With this 150” (diagonal) plasma with 4K resolution, Panasonic was clearly in the running for the biggest TV award. No price yet, but rumor has it that you can only buy one if you agree to put it on your lot and build a new house around it.
The Paradigm Seismic 110 sub has a rounded top, and to complement the Millenia Series speakers, a diecast chassis. And it makes the best picture. But the Paradigm subs that will really raise eyebrows are the marginally less photogenic Sub 12 ($1999) and Sub 15 ($2999), each of which has dual 800-watt amps and dual voice coils driving a single cone. Why? More output, better control, less distortion. And there's USB input for fine tuning via the Perfect Bass Kit.
Do it yourself (DIY) speaker builders gravitate to one of several suppliers to buy the parts they need for their projects. One of the biggest is Parts Express, and they had a small booth on the show floor this year. The elegant cabinet shown here, with the arched side walls now popular on many an upscale commercial design (almost invariably made in China), can be had for $129.77 (each) in polished black, cherry, or maple, ready to be filled with the drivers and crossovers of your choice.
Some audiophiles combine their home theater and 2-channel systems. If they have a modest AV receiver, but want to improve the sound of their system, especially for 2-channel playback, one possibility is to use a separate, quality stereo integrated amp to drive the front left and right channels, with their best 2-channel sources connected directly to it. The receiver's front left and right preamp outputs are then connected to one of the line level inputs of the integrated amp for home theater use. This can be made more direct, with less chance of messing with the calibrated home theater volume levels, if the integrated amp offers a fixed-level, pass-through input (independent of the integrated amp's volume control) to which the receiver's front channel preamp outputs can be connected.
Phase Technology's dARTS has been around for awhile. That stands for Digital Audio Reference Theater System, and it involves custom programming, software tuning and amplification precisely matched to the room. But with the 650 Series speakers, it now has cosmetic sophistication to match its digital smarts. The whole package goes for $20,000, but if you have high-end tastes and a wallet to match, try it before you decide that's too much.
If you like your speaker bars under a thousand, try the Phase Technology Teatro V3.0 for $800. Besides the half-dozen woofers and tweeters on the front, it also has side-mounted drivers, something it has in common with the one above.
Phase Technology's Teatro PC310 ($1200) has three 5.25-inch woofers, five 1.5-inch soft dome midranges, and three 1-inch soft dome tweeters, some of which you see here, and some of which are mounted at the sides. Imaging was wide, the feel was smooth and natural (more so than most sound bars), and if the regular one-size grille doesn't match your flat panel display, you can have one custom cut.
It’s not easy to admire a sleek flat panel on your wall when you have to look at a large, cumbersome mount behind it. Look no further than Premier Mount’s WTFM3765 ($230), a super-thin mount that will hold a flat panel on the wall with hardly any space between. Dubbed the “World’s Thinnest Flat-Panel Mount” for a reason, this mount places your flat panel less than a half inch from the wall.
Pioneer introduced two new standard Blu-ray players, the BDP-120 and the BDP-320. The BDP-120 is expected to sell for under $300. A new Elite player, the BDP-23FD, offers Kuro Link, a new feature said to sync up with Kuro HDTVs for optimum setup and operation. We'll wait to se on that one.
In the first two press announcements of the day we are seeing manufacturers stepping up and making a strong commitment to audio, once again.
PIoneer has created a new subsidiary called the "Technical Audio Devices Laboratories" or TAD Labs for short. The purpose is to elevate the
standard of performance for high fidelity audio equipment. During CES, they will showcase the Reference One loudspeaker [which is already available] and a new power amplifier. There was no demo at the announcement but I'll be checking them out once them out once the show starts . So stay tuned.
Thin is the thing this year, with virtually all major manufacturers showing skinny flat panels. But Pioneer takes the prize with this 9mm model (thinner than a 12mm iPhone). It’s likely at least a year from production, however.
Now that Blu-ray players have dramatically decreased in price, DVD is making a slow exit out of the consumer electronics industry. But Pioneer’s newest upconverting DVD player caters to those who are still holding on, and offers a few innovative features for the Blu-ray-converted group too.
Fresh from flooring virtually everyone (apart from the competition) with its latest line of Kuro flat panel plasma displays, Pioneer is showing two new concept displays at the show: a future design that offers even better blacks, and a new, super-flat model.
There are two new members of Pioneer's premier speaker family. The S-4EX-W, the smaller bookshelf model in the photo, and the smaller center channel,the S-8EX-W. (The two floor standers and the subwoofer are not shown here.) The Pioneer rep on hand seemed a bit fuzzy on the prices, but $4,000/pair for the bookshelves and $2100 for the center was his story. All of the speakers, and corresponding in-walls, employ a unique magnesium cone woofer with an integral, coaxially mounted beryllium-dome tweeter. Shipping now.