In what is becoming an annual tradition, we asked Steven Stone about his footwear for the show. The contributor to many fine publications replied that he brought three pair of suede shoes to CEDIA this year. Of course the blue, blue, blue suede shoes are the ones we wanted to snap.
The Polk I-Sonic ES2 is the second-generation version of the famed do-it-all radio. It handles HD Radio, XM, Sirius, your neighbor's brainwaves, AM, FM, net radio, Rhapsody, our brainwaves, and iPod. Use full capabilities at your own risk. And it now has a tag button (center, bottom) that applies tagging data to up to 50 songs at a time for storage in its own flash memory and the iPod. You could tag songs heard on HD Radio for later purchase on iTunes. Coming in October for $499.
This flower-like object is part of the Klipsch Icon. "Lofted throat geometry" is the name and 100-degree vertical and horizontal dispersion is the game. Internal biamplification should give the floorstanding version ($2500/pair) quite a woof. There are stand-mount and bookshelf models with lofted throats too. Klipsch also showed a large floorstanding speaker, the Palladium, which is already selling to European and Asian audiophiles and will come to the U.S. in early 2008 for 25 grand.
The Decco is a stereo integrated amp that brings together the warmth of tubes with the digital convenience of USB input. It's shown here with a Sonos box--and imagine our surprise when David Solomon picked up the Sonos and shoved it into the back of the preamp! Apparently there's a space there just the right size for it. The product will make its debut in high-gloss black for $799 and the woody version shown here will go for a hundred more. Also of vital interest are floorstanding speakers from Era, including the D-10 ($1700/pair, October) and the D-14 ($2200/pair). We can't wait to get five of them in for review.
Every six months some clueless publication hypes a stupid plastic turntable with USB output. This is a terrible way to transfer vinyl to MP3 because a bad turntable is a bad turntable regardless of how it outputs the signal. Pro-Ject eases my irritation over this sorry situation with the Phono Box II ($179), a decent little phono preamp with USB output. Connect a good turntable to it--Pro-Ject offers several, and also makes them for Music Hall--and your vinyl-sourced digital music library will sound a lot better.
The Lexicon MV-5 is a new surround preamp-processor from the company that more or less defines the genre for multichannel audiophiles. At $2999, it's the most affordable Lex yet, and thus might entice a few receiver users to go for higher-performing separates instead. Put it together with the GX-7 amp and you've got a $6000 package.
Epson and Atlantic Technology are teaming up to bring out the world's largest HTiB. There are two versions. Each one includes a drop-down screen with built-in Atlantic Technology speakers (LCR), a DVD-based media center (with HDMI inputs and upscaling capability), and rear speakers (also from Atlantic Technology) that can either hang on each side of the projector or be mounted on the wall. For $4,999, you get a 720p Epson LCD projector with the system. For $6,999, you get an Epson 1080p model. Both systems come with racetracks to help hide the wires for installations even I could do.
Terrestrial Digital is making an HDTV tuner / antenna similar in design to the LaCrosse Micron antennae, except of course it has a built in high definition tuner. How good is the tuner? Who knows, who cares, because the unit only outputs composite video or s-video with two channels of analog audio.
Richard Schneider, founder of Terrestrial Digital, is right about one thing: there's plenty of free over-the-air high definition signals out there for anyone willing to try. And the signal quality is generally better than anything off a small satellite or cable. Terrestrial Digital's new line of ClearStream antennas are small and practically invisible compared to the 14' Yagi monster I've got on my roof.
Planar knows a lot about video displays – how to get them into hospitals, tanks and now, home theaters. The deals was inked 101 days ago. Planar's more global positioning will help expand Runco heretofor minimal international presence.
What can I say - it plays CDs, has an AM/FM radio, 80 watts of power in a 2.1 system, uses Meridian DSP processing and, best of all, it has a clock. The sample cuts we heard were more lush than any "radio" you've ever heard. The Meridian F80 is available in Ferrari red, black, white, silver and yellow.
I didn't get in to see the new 1080p Marantz VP-15S1 today. The wait was too long, but I'll have a better chance tomorrow. In the meantime, the projector is available either au natural or with an optional anamorphic lens. The PJ itself is half the price of Marantz' VP-11S1 flagship ($20,000), which remains in the line.