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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Sept. 10, 2003

Dolby Introduces Pro Logic IIx - Enhancing the major advancements of the original Dolby Matrix Surround by Jim Fosgate’s Pro Logic II, Dolby announces the introduction of Pro Logic IIx technology, which offers 6.1 and 7.1-channel playback of standard stereo and discrete 5.1-channel content. Thus users who currently have 6.1 or 7.1 home theater systems feeding one or two center surround speakers can now experience enveloping and compelling multichannel listening from music and movies with only standard two-channel, 4.0 or 5.1 signals. Among components already announced to feature the new PL IIx are preamps, processors and receivers from Fosgate, Arcam, Marantz, Meridian, Pioneer and Yamaha. At CEDIA 2003 Dolby also demonstrated two other technologies which expand surround sound to new environments: Dolby Virtual Speaker and Dolby Headphone. The first simulates a 5.1-speaker surround setup from only a pair of speakers and can be combined with PL IIx. Dolby Headphone allows users to privately listen to music, movies or computer games with all the surround effects of a 5.1-channel system but using any standard stereo headphones. Both technologies were originally developed by Australia’s Lake Technology Ltd., and Analog Devices Inc. has now implemented both in a new chipset which will bring these technologies into many consumer electronic products.

Madrigal Brand Name Dropped - Harman International has closed its Madrigal facility and now has its high-end brands under the Harman Specialty Group label. This includes Mark Levinson, Lexicon Consumer, Revel and Audio Access. The Proceed brand name was also dropped earlier, and Lexicon's Pro Division is now part of the Harman Music Group which is headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Golden Age Stereo on Bargain-Rate Discs? - European copyrights on recordings typically run for 50 years, and that time is almost up for many historical recordings made in the mid-1950s. Naxos has been producing and distributing new remasterings of some 1930s mono recordings formerly on the EMI/Angel label. They were sued by Capitol, the parent company, which lost - the court saying that EMI had no rights to its pre-1953 recordings. Thus all sorts of great classical, jazz and rock from the 50s may soon be showing up on bargain labels, and by 2006 we will be hitting some of the first stereo material from European labels such as Decca/London ffrr. (Since RCA Living Stereo and Mercury Living Presence were recorded under U.S. law, they probably won’t be appearing in this way.)

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