Archives for June 2003

Car Audio SPL Sound Off Championships Come to Cities Across Canada

The Canadian consumer electronics retail chain Future Shop is again bringing the Canadian SPL (Sound Pressure Level) Championships to locations across Canada this summer.

This is the third consecutive year for the national competition, with over 700 competitors getting involved each year. The competition is straightforward: contestants are divided into 5 different categories, based on the number of subwoofers they have in their car, the audio output of their sound system is measured, and the loudest one wins!

This year, the Canadian SPL 2003 Championship will make 19 stops throughout the summer. Championships have already been held in Toronto and Ottawa, and the next event takes place in Montreal, at the Marche Central Future Shop, on Saturday, June 14. Regional finals take place in the East in Mississauga, Ontario on July 19th; and in the West in Richmond, British Columbia on September 13.

Trophies are awarded at each event to the first, second and third place finisher in each category and there are thousands of dollars in products and prizes to be won from great brand names like Rockford Fosgate, Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, MTX, JVC, Infinity, Stinger and others.

The events include fun interactive games for spectators and various displays featuring the latest in cool car audio, video and security systems for cars from some of Canada’s top brands in the business.

For competitors interested in putting their car to the test at one of these events, pre-registration is recommended and is available now in the car audio department at any Future Shop location in Canada.

Additional Championship Event Locations and Dates

June 14
Montreal SPL Championship
Marche Central Future Shop

June 21
Quebec City SPL Championship
Fleur De Lys Future Shop

July 5
Halifax SPL Championship
Halifax Future Shop

July 19
Toronto SPL Finals
Heartland Future Shop

August 2
Calgary SPL Championship
Shawnessy Future Shop

August 16
Edmonton SPL Championship
Edmonton West Future Shop

August 30
Winnipeg SPL Championship
St. James Future Shop

September 6
Kelowna SPL Championship
Kelowna Future Shop

September 1
Vancouver SPL Finals
Lansdowne Future Shop

Home Theater Magazine Announces First Annual Rave Awards at Home Entertainment 2003 Show

The editors of Home Theater magazine have announced the winners of their first annual Recognizing Audio Video Excellence (RAVE) Awards. The RAVE awards are open to all manufacturers whose components are reviewed in Home Theater magazine in the 12-month period ending in April.

The RAVE awards will be presented during a ceremony at this year’s Home Entertainment Show, HE2003, on Friday night, June 6, from 7pm to 8pm in the Windsor Suite at the Westin-St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

Each winner is chosen based solely on feedback from the writer who reviewed the product in Home Theater. The reviewer will have spent, on average, at least one month with the product, and will have based his decision on performance, value, ergonomics, and features.

Commented Editor Maureen Jenson, “The Home Theater team feels it is important to recognize excellence in the design and manufacture of superior audio and video components. I asked the reviewers to nominate gear that, after having spent weeks testing, they had a tough time shipping back to the manufacturer—equipment the reviewers loved so much they wanted to keep it for themselves.”

Full List of the 2003 Rave Award Winners

Product of the Year
Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player

Best High-End Speaker System
MartinLogan Odyssey

Best Mid-Level Speaker System
NHT Evolution

Best Entry-Level Speaker System
Infinity Entra

Hot Ticket Value Speaker System
Athena Point 5

Best High-End Preamplifier-Processor
Meridian 568.2

Best Mid-Level Preamplifier-Processor
Krell Showcase

Best Entry-Level Preamplifier-Processor
Anthem AVM 20

Best High-End Power Amplifier
Lexicon LX-7

Best Mid-Level Power Amplifier
ATI AT2007

Best Entry-Level Power Amplifier
Anthem PVA 7

Best High-End A/V Receiver
Denon AVR-5803

Best Mid-Level A/V Receiver
Rotel RSX-1065

Best Entry-Level A/V Receiver

Best High-End DVD Player
Meridian 598

Best Budget DVD Player
Samsung DVD-P421

Most Worthy of Its Controversy
SONICblue ReplayTV RTV4000 PVR

Kenwood/Boston Acoustics Unity

Best Plasma HD Monitor
Fujitsu PDS-5002

Best Direct-View Display
Sony KV-34XBR800 HD Monitor

Best Rear-Projection Display
Mitsubishi WS-73711 73-inch HDTV

Best DLP Projector
PLUS Piano Avanti HE-3200

Best HD-Capable Projection System
NEC HT1000 DLP Projector

Best Custom Product
Xantech MRC44 Control System

Best Convergence Product
Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 Personal Computer Audio System

Hot Gear
Epson PowerLite TW100 LCD Projector

Hot Gear
B&W CDM 9NT Speaker System

Hot Gear
Polk DS7200 A/V System

Hot Gear
Bryston 9B SST THX Amplifier

DVD of the Year
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Platinum Series Extended Edition (New Line)

Voyetra Extends Desktop Music Creation Lineup with Record Producer and Record Producer Deluxe

PC-based music software developer Voyetra™ has released two new desktop music production packages aimed at the home and consumer recording niche. Record Producer™ and Record Producer Deluxe™ are follow ups and upgrades to Voyetra’s popular and award winning Digital Orchestrator™ series of music creation software.

Record Producer ($49.95 US) turns a MIDI-equipped PC into a desktop music production studio, allowing composers to record songs using MIDI and digital audio tracks, then play them back for others.

Record Producer Deluxe ($99.95 US) expands on the features of Record Producer, and adds powerful digital audio editing with its Advanced Digital Audio Editor and CD creator. The Deluxe version also comes with 5,500 samples to help home composers jump start the music creation process.

