Mordaunt-Short's Performance 2 grabbed our eye immediately with its high-gloss black lacquer finish. The very chunky two-way monitor goes for $4500/pair. More accessible, perhaps, is the new Aviano line, a little of which is lurking in the background of the pic. It includes two towers, two monitors, center, and two subs ranging from $495/pair for the Aviano 1 two-way monitor to $1495/pair for the Aviano 8 three-way tower.
Morel has enhanced the Octave Signature Bookshelf speakers with a "building block" modular cabinet design plus new subwoofers. The cabinet design hails from the Fat Lady speakers. It adopts an entirely empty cabinet with strategically placed partitions and no internal damping, to provide pure bass and a massive soundstage. The vertically designed subs fit beneath the monitors and have a 250-watt amp. other features include large aluminum coils, neodymium magnets, and silk dome tweeters. System pricing is $1900 for the SpotSound MT2 and $1300 for the SpotSound MT1.
Three new receivers and one preamp-processor from NAD use a modular construction that allows enhanced performance, features, flexibility, upgradability, and simplified service. The pre-pro is the M15HD. It's "music first" design philosophy will ensure that no audiophile is left behind. Modular construction will allow customizing. Available modules will include Audyssey MultEQ, Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ, Sigma Designs VXP image processing (2048 x 2048 pixels), and onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD, DD+, and both varieties of DTS-HD. Other features include four HDMI repeaters, dynamic headroom scaling for optimium resolution, an S/N program for all program and decoding combinations, digital tone controls with a center "dialog" setting, separate power supplies for digital and analog, and a switch-mode linear power supply with Figure 8 transformer. The new T 785 receiver has the same Sigma video processor. That and the T 775 have the the same desirable Audyssey features. Prices: M15HD, $4499; T 785 (pictured), $3999; T 775, $2999; and T 765, $2499. Shipping end of September.
Sony is launching the new Bravia XBR10 series at CEDIA, featuring an ultra thin design, wireless
transmission, an Ethernet connection for receiving Sony Bravia Internet Video over broadband, Motionflow 240Hz, and edge-lit LED backlighting but no local dimming. The only Sony local dimming models are the XBR8s, and they are being phased out. There may be new local dimming models from the company down the road, according to one Sony source, but I suspect not this year. The XBR 10s are available at 47-inches ($4500) and 52-inches ($5000).
A new projector or two every year is a CEDIA tradition from Sony, and they did not disappoint us this year. The new VPL-VW85 video projector offers significantly enhanced brightness compared to the VPL-VW70 (known as the VPL-VW80 in some markets), and deep blacks courtesy of a combination of SXRD chips with superior contrast and Sony's well-established Advanced (dynamic) Iris. It also has a variety of user-selectable gamma settings, custom gamma adjustment via an external computer program, a Motion Enhancer feature operating at a 96Hz frame rate with the option of either full brightness or darkened interpolated frames, and an aspect ratio for use with an add-on anamorphic zoom lens. $8000, in October. A review of the VPL-VW85 is currently scheduled for the November 2009 issue of Home Theater.
There's also a new, lower priced Sony SXRD projector, the VPL-HW15, with a claimed peak contrast ratio of 60,000:1 and 1000 ANSI lumens output at a suggested price of $3000. Also in October.
As greenfield home development dwindles, NuVo's Renovia may be the whole-house audio system of the future. We'll repeat the name, Renovia, and assume the hopeful implications are obvious. Don't want to poke holes in your older home for new wiring? Just use the existing power wiring via HomePlug 1.0. The system can cover up to 12 rooms with 50 watts per zone. If the two built-in AM/FM/Sirius tuners don't offer enough entertainment, throw in the Music Port Server, which adds XM, internet radio, Pandora, and RadioTime. Command the 320GB hard drive from any network-connected computer or touchscreen and bask in the auto synchronization tool.
Three new receivers from Onkyo will be the first to deliver nine amplifier channels. They also support dual subwoofer outputs, making them 9.2-channel models. Why this, why now? The advent of Audyssey's DSX and Dolby's Pro Logic IIz post-processing modes have prompted the increase in channels. Both of these modes add height while DSX also offers the option of width. With nine amp channels, you can run any two of the following: height, width, and back-surround. The receivers are the TX-NR5007 ($2699), TX-NR3007 ($2099), and TX-NR1007 ($1599). These THX Ultra2 Plus also boast THX Volume Plus, a low-volume listening mode that evens out differences among source inputs and tames the insane dynamics of some movie soundtracks. Also included in the two top models is Dolby Volume, which does the same. An ethernet connection allows streaming with Pandora, Rhapsody, and vTuner, not to mention Sirius. Video processing is HQV Reon-VX. ISF Certified Calibration Controls (ISFCCC) allows a qualified installer to tweak everything to perfection. See press release.
