B&W has added three models to its CM range of speakers: The CM9 ($1500 each) is now the largest of the two CM floor-standers, the CM5 ($750 each) now the largest of the two stand-mounters, and the CMC-2 three-way center channel ($1000). More on the intriguing center channel design below.
Here's the new B&W CM series center channel, the CMC-2. The big change here is the use of a vertically positioned midrange and tweeter, which is nearly always the best way to configure a center speaker, if you must use a horizontal design--and most of us do. The midrange here is also a new and exciting design; it's a smaller version of the surround-free (FST) midrange driver that's featured in many B&W models, including the new CM9 (above).
The new Canton Reference 3.2DC is a second-generation implementation with ceramic-aluminum tweeter and aluminum mid and woofers, with the mid on top. It and the new GLE line have rounder contours surrounding the baffle to improve dispersion. The Ergo has gone from black to silver cones and the Vento has added a very handsome curved center. Wood veneers on the glossy Reference and not-so-glossy Vento are furniture grade and would not mar even the nicest home decor. Canton is nailing the in-a-box crowd with the DM 2, a 2.1-channel system that will also be available in a 5.1-channel version with a wireless surround option. The bidirectional RF LCD remote looks pretty spiffy.
Carada was showcasing their new Masquerade systems at their booth including their new solution for constant image height screens. We just reviewed their horizontal Masquerade masking system in this months issue and loved it. The Masquerade system simply installs right over your existing fixed frame eliminating the need for a new screen.
Hidden in a hotel suite near the convention center, Taiwanese company Chi Lin Technology showed an early prototype of what the company claims to be the world's first LED-illuminated DLP front projector (though I doubt it will be the first to market; Optoma and Digital Projection are working on similar products). Based on the 0.95" DarkChip3 DMD, the illumination source is the PhlatLite LED module from Luminus. This puppy draws up to 3 amps of current to achieve a final peak light output of 600 lumens, requiring liquid cooling to prevent meltdown. It's worth it if the claimed contrast ratio of 100,000:1 can actually be reached. The unit I saw was an early prototype; the product is slated for sale in the third quarter of 2009.
Bringing back fond memories of the one misdirected year (1998) when CEDIA held its convention in New Orleans (just after another near-miss storm) and not many conventioneers (including me) made it to many of their appointments or meetings, SpeakerCraft enlisted the aid of some scantily clad acrobatic dancers to catch the attention of the press folks who didn’t go to the Toshiba press conference. (It worked.)
Custom Theater System is the name Classé is giving a new series of rack-mount amps coming in spring. They include a 10-channel pre-pro, 300-watt Class AB monoblock, 600-watt Class AB monoblock, 300-watt Class AB stereo amp, and surround amp with 200 watts times five.
Classe is bringing out a whole line of electronics designed specifically for custom installation in a rack. Though the cosmetics are different from their standard lineup, the performance and prices) are not. Shown here is their 600W (into 8 ohms) monster monoblock.
A new, easy on the eyes system with classic bookshelf pedigree that will be affordable for almost anyone, from the $149/ea CS 26 bookshelf (top shelf, left or right end), to the floorstanding CS 226 ($249/ea). All speakers use one or more of the same 6-1/2" woofer and a single 1" Kortec softdome tweeter.