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CES 2008 Show Report Part 2

ARTICLE INDEX

Totem was also featuring was has also become a favorite is the on-wall Tribe 3. Featuring their hand-made "Torrent" woofer, the Tribe compliments visually flat panel TV's.

 

Still one of the most unique speaker designs, Salagar introduces a total package for home theater which includes the Sonnet S207 ($8,200/pair in the painted finish), the Sonata S212 subwoofer ($3,800), and the Serenade S307 center channel ($4,900). "DROP DEAD" gorgeous with an automotive quality finish on the sensuously curved chassis'! Heavily, heavily internally braced the cabinet felt solid. Reminiscent of musical instruments, the new line follows the Symphony S210 introduced last year.

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The speaker stands are optional but they look so great together I'd think you'd spend the extra $700 for them.

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The Sonnet S207 is a 2-way, 2-200 watt powered speaker with a 1" soft dome tweeter and a 7" mid-bass driver. Similarly the S307 center channel has an additional 7" driver. Inputs are either balanced or unbalanced and Salagar provides 4 programmed configurations for room settings done at the factory upon ordering, all done through an RS232 connection on the rear. The S212 subwoofer has a 12" active and 12" passive radiator and is powered with an ample 500 watt internal amplifier.

 

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Although I only heard a 2-channel demonstration I was struck by open, airy and detailed presentation. I'd love to spend some time with this system, I'm pretty sure I'd never let them go. (http://www.salagar.com/)


Thiel Audio fascinated me with their new Thielnet developed with BICOM. Multiple zone technology allows distribution through an IP addressable system with plug-and -play for a whole house system. The dB-1 processor with Dolby and DTS can handle up to 64 loudspeakers in various configurations. The SCS4D with the dS1 digital module is an IP based monitor speaker. No pricing or dates are available but this seems like a project to watch.

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By now we've all heard about SAF, (Spouse Acceptance Factor if I have to spell out for you). One of the unique products was from the French speaker maker Waterfall with glass enclosures. Besides the aesthetic advantage of glass, it also has acoustic advantages because glass is denser than wood and therefore vibrations are limited. With only the tweeter and mid-range woofer visible the lines running down the face give away the crossover mounted in the base along with a low frequency driver really quite clever. The 3- driver version of Evo is $4,000 per pair while the 4-driver is $6,000.

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Also available are the Hurricane wall or shelf mounted versions for surrounds at $800 each. "High Force" 1, 2 and 3 subwoofers are not surprisingly in glass but are also available in 3 versions from $1,200, $1,600, and $2,000 respectively.

Immedia Sound was showing among other things, Sonics speakers designed by Joachim Gerhard. The monitor size 2-way bass reflex Anima at $2,600 and the floorstanding Allegretto 2-way at $4,500 along with the larger handsomely Amerigo 3-way floorstanding $5,500 were accompanied by the beautiful Spiral Groove turntable SG-1 at $20,000 and the SG-2 at $15,000.

 

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Cary Audio Design showed the Classic series of amplifiers and CD players by inviting Proclaim Audioworks for their inventive DMT-100 speakers. The DMT-100's flexible arm design allows the mid-range and tweeter "œorbs" to be positioned exactly in distance and alignment required to allow for room corrections. The outboard crossover circuitry is housed in a component which allows individual balance and tonal adjustments for each driver. Dan Herrington, partner and designer of the system decided to begin with a perfect orb or sphere, always said to be the best speaker enclosure. Dampening is accomplished with sand lining the interior. The incredible design of intricate arms and pulleys is a tour-de-force in engineering and design, very cool! Shell out $27,000 if you want the entire setup. The package comes already assembled with the custom lined shell, very much how an instrument case provides protection.

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Driving the package from Cary was the CAD 120S ($5,000), a class AB, push-pull amplifier which operates in both ultra-linear and triode mode operated from a switch on the front with ultra-linear doubling the output of triode“ triode at 60 watts and ultra-linear at 120 watts per channel.