Long known for exceptional value in DLP projectors, Optoma introduced another winner in this regard at CEDIA. The HD8600 is one of the onlyif not the onlysingle-chip DLP projector with multiple lens options for less than $10,000. To be more specific, the projector with standard lens lists for $7500, while the long-throw lens option is $8600, and the short-throw version is $9500. It is said to output 1600 lumens with dynamic contrast of 50,000:1 thanks to Texas Instruments' Dynamic Black. To my delight, it also provides lens shift, which has been missing in the company's previous models, something I've complained about for years. The HD8600 will be available only through custom installers, not at retail.
Panasonic's new TH-85PF12U is the industry's first 85-inch, 1080p plasma. Available in October, this NeoPDP (Plasma Display Panel) has a claimed peak contrast ratio of 40,000:1 (2,000,000:1 dynamic). It's also claimed to require much less power than would be possible in the past in a plasma display this big. At 74.4" by 41.8" and 276 lbs., it's equal in size to four 42-inch displays, and is within 3.6" of being as wide as this writer's projectionscreen! The price: $30,000. I'll take one for the family room, one for the den...
Other than the TH-85PF12U plasma and an extensive 3D demo, Panasonic has been pretty tight-lipped about what it's going to be showing at CEDIA. But late-breaking news from the IFA trade show in Berlin has revealed a new LCD projector, the PT-AE4000. Like it's predecessor, the new model lets you store lens zoom and focus settings for content with different aspect ratios, such as 16:9 and 2.35:1, providing a poor man's anamorphic capability. New to the AE4000 is an aspect-ratio detection function that automatically selects 16:9 or 2.35:1 depending on the incoming signal. The projector should be available in October for less than $4000.
If 65 inches isn't big enough for you but 103 inches is too bigor too expensivehow about an 85-inch plasma? At CEDIA, the Panasonic Professional division is introducing the TH-85PF12U, which is equivalent in screen size to four 42-inchers, though the total resolution is still 1920x1080. It incorporates the company's new NeoPDP plasma panel that is said to exhibit a native contrast of 40,000:1. How much, you ask? Only $30,000, I reply.
Paradigm's new Special Edition Series, shown, is positioned between the Studio and Monitor lines. It includes a tower, two monitors, and sub starting at $299 for the SE1 monitor. The sub's feet can be detached and reattached so it can be used front- or down-firing. At the bottom of the picture are two six-sided subs which use PerfectBass equalization and vibration-canceling circuitry. The smaller one is the Sub 2 ($3499). The larger one is the Sub 1 ($7499) whose 4500-watt RMS amp runs six 10-inch drivers at 126dB and 40Hz, and down to 7Hz. At the top of the picture is the Millennium 20, a hybrid in- or on-wall speaker for $529 each. Not pictured is the upgraded Signature Series which uses a corrugated surround that allows the woofers to produce more output. That in turns means the tweeter and midrange don't need to be choked down. The S1 now comes with a choice of beryllium ($799) or aluminum ($599) tweeters. Sister brand Anthem showed its BLX-200 Blu-ray player ($799). Anthem's first receivers are promised for the first quarter of 2010.
Paradigm will be plumbing the depths at CEDIA with its new Seismic 110 subwoofer. Designed to meet today's demand for smaller subs, the Seismic 110 still delivers the goods with a 10-inch driver and an 850W UltraClass D power amp. It should be shipping by the end of October for $1500.
As with all things, Paradigm's Signature Series of flagship home-theater speakers have evolved. At CEDIA, we'll see the third generation of this impressive series, which boasts a 50-percent increase in output and extensive modifications to the bass/midrange drivers, including low-density NLC (Non-Limiting Corrugated) TPE surrounds, which are said to far more effective than standard thermoplastic elastomers at damping vibrations and resonances. Pricing ranges from $600 each for the S1 G-PAL bookshelf to $3500 each for the S8 floorstander and C5 center pictured above.
In addition to the Seismic 110, Paradigm will be introducing two new flagship subwoofers at CEDIA this year. The Sub 1 ($3500) has three pairs of stacked 8-inch drivers, while the Sub 2 ($7500) sports 10-inch drivers in the same geometrically aligned configuration, which is said to balance the forces generated by the drivers. Powering the Sub 1 is a class D amp that generates 1700W sustained/3400W peak, while the Sub 2's amp puts out an astounding 3000W sustained/7500W peak with a 20-amp, dedicated 120V circuit.