- Written by Staff
- Published on 20 December 2007
CEDIA stands for Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association. The show alternates between Indianapolis, Indiana, and Denver, Colorado. This year, it's Denver.
These days, custom installation is the thing, probably because home theater is the thing, and putting in a good home theater is not for the faint hearted. There are so many details to worry about, so much equipment, so many cables . . . it seems much easier to just let someone else deal with all of it. So, when it is done, you and your family can just sit back and enjoy the movies.
Slowly, over the last few years, the number of Secrets staff attending CES has diminished, while our attendance at CEDIA has increased. This year we have our largest team ever, to see and report on this show.
Photos will be uploaded as we get them taken, cropped, and labeled.
Also, note the new inclusion of High Definition Video Interviews, a first for any A/V publication.
B&K has finally updated their receiver and processor lines to include HDMI switching and HQV video processing. The new models are the AVR707 receiver and the Reference 70 processor.
Bryston was showing off their massive 1000W 28B-SST monoblock ($7500), their well received BCD-1 CD player ($2395) and a prototype of the D-180Z digital zone amplifier ($TBA).
Control4 has updated their home automation controllers. The HC-300 ($599) can handle automating up to a 15,000 square foot home. The larger HC-1000 ($2999) has even more control options and a built in media server.
Sandy Bird (middle) uploaded all the photos to our server at the end of each day.
Dr. Chris Groppi (show above) dazzled the manufacturers with his electrical engineering knowledge (he is an astrophysicist). In fact, one manufacturer of microwave transmission components asked him to review their products because they felt he is the only hifi magazine writer they have ever met who would be truly qualified. This was the first show he has attended.
Denon was showing their previously announced receivers and their new flagship separates. The processor and 10-channel amplifier will retail for $7000 each.
HQV threw a great party Friday night (Fat Tire beer is always a plus) showcasing their technologies and the many products that feature HQV processing.
Integra had their new DHS-8.8 HD-DVD player on display ($1099).
LG had their new premium "Opus" line of LCD TVs on display. This 42LBX ($2499) is being fed by the new BH200 ($999) HD DVD/Blu-ray combination player. The BH200 offers full HD DVD support, but as one can see from the back panel, no analog outputs.
Meridian held a press conference to showcase their F80 table radio ($2995) and their new iRIS iPod dock ($379). The F80, which is cobranded with Ferrari, was easily the best table radio I have ever heard. The iRIS offers video processing to clean up iTunes videos and scaling up to 1080p on either component or HDMI outputs. The iRIS also includes specially designed audio circuits to make the most of the iPod's audio output.
Panasonic introduced a new version of their 768p 42" plasma, the TH-42PX77U ($1599), and a new 1080p 65" plasma, the TH-65PZ700U ($8999). Panasonic also had two new projectors, the PT-AX200 and the PT-2000U. Prices had yet to be determined on both of these models.
Pioneer had a host of new products showcasing their new branding shift towards higher end components. Leading things off is the stunning new flagship receiver, the SC-09TX ($7000). Sporting 10 channels of digital ICE amplifiers and the ability to put out 200Wx7 alone would make this a noteworthy product, but its front panel LCD and wealth of connections make it truly stand out. Pioneer also had their previously announced VSX-91TXH and VSX-94TXH ($1600) receivers on display as well.
Pioneer also had a new Blu-ray player, the BDP-95FD ($1000), which touts itself as the first player to offer bitstream output for all of the advanced audio codecs.
Pioneer was surprisingly showing some nice looking two-channel components as well. These included the X-Z9 complete two-channel audio system ($1799), SX-A9-J stereo receiver and the PD-D6-J SACD player.
Rounding things out was a display of the excellent new Kuro plasmas.
Sumiko had a suitably minimalist looking new Primare processor, the SPA22, on display.
Rotel had a new processor, the RSP-1069 ($2200), and new digital amplifiers.
Samsung was showing their previously announced Blu-ray and combo players, an odd looking audio system and a new 1080p projector tweaked by Joe Kane.
Sanyo joins the crowded 1080p projector market with the PLV-Z2000 ($2995).
Sherwood showed some interesting receivers featuring RF remote controls.