TAD or Technical Audio Devices was considered Pioneer's professional audio department back in 1975 when they impressed the industry with the Model-1. All these years later and a little beryllium, Pioneer has made a huge statement with Reference One. A pair of 10" bass drivers achieve 25 Hz and a Concentric beryllium midrange/tweeter round out this 3-way, front ported 330 pound speaker. At a mere $45,000, Reference One will be available later this year. A pair of Ayre monoblock amplifiers made the sound big and delicate at the same time.

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Wisdom Audio showed off their Sage Series which range from 20" to 95", from floor standing to on-wall, and in-wall applications. The working package includes full height units with a horizontal center channel and the rack of components that support up to 7.3 channels, the SC-1 System Controller. Crucial to the operation is the Audyssey MultEQ room correction technology. A full 2.1 system with amplifiers will cost $28,000!

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A rare treat at CES is to have a good live jazz performance and with Mark Levinson developing a speaker and component line with none other than the electronics giants LG, legendary saxophonist Lee Konitz was on hand.Those in attendance witnessed a wonderful solo rendition that Mark recorded and immediately played back on the system.


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Very little information was available on the 2 lines Levinson has developed other than price. The package we listened to was the AP3133 which included a 7.1 150wpc receiver. The second "lifestyle" system, the much sleeker LHT888 will also include a DVD/receiver combo.

These HTIB packages will hit the market later this year and we're all curious to see where this collaboration takes us.

 

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PS Audio made a huge splash at CEDIA when they launched their new CD player or Memory Transport. Playback is from a memory chip rather than directly from the CD and a multitude of connections like USB, expect it to work seamlessly with a music server. Priced at $1,695, expect perhaps summer availability.

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One of the most beautifully styled floorstanding speakers was from the Italian Eventus Audio with their phobos which features the proprietary EA-HDR or high density resin material. What I noticed was a strong horizontal line about every 1 ½" which exposes the other technology, SACC. This refers to the idea that the cabinet is as neutral as possible by individually stacking layers of MDF versus full panels thereby reducing vibration. What I was able to hear was the three-way monitor Lysithea on beautiful stands at $28,000 for the pair.

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My eyes though kept coming back to the rust-colored phobos, said to be priced at $17,000. I noticed the substantial base (not bass), and was to learn the crossover is located at the bass.

Tube gear is of course everywhere yet very few offer such value and performance like PrimaLuna and their ProLogue series has been touted for some time. New however are the additional pieces added to the DiaLogue Series of amplifiers and integrated units. "Tube Dude" Kevin Deal of Prima Voce, distributor of PrimaLuna, took me through the lineup starting with the DiaLogue One integrated with the best feature a remote control switches from triode to ultralinear modes with 36 wpc in ultralinear and 18 wpc in triode, which most seemed to prefer. Now available are DiaLogue 4 at $2,199, 5-$2,525 and monoblock DiaLogue 6 at $4,350 per pair.

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Denon's surprise showing was hidden behind the theater room. Almost secretively Denon quietly demonstrated the stunning midi separates normally only available in Europe or Japan. Yes they had all the new great receivers including the new 5308 and their new DHT soundbar, and of course their Blu-Ray player/transport, but today I was especially attracted to this small room. The CX Series included a SACD player and receiver and optional speakers. Solidly built, elegantly styled, it sounded sweet! At about $1,300 per component it's not inexpensive but very alluring.

 

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McIntosh unveiled an unbelievable new turntable, the MT10 at CEDIA and before they knew it 50 orders were placed with dealers, all from the prototype. Step back and it's a classic McIntosh component, until the brilliant glowing thick platter gives away its true nature. At $9,000, reasonable in today's world, the 3 speeds, 33 1/3, 45 and 78 can be monitored from the front classic meter. The MT10 includes a custom aluminum tone arm and moving-coil ebony cartridge.

 

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This CES, the world of displays, was all about big, thin, fast and black. Clearly the industry has received the message that consumers like flat panel displays, and are showing some real innovation in improving the image on plasma and LCD-based displays. There were a number of new projectors on display as well.

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