Audio News for April 14, 2006

by | Apr 14, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Limeys Lambast Low-Res – The British Federation of Audio – the UK equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Association in the U.S. – has officially expressed great concern over the use of undesirably low-quality audio on portable digital music players of the Apple iPod variety. The BFA says that it is increasingly apparent that consumers are not getting the enjoyment they could from their portable devices, computers or hi-fi systems (as they still call them in the UK). They found the usual MP3 recording rate of only 128kbps to be audibly inferior to so-called “CD quality” by a wide margin. [You can bet the CEA in the U.S. will never make such a statement – sales of iPod-type players are what has pushed the Portable Audio category to heights never before achieved! For example, see next item.]

Soundcast Launches New Wireless Technology – A new type of transmitter and receiver for sending stereo audio from an iPod or other MP3 player to a home stereo system is being offered in versions for both iPod users and those with other MP3 devices. The iCast and AudioCast use the same 2.4GHz band everything wireless seems to be using today – often causing an immense interference headache. But it is said to eliminate outside interference by searching for open channels in the band and instantly jumping to them.  Both systems coexist with the other devices in the 2.4GHz band, including Bluetooth and 802.11.  Signals can be transmitted up to 150 feet thru multiple rooms. Interchangeable inserts accommodate different models of the iPod and in the AudioCast version connecting cables with 3.5mm mini-jacks are provided.

Misguided California Regulation of DTV Adapters Concerns CEA
– The CEA has requested the California Energy Commission (CEC) to rescind a new regulation they passed for the adapter boxes which are to be furnished at low cost thru a federal $1 billion program so people with standard TVs can receive digital TV – which will be all there will be on the air in three years. The regulation mandates a maximum energy consumption by the adapters, which could raise the cost of the units and make it impossible for many Californians to purchase them in spite of the subsidy. The legislation was based on the false information that there were 46,000 DTV converters in use in the state, when in fact no manufacturer has even produced one as yet.  The CEA pointed out that the consumer electronic industry has long been committed to energy conservation, including voluntary participation in the federal Energy Star program.

San Francisco Symphony Expands Mahler Recording Project – The San Francisco Symphony – the first of the major orchestras to launch their own recording label after being dropped by one of the major labels – is on its way to completing its Grammy Award-winning project of recording all of the Mahler Symphonies on its own SFS Media label. Next it will include Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, Das Knaben Wunderhorn, Songs of a Wayfarer, and The Song of the Earth. These works will be recorded later in the year along with the Symphony No. 5, and Symphony No. 8 plus the Adagio from the unfinished Tenth will be recorded as part of the 2008-09 season. The entire series so far is available for download thru iTunes, and this month the SF Symphony begins releasing its recordings in China – on the heels of its sold-out tour there in February. The first seven Mahler SACDs will be available in China beginning this month. The two Grammy Awards for the series were for the Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6 and the Symphony No. 4 won a Grammy nomination in 2004 for Best Surround Sound.

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