FrontRunners: Audio Amnesty

<< Back to Robb Report, May 2003

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.

As digital audio formats become more challenging to navigate, here are some key factors to consider…
The creator of some of the world’s most beautiful speakers adds to its 3-year-old Venere series…
Digital audio has become increasingly complex, but the new dCS player and DAC epitomize ease of use…
With captivating colors and hyper-rich resolutions, these top TVs put on quite a display…
The multidisciplinary dream team at Constellation Audio has done it again…
The state-of-the-art converter plays nearly any audio format…
The sleek amplifier utilizes proprietary circuitry to ensure the cleanest possible sound…
The distinguished audio manufacturer has put big amplifier technology into a small package…
The new Bluetooth music pod stands out as an innovative leader of compact luxury audio systems…
The N100H incorporates two different hard drives for improved sound playback…