Olevia will be adding 120 Hz technology to many of the models in this year's line of 1080p LCDs, so their booth is filled with demonstrations of the technology's potential benefits. There aren't a lot of specifics available about the new line just yet, but the first 120 Hz models are expected to be released around April, with more models coming later in the year. Olevia also announced that they've teamed up with Universal Electronics to offer the Taurus RC-LRN learning universal remote with some of this year's new models.
In fact, these glass-enclosed speakers work amazingly well. The advantages of glass are high density, rigidity, and (with the aid of a damping chamber behind the drivers) "no vibrations," presumably meaning none of the bad kind. Warmth, depth, and solid controlled bass were what I heard and quite liked. Waterfall will also offer on-walls when the French manufacturer gets its U.S. distribution nailed down, which should happen any minute now.
Totem Acoustic enters its third decade with a 20th anniversary version of the venerable model known as The One. The stand-mount monitor features a new crossover, platinum speaker terminals, and redesigned drivers. Exhibited with always-fabulous Naim electronics, this was the best sound I heard at the show, with an up-close laser-like focus that turned a guitar pick scraping steel strings into a revelation. Plenty of woody guitar-body midrange detail too. And the depth, oh, the depth. The price is $3595/pair, you can buy a surround configuration if you want, and act now because only 2000 pairs will be made.
The best truly tiny satellite we've ever heard is the One|Sound Model 2.2 from CDT Audio. Mounted to the wall, the two-inch mid-tweeter handled everything above 200Hz with confidence and ease--we actually thought, at first, that the surprisingly coherent sound came from larger models sitting below. To really show how small these things are, we started pulling stuff out of our pockets to indicate scale. We're guessing CDT will do well by appealing to the existing audience for the almost equally small Bose Jewel Cubes--which are sold only as part of an integrated system and thus operate at a competitive disadvantage.
No one, and we mean no one, has been doing room correction longer or better than TacT. But unlike a lot of other manufacturers of high-end surround preamp-processors, TacT has been quick to adopt HDMI 1.3, so the new TCS pre-pro can handle Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, etc. Each of 12 channels may be configured as a main or sub channel. The ICS (Internet Correction Services) feature will let you upload your settings to the web where they may be analyzed or stored. The before-and-after demo revealed a better focused (but not as warm) sound in the after part. The product will ship in February for 15 grand.
Do we detect an extra spring in Thiel's step? The revered but staid speaker maker suddenly let fly with THIELnet, which retrofits existing speaker and sub models for the networked present and future. Using wireless technology from Bicon, better known in the telco industry, THIELnet offers either wireless or ethernet connections from either 5.1-channel or multiple stereo sources. The newly renovated models include the SCS4D stand-mount speaker (based on the SCS4) and the SS1D sub (based on the SS1). You go, Thiel.
On-wall bipole speakers are usually mounted at head-height and are therefore dangerous obstacles for movie watchers who get up to go to the bathroom in a darkened home theater. (Talk about being able to feel the surround effects!) Sunfire’s new on-wall bipole speaker features the company’s Cinema Ribbon high frequency drivers and a Tweeter Shaping circuit that allows the installer to tailor the high frequency output without affecting the crossover relationship between the Cinema Ribbons and the cone woofer. In addition to being the only on-wall ribbon bipole speaker available, the new CRM-21BP is one of the slimmest on-wall bipoles – only 3 5/8” deep.
NXT doesn’t make products directly. They license the technology and help other companies bring their products to market. One of the companies using NXT’s flat speaker technology is Shinhint. They demonstrated several products, including monitors, TV sound bar speakers, and tabletop speaker phones as part of NXT’s press presentation this morning.
At a low-key reception this morning, NXT showed off some recent introductions of their flat-panel speaker technology, including this Gateway all-in-one computer that incorporates the NXT’s SoundVu technology. It’s a flat speaker panel that’s clear enough to be used to cover an LCD screen on a computer, and amazingly the vibration of the panel does not affect the view of what’s underneath.
Can't we all just get along? If you live in one of the 20 million U.S. households that own two or more iPods (a JVC stat), there will inevitably be battles over whose player belongs in the tabletop music system. Surely my Ben Harper trumps your OK Go. JVC makes it easier for your iPods to cohabitate with the new dual-dock NX-PN7 tabletop audio system. The NX-PN7 will charge both iPods when docked, it sports a video output and an analog audio input, and it throws in an AM/FM tuner, clock, and timer for good measure. It will be available in April for $149.95.
"Simulated surround" from two headphone channels. That's how the DTS people described Surround Sensation. It uses multichannel sources, like the better players in this genre. The audience appeared rapt. Look for product this year including an ArcSoft PC application.
The No. 502 is Mark Levinson's latest surround preamp-processor. The single-chassis design replaces the dual-chassis No. 40. It's HDMI 1.1 compliant, and doesn't handle the new lossless codecs (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio), but that may not be a concern if your BD or HD DVD player passes a high-bit PCM signal. Pointed questions about the upgrade path went unanswered. The bleeding-edge Gennum 9351 video processors mustered a squeaky clean picture, with proprietary deinterlacing and edge correction and 1.6 gigaflops of processing power. Yes, 1080p and 24p are provided for. Along for the demo ride were the No. 433 three-channel amp, the No. 432 two-channel amp, and fabulous Revel Ultima2 speakers. Two years in development, the 502 will ship in the second quarter. Price: a mere 30 grand.
The KHT1005.2 features an egg-shaped satellite with the aluminum tweeter mounted inside the three-inch woofer--that, of course, is KEF's famous coaxial Uni-Q array. In fact, it's the same Uni-Q used in the costlier KHT6000 system. The price for 5.1 channels will be $850; sats and sub will also be available separately. KEF is also now shipping the swooningly beautiful, gleaming, desirable XQ series and we hope to get review samples shortly.
Every year I step across the threshold of North Hall, paradise for car-audio fanatics, to be greeted by the impressive roar of dozens (seemingly hundreds) of car subwoofers. This year I wasn't able to bring myself to walk through the hall. I'm just not tough enough anymore!
At the Dolby booth, this prototype of the first-ever audio/video receiver with the new Dolby Volume technology was on display outside their mini-theater. Onkyo, with a tradition of early integration of new audio technologies, won the honor of debuting the new process which organically rejiggers the loud and quiet parts of a soundtrack within a scene, such as hard-to-hear dialogue amid background sound effects, as well as equalizing the levels between two different programs when we change channels or go to commercial, with very enjoyable results in all of the demo I've heard in the past year. Clearly this is something that consumers have been demanding, one of those seemingly simple problems that's a bear to solve (otherwise everyone would do it!)