Fraunhofer Wants to Enhance TV Audio to Match Image Technology – The German Fraunhofer Institute of Integrated Circuits, inventors of MP3, made a presentation at the recent CES on the Future of Television Audio. They say that while TV viewing technology has improved hugely in the last few years, audio playback has lagged. Fraunhofer IIS has a new TV audio system based on MPEG-H Audio, which should push telecasts to a completely new level, providing viewers with interactive features offering control over the audio signal and 3D sound. They hope to lead the evolution of TV playback beyond 5.1 surround. The true multiscreen audio codec allows for efficient delivery of audio content to any screen over any kind of transmission channel—including broadcast, cable, Internet or 4G wireless networks. It is based on a new audio codec which includes processing to offer an optimized experience with controlled loudness on each device, and includes object-based audio, plus is capable of transmitting immersive 3D sound. (Whatever that is…)
Vinyl Listening Lab Launched – Wharton Music Center is one of New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts centers. They have added to their recording studio an extensive vinyl collection and a listening lab. Over 5000 (with another 2000 in archived storage) records of classical music, opera, rock, Broadway shows and pop music are found in the eclectic collection, which is free and open to the public. Its director says “The history of recorded sound can now be experienced directly. For so many young people, the lab will be one of the few places they might experience the sound of an entire century in one room.” There are four listening stations with headphone amps, phones, turntables and connecting devices giving students and visitors an opportunity not only to hear rare and vintage vinyl records but also to transfer them (copyright permitting) to a digital service such as a laptop, tablet or iPod. The center also provides music, theatre and dance instruction, educational programs, and performances for children, teens and adults.
WQXR’s List of Critics’ Top Classical Recordings of the Year – New York City classical station WQXR has published the lists of some of the top music critics, and it is an interesting alternative to the list of the top-selling classical albums of 2013. Jeremy Eichler of The Boston Globe has the complete works of Benjamin Britten – a 66-CD Decca set – as his No. 1. The Guardian has a Harmonia mundi disc of songs and piano music of Hans Eisler as its No. 1, for the Chicago Tribune it’s the Shostakovich Symphony No. 4 conducted by Vasily Petrenko on Naxos and NPR Music chose Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks with Dawn Upshaw, which we reviewed.