No, it didn’t fly while I was there, but a life-size (?) version of the flying robot from the famous THX movie trailer stood mute witness in the Integra booth that Integra has oodles of THX-approved gear. (Oodles – yeah, that’s a technical term. Now that I think of it, Oodles would be a good name for the robot itself. I may name my next kid, Oodles, I like it so much – the name, not the kid…)
The beautiful Totem Tribe 5 is 48 inches high with four Montreal-made woofers and a tweeter with no crossover circuitry to pollute the sound. It is ported at both the top and bottom of the enclosure and can produce SPLs of up to 110dB into eight ohms. The speaker can function as an LCR, so you can use five or more of them in a surround system, though Totem also offers smaller complementary models. Price is $3000 with custom finish or $2200 if you're not as fussy. Want sub with that? The Tribe Sub sells for $1795 with outboard amp. It can sit on a pedestal, hide under the sofa, or be built into a wall.
HDMI has an up-and-coming competitor in HDBaseT, as one of us will undoubtedly report later in the show. In the meantime, here's a harbinger of the future at the Tributaries booth, where Joe Perfito showed us his various HDMI extenders, all of which convert HDMI to something more suitable for a long cable run. The HX1C6-PRO converts to HDBaseT, extending range to 328 feet with either 8- or 12-bit color. For companies like Tributaries this is a bittersweet moment. Once they sold cables for three-connection component video and various digital and analog audio formats. Then all that got replaced by do-it-all HDMI. Now HDMI, which can still fetch a fair price for cables, may be about to give way to HDBaseT, which uses commodity-priced Cat5e or Cat6 cable. Fortunately Tributaries also has a line of surge suppressors. Onward into the future.
Looking like a scene from CSI, Velodyne's booth is emphasizing the goal to "kill the competition" with its new Digital Drive Plus subwoofers, which come with drivers measuring 10 ($3000), 12 ($3500), 15 ($5000), and 18 inches ($6000). These models feature 4.5 to 7dB more output depending on model, new rohacell driver material, redesigned cabinet, and much easier setup with 8-band EQ. Retained from the previous Digital Drive models is the same high-gain servo technology that reduces distortion to a mere 0.5% at 20Hz.
The Viva Utopia is the latest entry in Focal's Utopia range. Its flanking woofers and a mid-tweeter array can be used horizontally or vertically, serving as perhaps the world's priciest LCR. Used vertically, the top and bottom woofers can be tilted (as shown) at various angles to optimize the arrival times at the main listening position. When used as a horizontal center, however, the woofer modules are locked in a straight-ahead orientation, with the mid-tweeter array is rotated 90-degrees. Both of these adjustments must be performed at the factory; if this arrangement is needed the unit must be specifically ordered as a horizontal center. $12,500 each.
Vivitek wants to be your projector company, either with its premier H9080FD LED-lit, single-chip DLP projector ($15,000) or with its new $5000, H5085 lamp-lit single chipper, or the H1085 DLP. The latter carries an alarming price of $1499 with a specified light output of 2000 lumens.
The Chorus 826W ($3475/pair) is the latest entry in Focal's mid-priced Chorus lineup. In fact it is the only Chorus model to incorporate the "W" sandwich cone construction previously available only in the more upscale Electra and Utopia series (the other Chorus models use a less sophisticated cone design). Unfortunately, there is as yet no matching center channel or surrounds, and the availability of such models has not been announced.
Oh, the joys of attending a convention. It cost me $10 to ride 2 blocks (I didn’t know I could have actually hoofed it) from my hotel to the restaurant last night, so it’s a good thing CEDIA offers free bus rides from the various hotels located here in Atlanta to the convention center. Once at the convention center, however, I ran into a very surreal catch-22 situation when the Nazi security people wouldn’t let me go to the press room without a badge. Unfortunately, the only way to get a press badge was to walk through the convention center. Even after I sweet talked a regular registration person into escorting me through security, the stormtrooper stationed at the entrance to the show floor wasn’t pleased with letting us pass. I’m just thankful that the security people aren’t packing heat…
If you’re having trouble with routers and multiple access points in your home Wi-Fi network (as I am), Luxul Wireless says they have a solution for you with the company’s whole-home Wi-Fi network installation products. Luxul’s Pro-WAV products can increase the coverage area of 802.11b/g Wi-Fi gear by an astounding 400 percent; and Luxul says they can provide coverage for 10,000 square feet of home (or more) with a single access point. That means you’ll have seamless roaming of iPods/iPads, fewer wireless access points, and expanded usage of Wi-Fi throughout the home – all from products that can be mounted in a closet or attic.
The electronic components that accompany Wisdom Audio's speakers aren't new, but they sure look cool. This rack includes an SC-1 system controller, which provides electronic crossovers and Audyssey MultEQ room correction, and several SA power amps with one, two, or three channels of amplification at 500Wpc into 4Ω. Combined with Wisdom's in-wall main speakers and standalone subs in the company's demo room, the system sounded fantasticin fact, it was one of the best audio demos I heard at the show.
New at CEDIA from Wisdom Audio was the STS passive subwoofer with dual 15-inch drivers. At five feet tall and three feet wide, it looks huge next to the SWS "suitcase" sub as seen here, but it's actually surprisingly small for what it does130dB SPL at 20Hz (-3dB at 15Hz) with a sensitivity of 101dB/W/m and the ability to handle power up to 5kW!
Wisdom Audio makesd highly specialized and very expensive in-wall audio systems. The utilize line-array full-range speakers with the midrange and high end covered by long planar drivers, the lower end by several mid-sized bass units per channel, and, now, humongous subwoofers consisting of two 15" PRO drivers in cabinets estimated at over 12 cubic feet. Wisdom's brochure assures us that these 17.75" wide, 36" deep, and (I'd guess) five feet high monsters are "space efficient!" But they are designed to be hidden away.
Jon Herron was kind enough to pose next to Wisdom Audio's STS sub, with dual 15-inch woofers in a fridge-size cabinet that can vent through front or side. It is up to 101dB sensitive, make that 130dB at 20Hz, and don't try that at home. Price $10,000, shipping end of month. See item by Tom Norton.
Relatively new TV wall mounts company, WallWizard showed off their many minimal (materials and cost) mounts for flat-panel TVs. The new XM series of mounts are capable of holding 26-inch to 60-inch TVs (depending on the model of TV) and incorporate a special cam mechanism that allows the TV to be swiveled 90 degrees left and right, or tilted up and down +3/-15 degrees up and down with one hand – or even, the company claims, one finger. In addition to the much better than average articulation, the WallWizard mounts also sell for a much lower than average price. The $109 XM37 holds TVs up to 50 pounds, while the $249 XM60 supports up to 120 pounds. Both models are UL certified and carry WallWizard’s $10,000 equipment protection program.
One of Wolf Cinema's big introductions at CEDIA is the DCC-100FD single-chip DLP projector that uses a conventional lamp and color wheel. What's the big deal about that? It costs only $10,000 (including the company's outboard processor and Variscope lens memories for 2.35:1 and 16:9 content at constant height), which is a real bargain coming from Wolf.
The demo unit was a prototype; production units should be shipping by early next year. We saw a clip from Avatar on a Screen Innovations Black Diamond II (0.8 gain, 16:9, 96 inches wide), which looked great. I saw no hint of the dreaded rainbow artifact, but we'll have to see what Tom Norton says about that, since he's much more sensitive to it that I am.