The SR-6003 and SR-5003 AVRs from Marantz have the latest in in-processor decoding. In addition, the 6003 is slightly more powerful (100 wpc x 7 verses 90 wpc x 7), has more HDMI capability (3-in 2-out verses 3-in 1-out), but they both get Audyssey Multi-EQ and Sirius and XMradio-readiness. Best of all, the top model is only $1,199 and the other only $799. You go Marantz! (feature placards to follow).
No, it’s not the latest fundraiser asking you to donate a buck for each meter Accell’s new cable can send an HDMI 1.3 signal. The UltraRun 1.3 series of cables includes lengths of up to 25 meters that sport built-in signal repeaters. The repeater on one end of the cable is detachable making the cable easier to pull through walls. It’s also easier to replace the repeater if it should cease repeating.
Boston Acoustics rock-like speakers aren’t new, but I did learn something new about them. The tweeters in the speakers are angled upward about 45 degrees. If you use these speakers around your patio or pool where people will be standing or sitting near by, the angled tweeters will help your guests hear the high frequencies in the music. And then you might even get a write up in the society page of your local newspaper detailing what swell entertainment you have in your backyard.
The Wadia 170 iTransport is the first iPod docking device to coax a digital signal out of the iPod (incidentally, my 82-year-old mom loves hers). Till now the iPod could output only a line-level analog signal to docks. How Wadia managed this is a story yet to be told. The company insists that there is no need to pay a hacker to crack the case –- the 170 is Apple-approved. Price: $379.
Meridian has raised the bar for elite video playback with their new 810 Reference Video Playback System. This projection system uses a JVC light engine and 4K D-ILA panels to deliver a staggering 10-mega-pixel HD image in the home.
Stewart Filmscreen showed a couple of new products at their press event and their booth. The biggest buzz was the Cabaret, which is a designer housing for a retractable screen that can be customized to fit any dcor. The housing sports aluminum end caps and a removable valance that can be outfitted with different finishes, including fabrics, and sport just about any color imaginable. There is even an optional lighting feature that can be used for biasing or just good looks. Pretty snazzy!
If I had to pick a single obvious trend at this year's CEDIA Expo, it would be 2.35:1 anamorphic projection using an add-on anamorphic lens. At least five lens manufacturers were showing product, and all but a few projector manufacturers were featuring some sort of 2.35:1 anamorphic projection. (The fact that our October 1008 issue, distributed at the show, featured an article on this type of setup was a happy coincidence).
A new projector company appeared at CEDIA this year. Wolf Cinema is dedicated to the custom-installation market with a variety of models based on 3-chip DLP technology. Using xenon lamps, these projectors ain't cheap, starting at $60,000 and going up to $117,000 (custom faceplate $2000 extra). For all that money, you get a complete system, including anamorphic lens, thermal-management system, 14-bit processor, and your choice of primary lens.
Wolf Cinema is a new video projector manufacturer working with the audio leader, Sumiko. The upstart is geared completely to the custom installation market where dealers and customers can essentially custom build their projector to fit the needs of their specific room. The systems consist of custom cases around a 3-chip DLP system fitted with high output Xenon lamps.
You want to show both films and video in your home theater? Wolf offers the Reference System, with two of its "Reference Analog" 35mm film projectors (shown) plus its Reference Digital Projector, for $300,000. The pieces are available separately, in case you are wondering. The required three-phase power installation, and the projectionist, are not included.
Yamaha probably doesn't get enough credit as a speaker manufacturer, so let's start with the new NS-700 line with their gleaming black gloss enclosures. I especially like the truncated-pyramid shape of the 300-watt NS-SW700 sub ($800). Other models include a tower ($800/each), monitor ($400/each), and center ($500/each). All have aluminum tweeters and PMD woofers. Sometime I'll have to get Yamaha to tell me what PMD is. Of course Yamaha is also a major power in receivers. New ones include the second from top-line RX-Z7, with 140 watts times seven, Anchor Bay video processing, and web browser for $2700. There's an RX-V3900 with the same power spec and fewer features ($1900), though like its higher-priced sibling, it is Sirius/XM-ready, and boasts both internet radio and free digital over-the-air HD Radio reception. Another notable feature is a new HD-savvy GUI that I'd really like to have a look at -- Yamaha has been stuck in 1980s-style monochrome graphics for too long. There's an RX-V1900 with 130 watts times seven ($1400) and more modest feature set. Yamaha also showed the YAS-71, a 2.1-channel soundbar with 70 watts times two plus a further 70 watts for the sub channel.
With most of the same goodies found the $5,500 flagship RX-Z11 I recently reviewed in Home Theater magazine, this $2,700 receiver from Yamaha is a killer bargain! The below black and above white clipping Kris Deering noted in the review has been corrected in the new models (including newer Z11s). You get Internet radio, 140 watts x 7 channels, Rhapsody streaming, XM/Sirius readiness, and web-browser control, five HDMI inputs, two outputs, and scaling up to 1080p.
ONLY .00001 PERCENT OF THE U.S. POPULATION WILL OWN ONE, says Yamaha of its top-line RX-Z11 receiver. What Yamaha does not mention is that the other 99 point something percent are getting ready to slit their throats and steal the receiver.
French audio manufacturer, heretofore excelling in two channel audio has put their toe into the home theater waters with their YA701 multichannel receiver. Okay, first off, there's no video switching built in, but YBA offers a video box with two HDMI inputs (one output) and two component and two composite inputs (and outputs). There is no accommodation for HD audio formats, but YBA plans an upgrade in the future for Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD MA. Pretty cool and we're looking forward to the next generation.