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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for May 30, 2001colored line

Latest Record Industry Lawsuits - Ten major record labels have filed a lawsuit against Launch Media, another P2P web company - this one allowing interactive features which the industry says are now allowed under the licensing agreement Launch made with them. Launch, unlike Napster, made every effort to work with the record industry. See where it got them. Even if Launch wins, they don't have nearly the number of users Napster had or the clout of MP3.com and therefore may not survive. Another record industry suit has also been launched against Napster-emulator Aimster.

Amazing Audio Spotlight - A 28-year-old grad student, F. Joseph Pompei, had invented a transducer that emits a column beam of sound much in the same way that a spotlight projects a light beam. Only silence is heard outside of the column. The beam can bounce off any hard surface and create a clear impression of the sound at that point, such as a wall or window. Pompei had an eight-year-long obsession with the idea that sound could "dance." He converts the audible sound input - which tends to spread out in space - into ultrasound which can be beamed like light. Others have worked on this idea for some time, but ran into serious distortion products due to the sound wave "unraveling" as it traveled through air. Pompei's contribution is that he worked out the proper mathematical equations to match the distortion, using discoveries from research in sonar waves. Another company, American Technology Corporation, makes a similar product. We heard a demo recently at an AES meeting and it's truly uncanny. The transducer is about ten inches square with a handle to aim it. Now sounds for exhibits and displays can be completely personal without any headphones - which have cost, reliability and hygiene problems. The audio spotlight will force people to rethink their relationship with sound.

MP3 Convergence Component Introduced - Harman Kardon has allied with interactive software and web portal firm ZapMedia to launch the DMC 100 Digital Media Center. This new home entertainment component features a DVD/CD player, playback of MP3 and Windows Media files - streaming or downloadable, 30 GB of digital storage for either digital video or audio files, email access and web browsing, a variety of audio, video and data connections, graphic interface and playlist creation, access to the ZapMedia portal for interactive Net entertainment options, automatic software upgrades.

- John Sunier

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