New Theremin Revealed - Remember the woo-woo sounds of the theremin - once used in sci-fi movies and currently in some rock groups? Leon Theremin invented the no-hands-on electronic instrument in the 1920s, but now there is a brand new version from electronic music pioneers Moog Music [pictured]. The Etherwave Pro has a larger range than the original Moog theremin and features selectable timbres. It will sell for around $1000. Check out www.ThereminWorld.com for more info.
Surround Sound in the Sky and On The Air - We recently reported that Sirius Satellite Radio had added surround sound to at least one of their 60 commercial-free music streams via satellite. They are using Dolby Pro Logic II because it delivers surround over stereo channels and works with any of the 100 million receivers out there. They use Dolby encoders to transfer multichannel SACD and DVD-A sources to matrixed stereo. Now the other service, XM Satellite Radio, has announced they will also provide surround using a different approach. XM currently uses preprocessing software from Neural Audio. In the terrestrial and cable TV world, matrix surround is also widespread.
SRS Labs, the owners of several special audio techniques, have promoted their Circle Surround as an alternative to Dolby Pro Logic. The latest version of CS enables any program telecast in stereo to deliver up to 6.1 channels of surround to viewers; if they only have stereo the signal is unaffected but if they have any sort of matrix decoder they will realize up to 6.1 channels of surround. Of course the most accurate results are found with a Circle Surround decoder but Dolby Pro Logic II works very well. SRS has just introduced an inexpensive CS-encoding software package which works on either Macs or PCs. CS technology is currently being used by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, TNT and others.
RIAA Announces Increased DVD-Audio Sales - A recent survey of 2900 consumers in the US found that DVD-Audio sales last year were over five times the level of competing hi-res audio disc formats and double the previous year. An interesting statistic was that over 26% of DVD-A sales were to buyers 45 years old and up. About 730 DVD-A titles are currently available. (It was unclear from the news release whether these figures were based only on sales of the software or included the sales of DVD players which happened to also offer DVD-A playback.)
Jazz at Lincoln Centers New Home - is scheduled to open this October at Columbus Circle in NYC. Wynton Marsalis is Artistic Director. The performance venues in the new complex will showcase the finest musicians of today, and the worlds largest arts organization devoted to jazz will help more people learn about, appreciate and grow to respect Americas unique art form of jazz. Tax-deductible membership are now being sought to help support the new building and activities of Jazz At Lincoln Center. For details: jazzatlincolncenter.org