IoGear Wireless HD 3D Digital Kit
A wireless HDMI kit can be helpful for getting the signal from a cable box or AVR situated in a cabinet, or just across the room, to your primary display or a second TV in another area. IoGear’s entry has two switchable HDMI inputs that pass up to 1080p and 3D video, along with 5.1 digital audio through walls or other solid objects. Range is said to be up to 100 feet in ideal conditions.
Remote Friendly: Iogear optimized the 3W3DHD for multiroom use by thoughtfully including an HDMI passthrough in the transmitter for the primary TV, and wireless transmission of IR signals from the second room back to the source components. Price: $280
IoGear • (866) 946-4327 • iogear.com
NAD T 187 Surround Processor
NAD’s new top-of-the-line pre-pro offers 7.1-channel surround decoding of DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD lossless soundtracks, Audyssey MultEQ room correction, and seven HDMI inputs with full support of 3D video switching.
Music First: NAD’s “Music First” approach means passthrough only for video signals—no processing or scaling, which is left to the display. It also means high-end, 24-bit/192-kilohertz Burr Brown DACs for the analog outputs, and the proprietary EARS surround mode for more natural-sounding multichannel music from stereo sources. NAD’s Modular Design Construction (MDC) future-proofs the unit by allowing input/output modules to be replaced later as needed. Price: $3,000
NAD • (905) 831-6555 • nadelectronics.com
Zvox Z320 Soundbar
The Z320 is one of three new Zvox Z-Base systems, which are designed to fit under a TV while providing a high-performance alternative to the set’s built-in-speakers. At 24 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep, the Z320 is small enough to fit into a center-channel shelf if desired, but is also strong and big enough to support most TVs from 27 to 46 inches. The sound is delivered by three full-range drivers and a 5.25-inch woofer, all driven by a 40-watt amplifier. Zvox’s proprietary PhaseCue II virtual surround is on board as well.
iFriendly: For easy hookup, the Z320 offers two analog audio inputs, one optical digital input, and one coaxial digital input—plus a front-panel, 3.5mm analog stereo input for convenient connection of an iPod or other portable. When you plug in your player, the system automatically switches to that input, then switches back to TV sound when you pull out the plug. Price: $250
Zvox • (866) 367-9869 • zvoxaudio.com
Niles CM Series In-Ceiling Speakers
Niles has overhauled its CM Architectural Series ceiling speakers, updating them with features from the higher-end DS line, including thin, low-profile bezels and premium components, such as copper caps, high-level crossovers, and Kapton voice-coil formers. Niles says they’ve been voiced for optimum sound with a range of source material, including dynamic Blu-rays and compressed music streams from iPods and Pandora.
Getting Grilled: Installers will welcome the new time-saving magnetic grilles. The speakers ship with rounds, but squares are an option, and they’re now rust-resistant to prevent service calls on speakers exposed to moisture in saunas, bathrooms, and outdoor under-eave locations. Price: 13 models from $150 to $350/pair are available across seven family groupings covering basic multiroom to high-performance theater and specialty applications.
Niles Audio • (800) 289-4434 • nilesaudio.com
HiFiMAN HM-601 Slim Portable Music Player
At 2 x 4 x 1 inches and 7 ounces, the HM-601 Slim is the smallest and lightest music player yet from this relatively unknown maker of great-sounding portables. Storage capacity is 4 GB or 8 GB, each expandable to 32 GB via the SD card slot.
Not Your Granny’s iPod: Philips TDA 1543 digital-to-analog converters and high-quality amplification are what make this HiFiMAN different. There’s a High Gain/Low Gain switch to accommodate nearly any earphone you throw at it, and the Slim accepts most high-resolution file formats, including MP3, WAV, FLAC, AAC, OGG, and WMV. Price: $199 (4GB), $249 (8GB)
HiFiMAN • (347) 475-7673 • head-direct.com
Primacoustic Black StratoTile Acoustic Tiles
For basement theaters with T-bar dropped ceilings, Primacoustic’s StratoTiles are an affordable solution for absorbing reflections, reducing reverberation, and improving dialogue clarity. The 0.75-inch-thick tiles feature high-density 6-pounds-per-cubic-foot glass wool encapsulated in fine micromesh, with sealed edges to retain the fibers. Once in place, the tiles work with the air space above the panel to absorb frequencies down to 125 hertz.
Black as Night: New here is the black finish, which reduces light reflection off the ceiling that can hurt contrast; 2x2- and 2x4-foot sizes are sold in two different edge-trim styles, in quantities of 12 or six, respectively. (For improved room isolation, consider ThunderTiles, which back a StratoTile with a layer of Sheetrock.) Price: $150-$175 per kit.
Primacoustic • (604) 942-1001 • primacoustic.com
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable
Over the last decade, Pro-Ject’s Debut turntable has earned a place in the hearts of budget audiophiles for its affordable entre into high-quality LP playback. With the recent resurgence of vinyl, Pro-Ject has upped the ante by supplying a version with a new 8.6-inch carbon-fiber tonearm outfitted with an Ortofon 2M Red moving magnet phono cartridge.
Color My World: Carbon is an excellent tonearm material that increases stiffness while reducing unwanted resonances, which translates to better sound. Other improvements include a heavier metal platter for smoother rotation. Fortunately, the new Debut Carbon still comes in all the funky Debut fashion colors, including Black, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Silver, or White. A hinged dust cover is supplied. Price: $399
Sumiko • (347) 475-7673 • sumikoaudio.net
Vutec Reverse Roll Projection Screens
A great option for multipurpose family or rec rooms is to hang a flat panel for daytime viewing in high ambient light and a projection screen that can be rolled down at night for a more cinematic experience. Vutec’s new Reverse Roll screens deploy from the front of the roll, allowing the screen to be mounted closer to the wall while still clearing a mounted television.
Tabbed Too: The screens come in two models, the Lectric I RR with a self-supported screen surface, and the Lectric III RR with tab-tensioning. Both feature Vutec’s EMS mounting system and FRS (fabric relief step) to eliminate horizontal lines in the fabric. They’re available with white or black housings in sizes ranging from 72 to 180 inches diagonal in 4:3, 16:9, 16:10, and 2.35:1 aspect ratios. Price: $910–$4,800
Vutec • (954) 545-9000 • vutec.com
GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array Soundbar
GoldenEar’s first soundbar is a three-channel passive model with dedicated bass-midrange drivers and folded ribbon tweeters for the left, center, and right channels, supplemented by additional drivers featuring the company’s 3D Array Technology to achieve a claimed 180-degree soundfield from a cabinet measuring just 49 inches wide by 4.75 inches high by 2.75 inches deep.
Secret Sauce: The 3D Array drivers are used to eliminate crosstalk between the left and right channels that has been shown by research to hinder perception of 3D image cues that are present in recordings, but are “dramatically corrupted in typical soundbar playback” due to the proximity of the drivers. Availability: Late spring 2012. Price: $999
GoldenEar • (410) 998-9134 • goldenear.com