Sim2 debuted their new 3-chip 1080p projector, the C3X 1080 ($30,000). It looked stunning even with a fair amount of ambient light in the room.
Sony had three new receivers, the STR-DA5300E($1700), the STR-DA4300ES($1300) and the STR-DA3300ES($1000). To match these receivers there was a new ES Blu-ray player, the BDP-S2000ES ($1300). Sony was also showing their growing lineup custom installtion products. The most impressive product was Sony's 'tower of power", a 200-disc Blu-ray changer/media server. Called the HES-V1000, it will retail for an altogether reasonable $3500 and will be avaialable in October.
Toshiba had their third generation HD DVD players and a new line of thine bezel Regza LCD TVs.
Boulder displayed their new 865 integrated amplifier, their first foray into integrateds, at $11,500. Boulder does all their machining in house, and it shows in the jewel like build quality of their products.
Dynaudio's limited production Sapphire 30 ($16,500/pair) was shown on a rotating turntable to show off the furniture grade tiger maple finish. This might be the best looking loudspeaker I saw at the show so far.
Anthony Gallo Acoustics displayed their new Due 2 speaker, due to begin shipping in January. This new system is based on the tweeter and midranges from the spectacular Reference 3.1. It can be configured as a center channel, a wall mounted speaker or mounted on a stand. It could prove to be a killer center channel, priced significantly lower than the larger Reference AV Center.
NAD T 785 AV Receiver ($2,999) and NAD T 175 AV Tuner Preamplifier.
NAD seems to have caught up nicely on the processors and receiver front. These new units have HDMI v1.3 supporting 1080p, an optional I-pod dock and even XM Radio. Both have Audissey Audio Setup and Calibration making it easier for the end user to get them setup properly in their room and Burr-Brown DACs for the audio nuts in our readership. Of course you get multi-zones and a large number of inputs and outputs for both audio and video.
Moneual brings a new stylish media center PC to market. The design incorporates a 7" touch screen a top load DVD player, card slot reader and HDMI out. It also comes with a wireless keyboard and remote. The package should ship in a month or so for $1995 and is one of the more unique media center PCs we have seen at the show. Moneual also sells several other form factors of media center PCs that will integrate better with a classic theater design. They also claim they will have a universal HDDVD and Blu-ray media center in their stylish form factor in the future but the release date of that is unknown.
ACE Digital Home and Universal Devices
Universal Devices showed off a great little control system. Each Box can control anywhere form 256 to 1024 devices. The boxes are basically network devices that are controlled from within media center or from a java application installed on your desktop PC. However all programming is setup within the box so even if the computer dies all your devices controls and timers still function properly. The box sells for $299 and the Marketing department at Universal Devices claims it is Lifeware for $299? I am sure there are a few other limitations but something an enthusiast could try on a limited budget. It can control anything from Lighting to Sprinkler systems.
Niveus showed off their soon to be released media center extender systems. With their recent addition of Media Center servers featuring 4 cable cards allowing for simultaneous recording of 4 high-def feeds at once, these new extenders will allow you to distribute that content all throughout the house. The details of pricing and the exact output and supported codec?s are still in flux but it looks like a promising solution.
Mediamax Media Servers
This is an older company I had long forgotten about. They are a competitor to Media Center and Media Center software solutions. What is interesting is they support archiving and playback of both HDDVD and Blu-ray into a single media server. The integration was very nice and included full cover art for each disc. Of course they also support archival of music, DVDs, photos, etc? Prices start at $5000 and go up from there depending on how much space you want your server to have. Mediamax has had HD-DVD support since spring, but Blu-ray support is new for CEDIA.
JVC adds the HD100 to their projector lineup and ups the contrast ratio to 30000:1 (this is without a dynamic iris). They now have motorized zoom and focus. No word on whether the ANSI contrast is improved, but the price is expected to go up.
Sony added to new SXRD front projectors. The VW200 is the higher end projector with a Xenon lamp and a 35000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. This projector is priced at $15,000.
The VW60 is the lower priced projector and this one is priced at $5,000. Street price should be lower which should make this an attractive option. Pictured here with the projector is an anamorphic lens.
