I really shouldn't make fun of this because there can be some serious math work involved in putting together a complicated whole-house A/V and automation system, but I couldn't help chuckle at the title of this CEDIA University course being offered for installers and designers. Maybe CEDIA should have picked a more impressive name for this course, something like "Beyond Fingers: Why a Calculator Should be in Your Toolbox" or "Mathematical Profitability: Making Cents out of Numbers".
Sony is introducing the CX7000ES Blu-ray mega-changer ($1900) to complement the BDP-CX960 Blu-ray changer ($800) currently available. The BDP-CX7000ES can hold up to 400 discseither Blu-ray, standard DVD, or CD. Sony made it a point to mention that four of these changers piggybacked together can hold all of the Blu-ray titles currently on the market! The player can download all relevant disc information via a broadband connection to Gracenote.
The folks from Accell make great HDMI switchers and splitters, but they also do cables, and while I visited there they handed me a sample of their new locking HDMI cables, a relatively new category and one long overdue.
Why does the cable connecting the Audio Design Associates MPS-502 amp to its external power supply resemble a thick piece of plumbing -- like the pipe under your bathroom sink? Well, it has to carry 100 amps of current, so it can provide five channels with 450 watts each. Introduced in 1992, this was the amplifier on which THX based its amp spec. Throw in the PF-2502 to bring the system up to seven channels. In the present day, ADA is shipping two pre-pros, the Suite 7.1 ($5500) and Cinema Rhapsody Mach IV. You can buy the latter for $4100 but you'd be better off paying $7500 for the version with Trinnov auto setup and room correction. Trinnov will also be built into a separate equalizer product, the TEQ-1. (We are looking forward to trying Trinnov in the long-awaited Sherwood R-972 receiver.)
This mockup gives an indication of what the production model may look like. However, Atlantic is studying the use of 5.25-inch woofers in lieu of the 4.5-inchers shown here. It may ship in December give or take a month. Atlantic also plans to license the technology to a half-dozen other manufacturers including at least one "super high end" player and various "upper mid-fi" brands, according to Tribeman.
JBL's new LS series loudspeakers are ready for their close-ups. They combine proprietary PolyPlas polymer-coated-cellulose-fiber cone woofers (say that fast, three times) and the company's Bi-Radial constant-directivity high frequency horns with real wood veneer cabinetry. The line includes the LS Center ($799) LS40 stand-mount ($699 each, shown here), and two floor-standers: the LS60 ($1099 each) and LS80 ($1499 each). The latter two employ 3.5-way crossover networks.
Runco's XTREME VX-33i and VX-33d three-chip DLP projectors will be featured at CEDIA. At $49,995 and $59.995 respectively, and available with a variety of optional lenses, they're designed for luxury home theaters using very large (above 120" diagonal) screens. The VX-33i includes Runco's integrated Vivix video processing, while the VX-33d features Runco's outboard DHD video processor-controller, also incorporating Vivix.
Anthem has its first Blu-ray player, the Anthem Statement BLX200 ($800). It offers all the features of most BD machines, including Profile 2.0 with 1GB of memory and Internal decoding of the new high rez audio formats (or bitstream out if you prefer). If you're asking, like most BD players it does not play SACD or DVD-Audio.
Long known for its high-quality audio products, Anthem is entering the video-projector business at this year's CEDIA with two models: the LTX 300 ($5300) and LTX 500 ($8000). Both are 1080p LCoS modelsbased on the JVC chassis from the looks of themwith motorized focus and zoom and Ultrawide True-Fit screen mode for 2.35:1 movies. The spec'd contrast ratio of the LTX 500 is higher than the 300 (50,000:1 vs. 30,000:1), though the peak light output of the 500 is slightly lower. Also, the LTX 500 is THX certified.
The new Anthem Statement LTX 500v and LTX 300v projectors look a lot like the new JVC DLA-HD550 and DLA-HD950, and that's because they are, with small cosmetic differences. The Anthems are also slightly more expensive.
At the first press conference of the show, Atlantic Technology unveiled a new speaker technology called H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System), which purports to significantly increase the bass extension, dynamic range, and efficiency of just about any speaker while reducing the distortion with nothing more than a sophisticated acoustic chamber within the cabinetno electronics. Developed in conjunction with speaker maker Solus/Clements, the system combines elements of horn loading, transmission lines, bass reflex, and acoustic suspensionhence "Hybrid" in the name. The frequency response of the chamber actually increases as the response of the driver decreases at lower frequencies, resulting in a very flat overall response from 70Hz down to a frequency that depends on the specific driver.
Peter Tribeman's voice dropped to a whisper as he gave me the word a few weeks ago about a bass-related technology that will figure prominently in Atlantic Technology's exhibit at CEDIA. Atlantic will license the H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) technology from inventor Philip Clements of Solus/Clements. As chronicled in this press release, it will combine bass reflex, inverse horn, transmission line, and a resonance/harmonic filter, all with no active electronics or special drivers. CEDIA-goers will hear (we are told) two 4.5-inch drivers in a 1.4 cubic foot enclosure produce bass output of 105dB down to 29Hz, +3dB, with bass harmonic distortion under three percent. Said Tribeman: "Until now, I would have considered it virtually impossible to achieve such high levels of bass performance and quality in such small enclosures.... This new system is the first ever to break the famous Iron Law of loudspeaker design, which states: 'deep bass extension, compact enclosure, or good efficiency...pick any two at the expense of the third.' For the very first time, due to Phil Clements' breakthrough design, we can have them all." The first product to ship will be the H-PAS-1 floorstanding speaker in the fourth quarter. Another 6.5-inch tower and bookshelf model will follow next year. Pricing TBA. We can't wait for the pre-show demo.
If you want to extend a/v signals over Cat5 or Cat6 wiring, the Active Balanced Outputs of the AudioControl Maestro M3 pre-pro will do that for you. It has both XLR and RCA outputs and five HDMI inputs. The video scaler is "broadcast quality." Of course you'll get HDMI 1.3 and all the latest lossless and other codecs from Dolby and DTS. Oh, and there's a moving magnet phono input. That's the dealmaker for us! Pictured with the Pantages G3 power amp. Maestro price: approximately $6000 when sold through custom installers.
As the biggest entry in its premier line of DLP rear projection HDTVs, not to mention that Mitsubishi is the last holdout in this product category, this set has to grab attention. When I was there, however, there were more passers-by than onlookers. A shame; it offers a lot for the money if you want a really big screen and space is not an issue.
Samsung wasn't showing much new that we hadn't seen or reported on before, but one new introduction was the LN 65B650 65" LCD HDTV. Nothing 2010 cutting edge here--no LEDs, no local dimming, just straight engineering with a claimed peak contrast ratio of 100,000:1, online TV widgets, 120Hz features, fast 4ms response time, Energy Star compliance, and more. $6000, available now.