Audioquest's latest Horizon termination hardware consists of a solid alloy that is guaranteed not to bend regardless of how many times you strike another human over the head with it. If unsuccessful in the audio market it will be a surefire hit among law enforcement professionals looking for a billy club with flare.
And that's not the only thing this 78-pound, $3999 receiver has to offer. It comes with four cool brushed-aluminum keypads (supplied, no extra charge) and 140 watts times seven. It can play loud, as the people at the neighboring Verizon booth noted ruefully.
The B&W CM series falls between the higher-end 700 series and lower-end 600 series. New to the line are the floorstanding CM7 ($900/each) and stand-mount CM1 ($450/each). They'll be available in 30 days. Already out is the CMC center ($600). Inside the wood-veneer enclosure is B&W's famous tube-loaded tweeter, which gives the much higher-priced Nautilus line its extraordinarily clean and revealing high frequency extension.
To very few people’s surprise, Sony announced a “Baby-Ruby”, as in a baby brother to their 1080p SXRD front projector the VPL-VW100. What was surprising is the price: $4,999, lower than most people were expecting. They also claim it will take the 1080p/24, and display it at 96Hz. The 1080p SXRD chips carry over, this time in a smaller, yet still stylish, case. The model number is VPL-VW50. Oh, and it will be available this month.
Two of JL Audio's three massive are now pumping it up: the 12" Fathom f112 and the 13.5" Fathom f113. These beasts are big, loud, claim to go down to 22 Hz, and use a room acoustic correction system that's supposed to help produce more balanced bass throughout the room. The system works much like what's found in a number of receivers these days, in which you plug a microphone into the front of the sub, and the sub automatically generates a series of tones that are analyzed by the internal circuitry to get a final optimization curve. The Fathom f112 has an internal 1500-watt amp and sells for $2600 in satin black. The 2500-watt f113 sells for $3200 in satin black. A 305-pound beast with dual 13.5" woofers that goes below 20 Hz will be available sometime next year.
After giving out sales percentages that show Harmony remotes have almost taken over the world, Logitech showed off their newest Harmony remote control, the Harmony 1000. The design is a departure from that of the current models, which are the traditional long and skinny shape. The Harmony 1000 is rectangular, less than 1/2 inch thick, and has a 3.5-inch color touch screen that's very bright - the Logitech folks said they're using a screen originally designed for car GPS navigation systems - and extremely sensative to the touch. They've redesigned the screen layouts, too, making using the new remote even easier than any of their other models - which I wasn't sure was possible. It'll be available for $499 in October. Infrared extenders are $149.
While I'm in Vegas for CES, I always try to see one show with my friend Melinda DeNicola of the PR firm Detail in Design; this year, it was Blue Man Group at the Venetian. I'd seen the show some years ago at the Luxor, and it was loud, so I decided to see just how loud this time with my Larson Davis Model 700 SPL meter.
The RMS average sound level (technically called Leq) over the entire hour-and-a-half duration was 92.3dB (A-weighting, slow response), while the highest RMS maximum (technically called Lmax) within a 1-minute interval was 104.5dBA, and the highest instantaneous peak was a whopping 137.5dBA. The sound level exceeded 97.5dBA 10 percent of the time, 91.0dBA 33 percent of the time, and 82.5dBA 50 percent of the time. Fortunately, I had my custom-molded earplugs with me, which cut the levels reaching my ears by 25dB.
Three new additions to Gracenote's portfolio of music- and video-recognition technologies are elucidated by Graham McKenna, Director of Marketing, Michael Jeffrey, Director of Mobile Technologies, and Ty Roberts, Chief Technical Officer.
Interestingly, 3D was the watchword in audio as well as video at CES this year. Many people apply the term "3D" to 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, but I think this is a mistake. In such systems, the speakers are located mostly in a 2D planeyes, the surround speakers are often elevated, but they are also typically very diffuse, so the sense of height is limited, especially since auditory directionality is less sensitive behind us than it is in front. Audyssey DSX and Dolby Pro Logic IIz add front-height channels, which does more to enhance the 3D soundfield.
Of the video trends I followed at CES this year, the most obvious were more evolutionary than revolutionarymore 3D models and more online apps in what are being called Smart TVs by more than one manufacturer. These apps are also available in Blu-ray players and tablets, providing various ways to access an ever-wider range of online content as well as media files stored on networked devices within the home.
Toshiba wasn’t satisfied with introducing two new HD DVD players. Also announced were two new flagship REGZA LCD flat panels to the new and exclusive Cinema Series Pro Line. The 42” 42LZ196 will retail for $3,399 with the 47” 47LZ196 at $4,599. Both sets will be available this month. Both sets boast full 1920x1080 resolution.
The second big surprise after the Planar was the HD-900 LCoS projector from Cinetron. It's a full 1920x1080, features processing from Silicon Optix's HQV Realta chip, and quiet operation. It looked superb on a Stewart Firehawk screen. While it comes equipped with an auto iris, that feature was not used in the demo. At $6000, it's one of a number of projectors that could shake up the front projector market.