Toshiba has a new line of LCDs' with a thin bezel. They want to maximize the size that can fit into existing cabinets.
Revel has introduced an in-ceiling speaker in their Performa lineup. You might have seen the woofer here on some Infinity speakers. Each speaker is priced at $749.
The Revel Ultima2 series have been shipping for some time. Pictured here is Kevin Voecks standing next to the Salon2. He is extremely pleased with their performance.
Below is the complete Ultima2 series.
Dish has enabled external storage to a couple of DVRs. You can use an external USB 2.0 disk with a one-time activation fee to increase your storage capacity.
HD DVD reaches a new lower price-point with the introduction of the player by Venturer. This player is expected to retail for $199.
Integra had their player in the show area next to the HD DVD truck. This player supports HDMI 1.3a and it will stream compressed audio over HDMI. It is priced at $1099.
The REL B1 is the largest Britannia range Subwoofer, replacing the Storm III. It uses a class AB analog power amplifier, with a 12" reflex loaded drver. It has
the proven REL speaker level inputs, along with separate RCA LFE inputs. All the RCA and high level inputs are always active, allowing separate music and home theater settings. The B1 retails for $3200 and is available now.
These less expensive subwoofers from REL offer high performance, musical bass at a lower price point. THe T3 starts at $600.
The Sonus Faber Concerto Domus (Right) and Grand Piano Domus (Left) have the renown Sonus Faber design and build quality, at more reasonable pricing. The 2 way Concerto is $3200 while the 3-way Grand Piano is $4500.
The new Infinity Classia line will be available in Q1, 2008. This 3-way design will retail for around $1800/pair. They promise fabulous sound at a reasonable price for a 3-way floor-standing loudspeaker.
The JBL 1000 Array ($12,000/pair) uses the same horn loaded tweeter and super-tweeter technology tricked down from the statement Project Everest speaker. The build quality was extremely good, with a mirror like piano black cabinet finish.
Totem's two way speakers have always delivered stupendous performance in small packages. The $3500 Forest will easily fit in the smallest rooms, but offers first rate sound and build quality. Unlike many high end manufacturers, their statement Wind ($8500) will easily fit in a modest room.
Lyngdorf gets my bid for the most jaw dropping audio demo at the show. Their TDAI integrated amplifier uses patented digital amplifier technology and room correction technology to make even the CEDIA sound demo rooms sound spectacularly good. The system as demonstrated with loudspeakers retails for $18,500. The TDAI-2200 integrated with analog inputs retails for $6300. Lyngdorf, from Denmark, is exclusively represented in the US by Triad. The millenium system is a separate room correction digital preamp and digital amplifier. This ultra high end solution starts at $15k and goes up depending on options.
Terrestrial Digital displayed a whole line of antennas optimized for the post 2009 DTV frequency bands. These antennas, designed and computationally modeled by a Ph.D. electrical engineer, are the real deal. Unlike a lot of the snakeoil antennas you'll find down at the big box store, these antennas offer scientifically proven performance with small size and a pleasing design. The Clearstream Tuner integrates an antenna with an ATSC tuner in a single box to allow owners of older TVs to easily upgrade when the 2009 analog shutdown comes.
Motorcycles have audio systems too.
Lexicon's new MV-5 SSP is priced at $2999. Available soon.
Lexicon also showed the RV-5, which is the successor to the RV-4 receiver. $3999.
Terra demonstrated that all-weather speaker design means exactly what it says. This working woofer was sitting in a pool of water.
Earthquake has this new subwoofer that is shaped for placement near a corner of your room. There is one active driver and two passive radiators. The amplifier has DSP with 56 bands of EQ.
CAT (California Audio Technologies) displayed several power amplifiers including this 250.7 which has seven channels (closeup in the second photo shows several tiers of amplifier circuit boards). $7950.
These REL subwoofers have a very attractive pattern on the oak, cherry, or rosewood veneers.
Paradigm always has a big display of many different models of speakers and in-wall designs.
Paradigm has recently added beryllium tweeters to their top speakers, such as on this C5v2 center channel model.
Entrance hall to CEDIA.
Some consumers don't like to have illuminated displays on their components. McIntosh revels in such displays, and so do McIntosh users (like JJ).
