For readers expecting a full review of the brand new Sony PCM501 digital recorder in this issue, may I apologise for its non-appearance. No sooner had we completed our review tests with the device and returned it to Turnkey (thanks for the loan guys!) than we found out that Sony, in their infinite wisdom, had immediately decided to discontinue it in the UK! Result: red faces all round, and none more so than those belonging to the poor Turnkey staff who were (through no fault of their own) left with orders for the machine that they had no way of fulfilling. Why? Well you'd need to be a fly on the wall at a Sony marketing meeting to know that. Let's just say that if you are one of the people who managed successfully to buy the 501 before it was discontinued, then you really are lucky.
Linked to the video format PCM501, but on a slightly different tack, is this month's feature on 'HiFi Sound' (page 10). It seems the domestic video recorder is quickly becoming the centre of the home recording setup of the not-so-distant future, and Carl Anthony's overview of this latest method of achieving hi-fidelity audio from a conventional video machine is a certain pointer in that direction. Witness the Akai MG1212 reviewed in this edition: it too adopts a video-style cassette for its audio storage medium, although it does not utilise the FM technique applied to the audio signal, as is the case with the latest Sony HiFi Sound video recorder.
New designs incorporating a video tape format are obviously in the germination period at present (it is winter remember), let's hope they blossom in the spring and appear in all their glory this summer. Not like the ill-fated Sony PCM501, which suffered frost-bite and died.