ massive classical catalog. Naxos USA has been releasing about one hi-res album per month recently, but they are all DVD-A rather than SACD.

PBS Series on the Blues - Blues fans are agog over the seven part video series executive produced by Martin Scorsese on The Blues, which begins this month on most PBS outlets. There is also a companion series with more music on NPR radio. In addition to the many past and present performers showing how the blues evolved from parochial folk tunes to a universal language, the film series boasts the involvement of Clint Eastwood and noted German director Wim Wenders among others.

Grammy Awards Back to LA - The 46th Annual Grammy Awards will happen in Los Angeles on Thursday December 4th this year and be carried live by CBS-TV. The show was mounted in New York City this past February. Enjoy the Music will be reporting on the show at their site.

Two Gallos Too Much - This is old news, but the fine Swiss CD label Gallo Records was leaned on by attorneys for the E. & J. Gallo Winery in Fresno, California, and directed to stop using the Gallo trademark on CDs sold in North America, to avoid confusion with the other Gallo’s wine and liquor production. The record label is now named Gall - which in Swiss dialect translates to something like “OK?” Who says the Swiss have no humor?

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