FrontRunners: Audio Amnesty

When we pleaded in the November 2002 issue (Personal Technology) for electronics manufacturers to produce universal disc players—machines that read CD, SACD, and DVD-Audio formats—we had no idea how quickly they would respond. At the time, only Pioneer and Marantz offered equipment that could play all three formats, but since then 10 more brands have introduced universal players. The music industry remains divided in its support of the formats, and this has been the impetus for the latest designs from the newcomers, which include Bel Canto, Lexicon, Linn, and McCormick. Columbia, Groove Note, Rounder, and Sony are some of the companies offering SACD recordings, while RCA/BMG, Virgin, and Warner are among those producing DVD-A recordings. Chesky, EMI, Telarc, and Universal-MCA are hedging their bets by offering both. While the battle over formats may continue indefinitely, the onslaught of universal players has rendered the outcome irrelevant.

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