Acoustic Research is taking the idea of a "bookshelf" speaker to a new extreme with this model from the Home Decor Series. The SAT510, a quite substantial traditional bookshelf speaker, hides inside a fake-but-convincing shell designed to look like four well-read, weathered books. The front of the books have tiny perforations that let the sound through. Other various disguises - like table clocks, lamps, and planters - are also available.
OK, as far as trade show wrap-ups go, this one is pretty early, being written on the last day of CEDIA 2006, before I've had full opportunity to absorb and digest the goings on this week. While I'm reserving my right to add more to this blog, here are the salient things standing out right now.
The best thing I heard at the show was the JL Audio demo. Partnered gear included a SIMS2 projector, Screen Research screen, HALCRO Logic disc player, Dynamat acoustic treatment, and Tributaries cable plus JL's speakers, subs, and electronics. The demo had everything that matters including big bass, non-abrasive midrange, and wide dynamics. Subs are extremely adjustable, using either an automatic setup routine or manual controls.
Approximately 87 percent of all speaker models introduced at the show were from Paradigm. Bill VanderMarel shows off the new Signature line with beryllium tweeter. Even more significant, to me, is the fourth-gen revision of the Studio line--the second-gen Studio/20 happens to be my longtime reference speaker--with the aluminum tweeter upgraded to a better one and the polymer woofer giving way to satin-anodyzed aluminum. Highlight of the revised Monitor series is a new and larger version of Paradigm's classic budget bookshelf model, the Titan. Millenia is the new "lifestyle" line, and there are in-walls galore.
Top-flight DVDO deinterlacing is the highlight of Arcam's DV139 DVD-Video/-Audio/SACD universal player. It acknowledges the latest fad in video specsmanship by upscaling images to 1080p though it is not a Blu-ray or HD DVD player. Still, given the fact that the first-gen Blu-ray and HD DVD players don't play SACD or DVD-Audio, the DV139 may deserve a place as the second (or first) of two players on your rack. (Feeling artsy, I forbade removal of the water bottle.)
These two Canadian speaker brands may now be under the Klipsch umbrella but they retain their distinctive identities and sounds. I was most impressed by Energy's in-walls including the RC-6W left/center/right speaker ($350), RC-8C surround ($325), and RC-8C sub ($600). They have the clarity that is Energy's signature at affordable prices. Pictured is the Mirage OMD-15 tower ($1250/each), a relatively more affordable member of the OmniSat series. It bounces tweeter output off a spoon-shaped object to achieve surround-like spaciousness even with just two channels, though it would also form a surround system with the matching center ($750) and satellite ($375/each).
Snell's legendary designer Joe D'Appolito has taken the LCR 7 ($1000/each), favorably reviewed in our pages by Steve Guttenberg, and gotten two new models out of the same driver array, including a silk dome tweeter and two 5.25-inch treated-paper woofers. The ICS 1030 ($900/each) is an in-cabinet model while the AMC 6030 ($1250/each) is an in-ceiling model.
You don't need a fancy docking station to link your iPod to a big system. A patch cable will do, the kind that has a stereo mini-plug at one and two RCA connectors at the other. But many of the cables sold for this purpose are of unreliable quality. Wireworld promises better performance with the iWorld, pictured. Also pictured is a green teabag because it's good for you.
Xantech's four-source HD44CC5 High Definition Component Video Matrix Switcher let's you send four streams of high-definition 1080i video and digital audio up to 1000 feet over CAT5. You'll need a HDRXGS01 CAT5 receiver in each zone. The receiver automatically senses the cable run length in 20-feet increments and self-adjusts for best picture quality. The HD44CC5 is coming in January 2007 for $1895. Each receiver is $250.
Canton's fine people pulled us aside to show off the new CD 3200. It's a sleek, beautiful, contemporary-looking silver tower that has an internal 200-watt IcePower amp and four aluminum 4-inch mid/bass drivers and one of Canton's ADT-25 aluminum-manganese tweeters with a 2-1/2-way crossover. The CD 3200s are $1600 each.
On the show floor Saturday I spotted industry veteran rep and all around good guy Phil Callahan, who was nursing a bruised ego due to the pounding Notre Dame was receiving from Michigan on the football field. Being the professional he is Phil sucked it up and introduced me to new-ish client Leon speakers and its main man Jeff Gordon (not that Jeff Gordon).
On Saturday UAV Editor Tom Norton and I crossed the street from the Convention Center, braving vicious, howling winds to get to HD DVD’s version of the Madden cruiser to get some of that old time religion with the HD DVD camp and video industry icon and iconoclast Joe Kane.
Two of JL Audio's three massive are now pumping it up: the 12" Fathom f112 and the 13.5" Fathom f113. These beasts are big, loud, claim to go down to 22 Hz, and use a room acoustic correction system that's supposed to help produce more balanced bass throughout the room. The system works much like what's found in a number of receivers these days, in which you plug a microphone into the front of the sub, and the sub automatically generates a series of tones that are analyzed by the internal circuitry to get a final optimization curve. The Fathom f112 has an internal 1500-watt amp and sells for $2600 in satin black. The 2500-watt f113 sells for $3200 in satin black. A 305-pound beast with dual 13.5" woofers that goes below 20 Hz will be available sometime next year.
I finally made it over to Thiel’s live demonstration featuring the CS3.7 floorstanders with the just announced SCS4 bookshelf speakers pulling center channel and surround duties. And wouldn’t you know this was another one of the few places in the entire CEDIA Expo at which one could actually hear some music?