Klipsch C80 speakers. Everyone seems to be building speakers with curved enclosures these days, including Klipsch.
Notice that on this Energy RC-8C in-wall speaker, the crossover network is attached to the rear of the driver.
"Hey, hon. I brought home this Audio Perfection ID1-18 speaker with a neat paint job. The dealer said it was spouse approved. What do ya think?"
Velodyne introduced the MicroVee subwoofer, at $799. It uses one 6.5" driver and two 6.5" passive radiators. They anticipate the iPod generation will love them.
Nordost always has a colorful display of their cables. Several are new this year, including one that sells for $20,000 per meter pair. At the more affordable end, there is a kit of cables that is designed for custom installers, which includes cables of varying lengths that the installer is likely to need during the installation process.
Cynthia takes a rest on one of the theater chairs being shown.
Cabasse has this speaker called the Alcyone, which looks a bit like a big eye. If you are paranoid, probably not a good idea.
Denon announced a pair of new Blu-ray players, with one being a complete player and the other one being a transport with only an HDMI jack on the back.
McIntosh is getting into the video arena, with this new 1080p DLP projector. That huge lens on the front is anamorphic, so you can use all of the DLP panel to show a 2.40:1 widescreen movie.
McIntosh has returned to their past and is releasing a new Turntable (MT1D). This is a great looking unit and remains true to the McIntosh design. This particular one is a pre-production unit and there are still some color and lighting tweaks to work out. We had a discussion on vinyl at dinner last night. Piero seemed to believe the re-kindling of vinyl was a reaction to MP3. We all disagreed and felt it was the handling and caring for the music on the vinyl that provided a more religious experience to music listening. That experience just isn't found in the world of I-Pods and so we are drawn back towards vinyl. Regardless, if I were to start to rebuild my vinyl collection this turntable is the one I want. The retail for this unit should by around $8k when it ships in January.
Ahhh tubes, I love tubesâ€¦ I love how they sound, I love how they look and most of all I love the fact only a few of us use them making our systems unique. The McIntosh C2300 is an impressive looking unit which includes a tube based photo stage. The tubes are of course user serviceable by removing the top cover making tube rolling possible and a lot of fun. The C2300 is shipping now with a retail of $6000.
The McIntosh VP1000 video processor is a new venture under the McIntosh name. It has more inputs than most of the other video processors we have seen and while it doesn't support 1080p on the output side it does both upscale and downscale analog and digital signals.
Marantz is refreshing there receiver line with the SR-8002 and SR-7002 models. Both are THX Select 2 certified, have HDMI v1.3 and support DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD.
The new Marantz remote (RC9001) is the first Marantz programmable remote to support bi-directional communications. They demoed the unit accessing an I-Pod doc and one of their SR series receivers. The color screen looked great and the area around the directional buttons served as a jog wheel ... It also supports IR, RF and Wifi as communications protocols. Very cool. It also has a slightly different version of the Wizz editor that support Vista. MSRP is a pricey $1599.
B&W CT8.4 and CT7.4 LCRS Speakers.
Notice the color of the Kevlar woofers. Every since B&W pioneered yellow drivers years ago every other speaker manufacture has managed to copy them. Well B&W has changed the playing field by coloring them blue so to speak. Both models are featured in black and sell for $4000 and $1000 respectively.
ClassÃ© has caught up with the reset of the processors in terms of HDMI. The SSP-800 which will ship in the somewhat near future will support HDMI 1.3 with 4 inputs and 2 outputs. It will support OSD on all video signals including 1080p and will support 36-bit color. While it will not support scaling of the video signals it will switch them and pull off the audio which is the part we consider to be the most important. And it keeps the cool screen in the front.
Modular solution for front wall installation. $25,000 for a complete system.
Integra DHS 8.8 HD DVD player, HQV Reon video processing, HDMI 1.3a, MSRP $1099.
The Canton Chrono line is the new high-value/high-performance speaker range. Uses the company's ADT-25 aluminum dome tweeter. Between $4500-$5000 for a 5.1 system.
Popular for surround sound applications.
