Naxos Releases First Exclusive Hi-Res Downloads – The world’s largest independent classical distributor has released its first 24-bit/96K download of an album it won’t release as physical CDs or audio-only Blu-rays until next year. It is arrangements by Peter Breiner of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and other Mussorgsky works. CEO and Naxos founder Klaus Heymann says he feels streaming and downloads will be the way people consume music and within five years will be 50% of their business. He said their going from selling silver discs to streaming they will not longer be bound by the gatekeepers of the brick and mortar shops, who only stocked a fraction of their huge catalog anyway. While the present Naxos streaming service is a low-res 128 kbps, they say it will be updated soon. The 24/96 downloads are of course vastly improved in fidelity over standard CDs, but are only two-channel. The first hi-res download, with artwork and detailed notes and metadata, is available from multiple online sites now specializing in hi-res downloads.
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Oct. 12-14 – The U.S.’s major hi-end audio show takes place again next week at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. The annual show started in 2004 as an extension of the Colorado Audio Society. Each show has been bigger and better, with over 170 exhibitor rooms, along with seminars and various vendors. Seminars this time include Reel to Reel Tape, Ask the Experts, System Setup, Original or Reissue?, In-Ear Headphones, The Loudness Wars, Computer Audio, The Sonic Benefits of High Resolution Audio, and Just How “Absolute” is Recorded Sound? You can see videos of many of the seminars from the past five years at the RMAF site. Vocalist Anne Bisson and concert pianist Fan-Ya Lin will perform, and nine other local audio societies will be attending and participating in the Fest. RMAF will address new challenges facing audiophiles in the future: How to get into the new world of streaming music files and hi-res downloads?; Should Blu-ray concerts/ballets/operas be part of one’s HT system or added to two-channel setups?; How to preserve or even give new life to major investments in music libraries of physical discs?
Salk Sound Reestablishes Fried Speakers Line – Salk Sound will be designing and building a new line of loudspeakers based on Bud Fried’s legendary work, including both the Fried and IMF brands. While most speakers once had traditional paper cone or horn-loaded tweeters, Fried’s designs favored a soft dome direct radiator. He championed the difficult and expensive transmission line approach, and brought to market the first satellite/subwoofer speaker system, as well as the first speakers with individual sub-enclosures optimized for each driver. He also established the Quad electrostatic and Lowther hi-efficiency speaker brands in the U.S. One of the engineering aspects both Salk and Fried designs share is appreciation of hi-performance transducers from Denmark. Salk Sound was founded in 2002, is in Pontiac MI, and is known for very high quality designs and craftsmanship.
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