Audio News

Audio News for August 21, 2012

Atlantic Records to Release Hi-Res Music; Purchase of Spectrum by Verizon OK’ed; Both SACD Plants Closed, But 17 Vinyl Pressing Plants in U.S. Now

Published on August 21, 2012

Atlantic Records to Release Hi-Res Music – Craig Kallman, the CEO and Chairman of Atlantic Records, wants to improved the sound of music recordings, and has spoken at length about the declining sound quality standards in the industry. He is open to the idea of improving both the low sampling rates of most downloads, and also the widespread overuse of compression of the dynamic range. He failed to specify the details, but he did say that Warner’s commitment to hi-res music will be “active and aggressive.”  Kalman himself owns about 300,000 vinyl LPs in his NYC apartment, so perhaps there is eventually some hope in all this. Remember that even a standard CD is 1400 kbps vs. only 256 kbps in what is laughingly being called the “hi-res” MP3 sampling rate, and true stereo hi-res is over three times that number! But will the average consumer of constantly-louder/compressed pop music even notice the improvement or care about it?

Purchase of Spectrum by Verizon OK’ed – The FCC chairman has endorsed an agreement allowing Verizon Wireless to buy unused AWS-band spectrum from multiple cable companies and enable them to cross-promote each other’s services with Verizon. Verizon wants to improve its 4G LTE network capacity using the unused spectrum. This also paves the way for sale of some of the Verizon AWS-band to spectrum-constrained T-Mobile. Previously the FCC and Dept. of Justice had serious concerns about the deals among the wireless providers, but evidently they’ve decided it’s all OK now.

Both SACD Plants Closed, But 17 Vinyl Pressing Plants in U.S. Now – Both the SACD pressing plants in Terre Haute, IN and Crest National in CA closed some time ago and there are now no SACD pressing in the entire U.S. So the prices of even U.S.-based SACDs may be going up. However, there is an online list of 16 vinyl pressing plants in the U.S.  Vinyl is definitely on a comeback roll that is showing no signs of stopping. Quality Record Pressings of Salina, Kansas—part of Chad Kassem’s Acoustic Sounds realm—is for some reason not on the list, but they claim to be using the most advanced technology ever in the pressing of their LPs, which are known for their quiet surfaces and excellent fidelity. There’s a video at the QRP web site that shows you the complete process from the master tape to the final vinyl. Other labels, such as Blue Note Japan, Sony and Warner Bros. are having some of their LPs pressed by QRP.




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