The Canton DSS-303 is a new iPod dock, based on Canton's exsisting midrange speakers. The MSRP is $499.
Ambienti Series in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeakers, using Vectran liquid crystal polymer drivers. 2 way speakers with 6.5" to 8" woofers.
Mirage Prestige 8" and 10" subwoofers, at $499 and $699. These subs use BASH amplifiers (200W or 300W of continuous power).
Energy ESW-8 and ESW-10 subwoofers are Energy's entry level bass reflex subwoofers, with 200W and 400W amps, respectively. Priced at $219 and $329.*
Energy Take Classic mini satellite system, $699 MSRP. Speakers are less than 7" high and weigh less than 3 pounds.
The new Klipsch Palladium ($15,000/pair) 3.5 way system uses all custom made components, including a horn loaded tweeter, inverted dome midrange and three 9" woofers. Sensitivity should be around 98 dB W-1 m-1.
Inwalls designed to fit within a standard 2x4 framing depth. LCR models are available with multiple grill options, and can be installed in any orientation.
This CM series in-ceiling uses the same driver as used in the Stagefront models, but designed for ceiling mounting. The driver locks into the mounting ring for easy
installation. The midrange and tweeter independently pivot.
Classic 2100 2 channel preamp with analog bass management is designed for seamless integration into a surround sound system for high quality 2 channel sound. The bass management allows proper use of the sub with the SSP off. MSRP $600.
The new Monitor Audio Platinum series is based on these beautiful 3 way towers, at $9000 a pair. Even on a loud tradeshow floor, these sounded quite good.
Naim Supernait integrated amp with built in DAC. $4950.
The Secrets gang had dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House with McIntosh staff one evening.
Even Krell is into the iPod dock products now.
AudioControl celebrates 30 years with this ice sculpture.
Meridian's new iPod dock, called the iRis, lets you not only play music, but processes video files so that they look almost DVD quality.Â A two hour movie takes up about 2 GB of disk space, so with the new iPod that has 160 GB, you could store all your music and dozens of movies and TV programs.
This is a close-up of the tweeter in Canton's new speaker line. Notice that it is surrounded by aluminum rather than wood or felt. Very unusual.
THX was in full force showing off the latest THX Ultra 2plus receivers. Here are some examples from Yamaha and Pioneer Elite.
Pioneer Elite was showing off their latest Blu-ray player offerings. These support all the lastest high res audio formats and 1080p24.
HD DVD was showing their library of available content.
Toshiba showed off their new 3rd generation HD DVD players. Some player come bundled with 2 HD DVDs in the box (300 and Bourne Identity) plus the additional 5 free in the mail. A3-$299, A30-$399, and A35-$499.
Marantz showed off their Blu-ray prototype player due out Q1-08.
Integra debuted their new HD DVD player with DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream support.
Samsung is all about the new HD formats. They displayed two new Blu-ray players along with their new combo player with full support of both the Blu-ray and HD DVD format.
Denon is delving into the video processor market with their new HD video processor with Silicon Optix's Realta HQV processing.
Boston Acoustics was showing off their new line of "Make it your own" Speakers. The best way I could describe these are the Swatch of speakers. While the look quite stylish on their own the grills can be replace by several different colors. While I personally like the black box version of the speaker cabinet I think I could easily see my wife matching these speakers to the curtains in the living room.
Sharp had several interesting things on display. It does appear their designers spend a lot of time thinking out how to make LCD panels easier to place in our home. This small 19" (LC-19D44U) panel available in either black or white is designed to be placed in the kitchen. The magnetic remote has 3 IR transmitters so it works when mounted on the wall as well as when it is attached to the base. The best part of the remote is it includes a clock and a countdown timer so you don't burn the cookies while watching the latest episode of Days of Our Lives. It also supports a number of inputs and tuners so you don't have to have a cable box installed in the kitchen to use it. That said it will depend a lot on your cable provider.
We saw several Blu-ray players on the floor, such as this one from Sharp,Â and they support 1080p24 and decoding for Dolby TrueHD.
A rep at Samsung shows off the new full featured combo HD DVD/Blu-ray player to a potential prospect. This is a very interesting player as it doesn't have the limitation of the earlier combo players and basically supports all features of both formats. It will also list for around $999 making it one of the more promising players we saw at the show.
