T he rest of the industry may not be ready to abandon dome tweeters, but Sandy Gross and his new company, GoldenEar Technology, are using accordion-like High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) high-frequency drivers in place of the ubiquitous domes found in 90-some-odd percent of the speakers currently on the market. The HVFR drivers work in a manner similar to an accordion and generate sound by squeezing a folded diaphragm from the sides rather than in an up-and-down motion. The result is a dramatically open, sublime sound free of any listening fatigue you might get from a lesser, standard driver – at least, that’s what I heard in the GoldenEar Technology booth earlier this morning. The HVFR tweeters are in the $1,249/ea floor-standing Triton Two Towers, the$499/ea SuperSat satellites , and the $249/ea SuperSat 50 satellites. GoldenEar Technology is also introducing a pair of powered subwoofers (ForceField 3 - $499, ForceField 4 - $699).
The Anthem 700 ($1999), 500 ($1499), and 300 ($999) receivers all have the company's proprietary ARC auto setup and room correction, Dolby Volume low-volume listening mode, Dolby Pro Logic IIz height listening mode, power rated with all channels driven, linear power supplies, and discrete output devices. The top two models have USB inputs that can support a large external drive, generating a full content list with ease. Not all competing USB-equipped receivers can support a large drive. Shipping in 30 days, except the 300, shipping in 60 days.
This router-shaped device is actually the Millennium Sub with drivers on the exterior of its extruded aluminum enclosure. A wireless option can feed up to four subs. Mate it with the Millennium One satellite speaker, also in tough extruded aluminum. The back piece can serve as a stand or mount and can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally. The One is $249/each, the Sub is $1399.
Two subs in Paradigm's Signature Series have hexagonal enclosures to defeat bass-polluting vibration with six drivers inside. The SUB 1 has 1700 watts and sells for $4499. The SUB 2 has 4500 watts, sells for $8999, and will be a limited production run, so act fast if you want it. Of course all the brawn in the world still won't provide tuneful bass if your room's standing wave is muddying the waters -- but these elite subs use Paradigm's Perfect Bass Kit to measure the room and apply appropriate correction.
Struggling with an in-wall speaker in one hand and a drill in the other is the bane of the custom installer. RBH offers a solution in the QM-615. It comes with a two-way Allen wrench. Connect the speaker cables, pop in the speaker, and use the rounded end of the Allen wrench to punch in spring-loaded tabs which lock the speaker into place. The more conventional end of the Allen wrench would be used to lift the tabs and remove the speaker. Price is $250/pair, shipping now. RBH also showed the new Signature SX line, with a full range of sizes and eventually some custom veneers.
Martin Logan's new Motion Series is a downsized line of towers with folded motion ribbon tweeter, shown. Both this smaller Motion and the existing larger Motion have complementary center and surround models. The company also showed the new ESL tower, which offers its famed electrostatic goodness at less than $2000/pair.
Definitive Technology has long been a leader in bipolar loudspeakers (with drivers on both sides) so the BP8000 ST Series carries on a long tradition with four towers, including active side-mount subs, at prices from $599-1499/each. Just as novel are the XTR on-walls (pictured) with their extruded aluminum enclosures and both active and passive drivers. They go for $499-899/each.
JVC's press conference was full of 3D projectorssix in all, though in typical JVC fashion, the company's pro and consumer divisions each offer the same projector with different model numbers, which means there are really three new 3D models, all of which use active-shutter glasses. Click the link for prices.
When chip giant IDT bought the HQV technology form Silicon Optix almost two years ago, I was a bit concerned for its future. But I needn't have worriedIDT has continued to develop the algorithms with spectacular results. At a breakfast demo today, we saw a prototype of IDT's latest algorithms, which provide motion estimation and motion compensation (MEMC) frame interpolation for 120Hz ad 240Hz LCD TVs.
Another new product on static display at the Meridian party was the Audio Core 200 2-channel analog/digital preamp with a chassis designed by Alan Boothroyd. It provides a SpeakerLink digital input to accommodate a Sooloos media server and SpeakerLink outputs for any of the company's DSP speakers. The price? $2500.
The CEDIA nightlife got off to a grand start at the Georgia Aquarium Wednesday evening, where Meridian hosted a delightful party. A scuba diver greeted guests while gigantic whale sharks and other denizens of the deep slowly cruised by. The acrylic window that separated us from the fish measures 63 feet long by 27 feet high, and it's two feet thick to hold back 6.3 million gallons of artificial sea water.
On hand at the Meridian party was the latest and smallest member of the company's well-regarded DSP speaker line, the DSP3200. This self-powered, bi-amped gem accepts a digital signal and sports a 6.5-inch woofer and 3-inch full-range driver that's the same as the one used in the McLaren supercar audio system. By Meridian standards, it's a bargain at $6500/pair.
Sharp might be late to the 3D game, but it's going all in with TVs, a projector, and two Blu-ray players, the BD-HP90U ($500) and HP80U ($430). Both models can be used in a horizontal or vertical orientation.
Sharp has finally introduced a 3D LCD TV in its Quattron line, which adds a yellow color filter to the conventional red, green, and blue filters. The LE925 will be available in two sizes52 and 60 inchesfor $4200 and $5300, respectively. Several technologies, including the separate yellow color, are said to almost double the brightness of 3D content compared with 3-color LCDs. The demo did look relatively bright, but Sharp's use of Despicable Me as demo material was unfortunate, since the 3D in that particular movie is very unimpressive. A different disc of custom content looked much better.
A 3D-capable, single-chip DLP projector was on static display at Sharp's press conference. The XV-X17000 boasts a contrast ratio of 30,000:1 and 1600 ANSI lumens of light output. It will ship in the first quarter of 2011 with two pairs of active glasses.