Audio News for December 4, 2006

by | Dec 4, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Majority of Consumers Have Never Heard Good Audio – A recent CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) survey found that 56% of consumers have never even heard what they would consider a “great audio experience,” and therefore don’t know how to evaluate audio. Perhaps that’s why most consumers – slanted toward the younger generations – deal primarily with libraries of greatly compressed MP3-type digital audio files which they listen to with lowest-quality earbuds on their portable players or tiny speakers at their computers. A CEA spokesperson says it’s definitely a situation of quantity over quality. 

Yet at the same time the ticket revenues for expensive live concerts of all types are soaring, and the high end audio business is continuing with hi-fi shows all over the world with the price levels of much of the gear reaching stratospheric heights never before imagined. Audiophiles have been pointing out that for the past century of so new audio formats that were introduced were usually an improvement over the previous one: going from acoustic to electrical 78s, from 78s to vinyl, mono to stereo, stereo to surround, 44.1K digital to 96K or 192K hi-res, etc. (There has been some backtracking: open reel tape to 8-track and cassette, vinyl to CD – at least for the first decade or two.)  Now the MP3 revolution reduces standard-res 44.1K audio down to 1/25th or less of the original data stream, and the same is true of the so-called “CD-quality” satellite radio services. Clearly the new technology is a huge step backward in audio quality compared even to standard CDs – let alone the hi-res formats of SACD, DVD-A and 96K or 192K PCM. Unless the audio files are uncompressed or lossless, which are inefficient of hard drive space on the small devices. Some online music services such as MusicGiants are offering lossless music files at a higher cost.  The question is whether enough users are willing to pay the premium for better fidelity.

Wireless iDock Introduced
– Silex Technology has created the wiDock, which is similar to the universal charger docks for the iPod from other firms to connect to any home audio system, but the Silex version adds remote wireless syncing with a computer which sees the wireless connection the same as a wired USB connection. The unit works with a home’s existing 802.11b/g network and accepts all iPods. Users can transfer audio files from their computer to the iPod without making a trip to the room with the computer. Connection to the home audio system is made thru a 3.5mm miniplug audio output. For remote syncing, users load configuration software onto their PC, providing a remote connection when they press a button on the wiDock.

Wireless Module Claims Superiority to Bluetooth
– The Kleer Audio LP line of RF wireless modules is claimed to solve Bluetooth problems of poor audio quality from lossy compression, poor performance in high interference areas, and high power consumption when carrying streaming audio. The Audio LP line offers lossless 44.1K stereo transmission for actual CD-quality, ten times the battery life of comparable Bluetooth applications, best ISM band coexistence, and the option of having multiple wireless earphones, headphones or speakers connected simultaneously to the same audio source.

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