“Our Digital Orchestrator series of products has been extremely popular over the years,” comments Frederick Romano, executive VP of Voyetra.

“The combination of powerful audio editing tools with an extremely user-friendly interface makes the Record Producer products perfect for both the home songwriter or studio musician alike.”

Both products’ minimum system requirements are a Pentium-class 233MHz, Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Internet Connection, 64MB RAM, 16X CD-ROM and a 16-bit sound card (Turtle Beach Santa Cruz recommended). A microphone is required for recording custom samples and a CD-R is needed for burning features.

Record Producer and Record Producer Deluxe are available immediately from major computer and electronics retailers, as well as direct from Voyetra’s Web site.

Voyetra Web Site

Roland’s Version 2.011 OS Update Turns VS-2480 Workstations Into Full-Featured Control Surface for Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase

Roland has announced a major software upgrade for both the VS-2480HD and VS-2480CD Digital Studio Workstations. Introduced in 2001, the VS-2480 series was the first self-contained recording workstation to offer 24-track/24-bit digital recording with 64-channel digital mixing, onboard effects processing, full mouse-based waveform editing, moving-fader automation, and optional on-board CD burning.

The new Version 2.011 System Software features a comprehensive Control Surface Mode. The new mode allows the operator to use the buttons, knobs, and motorized faders of the VS-2480 to control parameters of many popular software-based recording and sequencing programs.

Roland's powerful VS-2480 audio workstations become full-featured controllers for Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Performer, and other recording software applications with the new Version 2.011 OS

This hands-on style of control frees the user from the constraints of mouse-based mixing. With its plethora of buttons, knobs, faders, and transport controls, the VS-2480 makes an excellent control surface for use with practically any software application.

The new software includes several pre-configured templates that map the VS-2480’s buttons, knobs, and faders to key parameters of popular computer-based sequencing and recording programs. Included are templates for Emagic Logic 5™, Steinberg Cubase™, and a HUI™ template for any software application that can be controlled by Mackie’s HUI controllers, such as Digidesign ProTools™ and Mark of the Unicorn Digital Performer™.

This update essentially turns the VS-2480 into a fully capable hardware controller for most audio recording and MIDI sequencing applications.

Version 2.011 also allows VS-2480 owners to design their own user templates for controlling and editing other programs or any hardware that responds to MIDI control. This means a musician can perform most major operations for supported programs directly from the VS-2480 without having to use the computer’s mouse or keyboard.

In addition to the Control Surface Mode, Version 2.011 enhances the VS-2480’s compatibility with the VS-2400CD Digital Studio Workstation. The 2480 can open and read sessions created in a VS-2400CD, and sessions created in the VS-2480 can be saved as a VS-2400 project. This provides totally seamless compatibility and exchange of song data and tracks between these two popular workstations.

Version 2.011 System Software is now available as a free download from the Roland US website. VS-2480HD and VS-2480CD owners can find the download at

Roland U.S. Web Site

Archos Offers 2,000 Hours of Audio, 80 Hours of Video With Stereo MP3 Sound, in New AV300 Series of Portable Players

Archos is shipping its new AV320 and AV340 portable digital players, positioning them as the first true personal video players that can record and play back movies with stereo MP3 audio.

The Archos Video AV300 Series portables are no slouches when it comes to straight audio, with either 20GB or 40GB of hard-disc storage for MP3 audio files in any format: 30-320 Kbits/s, constant or variable bit rate. The new models also offer direct MP3 audio recording at 30-160 Kbits/s, variable bit rate only.

Audio connections include stereo analog line in and digital line in/out, as well as a built-in mic for voice recording. Video can only be recorded via analog composite video in, with playback through analog composite video out.

MusicMatch software is bundled with the players, allowing users to convert entire personal CD collections into MP3 format with ease.

The Archos AV340 Audio/Video Player/Recorder with Optional AVCam 300 Accessory Module Attached (left)

The AV300 Series models can be used for computer data back up and transport. A high-speed USB 2.0 interface (or optional FireWire connection) allows you to transfer data, video, music or photo files, to and from any desktop or notebook computer equipped with a high-speed connection.

The new portables can also handle photos with ease, offering direct transfer of photos from any digital camera using optional memory card readers, and capacity for up to 400,000 digital photos. An optional AVCam 300 accesory module ($199.95 US) turns the unit into a digital still camera.

Continuing the flexible modular design, the AV300 series also offers an optional FM tuner and recorder module ($29.95 US) that allows you to listen to radio stations or to record favorite songs in MP3 format direct from the FM tuner. A retro-record buffering system lets you record entire songs, even if you press the record button after a song has started.

Built-in video playback is through a 3.8-inch color LCD screen. But the real power behind the Video AV300 is in its ease to record video from any video source. On the go enthusiasts are able to record their favorite video content direct from any video source, TV, or VCR. They can also quickly download and save large volumes of MPEG-4 video files via the Internet. Once the video is saved to the Video AV300, users can play back the video either on the built-in color display or on any TV or PC in near-DVD-quality.

“At home people have TVs, stereos, DVD players and PCs for personal entertainment. Now consumers want to watch the latest release of a movie, a favorite TV show, or a music video while killing time, or additionally listen to MP3 music in the car or share videos and photos with friends, all while on the go,” said Henri Crohas, president and founder, Archos.

“People also want to record music from their stereos or video from a TV, but they do not want to have to go through a PC. The Video AV300 series provides a single personal device that does it all.”

Recording from analog video sources, and playing back in VHS resolution, the AV300 series allows for comfortable viewing of full-length movies, entire seasons of TV shows, complete collections of music videos, or simply a young producer’s own personal home videos.

Archos Web Site