Audio News for August 4, 2009

by | Aug 4, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

Add D-A Processing to Your Audio Wi-Fi – Cnet has a feature on how to enhance the audio quality you get from AirPort Express and Airpot Extreme (or whatever Wi-Fi routing you’re using with your PC); we can boil it down to a few sentences. The trick is to switch AirPort from simply streaming to your audio system the low-quality audio of your computer’s own audio card, and add a quality D-to-A processor such as the Benchmark DAC 1 we use to output a much higher quality analog stereo signal. You will need to use the Toslink optical digital output of the AirPort Express to connect to your DAC, using a mini-Toslink adapter – due to the small jack on the APE.  Airport will then just send the digital signals to the DAC to be processed to analog stereo with better quality. It makes no difference if the digital data is lossless or compressed MP3-style, the DAC will still improve your sonics.  You may need a switch to select between the Airport source and your system’s CD player output.

G.hn Standardization Efforts – The G.hn standard of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) aims to deliver a single unified technology for wired home networks addressing key issues of service providers, electronics manufacturers, and consumers. G.hn will unify the networking of content and devices over any wire at all – whether coaxial cable, phone or power lines. It makes IPTV more cost-effective, allows electronics manufacturers to create powerful devices to connect all types of entertainment, home automation and security products thruout the house, and simplifies consumer purchasing and installation processes. The Home Grid Forum is working on the standardization of G.hn; its members include Panasonic, Intel, Best Buy and others. Six countries and 25 companies have consented to the basics thus far. The specification is nearing completion, with G.hn products expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2010.

Sears Fills Installation Void With Blue Crew – Sears hopes to fill the consumer void caused by the closing of Circuit City by rebranding their consumer electronics staff as the Sears Blue Crew. They will assist customers in selecting their entertainment products and can also handle installation and repairs. The plan is to make people think of Sears as more than a place to turn in emergencies such as a water heater breaking. The company has done installation in the past but hasn’t really advertised it. A TV commercial has already been made with a NFL player choosing his LED display, and the Blue Electronics Crew will start appearing in Sears stores in early fall.

Goldmund Back to Vinyl? – Swiss super-high-end manufacturer Goldmund reveals in their latest newsletter that they will shortly be returning to turntable production with a “new technological solution that lies years ahead from anything else.”  They had dropped turntables and tone arms for nearly 20 years, saying the market was insufficient to support new developments, but when they returned with their extremely rare Reference II (at $300,000) they “showed that nobody could get higher in performance than Goldmund.” And also that “nobody could get higher in price either…”  They say they are “not exactly” back in the turntable market, but "are taking a scientific approach to help the numerous record collectors who unacceptably suffered of the amateurish idea that what is analog has to be solved by [an] analog solution.”  (That last statement ought to bounce around in many audiophile brains.)

Sony’s New 400-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/CD MegaChangers – For collectors who haven’t given up on physical disc storage, Sony has introduced two giant changers which store and play 400 discs, whether they be Blu-rays, DVDs, or standard CDs. They download detailed information on each disc from Gracenote and VideoID, support 1080p HD, 7.1 Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio as well as bitstream audio, outputting on HDMI, and have an Ethernet port. Sony’s HD Reality Enhancer and Super Bit-Mapping technologies are offering in both units. The BDP-CX7000ES is available now at about $1900 and the BDP-CX960 will be out this fall at about $800.

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