Vinyl is big lately in high-end audio so I had to include at least one turntable or risk appearing hopelessly out of date. It's the Merrill-Williams Audio table that worked so well in the Wharfedale system above. If $7200 sounds steep, you don't get out much; you can spend a lot more for a turntable. And oh, by the way, that price does not include either the Dynavector tonearm ($5000) or the Ortofon Anna cartridge that was used with it here ($8500). That's right, the cartridge costs more than the turntableand more than a good high end surround preamp processor (I had to throw that in!). But if you want to get into vinyl and this is your first exposure to its potential prices, you can do so for a lot less than this.
Although it was first introduced at CEDIA last September, I missed seeing the Mitsubishi HC-7800D DLP projector at that show. This 3D-capable single-chip model uses IR-sync'd active glasses that boast a much shorter inter-eye blackout time (when both lenses are closed) than most active glasses0.2 milliseconds compared with about 3mswhich means they let more light through for a brighter 3D image. The HC-7800D provides 2D-to-3D conversion and vertical lens shift with manual zoom and focus. It is available now for $3000, including the IR emitter but no glasses (except now through the end of February, when you get one pair in a special promotionwhich is a good deal, since the glasses cost $200 each!).
I saw a demo on a 110-inch (diagonal) Vutec Silver Star screen using a clip from Yogi Bear, an awful movie that nonetheless has great 3D, and it looked quite good with no discernable crosstalk. But even with the reduced inter-eye blackout time, the image was still pretty dim.
MK's M7 speaker is the first—anyone's, not just MK's—to receive THX Compact Speaker certification. That means it produces sound pressure levels of up to 105dB in rooms up to 1000 feet and at distances of up to eight feet. Price $1000/pair. MK also showed a few prototypes including the MP9 three-channel soundbar, available in white or black gloss for $1000, and an in-wall sub with dual eight-inch drivers in an aluminum-steel enclosure with 400-watt hybrid amp. Look for both in June or July.
Monitor Audio's Shadow on-walls come in four sizes, all with four-inch flat mid-woofers and the famous C-CAM tweeter used in company's other speakers, built into tough extruded aluminum enclosures. Prices range from $849 to $1649 per pair. They sounded mellower than is typical for Monitor and were home theater worthily dynamic.
Shown here is the current top-of-the-range Revel F308 floorstander ($4500/pair). A bigger, somewhat higher-priced model that's otherwise similar but has three 8-inch woofers rather than the F308's two) is expected in the fall. All of the Performa models use similar aluminum-coned woofers and identical, aluminum dome, waveguide-loaded tweeters. While the listening environment in the Revel rooms was not ideal, brief auditions of both the largest bookshelf and the F308 sounded very promising.
This metal grille has a lotus pattern that is said to be acoustically transparent. You'll find it in Morel's new Sopran tower ($12,000/pair) and Octave 6 ($6500/pair for the tower, $3500/pair for the monitor).
Photo by Barb Gonzalez
I was honored and privileged that DTS asked me to moderate a panel discussion during its Sunday evening party at Lavo at the Palazzo. The luminaries included (left to right after me on the far left) sound designer Diego Stocco, producer/engineer/musician Alan Parsons, producers Iz and Bobby Avila, engineer/producer Elliot Scheiner, and producers Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam. A lively discussion focused on the importance of audio quality and included fascinating comments on data and dynamic-range compression, digital versus analog recording, the useand misuseof autotune processing, multichannel music, and the importance of experiencing high-quality audio, especially for youngsters who might not know anything other than highly compressed sound through crappy earbuds.
NAD is now shipping three receivers introduced at CEDIA 2011. They include the T 787 ($4000), T 777 ($3000), T 757 ($1600), and T 748 ($900). All but the bottom model have modular construction to allow a variety of updates in the top two models and video updates in the third. The top model has dual transformers which should do a lot to juice dynamics. This receiver would beat up your receiver and take its lunch money if it didn't have such a dreamy, poetic hi-fi personality.
Netgear showed off the new Smart Network Cloud Application Platform on its 2012 routers, network attached storage (NAS) drives, and media players, where users can access a number of useful home networking apps through a dashboard called the AppManager. These third-party-developed apps include home lighting and power control, media search capabilities, and internet usage meters.
In an adjoining room, Thiel was demonstrating the new CS1.7 (estimate $5500/pair, available early in 2012), a replacement for the well-received CS1.6. They use the same woofers as the MCS1.2, below, and sounded superb driven by Bryston electronics. But I might add that Thiel has used this same room for the last three CESs, and it hasn't produced anything short of audio magic there yet.
Somebody at Newer Technology finally got fed up with all the USB wall wart chargers taking up all the available outlets - not to mention looking like a charger jigsaw puzzle. The company's Power2U AC/USB wall outlet combines two AC wall outlets with a pair of powered USB ports that'll charge and power up to four iOS/Android/etc devices - including being able to charge the amperage-hungry iPad. Unlike traditional wall-wart power supplies, the USB charging ports in the Power2U utilize a "Smart Power" design that is supposed to reduce your energy consumption costs by providing only the charging amount necessary for the connected devices, as well as turn off power to the USB ports when the connecting cable is removed. Safety shutters over the USB ports slide closed when not in use.
The UL-Listed Power2U installs into a standard single-gang outlet box (16 cubic inches or larger) with a 15A circuit and comes with detailed instructions for the intrepid do-it-yourselfer. In fact, Newer Technology says it can be installed in as little as 20 minutes. At the moment, the wall outlets are only available in an off-white finish. The wall plate itself has small caps to cover the wall plate's screws. The Power2U AC/USB wall outlets are available now for $39.95/each But if my house is any kind of a guide, you'll need more than just one to satisfy all your voracious portable devices.
Some audiophiles cherish tubes, and even modestly powered tube amplifiers. From Napa Acoustics (which appears to hail from China, not a valley in California) comes the 40 watts per channel MM4 hybrid integrated amp (tube input stage, solid state output stage), at the amazingly low price (for those who know how much these things can cost) of $699. A larger, 35wpc all tube MT34 will set you back $1199.
Later at the show we obtained more details about Panasonic’s 2012 sets. New models in the VT50, GT50, and ST50 series of plasma sets will make up the meat and potatoes of Panasonic’s updated designs, expect to be available in 2-3 months if past delivery schedules are maintained. There will be an expanded range of new Panasonic LCD IPS designs as well. In fact, there are 15 new LCD models, 13 with LED backlighting. Seven of the LCD sets are 3D, including three in the ET5 series using passive glassesPanasonic’s first departure from full HD 3D (passive glasses sets cut the vertical resolution seen by each eye in half in a 1080p set). In addition, the LCD line now includes 47- and 55-inch sizes. Previous Panasonic sets at 42-inches and larger have all been plasma designs. With LCD now dominant in the market, could Panasonic be hedging its bets?
Myspace CEO Tim Vanderhook, and co-owner, Justin Timberlake announced Myspace TV at the Panasonic CES press conference. Available on Panasonic TVs as part of VIERA Connect on their next generation of Smart VIERA TV HDTVs, Myspace TV allows users to share and comment on the TV shows that they’re viewing.
Vanderhook began by explaining,“Historically, TV has been a shared experience, as people gathered together to watch their favorite programs.” Viewers can make comments on programming creating a group conversation that will show up on their friends’ Myspace TV.