Induction Dynamics has taken its sister company’s (Phase Technology) all-digital audio processing system that incorporated Audyssey’s MultiEQ XT and precisely matched each speaker to the acoustics of the room to the next level with the ID dARTS system. ID dARTS is available as a freestanding system currently, but in-wall and on-wall versions are in the works. The system Induction Dynamics played for me included a pair of the company’s new three-way S1.8Td tower speakers, a C1.8d center channel, and a pair of S1.8Sd surround speakers. One of the things that made the system stand out was its use of three-inch dome midranges and 1 1/8-inch soft dome tweeters all around. The system is powered, equalized, and filtered by the SX7000d – a sixteen channel amp with up to 250 watts per channel. The SX700d incorporates the Audyssey chipset plus the digital mic input for room calibration. I didn’t get exact pricing, but depending on the system configuration and subwoofer, systems should run between $30,000 and $50,000. Not cheap, for sure, but definitely impressive as all get out.
Integra's new lineup of A/V receivers and preamp/processorsthose with model numbers ending in ".3"include a Marvell Qdeo chipset that can upscale 1080p to 4K. Well, to be precise, it quadruples 1920x1080 to 3840x2160, which some argue isn't true 4K (4096x2160). The demo system consisted of a DBS-30.3 Blu-ray player sending 1080p via HDMI to a DTR-40.3 AVR, which upscaled the image and sent 4K via HDMI to a processor made by Marseille. This processor converted the HDMI to four DVI signals, which were sent to a 65-inch 4K plasma of unknown origin that couldn't accept 4K via HDMI. (No currently available display can.) The image looked nice and sharp with no visible motion artifacts, but without a split screen, it was very difficult to see any significant benefit of upconverted 4K.
James Loudspeaker caught our eye with more than one fascinating product. The SPL-618 three-channel soundbar ($6000) features an unusual tweeter array, as you can see. It reminded us of the petals of a flower. Each quartet of tweeters is angled inward -- not with the intention of creating a sweet spot, but to provide good dispersion via summing. The 2.5-inch-deep bar can be made in various widths.
James Loudspeaker's 63SA-7 in-wall or in-ceiling speaker builds a pipe-shaped speaker three inches in diameter into a much larger back box. What if something goes wrong after the box is sealed into the wall? Just pull out the cylinder, detach its RK-45 connector, and pop in a new one. CTO Michael Park has earned the gratitude of CIs and their clients.
JBL showed, but did not demonstrate, its new Studio 5 series. Intriguingly styled, with the tweeter horn cleverly incorporated into the cabinet structure, it consists of 5 models: the Studio 530 bookshelf ($689/pr), the Studio 580 tower with dual 6.5-inch woofers ($899 each), the Studio 590 with dual 8-inch woofers ($1119 each), the Studio 520C center, and the Studio 550P sub ($689).
JVC opened the show with a bang, introducing eight new projectors. Six of them are further refinements of last year's models, with some significant new features. As last year, they are paired in sister designs, the Reference models (DLA-RS65 at $12,000, DLA-RS55 at $8000, DLA-RS45 at $3500—the latter a $1000 price drop from last year's corresponding model!) and the Procision models (DLA-X90R, DLA-X70R, and DLA-X30Rat the same respective price points as the Reference models) The respective Reference and Procision models are identical in features and differ only in minor cosmetic details and their sales channels (the Reference models are sold through Pro dealers).
Kaleidescape's CD/DVD/Blu-ray server gets around the copy protection issue with Blu-rays by having the user load his or her Blu-rays into this carousel-like unit--the Vault. The discs are then loaded onto hard drive servers and played from there. But they will only play from the server if the unit confirms that they are still in the Vault. If not, the server will no longer play the disc file. That's not a limitation with CDs or DVDs, which can also be loaded into the Vault, but can be removed (but still play) after copying onto the hard drives. The Vault holds over 300 discs, but the number of Blu-rays you can load will depend on how big a server you purchase. No word on whether the pretty blue light is standard or just a show special.
KEF's new R-series, mentioned in an earlier blog, was inspired by KEF's far pricier Blade ($30,000/pair), shown here in its dress whites. It sounded surprisingly good on the open show floor, with a tight, punchy bass that was undoubtedly helped by the lack of room modes--though the latter can hardly be blamed on any speaker. When I placed by hand on the composite cabinet during those heavy kick-drum hits, I felt practically nothing.
Perhaps the biggest news from KEF was the unveiling of the R Series, which includes three towers, two monitors, two centers, a surround, and a sub at prices from $1000-2500. Pick hit may be the stand-mount R300, a three-way with 5.25-inch coaxial Uni-Q drivers (basically a tweeter mounted in the middle of a midrange) plus a 6.5-inch woofer for $1800/pair. Finishes are walnut or rosewood veneers or piano black. KEF also showed new in-walls with ultra-thin bezels. Incidentally, the company celebrates its 50th anniversary in October.
The KEF LS3/5A has a model number old grizzled audiophiles will greet with pleasure. It's a reiteration of a popular BBC-designed monitor that's appeared under many brands over several decades. Always glad to see this mellow classic resurface, though in this case, it was just a historical footnote in KEF's 50th anniversary celebration -- not a product you can go out and buy.
Klipsch now makes headphones, as shown by Brooke Hilsmeyer. The killer is the MODE noise-canceling model which sounded great and worth $350. There is also a smaller non-NC Reference 1 and an S4A earbud, designed especially for use with Android devices.
We didn't hear much of what Noah Kaplan said during the Leon Speakers press event -- too many people, not enough decibels. But his Living Space Theater soundbar, two-thirds of which is pictured, could be heard over the noise of the show floor, summoning vocal clarity and pretty good bass considering its depth of less than two inches. The amazing Trithon REYN made a welcome reappearance. Kaplan will make CEDIA history at an event tomorrow evening in which he will paint a mural accompanied by musician Adam Roberts.
The new Lexicon MP-20 Media Processor is not yet shipping, but promises to be killer, both for your home theater and your bank account (the exact price has not yet been announced, but should be somewhere south--but not too far south--of $20,000). It incorporates Harman's new QuantumLogic audio processing (more on this below), 12.4 channels, 192/24-bit audio resolution, 8 HDMI 1.4a inputs, 1080p video scaling, a large front panel screen interface with soft buttons for selection the desired options, auto calibration and room EQ, and more.
LG doesn't have its own booth at CEDIA this year, but the company did launch a new flat panel in the THX booth with virtually no fanfare. The 55LW9800 3D LCD flat panel incorporates the company's new Nano LED backlighting, in which a extremely thin optical filmthe "nano" partdiffuses the light from the LEDs more evenly than previous designs. As with other recent LG LCDs, this one uses passive-polarized glasses for 3D, and it's THX-certified in both 2D and 3D modes. In fact, a THX rep told me that, in a faceoff with many 3D TVs, everyone tended to gravitate to this one as the most comfortable to watch. The 3D effect was superb on the underwater footage they were showing, though I could still see the line structure endemic to passive-polarized 3D LCDs.
Few home automation things – especially in a home theater – can match motorized shades for sheer (or blackout) sex appeal. Whether the shades are coming down in preparation for a movie, or going up after the movie is over, it’s difficult to avoid being mesmerized by the seemingly magical movement of the shade material. But motorized shades have traditionally had two major drawbacks: cost and installation issues (which add to the cost). Lutron’s new wireless motorized cellular shades give the treatment to expensive, difficult-to-install window treatments. The new shades are exciting for several reasons: They’re motorized! They’re affordable! They’re cordless! And I can install them myself! (Yes, I’m drooling over shades…)