Everest Records 96K/24bit Downloads – The latest owner of the Golden Age audiophile classical label Everest has made its library available to one of the top hi-res download sites, HDtracks. Founded by audio writer and engineer Bert Whyte, Everest made its first releases on 35mm and three-track tape and issued them on stereo LPs and some prerecorded tapes. Mag film could handle much higher levels than tape, resulting in inaudible hiss levels and better sonics. Custom-made U47 tube mikes were used to capture the sounds in some of the world’s finest concert halls, and conductors such as Leopold Stokowski, Sir Malcolm Sargent and Josef Krips were featured. Many audiophile writers feel that Everest’s recordings are easily the equal of the acclaimed efforts of the RCA Living Stereo and Mercury Living Presence series of the period. The original Everest label was sold and the new owner released the recordings on the cheapest vinyl, ruining their excellent sonic reputation. In the mid-90s Omega Record Group reissued many of the Everest recordings in some of the best transfers to standard CDs that have ever been done, but they are no longer available. HarkIt in the UK has a new series of CD reissues, but they are made from earlier digital tape transfers of the original films and tapes. In the ensuing years the original 35mm mag film of those sessions recorded that way has in most cases deteriorated to the point that it can no longer be used for reissues. Classic Records issued some combination DVD-As and CDs made from them, with some showing signs of the deterioration. The 96kHz/24-bit downloads from HDtracks.com – though only two -channel – should provide audiophiles a spectacular audio quality, similar to listening to the master tapes or mag films. All the Everest titles at HDtracks come with full pdf liner notes on each recording.
Combo CD & LP? – A Detroit techno producer named Jeff Mills has come up with an odd solution to the old CD vs. vinyl debate – the world’s first two-sided CD/LP record! It’s five inches diameter of course, so you can pop the silver side into your CD player to hear the music therein. But when you flip it over to the black side, it can then be played on your analog turntable. Obviously it’s not going to be a good carrier of classical music, since there are so few grooves on a 5-inch record already, and for some reason the photo above shows only the outermost grooves being used.
Harman Mobile Entertainment Showroom on Tour – Probably the largest home audio and pro audio conglomerate, Harman designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio solutions supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson. Over 20 million cars are equipped with Harman audio and infotainment systems, and the company has a workforce of 11,000 people around the world. They have created a mobile showroom, which is not primarily to show mobile electronics, but to demonstrate both a custom audiophile listening room and a top notch home theater room. The audiophile room has a two-channel setup with all Mark Levinson components and a pair of Revel Ultima Salon2 speakers. The home theater room is mostly a JBL Synthesis setup, with a Lexicon Blu-ray player and a HD projection screen and projector.
SRS Labs/ HD Audio Lab Software – brings an array of SRS Labs’ advanced audio solutions to all PC-based computers and media players. It optimizes the way PCs process sound, restoring clarity and fidelity to digital music, improving speaker bass response, and making the music sound closer to the original recording. Users can customize their systems to their own listening preferences thru selecting speaker or headphone setup and adjusting settings on an advanced control panel. A more three-dimensional effect is said to result from any stereo or surround source. Interestingly none of the announcements of the new software, including those on the SRS site – srslabs.com – list its price.(Their previous iWOW for computer audio cost $40 and was cross-platform, but according to the news release the new version is not.)