Archives for August 1996

Record Company Manoeuvres: Red Ant and Go!Discs Change Ownership

New York, NY. Alliance Entertainment said yesterday that it has completed the previously announced purchase of Red Ant Entertainment from its principals, Wasserstein Perella and Al Teller. Teller has become Alliance’s co-chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Red Ant Entertainment is a Los Angeles-based record label currently building a roster of alternative, urban contemporary and country artists.

London, UK. Late last week, PolyGram announced that it had bought London-based Go!Discs. The label’s lineup includes top-selling British singer Paul Weller. PolyGram already owned a 49 percent stake in Go!Discs, and purchased the label outright in this move. Andy Macdonald, founder and managing director of Go!Discs, will leave the company.

Go!Discs has a reputation for turning raw British pop acts into chart successes at home and abroad. Besides Weller, a solo artist who is also known for his work with The Jam and The Style Council in the 1980s, Go!Discs’ attractions include The Beautiful South, Portishead and Gabrielle.

Founder Robert Carver Quits Carver Corp.

Lynwood, WA. Robert Carver has resigned as Chairman of the Board at audio equipment manufacturer Carver Corp. He was Carver Corp’s founder, and the designer of many of Carver’s key products. He had quit the company once before, in 1994, in a dispute over royalties. He returned seven months ago as part of an agreement for Carver Corp. to sell its professional amplifier division, a deal that involved licensing rights that he still held. In the interim, Robert Carver started a competing audio equipment company, Sunfire Corp.

In accepting the resignation, Carver Corp. President Stephen Williams said: “The board and I have become increasingly concerned with the possible conflicts of interest Mr. Carver has in serving on Carver’s board. We wish Mr. Carver well in his new company and believe this action is best for both the company and Mr. Carver.”

VLSI Licenses Intel AC’97 Technology to Enable 3D Audio

San Jose, CA. In related news, VLSI Technology, Inc. announces that it has licensed AC’97 technology from Intel. The AC’97 standard describes an interface between advanced digital audio peripheral components and Intel Pentium®-based computers. It will enable PCs to offer CD and broadcast quality 3D sound.

“AC ’97 is an important standard for next-generation 3D audio on PCs,” says Don Maulsby, V-P of VLSI’s Computing Products Group. “Signing up for AC’97 now will help us achieve our goal of introducing new 3D audio products at this year’s COMDEX trade show.”

The PC industry’s transition from 16-bit ISA bus synthesized audio to forthcoming 32-bit, PCI-based 3D audio creates significant opportunities for aggressive new players, such as VLSI, to capture a share of the emerging 3D audio chip market.

QXpander Technology Incorporated in New Crystal Chip

Calgary, AB. QSound Labs has announced that its stereo-to-surround technology, QXpander™, is now available to OEM’s on board a single-chip audio sub-system. The new part, the CS4238B, is manufactured by Crystal Semiconductor.

“It’s really a complete sound card on a chip,” says QSound Technical Writer Scott Willing. “The only significant element not built in is wavetable synthesis, and that’s supported through a serial interface.”

QXpander is a patented process that works with any existing stereo recorded material. It is not required in the recording process, which means a listener’s entire audio library can be enhanced by QXpander simply by playing it through the CS4238B Crystal Chip. Any two-speaker stereo system is adequate.

QXpander technology is already available in several other forms including: QSound’s highly-regarded plug-ins for the Digidesign TDM™, Sound Designer II™ and ProTools™ environments; the QTools/SF plug-in for Sonic Foundry’s Sound Forge™ editor; stand-alone parts (the QX2010 & QX2130 single chip processors); and multimedia computers by Acer and other makers.

The CS4238B offers easy implementation for manufacturers of multimedia sound cards and similar products. It is pin-for-pin compatible with Crystal’s CS4232 and CS4236 industry-standard audio codecs. And along with the QXpander algorithm, it incorporates most of the capabilities required for multimedia audio including: FM synthesis; MIDI, joystick, CD-ROM and modem interfaces; support for Microsoft’s DirectSound® API; hardware master volume control; and extensive power management features.

Samples of the CS4238B have been shipping since early August and marketing efforts by Crystal are now in full swing.

Turtle Beach Introduces Pro Series Digital Audio Cards

Fremont, CA — Turtle Beach has announced a new series of digital audio cards for Windows and PowerPC platforms. The Pro Series cards are based on Turtle Beach’s MultiSound® family of sound boards. They will feature a digital I/O option at a lower cost than any other board on the market.

The company states that the new cards feature superior signal to noise ratios and optional digital outputs, along with the impressive analog audio quality for which Turtle Beach has become famous.

According to Turtle Beach representative Seth Dotterer, the new cards will appeal to a major niche market. “The main market is going to be semi-pro musicians and recordists, people with advanced home studios, multimedia developers,” he says. “They aren’t in the same class as professional DAW hardware, but they’ll go head-to-head with products like CardD® and CardD Plus [Digital Audio Labs], at a much lower price.”

The flagship of the Pro Series, due to ship in September, is the MultiSound Pinnacle. The Pinnacle will provide superior audio (greater than -97dB S/N) from a 20-bit DAC, and Turtle Beach Hurricane Architecture for high data transfer rates. This card includes the Kurzweil MASS® Synth with channelized MIDI effects.

Other features include Windows Plug’n’Play® compatibility, upgradeable sample RAM, and a daughter board connector for an optional second synthesizer. The MultiSound Pinnacle will be bundled with Voyetra’s Digital Orchestrator Plus sequencing and editing software. It’s expected to carry a street price of approximately $429 (US).

For those just need the digital audio capabilities of the Pinnacle without the MIDI synth features, Turtle Sound is introducing the MultiSound Fiji. It will be released within several weeks of the Pinnacle. The Fiji’s digital audio capabilities are identical to the Pinnacle, and its street price is expected to fall under $300 (US).

A Pro Series Digital I/O daughter board will be available as an add-on for both the Fiji and the Pinnacle. The daughter board will provide digital input and output with zero generation loss. The card will also be sold as a pre-installed option on both of the boards. It is expected to add about $70 to the retail cost.

The final card in the Pro Series is the MultiSound Catalina, to be released in the first quarter of 1997. It will use PCI Bus architecture. It includes multiple input/output channels, digital I/O, and all the digital audio characteristics of the Fiji. The Catalina contains no MIDI synth; however a WaveBlaster® header is provided on the card.

Turtle Beach has been in the music and recording business for nearly a decade, and has established its reputation as an industry leader. It was the first company to introduce a 16 bit sound card, the first to introduce wavetable synthesis on a multimedia sound card, and the first to introduce wavetable instrument sampling on a sound card.