I collect old magazines. And (surprise!), most of them have something to do with audio or video. When I recently came across a copy of the June 1962 issue of the now defunct <I>High Fidelity</I> magazine, it seemed like a good time to have a look back at audio's past. Particularly since we sit on the cusp of the <A HREF="http://www.homeentertainment-expo.com/">2007 Home Entertainment Show</A> (May 11-13 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Station in New York City)
Previously, on this blog (see below), I discussed the upgrades that HDMI 1.3 offered for video. Most of them, in my opinion, were nice to have as a hedge against future improvements in sources and displays, but did not offer any real benefits with present and foreseeable video formats, both standard and high definition. As far as video is concerned, then, I saw no reason to toss out your present gear or hold off a purchase until there's a wide range of sources, switchers, and displays with HDMI 1.3. That will likely be a long wait.
HDMI 1.0 was introduced to the market in 2002. As a means of carrying both digital audio and video between the source and the display, it offered several advantages over competing technologies, the most prominent being IEEE 1393, commonly known as FireWire. HDMI carried both audio and video, and also offered alluring security advantages that appealed, in particular, to Hollywood.
We may be gear heads here at UAV, but the not-so-secret secret about the consumer electronics business is that it's about music and movies. In other words, it's Show Biz. Without that connection, our equipment racks would be filled with expensive boat anchors.
I predicted years ago that we would be downloading music over the Internet long before <I>high quality</I> downloads were possible. That's the state we're in at present. Downloads that offer genuine CD-quality sound (forget about downloads up to SACD or DVD-Audio standards) are still more a promise than a reality.
We've all complained about some of the marginal films coming out on HD DVD and Blu-ray. The situation <I>is</I> improving, though not fast enough for most of us. But as I look through my growing HD DVD and Blu-ray collection, I do see more great titles than I imagined.
I have no statistics to back it up, but the week before the Super Bowl must be pretty hectic in your friendly neighborhood video store. Oh, sure, the end of year holidays are big, and tax refund season brings out the mad money that Uncle Sam has been keeping safe for you all year. But it's the annual rush to watch the Big Game on a Big Screen television that starts sports fans hearts aflutter.
<I> In this guest blog, contributor Steven Stone looks at the Algolith Flea, a $995 outboard video noise reduction box. In the blog entry following this one, I take a look at the $2995 Mosquito, Algolith's most sophisticated video noise reduction device.
Algolith's Mosquito is an outboard video noise reduction device that Algolith describes as an "analog and digital compression artifact reducer." At $3000, it may be the most expensive device of its kind offered to consumers. It may also be the most sophisticated. If you judge your audio-video components by weight, it won't make much of an impact. But weight has little to do with the performance of this sort of product.
It’s hard to believe but I now live in a two Bose household. My first Bose was a car stereo that came as part of a package deal in the Mazda 3 that I bought nearly two years ago. I had to take it to get the whole shebang. It wasn’t really a bad deal. Dissing Bose may be a spectator sport among heavy-duty audiophiles, but apart from a little bass heaviness (not exactly rare in car stereos), it’s a more than respectable piece of work. It I had wanted to buy a car for the stereo, I would have gone with an Acura TL.
If stepping off the plane into the Copenhagen airport is a little like stepping into the world's biggest IKEA store, then stepping out of the tiny airport in Karup, Denmark is a little like transporting to the farmlands of Nebraska. But my mission to the far west end of the Jutland peninsula, together with a number of other European and North American journalists, was not sightseeing, but information. Information about what Struer, Denmark manufacturer B&O is currently about, and how the activities in its several facilities are leading to interesting new products, and how those products are influenced by the thinking and research behind them.
"The Cube" is the first stop in testing a B&O loudspeaker. At 12x12x13 meters it is the world's largest privately owned sound test room. It is not an anechoic chamber. Instead, B&O built a space large enough to use MLS measurements to a high degree of precision. MLS measures the speaker's response to an impulse. This result is then gated to eliminate the effect of the sound reflected off the walls. The reproduced and filtered impulse is then converted back to a frequency response (techies will recognize this as a Fourier transformation). The two walls of the chamber are damped, not to eliminate reflections but to speed up the time between impulses (a number of impulses are averaged for greater precision). The support structure shown here holds the loudspeaker (in the photo it's one of B&O's very tall, pencil-thin designs). The mike is visible in the distance. Measurements are made in 140 different directions.
Speakers for cordless phones, another B&O product category, must be tiny. Looks like it also might make an interesting tweeter, though probably not, as the frequency response of telephone drivers is band limited by design.