Samsung LED based LCD TV (LN-T4681F).
This is a very interesting technology. Samsung has basically placed a number of banks of LED lights behind the LCD panel allowing them to vary the light output at various points of the screen. This claims to give them a 500,000:1 contrast ratio. While I am sure there is some form of compromise it looked amazing with pitch black areas and brilliant colors in the same frame. Even if it only achieves 10% of the claimed dynamic contrast ratio I would be happy. Of course the display is 1080p as well.
Samsung all in one system with Blu-ray player HT-BD2.
This is a nice all in one system that has a Blu-ray player, 1080p out and over 1000 watts of power. It support all the latest in audio formats including TrueHD and DTS-HD while still allowing you to play you old DVDs.
NAD's new T175 Pre/pro uses five modular boards, includes four HDMI v1.3 inputs, plus Audyssey MultEQ XT. $1,999.
NHT's ProTheater 5.2 system includes five speakers, each quad-amped by its own amplifier, pre/pro, two subs, and all cables.
Sonus Faber's new Elipsa series speakers. $20,000/pair.
Dali's new Motif on-wall speakers (two-way) can be mounted either horizontally or vertically. Available in January, $650 each.
Dali's on-wall version of its Mentor series speakers uses the same hybrid ribbon/soft-dome tweeter found in the floorstanding models. Also available in January, $1,100 each.
Philips Pronto 9200i - New hard button pronto with full programmability. $399, available soon.
Bryston BCD-1 redbook CD player. Fully separate (including power supplies) analog and digital circuitry. $2399.
Torus 10,000 watt (!) isolation transformer with 5 x 20A outputs. The transformer looks to be about 15" in diameter. Marketed by Bryston.
While there has been lots of coverage on the new JVC 1080p projector some people have forgotten JVC also produces displays. The 989 Procision line up is only available though authorized dealer and include their second generation of high-speed multi-directional 10-bit 120Hz panels. The models include a 37" (LT-37X898), 42"(LT-42X898) and 47" (LT-47X898) priced at $2200, $2600 and $320. All models are 1080p and include 3 â€“ v1.3 HDMI ports.
Toshiba released 42" and 46" 1080p displays in their Regza line with super thin bezels. The benefits go beyond the enhanced looks the panels can now be placed in smaller cabinets. As an example this 46" display can be placed in the same cabinet as a 42". The 46" (46RF35OU) with list for $2499 and the 42" for $1899 and will ship near the end of September.
I visited the Panasonic booth and met up with Jeff Samuels who showed me a number of their new Plasma displays. Jeff explained that many of Panasonics customers were looking for a sleeker design so all the new displays are fitted with a thin gloss black finish. The other new enhancement to the panels is that the half life brightness is now rated for 100,000 hours instead of 60,000. What really impressed me was the price point these displays were hitting. Basically 1080p 42" plasma were in the $1799 range.
Panasonic also released their LIFI RPTVs. The benefit of these units is the fact the bulbs last almost forever. Panasonic is offering a 5 year warranty on the bulbs for these sets. The 61" will sell for $2199 and the 56" for $1899.
Kalidescape showed off an I-Pod integration that is somewhat different that all the other I-Pod Docks and Radios. The new Kalidescape software will allow you to take any collection of PCM music that is stored on their server and sync it back to I-Tunes and your I-Pod. However all the meta data in I-Tunes is replaced by the metadata provided be the Kalidescape server.
The LG LBX line of LCDs have the chassis designed by Bello and I have to say they do look great. They are all 1080p 120Hz panels with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. On the plasma side they are achieving 35000:1 contrast ration and also including a USB media port.
Here's some of the Secrets staff enjoying local Mexican food at dinner.
So, which color do you want your speakers?
Of course, at a custom installer convention, wall-mount speakers would be a big thing.
Mitsubishi showed what they call "UltraThin Frame LCD" flat panel TVs.
Dinner with the Paradigm speaker group.
Adam Audio, a pro-audio company in Berlin, Germany, are now offering speakers to consumers. You can see from the photo that they are very big.
