French audio manufacturer, heretofore excelling in two channel audio has put their toe into the home theater waters with their YA701 multichannel receiver. Okay, first off, there's no video switching built in, but YBA offers a video box with two HDMI inputs (one output) and two component and two composite inputs (and outputs). There is no accommodation for HD audio formats, but YBA plans an upgrade in the future for Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD MA. Pretty cool and we're looking forward to the next generation.
Oops, Paradigm has done it again. The original Reference Series Studio 20 was a simple rectangular solid. In version 4 it acquired a curved tweeter-on-top portion. And at CEDIA, Paradigm showed yet another new version with side curves. The former vinyl wrap has also given way to wood veneers. As a user of two generations of Studio 20s, including the now-outgoing one, I'm more than interested in this. How amazing that it should happen in the same show where Rotel updated my reference receiver. The new Studio 20 ships in January, pricing to be determined.
Also new from Paradigm are the in-wall PCS80SQ and in-ceiling PCS ADR, $299/each. I didn't get a chance to hear them but it's encouraging that Paradigm designed rack-mount amps especially for them, including the 300-watt X300 and 850-watt X850. My colleagues have already covered the 3000-watt Signature Sub 25, with its three-inch woofer excursion, but I thought I'd throw in a rear shot. Note the USB input which facilitates mic measurement, because if there's one component in your system you really need to dial in right away, it's the sub!
In-wall models have always been thick on the ground at CEDIA and in recent years good ones have proliferated. Among the best I heard at this show were Totem Acoustic's Tribe In-wall LCR. Even amid the noise of the show floor, it immediately began communicating musically with a sonic signature that should be very familiar to Totem fans. Bass was strong, dynamics good. Price is $995/each. Totem also showed and demoed the Tribe In-Ceiling, with its dual angled baffles, and considering the acoustic challenges facing any in-ceiling model, it sounded almost equally good. Both have multiple woofers, passive radiators, magnetic grille, back box, anodized aluminum front frame, and biwire terminals.
Want to make your sub disappear? Pinnacle's SCI M Sub ($600) is compact enough to fit behind a sofa. It can also work on-wall. Look for it in 2009 for $550. The external amp is $450. Pinnacle is also adding a new S-FIT line to supplement the existing Black Diamond line. In lieu of the latter's gloss enclosures, it has a simple woodgrain-like vinyl wrap with some nice build-quality details like metal grille pins. Models include floorstanding for $998/pair, monitor for $315/pair, LCR for $190/each, satellite for $115/each, and center for $265/each.
Yamaha probably doesn't get enough credit as a speaker manufacturer, so let's start with the new NS-700 line with their gleaming black gloss enclosures. I especially like the truncated-pyramid shape of the 300-watt NS-SW700 sub ($800). Other models include a tower ($800/each), monitor ($400/each), and center ($500/each). All have aluminum tweeters and PMD woofers. Sometime I'll have to get Yamaha to tell me what PMD is. Of course Yamaha is also a major power in receivers. New ones include the second from top-line RX-Z7, with 140 watts times seven, Anchor Bay video processing, and web browser for $2700. There's an RX-V3900 with the same power spec and fewer features ($1900), though like its higher-priced sibling, it is Sirius/XM-ready, and boasts both internet radio and free digital over-the-air HD Radio reception. Another notable feature is a new HD-savvy GUI that I'd really like to have a look at -- Yamaha has been stuck in 1980s-style monochrome graphics for too long. There's an RX-V1900 with 130 watts times seven ($1400) and more modest feature set. Yamaha also showed the YAS-71, a 2.1-channel soundbar with 70 watts times two plus a further 70 watts for the sub channel.
Dude, when you see someone standing with a camera, and he's obviously waiting for his auto-focus to kick in, have the courtesy to walk around the photographer, not straight into the photo, you jerk, especially when your butt is large enough to obscure everything the camera is aimed at.
There are 12 coffee can sized driver housing lined up facing each other and porting out that long slot you see. It takes four of these units in total to get the THX seal of approval during install, but the price of $7,000 is actually pretty reasonable compared to a couple of $3,000 discrete subs.
With most of the same goodies found the $5,500 flagship RX-Z11 I recently reviewed in Home Theater magazine, this $2,700 receiver from Yamaha is a killer bargain! The below black and above white clipping Kris Deering noted in the review has been corrected in the new models (including newer Z11s). You get Internet radio, 140 watts x 7 channels, Rhapsody streaming, XM/Sirius readiness, and web-browser control, five HDMI inputs, two outputs, and scaling up to 1080p.
The good news is, owners of the Theta Casablanca can finally get HDMI switching capability (4-in / 1-out). The price? $4,000 provided you're at Casablanca 3 level. To get there from my original Casablanca would add between $3K-$4k to that price. How bad do you want it?
The $2,799 flagship receiver from HK has all the right buzz words going for it, including Faroudja DCDi video processing and scaling to 1080p, Dolby Volume, in-receiver decoding of Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD MA, four HDMI inputs (only one output though), Internet radio and seven channels of 110 watts.
These will set you back $3,000 a pair, but these three way speakers, with dual 6.5" Kelvar woofers, 5" midrange, Nautilus tube-loaded tweeter looks to be meant for serious theater duty. Available in gloss black, rosenut or wenge.