As beautiful looking subwoofers go, here's another one. The 15" driver has a 3" peak-to-peak excursion that necessitates a special grill (not shown). 3,000 watts (7,500 watts dynamic) of class D power. $2,500.
Things are looking up for Martin Logan as they move into in-ceiling speakers. The Helos 100 is a two way speaker which sits at an angle in your ceiling so you can aim it at your listening area. The tweeter sticks out like a mushroom and is also aimed at the listening area. An aluminum cone, Vojtko sourced crossover, a contour switch all add to the Helos' "not me too" approach. $500/each.
The fruitful collaboration between Pioneer and speaker designer extraordinaire Andrew Jones continues with the EX Series Reference Class Architectural Loudspeakers. Demoed without sub, they produced tight, fast, strong bass with the kind of silky midrange Pioneer EX speaker fans have come to love. In fact, they are in the running for best sound of show. Murderously brilliant in-walls. Go figure. Drivers borrowed from Pioneer's more conventional EX speaker models include ceramic graphic tweeters, magnesium mids, and aramid/carbon composite woofers. Pioneer also added two receivers to the line. The more noteworthy one is the SC-07 ($2200) which uses the same digital amplification found in the top-line monster SC-09. If you'd prefer THX to digital amps, try the VSX-03TXH ($1000) which is Select2-certified. Both include HDMI jitter-reduction circuits and are shipping now.
Though better known for its gorgeous and high-performing amps, McIntosh also does speakers, such as the new XR200 floorstander. With seven tweeters, a dozen midrange drivers, and eight 8-inch woofers, each backed with a 12-pound motor, it's not likely to compress with any signal known to humankind. The demo sounded good. Also new from McIntosh are the MDLP2 DLP projector, MPC1500 power controller, and MC303 three-channel amp (pictured with extremely cheerful showgoer in upper left).
Yesterday's photo opportunity missed a big piece of Snell news: Legendary designer Joe D'Appolito is now on staff fulltime. It's already paying dividends with three new lines, all of which repurpose the same driver array for different applications. The Signature Elegant Series comes in good-looking veneered enclosures. The Signature Hidden Series comes in plain-vanilla MDF for use in cabinetry. And the Signature Invisible is, as you'd guess, for in-wall use and supplement other non-Signature in-wall and in-ceiling models. Some of the in-ceilings got an actual 5.1-channel movie demo to demonstrate that surround can live in your ceiling. Finally, who could resist another beauty shot, this time of the $50k Illusion floorstander, a seventh-generation reiteration of the history-making Snell A Reference. It's dual 10-inch, offers bass down to 27Hz, and threatens output of 112dB. The pretty amps are from fellow D&M stablemate Marantz.
Escient has added a whole new product line, supplementing the fabulous five-year-old Fireballs with the new Vision media servers. Models include the VX600, with four swappable one-terabyte drives, enough to hold 600 movies, $7999; VX-200, two times 1TB, $5999; and VX-100, two times 500GB, $3999. Asked if Escient expected the kind of copyright lawsuits that have bedeviled Kaleidescape, the answer was no, the products are unrancorously licensed with the CCA, the DVD DRM authority. Escient is also working with Sony to make its streaming products compatible with the forthcoming 400-disc Blu-ray player. The GUI looks great, with cover view for both DVD and CD, and Rhapsody compatibility is part of the package.
Want to send an HDMI signal over 300 feet of cable? Can't be done. But you could plug it into the Liberty Cable DigitalLinx, which converts to more robust RGBHV for the cable run, then converts back to HDMI at the other end.
So lighting won’t make your home theater sound better, or will it? No, it really won’t, but it might make you think your home theater sounds better – and even if it doesn’t, it’ll definitely make your room look better. Traxon Technologies is a company that offers just about any kind of colorful – and changeable – lighting products, from strip lights to panels to, well, you name it. The lighting system I saw had a simple, programmable controller that let you change the colors of the lighting as well as program a schedule of color changes. You could even do a disco floor if you wanted to, but I think that definitely would make your home theater sound bad.
Remember, the Sherwood R-972 receiver with Trinnov room correction? It's now scheduled to arrive in December for $1800, and is probably worth the wait, judging from the demo. Despite deliberately misplaced speakers -- center too low and to the right, others too high -- it generated a warm and rich soundfield that was surprisingly vivid and involving. And it did so in two locations, the first with an orthodox seven-speaker array, and the second using only the right side-surround and right rear-surround. The idea is that you may want to listen in different locations, a good idea for rooms with more than one piece of furniture, right? The setup mic is an unusual four-part object. Of the three parts of the room-EQ process (measurement, analysis, correction) it's the analysis that's special, as Trinnov founder Arnaud Laborie explained while showing the professional version of the product. It's pictured. Notice the two color-coded speaker sets: one showing the front speakers where they ought to be, and the other one showing where they actually are.
New from Marantz is the BD7003 Blu-ray player, shown here atop the SR6003 AVR. At $800, it quite pricey for a Profile 1.1 player, though it does play all recordable formats, which many BD players don't. Notice the gently curving facia on both units, an elegant design statement.
Epson's new step-down 1080p line includes the Pro Cinema 7100 (<$3000) and Home Cinema 6100 ($2000). These do not offer the Ultra Black (UB) technology, so the claimed dynamic aspect ratio is "only" 18,000:1. Otherwise, the similarities and differences between them as much the same as the 7500 UB and 6500 UB.