1. The website www.classicalarchives.com
initially looked promising. For a nominal fee you can download a large library
of classical music pieces in three formats: WMA (low-fi suitable for streaming
with dialup connections), MPEG (higher fidelity), and MIDI (not music directly,
but instructions for a synthesizer). However it seems to be mainly smaller works
by unknown artists. For example I typed in Bruckner and got one piece: Ave Maria.
No symphonies. I typed in Simon Rattle and got nothing. So it is mainly for people
who wish to explore the chamber repertoire and not explore major artists.
2. The Gemini iKey is an intriguing device that allows portable
recording onto USB memory devices, potentially a replacement for DAT machines.
About the size of a postcard and an inch thick, it comes with an analog line input
and USB port for attaching an iPod, flash drive, or portable harddrive. Since
2 Gig flashdrives are now down to $100, it allows recording an entire concert
inexpensively with the high reliability of no-moving-part storage. Transferring
the recording to the computer is as simple as plugging the flashdrive into an
open USB port. Unfortunately the noise floor is colored with a "ch ch ch
ch" sound and it measures only 66 dB dynamic range. The manufacturer says
they are working to improve it. Addition of an SPDIF digital input would make
it hot item, especially at the street price of $150 or so. www.geminidj.com
President, Boston Audio Society
email me HERE