The Sony BDP-S350 is the latest Blu-ray player from the company that invented the format. This is an upgrade from its previous entry-level model, the <A href="http://ultimateavmag.com/hddiscplayers/707sonys300/">BDP-S300</A>, offering more features and options. The blue brushed-aluminum faceplate, similar to the design of the top-end ES series, is attractive and elegant and sure to add some class to all your black components.
What really stood out at this year's CEDIA in Denver was the number of companies showing media servers. They have certainly grown in popularity, especially within the custom-installation world. Not that many years ago, media servers were the exception, and now they are the norm for those ultra-high-end, multi-zone, music/video systems. As high-resolution downloadable media (audio and video) become more available, then media servers are likely to be our main, if not our only, source device.
I just returned from the annual CEDIA Expo in Denver. Media servers and Windows-based media centers are nothing new for this event, but this year it was apparent that the category is growing with more choices than ever before.
If you are at all familiar with "audiophile music," then you've heard of Chesky Records, which was founded by David and Norman Chesky all the way back in the last century. Their philosophy was to capture the spaciousness of "live music" in their recordings. If you want to know more about their history, go to <A HREF="http://www.chesky.com/core/body_about.cfm
">Chesky Records</A>, which is still alive and well.
In the world of cars, any make and model will get you where you need to go. Some will get you there faster, and others will get you there in style. However, only a select few exude an air of sophistication and grace.
Is classical music your thing, specifically the works of Norwegian composers and musicians? Then you have to check out <A HREF="http://www.2l.no/2L.htm">2L</A>, a Grammy award-winning Norwegian label that offers recordings in 24-bit/96kHz, mixed in 5.1 surround sound.
I came across a unique website this week called <A HREF="http://www.magnatune.com/">Magnatune</A>. They specialize in musical styles such as ambient, downbeat electronica, and world music. While these are hugely popular genres, especially the sub-genre of electronica known as "chill," there are a limited amount of outlets available for finding this type of music.
I had an opportunity to meet Mark Waldrep, owner of <A HREF="http://www.aixrecords.com/">AIX Records</A>, yesterday in his studio here in Los Angeles. Mark is probably the most out-spoken advocate for high-definition audio in the industry. As he points out, all too often high-definition audio is associated with lossless tracks that are downloaded from services such as MusicGiants, HDTracks, and the B&W Music Club. However, Mark vehemently disagrees with this definition.
It may be a crazy download world, but buyers still need to be diligent and know what it is they are buying. Last week, I wrote about all the various mainstream services selling music downloads. Competition is fierce, and the latest fallout is the Yahoo! Music Online Store, which will discontinue operations on September 30.
The BD-P1500 is Samsung's fourth-generation Blu-ray player. Its elegant high-gloss, piano-black chassis is sure to stand out in any equipment rack. While dedicated Blu-ray players haven't reached rock-bottom prices yet, the BD-P1500 is Samsung's least expensive to date at $400, $150 less then the BD-P1400 that came out less than a year ago. The BD-P1500 is not the holy grail of Blu-ray players, but its feature set and lower price could be just what you've been waiting for.