The Tannoy people say they fine-tune their systems for music first and everything else second. We think that's a good attitude. The new Definition Series features "dual concentric" driver arrays with the center physically positioned and time-aligned to the acoustic center of the mid-woofer, reducing phase issues to nil, we were told. Internal bracing uses "differential materials technology" including a free-floating structure to protect the crossover. These speakers all have dual woofers with models including the 10-inch DC-10T and 8-inch DC-8T towers, 6-inch DC-LCR, and 12-inch Definition sub. The 7.1-channel system demoed—with big towers in front, smaller ones behind, center, and sub—totals $29,600 and it sure did sound musical with the evil-singing-cockatoo clip from Rio.
The long-awaited debut of the Atlantic Technology H-PAS PowerBar 235 will come in about two weeks, when it will finally ship, offering the most extended bass you can get in a bar thanks to ingenious multi-chambered enclosure design. Numerous tweaks over the last few months include the addition of DTS decoding, and Atlantic makes a big point of having on-board Dolby Digital decoding as well, as opposed to counting on a conversion to PCM (which we're told some new LG TVs won't do). More tweaks: vocal enhancement to push dialogue forward, left-minus-right surround expansion, a less aggressively illuminated display that fades to black after confirming setting changes, and replacement of the see-through grille for something more discreet.
After yesterday's Media Preview appearance, the GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array soundbar offered smooth performance with dynamically challenging movie material and the broad on- and off-axis imaging afforded by its folded ribbon tweeter. We'd say it's worth the $999 pricetag.
Black gloss has been the default finish for speakers for ages so when I saw a home theater suite of white-gloss speakers I stopped for a closer look. Adam Professional Audio, a German company known for its studio monitors, launched the ARTist Series line of consumer speakers speakers at CEDIA Expo with five powered models: the ARTist 3 and ARTist 5 bookshelf models with 2 x 25 and 2 x 50 watts of power, the ARTist 6 mini tower with 3 x 35 watts, the ARTist 6H center speaker with 3 x 35 watts and the ARTist Sub with 140 watts driving a 7-inch woofer.
The system's sonic character is defined by Adam's smooth sounding X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter, which improves on the Heil Air Motion Transformer concept developed in the '70s. Instead of the piston motion of conventional tweeters, a pleated diaphragm produces sound by squeezing air out like the bellows of an accordion, which is said to avoid distortion and dynamic limiting. Each speaker has RCA and XLR inputs and the bookshelf models also have USB and minijack connections.
The ARTist system shown (ARTist 5s are used as surrounds) sells for $5,100 and, yes, the speakers are also available in black gloss.
Cary Audio has made a distinguished contribution to the headphone craze sweeping across the consumer electronics industry with the HH-1 headphone amp. Introduced at CEDIA Expo, the amp is designed and built in the U.S. and teams a tube preamp stage with a solid-state MOSFET output stage, chosen for its tube-like sonic characteristics. Featuring Class A operation at all output levels and a 30-second muting circuit to prevent annoying turn-on pops, the amp sports a pair of RCA inputs with loop-through outputs and is designed to drive headphones with impedances between 30 and 600 ohms. Price: $1,595.
Surprisingly big sound from a tiny box is what you can expect from the Bluetooth-enabled ClarityHD Micro Speaker Monster introduced at CEDIA Expo. The concept: Instead of suffering through the tinny sound you get from your smartphone, tablet or PC, stream the audio to a portable speaker that easily fits in a briefcase or backpack.
CSR’s aptX audio coding is employed to deliver CD-quality sound and functions such as playing music, answering calls and Bluetooth pairing are handled by simple voice commands. Operating range is 30 feet and the speaker’s lithium-ion battery is said to last 5 hours on a single charge. Available in black and white, the ClarityHD sells for $220 and has a minijack input for use with non-Bluetooth devices.
Sony’s launched its new XBR-84X900 84-inch diagonal LED edge-lit LCD set at its CEDIA EXPO 2012 press conference. With a native 4K resolution (3840 x 2160), it can display native 4K material at 24Hz or 30Hz, or upscale 2K sources to 4K. With its passive 3D glasses, it can also produce a full 2K 3D resolution to each eye (passive glasses in a 2K 3D set reduce the resolution of a 1920 x 1080 source to 1920 x 540). The set looked spectacular and will be available at selected Sony stores in November for $25,000.
Sony also announced two new flagship XBR-HX950 LCD flat panels: 55-inches ($4500) and 65-inches ($5500). The sets offer full LED backlighting with local dimming and are available now.
Though outwardly similar to last year’s VPL-HW30ES, Sony’s new VPL-HW50ES (available in October) is an updated design. It incorporates the same Reality Creation processing as the company’s flagship VPL-VW1000 4K projector, scaled down here for 2K operation. There’s a new Iris 3 algorithm for the projector’s advanced dynamic iris, for a claimed dynamic contrast ratio of 100,000:1. The light output is also said to be increased by 30% to 1700 lumens. The 3D transmitter is internal, and the 240Hz panel is claimed to reduce 3D crosstalk. There’s also a 2D-to-3D conversion mode and a 244-zone panel alignment feature to insure convergence.
While at $4000 the VPL-HW50ES is more expensive than the HW30ES (which remains available at a reduced price of $3000), the new projector’s price includes 2 pair of active 3D glasses and a spare projection lamp.
Sony introduced three new AV receivers. The claim to fame of both the STR-5800ES (130 Watts per channel) and STR-2800ES (100 WPC) is that they may be directly integrated with the popular Control4 home automation system. They may also be used with a variety of other automation systems. The third model, the STR-DA1800, does not have Control4 built-in. All three offer 4K upconversion, full WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay, and Internet access features.
At the CEDIA Media Preview, for 90 feverish minutes, several dozen exhibitors showed their wares to media personnel walking through a single large room. Here are some audio highlights relating to speakers: