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 biggest news of CES 2008 landed yesterday with Warner's announcement that it is moving to exclusive Blu-ray support by June of 2008. Yesterday's news was that New Line and HBO (distributed by Warner) aren't yet officially attached to this strategy, but stories circulating the 'net today say New Line is already falling into line with Warner's HD strategy.
Did the HD DVD Group announce a bunch of hot HD DVD titles that will be coming our way in ’07? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? HD DVD’s supporting studios will be releasing an awesome slate of new release and catalog titles, but for myself and fellow sci-fi buffs many of these pale compared to this double whammy: Not only has Warner announced that 2007 is the year that Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner will see a remastered release in HD, the remastered versions of the original Star Trek series will be released by Paramount on HD DVD this year as well. Someone pick me up off the floor!
I ran into industry icon Joe Kane at Warner's Total HD glitz and glam event, and among tha many things I learned in the conversation was that the HD DVD version of Digital Video Essentials is on hold again.
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.
I may be the only reporter to take pictures of raw loudspeaker drivers at this year's CES. But I've always been fascinated not only by the products we buy, but by the parts that go into them. And SEAS of Norway is one the biggest suppliers of high quality loudspeaker drivers. These new DXT tweeters offer controlled wide dispersion. Note the rings molded into the front plates of both versions. These rings produce diffraction, thereby widening the radiation pattern above 7kHz—the first time to my knowledge that this audiophile boogie-man has been deliberately generated to enhance speaker performance!
The LVCC brain trust offers a new innovation in pedestrian traffic management--the double yellow line. Presumably that means stay to the right (though that didn't stop some of these guys) and don't try passing anyone (though that didn't stop me).
Hitachi’s latest entry into the plasma wars is a mid-priced 50 inch model with 1280 x 1080i resolution and a retail price of only $2499. Though this set doesn’t have the full 1080p resolution of 2 million pixels, it does have 30% more than the 768 sets it competes with pricewise. The new cosmetics (thin black bezel, speakers at the bottom) look great. Their 42 and 55 inch models remain and there is a new and impressive 60 inch model.
Hitachi was showing the color advantages of their LCD sets using LED backlighting.
This side-by-side clearly showed more realistic colors, especially reds and greens, though the non-LED set had slightly better blacks. In a technology statement off to the side, Hitachi confidently stated that they expect to achieve infinity contrast (meaning a set that can truly go down to absolute black) by the proper application of LED backlight modulation. Looking to the future (maybe next year), Hitachi also showed a new method of smoothing out film judder and a technology to greatly enhance the resolution of lower resolution upscaled images without noticeable artifacts.
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!