Marantz Adds Network Player/DAC – The new NA8005 is a combination network audio player and DAC with hi-res audio support. It uses Ethernet or USB ports and streams music direct from the Internet via integrated Internet radio stations and Spotify Conncert. Apple mobile devices may also be connected to play music in PCM form, and USB sticks and other mobile devices may also be connected. It has DLNA 1.5 and Apple AirPlay and supports FLAC, DSD, HD 192/14, WAV 192/24, WMA, MP3, MPEG-4 and ALAC with gapless playback. The device, which retails for $1,199, also includes a discrete headphone amp.
Streaming’s 42% Yearly Growth – Two quite different segments of the music industry are expanding greatly in spite of CD sales going down. On-demand streaming surpassed 70 billions songs in the first six months of this year, continuing the 42% annual growth of streaming. While vinyl LP sales had a 40% increase over last year. The buying and consuming of music by the general public thus continues to be robust.
Sony’s New Walkman Steals Hi-Res Idea – Sony’s NWZ-ZW1 Walkman, which is available in other countries but not yet in the U.S. (and retails for around $700) plays hi-res FLAC files (which Apple doesn’t seem to know exist) and ALAC lossless audio files, and also lossy MP3 files, and has 128GB of onboard memory. It runs on Android 4.1 and is the 21st-century Walkman, but at nearly double the price of the coming PonoPlayer. Let’s wait to see what happens, but this at least shows people are craving higher-res sound out of their mobile devices. Sprint has also announced a smartphone with hi-res capability. Astell&Kern have launched their AK240 hi-res mobile digital audio player, but it is $2500. The Absolute Sound says hi-res is approaching a tipping point, and hi-res has transitioned from the audiophile fringe to the mainstream.
New Report on Global Home Audio Market 2014-18 – TechNavio’s analysts have a new report which shows that the global home audio market has grown significantly. This includes all audio electronics intended for home use: speaker systems, players, and home theaters as well as accessories. They have divided the market broadly into three segments based on device type: DVD & Blu-ray players, Home Theaters, and Soundbars. It also discusses the key vendors operating in the market. It finds that a key market driver is the wireless streaming of audio content, and a key market challenge is the high cost of advanced audio home systems. A growing trend which the report identifies is the growing numbers of smart homes. The detailed report is available at Fast Market Research – www.fastmr.com