The Gray Lady Is Behind the Times

Extra! "The multichannel sound available for homes has arrived for the car." So says a teaser on the front page of the Automobiles section in this Sunday's edition of The New York Times.

This must be news indeed to engineer Elliot Scheiner, for example, whose DVD-Audio-equipped ELS Surround system for Acura has been available for three years. Meanwhile, nowhere in the Times article - "Summer Tunes That Come from Every Direction" by John R. Quain - does it even mention that DVD-Audio discs have always been playable in surround on car DVD-Video units.

It does mention, however - and get ready for this - that "some formats adhere to a so-called 5.1-channel format (the point one referring to a center, or low-frequency, channel often handled by a subwoofer)." As of now, that howler hasn't been corrected on the newspaper's Web site.

Sad to say, I guess we should expect these kinds of things from a paper that still calls its car section (repeat after me, in your best Tony Curtis-in-The Great Race voice): Au-to-mo-biles.

To its credit, the article includes aftermarket options like Sony's SACD-equipped MEX-DV2000 (see post immediately below) and Pioneer's DVD-A-equipped AVH-P7800DVD entertainment system. It also mentions pre-installed systems in cars by Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and yes, Acura, as well as the only car unit that will play both DVD-A and SACD: the Bose Media System (shown above) in the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.

But really, these times demand the Times these surround times demand Sound & Vision! -Ken Richardson