Audio News for November 29, 2011

by | Nov 29, 2011 | Audio News

New Wireless Technology Compatible with All Platforms and OSs – A startup based in Los Angeles, phorus, has had their initial investment round which is being used to productize their innovative technolgy. Its intent is to bring dependable wireless home audio to millions of people using smartphones, computers, tablets, iPods, etc. as their primary source for music. Its unique solution is called PlayCast and is completely independent of platform or operating system; which opens up a huge market for the first time. PlayCast instantly integrates the various devices with “intelligent speakers” (not explained what those are). The technology will eventually be licensed and sold thru major manufacturers globally. The company was founded by a former technology executive at Harman International.
Audio Pioneer Edgar Villchur Dies – The inventor of the famous Acoustic Research AR-1 speaker has died at age 94. Hi-Fi News ranked Edgar Villchur No. 1 among the 50 most important audio pioneers. His development of acoustic suspension loudspeakers meant they could generate high-fidelity bass tones that previously required speakers three or four times their size. This brought hi-fi music to millions of ordinary listeners starting in the 1950s. The Smithsonian now has one of Villchur’s breakthru speakers on permanent exhibit.
He made other audio advances: developing one of the first dome tweeters for the production of the high frequencies, rather than using a full-range driver. He also reduced noise and rumble in turntables by separating the motor from the platter by use of a rubber belt—still followed today in even the most expensive turntables. After leaving Acoustic Research, Villchur developed the multichannel compression technology now used in most hearing aids. He was famous for his “live vs. recorded” concerts in the early 1960s, at which a string quartet would perform, miming some portions while a recording just made of the quartet would be played thru a pair of AR-3 speakers. Listeners rarely could detect the switchovers.
New Version of iTunes is Out – Version 10.5.1 of iTunes brings several enhancements to Apple’s ubiquitous media software, which is cross-platform. There’s a new logo and the source menu has had changes. There is the usual quick access to the library of media on your hard drive, the iTunes Store (where they hope you’ll buy a lot of 99-cent data-reduced music), “Genius” features, and special playlists. In the iTunes Store, navigation links now run horizontally across the top. There are features for managing content on your iOS devices, but since I don’t own one I can’t report on that. However, if you have classical selections in your library and have been frustrated by iTunes blocking your putting the movements of tracks in their proper order on the playlist, just click on the composer column and you’ll find the movements of multi-movement works finally in proper order.
Soprano Montserrat Figueras Dies – Catalan soprano Monserrat Figueras, the wife of early music specialist Jordi Savall, died of cancer at age 69. She was a fundamental benchmark figure in the interpretation of the varied vocal repertory of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music, and since 1966 had been in an artistic and well as personal partnership with Jordi Savall and on their many recordings for their label AliaVox, as well as for other labels. In 2008, she and Jordi Savall had been nominated for the “Artist for Peace” award under the UNESCO “Goodwill Ambassador” program.

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