Audio News for July 3, 2009

by | Jul 3, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

European Union Standardizes Cell Phone Chargers – Digital Europe, a trade group representing manufacturers of mobile devices, got some of the biggest names in the industry (over 90% of European sales) to sign an agreement to standardize on a universal charger for all such devices. Their next step is working on a charger for laptops as well. The E.U. previously standardized AC plugs and speaker connections on audio components.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we had similar standards in the U.S.? How about standardizing headset connections, digital camera download connections – need we go on?

NHT Is Back – The veteran speaker maker was rumored to be selling off its inventory and folding, but now has regrouped and returned to an operation more in concert with the changed distribution patterns of the audio industry. All distribution will be handled by NHT in Benicia, CA, dealers will place their orders online and the speakers will be shipped direct to consumers. The line of high-quality, moderately-priced speakers has been reduced from 35 models to 18, with eight new products coming soon. Customers can purchase from dealers, online sales outlets such as Audio Advisor, or direct from the NHT web site: www.nhthifi.com

LG Ships Networked Blu-ray Players – Joining the many manufacturers offering Wi-Fi-capable networking on Blu-ray players and HDTVs, LG has released their BD370 and BD390 players at about $300 and $400 respectively. They connect to LG’s NetCast entertainment offerings, including content from CinemaNow, Netflix and YouTube.

Gefen Matrix Switcher for HDMI – With the expansion of HDMI useage in home entertainment, many consumers find they have a shortage of appropriate inputs and outputs available. Gefen’s Matrix switcher runs on a 24v power supply and has been upgraded to handle the latest HDMI v1.3 format features, including deep color.  The 4×4 Matrix connects and distributes any one of four hi-def sources to any one of four HDTVs, and also supports video resolutions to 1080p HD plus multichannel audio – including features such as lip sync, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD – all routed along with the video on the same HDMI cable.

Marantz/DALI Luxury SACD Setup in NYC Hotel – Guests with fat enough pocketbooks to stay in the Empire Suite at Manhattan’s legendary Carlyle Hotel will henceforth be able to enjoy the breathtaking performance of a custom-installed Marantz Reference System, with four mono power amps ($8K ea.), a SC-7S2 preamp ($8K), a SA-7S1 SACD/CD player ($7K) and a pair of DALI Megaline III speakers ($60K pr.) in a bi-amplified configuration. The SACD player has a specially-designed aluminum mechanism, frequency response to 100 kHz and a dynamic range of 113 dB.  It uses a separate power supply to prevent noise interference.

Sony CD Production Facility – in Terre Haute, Indiana, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.  Back then in 1984 CDs were touted as an extremely advanced technology from a manufacturing perspective. Things have changed. The plant’s output then was 300,000 CDs a day – now it is 500,000 a day, with DVDs at about 1.3 million a day and Blu-rays will reach 1 million later this year. The size of the plant has also increased from 60,000 sq. ft. to 1.3 million sq. ft.  In an interview with the founder of the plant, he made a statement of interest to our readers: “There is also SACD, which is still around and still loved by those who care about the sound of their music, but it never really made the mainstream as hoped.” [Could it be that a factor here was that for years all the Sony label SACDs from this plant were SACD-Only and not hybrid CD as with all the other labels – one of the touted advantages of the SACD format?…Ed.] The plant – known as Sony DADC, is helping its competitors in the Blu-ray area, working with them and giving them the benefit of the leader’s experience and technology and some of the pitfalls they have experienced. They call it a “format steward approach.”

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