Denon's receiver demos made good use of Dynamic Volume technology licensed from Audyssey. If the dynamics of action movie soundtracks are too much for you, you'll like the way Dynamic Volume keeps voices constant but curbs the more brutal excesses of effects -- by monitoring the signal, not just the room. If you watch TV programs via your receiver, it'll help tame those blaring ads too. Dynamic Volume is available as a firmware upgrade for some existing models. New models shown by Denon included the two-zone/two-source AVR1909, 90 watts times seven; the AVR989, 115 watts; the AVR889, 100 watts; and the AVR789, 90 watts. All have onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.
That thing dangling from the neck of Soundmatters' Lee Adams is the foxL Pocket Monitor, a portable audio device said to go as low as 80Hz. I'll just have to get one and see. The Bluetooth version is $249, the other $199.
Yup, that is a stack of four 15-inch subwoofers. Specifically, it's the Tannoy 15DS sub and it sells in the low four figures. The Tannoy demo also made use of the IW63 in-wall speaker. Invert the mount and it becomes, as it did here, an on-wall.
You hire a marketing firm and what happens? They decided to rechristen your cool wired/wireless music networking scheme with a word containing a diaeresis (look it up). But then, they also come up with cool ideas like festooning your demo room with LP covers. Signal sources included both a turntable and a Blu-ray player. It was tasty. Look for Zöet in 2009.
All of NAD's surround processors and receivers (except from the least expensive) have been updated to modular form (modules shown here sans receiver), to increase flexibility, minimize obsolescence, and provide for easier service.
Pioneer showed its new, high-end BDP-09FD Blu-ray player ($2200, November). It's full Profile 2.0, performs all the latest audio wrinkles, and also incorporates some of the highest-end audio components to be found in any Blu-ray player.
Not really, but two new power conditioners from PS Audio could keep your electricity from being at fault when it comes to better sound and picture. Sure, you might think AC is just AC, but if you’ve ever been to my house you’d know that minor fluctuations (not to mention major ones) can do some insidious things to electronics gear. PS Audio’s PowerPlay conditioners clean up your power company’s act – and they also are fully configurable, programmable, and controllable over the Internet. The web interface can show you cool stuff like the fluctuations in voltage and noise in the current. They can also let you know of unfortunate electrical goings-on in your home if you’re away. Ideal for the installer crowd here is the fact that the installer can also be notified of problems that might be fixed by accessing the PowerPlay conditioner over the web – instead of making a long, gas guzzling service call. Plan on spending $2,000 or $1,000, and then maybe another $1,000 for the controllable UPS. Shockingly expensive, you say? Not if you consider the sonic and visual benefits plus the long-term reliability and security aspects. I used to dismiss power conditioning as voodoo, but now that I’ve seen how a bad electric mojo can mess with your stuff I’m a believer.
You’ll find more rock-like speakers here at CEDIA than anywhere else in the world. A new one from an old company caught my eye as I was moving through the crowds to get to my next appointment. StereoStone’s Fountain Speaker has a real working water fountain, submersible low-voltage lighting, and an 8” woofer with left and right tweeters. The whole thing ships completely assembled in a single box – without the water, I assume – and sells for $599.95.
Looking at this flat panel edge-on, you'd think it's an OLED, but it's actually an LCD TV that measures only 9.9mm thick. The light source is a set of white LEDs placed along the edge of the screen, so there is no local dimming. Like most of Sony's upscale LCDs, this one offers 120Hz frame interpolation, a wide color gamut, and Bravia Link. The off-axis performance I saw was amazing.