Lumagen's latest video processor, called the Radiance, has six HDMI inputs. Previous models, such as the one the Radiance is sitting on, have DVI inputs.
Artison gets into "SoundBar" for flat panel displays with a 3-channel $1,200.00 MSRP slim design. Designed with a combination of 5-1" Super audio Tweeters and 6-3" Kevlar midranges.
Atlantic Technology among other things showed their THX Ultra 2 8200e floor-standing speakers. Part of their large home theater package, the 8200e is an improved version of the 8200 line. A 2 subwoofer package including L/C/R and dipole surrounds will set you back $10,000.00.
Don't tell me vinyl hasn't not only maintained a following but a resurgence. Even at CEDIA custom installers are encouraged to include a turntable with their packages. The Reference Acutus from AVID belt drive unit is a gorgeous out-in-the-open piece. Belt driven, the unit has a separate power supply improving base and treble. The Acutus with power supply will set you back $26,000.00 and change. More affordable units derived by the design of the Acutus, the Volvere III is modestly priced at about $5,000.00.
Renowned Canton revises the Karat line with an extraordinarily finished package available in liquid white or black.
A pretty little integrated amp from Decco in wood about $1,000.00 when it comes out later this year. Look closely to see the exposed glowing tube.
Audio enthusiast and really nice guy Sandy Gross delivers from Definitive Technology, the elegant granite based Mythos SE SuperTowerâ„¢ at $1,800.00 each and you get a lot for your money. A 300 watt built in subwoofer drives the racetrack style driver complimented by "high definition" midrange drivers and a new voice coil tweeter. They sounded wonderful so thanks in advance Paul DiComo, DT's new ace V.P. and Marketing Manager for sending me a pair for review, wink..wink..!
For the custom installer Definitive Technology showed and demonstrated the in-ceiling Reference RCS III at about $500.00 each and will be available in early 2008. Not shown is the accompanying bi-polar surround in-wall unit RSS III at $400.00 each. Partner the package up with a Reference IWSub in-wall subwoofer or two, and you"re away!
Infinity also offered their version of the popular in-ceiling speaker with the ERS 610 at $599.00. Note the squarish woofer driver which operates as a diaphragm which Infinity refers to as "Maximum Radiating Surfaceâ„¢ (MRSâ„¢) flat-panel driver technology" said to improve clarity.
KEF presence is shown with a number of new products from this iconic British speaker manufacturer. The kit 540 system includes a remote controlled DVD player, a 5.1 speaker package featuring Uni-Q drivers. The system allows multiple inputs from cable and TV to iPod. The system costs $2,800.00 yet there is more! Kick in another $600.00 and go wireless for the surrounds with the KEF 2.4 GHz wireless system which can be applied to any speaker. A transmitter and two receivers make up the system.
The very handsome new XQ line from KEF featured in 3 wood finishes, birds-eye maple, mahogany and piano black blew me away in craftsmanship and design. Price between the iQ and the Reference lines, the XQ has 5 models priced from $700.00 to $1,700.00 each. Built upon the Uni-Q driver technology array of precise imaging with aligned tweeter and midrange driver, the package is just gorgeous.
KEF representatives showed me the new Reference 208/209 subwoofers. Designed to compliment their incredible Reference line (still made in England), the 209 sports a huge 18" cone and is powered by a 1000 watt amplifier with built-in digital signal processing. A microphone measures the room acoustics based on the placement and compensates for volume, phase, polarity and crossover parameters, all adjustable by remote control. The 208 has 500 watts and a 12" cone. This is a huge subwoofer weighing 114 pounds and responds down to 15 Hz (+/- 3 db off axis) so don't be frightened by the $9,000.00/$5,000.00 MSRP price tags.
Highly anticipated and well worth the wait, the Thiel CS3.7 is finally here and available. Jim Thiel designed the floor speaker with a formed aluminum top and curved wood-laminated side panels, none parallel. The 3-way design includes a high-output 1" tweeter and 10" woofer and impressively a 5" ribbed midrange diaphragm that is meant to "eliminate audible resonances". At $9,900.00 per pair, this 90dB sensitive speaker should be easy to drive. Needless to say it sounded great!