Procella is a relatively new speaker company to these shores, with headquarters in Los Angeles, Stockholm, and Sydney. Its speakers, apart from the surrounds, follow the professional, powered-speaker paradigm. That is, they are driven by on-board amps. The P815, for example (the two stacked cabinets on the left in the photo, for example, is bi-amplified with 700 x 2 watts of built-in, class-D power. That model sells for $10,000 each.
The world-beating PTM series power amps from Audio Design Associates include six- and eight-channel models but nothing in the more popular seven-channel configuration -- till now. The PTM-7150, at 150 watts into eight ohms and 250 into four, uses a new thermal design that combines the company's traditional fan-cooled approach with heat sinking. The amp monitors itself and the fan kicks in when needed. This makes for a quieter, albeit larger, amp that needn't necessarily be banished to a closed gear closet. Price $10,000. Incidentally, the PTM is a tribute to ADA cofounder Peter T. McKean. We still miss him.
Audio Design Associates (ADA) introduced two versions of a new multichannel power amp at CEDIAthe PTM-7150 (seven channels, $10,000) and PTM-5150 (five channels, $8000). Each one pumps 150Wpc into 8Ω, 250Wpc into 4Ω, and around 600Wpc into 2Ω. It operates in pure class-A mode for the first 50 watts, after which it moves to class-AB, and a patent-pending cooling system uses a high-volume/low-speed fan under the heat sinks to keep the amp cool and quiet.
After several years of prototype demos at trade shows, Audio Design Associates (ADA) is finally releasing a consumer version of its Trinnov room correction technology in three standalone boxesthe TEQ-4 ($10,000), TEQ-8 ($12,000), and TEQ-12 ($15,000); the model number indicates how many audio channels each one supports. The first step is to play test tones and measure several listening positions with the included microphone, which uses four pickups spaced so that the speakers' positionincluding heightcan be measured accurately.
The McIntosh MX150 pre-pro ($12,000) can reassign its XLR and RCA ins, a boon to those into triamplification. Its Room Perfect room correction uses 121 test tones to massage your room with 112 octaves of wonderfulness. While the USB input cannot accept 122 source components at once, it can recognize that many one by one. Let us gloss over the MVP 881BR, an $8000 Blu-ray player with non-3D-savvy HDMI 1.3. That brings us to the binding posts that made our eyes pop out of their sockets. They were on the back of an MC302 power amp. The top hex piece unscrews as you'd expect, while the bottom round piece floats. Details? You want more details? It uses electricity.
As I was walking back from the Runco press conference, I passed a huge room occupied by chip maker Analog Devices, so I stopped in to see what it had cooking. I'm glad I didamong the demos was a new audio processor intended to give soundbars the ability to reproduce a true 3D soundfield, and it worked shockingly well.
The Anthem 700 ($1999), 500 ($1499), and 300 ($999) receivers all have the company's proprietary ARC auto setup and room correction, Dolby Volume low-volume listening mode, Dolby Pro Logic IIz height listening mode, power rated with all channels driven, linear power supplies, and discrete output devices. The top two models have USB inputs that can support a large external drive, generating a full content list with ease. Not all competing USB-equipped receivers can support a large drive. Shipping in 30 days, except the 300, shipping in 60 days.
The memories of reviewing Arcam's AVR600 and AVR500 receivers are still golden so we were more than pleased to see a third model join the line, the AVR400. It's got HDMI 1.4, Dolby Volume, and seven times 90 watts -- and yeah, we can just hear you saying $2500 for a 90-watt receiver? Based on our experiences with the two previous models, the power spec is honest, and we expect nothing less than stupendous sound when it comes in for review, soon we hope. Ships in December.
T he rest of the industry may not be ready to abandon dome tweeters, but Sandy Gross and his new company, GoldenEar Technology, are using accordion-like High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) high-frequency drivers in place of the ubiquitous domes found in 90-some-odd percent of the speakers currently on the market. The HVFR drivers work in a manner similar to an accordion and generate sound by squeezing a folded diaphragm from the sides rather than in an up-and-down motion. The result is a dramatically open, sublime sound free of any listening fatigue you might get from a lesser, standard driver – at least, that’s what I heard in the GoldenEar Technology booth earlier this morning. The HVFR tweeters are in the $1,249/ea floor-standing Triton Two Towers, the$499/ea SuperSat satellites , and the $249/ea SuperSat 50 satellites. GoldenEar Technology is also introducing a pair of powered subwoofers (ForceField 3 - $499, ForceField 4 - $699).
These three-channel LCR bars from Artison deliver the center channel from the top, and the left and right channels at the bottom. Without grilles they're only 1.8 inches deep. The Masterpiece is $2500, the Portrait $1800, and the Sketch $1200.
Atlantic Technology uses cabinet-related techniques developed in collaboration with designer Phil Clements to achieve truly scary deep bass response from small cabinets and 5.25-inch woofers. This H-PAS technology was a highlight of the last CEDIA. At this year's show the floorstanding Model AT-1 ($2500/pair, shipping now) has been joined by the stand-mount Model AT-2 ($1500/pair, shipping February). The demo seemingly defied the laws of physics, achieving the kind of bass you'd expect from a decent midpriced subwoofer, except without the sub. Without even a floorstanding enclosure. We wouldn't have believed it if we hadn't heard it.
You might think CEDIA would be a poor environment in which to meet women – but it turns out that a broad assortment of the best and brightest women in the CE business were in attendance at the Women in CE Breakfast Saturday morning. The organization aims to help women become a more important part of the industry than simply the “W” in Wife Acceptance Factor, and today’s annual meeting kept them abreast of the many benefits of mentoring. Interestingly, the sponsor (who shall remain nameless but she knows who she is) of the table at which I sat had mentored me in the fine act of drinking me under the table the day before, so I feel perfectly justified making this politically incorrect post.
Look carefully at the HSi-430 in-ceiling speaker at the Boston Acoustics booth and you'll see the slot-shaped vent holes just outside the surround. This one has a round grille but there are also square-grille and subwoofer versions, all selling for $250/each. Boston has added a skinny tower to its Reflection line, the RS326, $1000/each. And its TVee Model 30 bar earns its $600 pricetag with separate EQ modes for both music and TV/video soundtracks. It has built-in Dolby Digital (but not DTS 5.1) decoding, which should at least suit ATSC broadcasts which use DD.
We can think of a few other manufacturers who have showed impressive-sounding new speakers behind an acoustically porous curtain and then whipped the curtain aside to reveal a compact satellite/subwoofer set. The latest is Cambridge Audio's Minx, with its three-inch cube available in single (Min-10) or dual (Min-20) versions with three tough little subs. The smallest 5.1 configuration would cost a reasonable $550/set with additional cubes at $80/each. If you are considering adding, say, DPLIIz height or DSX width speakers to your system with minimal fuss, this modular easy-mount approach may be just the thing. The full-range drivers had a pleasingly warm sound that did well with male vocals and had no nasty ringing. Bass was strong if a little tubby (but we were sitting against the rear wall). Minx got our attention and we hope to follow up with a review.