Spruce up your desktop with the energy-efficient Icon-1 chip amp and S-1 speaker with full-range driver. The prototype system we heard was pleasingly though insistently warm--it's still being voiced. But it's already got a feel-good quality and you need that when you're at your desk. The package will ship at the end of March for $399.
The LVCC brain trust offers a new innovation in pedestrian traffic management--the double yellow line. Presumably that means stay to the right (though that didn't stop some of these guys) and don't try passing anyone (though that didn't stop me).
We're longtime fans of Al Langella, the guy who puts the Design into Audio Design Associates. If the Cinema Renaissance Mach III seems a little on the flashy side (don't worry, the front-panel showmanship can be subdued with a command), be advised that if it follows in the ADA tradition, it'll sound as good as or better than anything else in its category. Seriously. It's got a tube output stage. HDMI 1.3 won't be handled until the next generation, which will come along, well, eventually. Price quite reasonable at under $100,000. If Britney buys this thing, people will think she's gone sane again.
I've already described a Totem product as best sound of the show, and I haven't changed my mind, but the Induction Dynamics room was just as good. So it's a tie. Big, smooth, transparent, addicting. The big fella is the ID1.18 and the center is the C1.8. Other models, including in- and on-walls, complement the ones we heard. There's no digital room correction built in--the sound is just plain old great engineering with patented crossover, timbre-matched drivers, external sub amp, etc. You get the best qualities of a big speaker (massive soundstage, top-to-bottom accuracy, meaty bass) with the best qualities of a small speaker (timbral fidelity, phase coherence, subtlety, comfort)--in a, well, pretty huge package. But it sounded stupendous. A 5.1-channel system would be roughly 20 grand and the ID folks will match your existing speaker finish or create whatever you desire on a custom basis. Wow, wow, and wow. Also, wow.
I, too, saw Pioneer's Extreme Contrast demo today and completely agree with everything Shane says in his earlier post. Now, just imagine an image that striking in a cabinet this striking? Another Project Kuro concept design, this 50-inch plasma measures just 9mm thick and weighs 41 pounds. Pioneer's goal is to combine these technologies in future models, but don't expect to see a real-world product until late 2009 or perhaps 2010.
LG is one of several display manufacturers showing some type of wireless HD transmission system. The new LG71 Series includes 47- and 52-inch 1080p LCDs with built-in wireless capability. All of the video connections reside in a set-top box, seen here in the lower right corner of the photo. Connect your sources to the box, and it will transmit the signals wirelessly over a closed 802.11n network to the receiver embedded in the TV, reportedly from a distance of up to 65 feet. Not to show favorites, LG also offers this technology in their new PG70 plasma line.
The newest iPod dock from Creative actually upscales the video quality to 720p or 1080i, and it holds up remarkably well on the big screen. The Creative Xdock HD is a $399 bundle which includes a receiver to accept streaming audio in a second room of the house, and it can support up to three additional receivers, sold separately.
At the Dolby booth, this prototype of the first-ever audio/video receiver with the new Dolby Volume technology was on display outside their mini-theater. Onkyo, with a tradition of early integration of new audio technologies, won the honor of debuting the new process which organically rejiggers the loud and quiet parts of a soundtrack within a scene, such as hard-to-hear dialogue amid background sound effects, as well as equalizing the levels between two different programs when we change channels or go to commercial, with very enjoyable results in all of the demo I've heard in the past year. Clearly this is something that consumers have been demanding, one of those seemingly simple problems that's a bear to solve (otherwise everyone would do it!)
Every year I step across the threshold of North Hall, paradise for car-audio fanatics, to be greeted by the impressive roar of dozens (seemingly hundreds) of car subwoofers. This year I wasn't able to bring myself to walk through the hall. I'm just not tough enough anymore!
The KHT1005.2 features an egg-shaped satellite with the aluminum tweeter mounted inside the three-inch woofer--that, of course, is KEF's famous coaxial Uni-Q array. In fact, it's the same Uni-Q used in the costlier KHT6000 system. The price for 5.1 channels will be $850; sats and sub will also be available separately. KEF is also now shipping the swooningly beautiful, gleaming, desirable XQ series and we hope to get review samples shortly.
The No. 502 is Mark Levinson's latest surround preamp-processor. The single-chassis design replaces the dual-chassis No. 40. It's HDMI 1.1 compliant, and doesn't handle the new lossless codecs (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio), but that may not be a concern if your BD or HD DVD player passes a high-bit PCM signal. Pointed questions about the upgrade path went unanswered. The bleeding-edge Gennum 9351 video processors mustered a squeaky clean picture, with proprietary deinterlacing and edge correction and 1.6 gigaflops of processing power. Yes, 1080p and 24p are provided for. Along for the demo ride were the No. 433 three-channel amp, the No. 432 two-channel amp, and fabulous Revel Ultima2 speakers. Two years in development, the 502 will ship in the second quarter. Price: a mere 30 grand.
"Simulated surround" from two headphone channels. That's how the DTS people described Surround Sensation. It uses multichannel sources, like the better players in this genre. The audience appeared rapt. Look for product this year including an ArcSoft PC application.
Can't we all just get along? If you live in one of the 20 million U.S. households that own two or more iPods (a JVC stat), there will inevitably be battles over whose player belongs in the tabletop music system. Surely my Ben Harper trumps your OK Go. JVC makes it easier for your iPods to cohabitate with the new dual-dock NX-PN7 tabletop audio system. The NX-PN7 will charge both iPods when docked, it sports a video output and an analog audio input, and it throws in an AM/FM tuner, clock, and timer for good measure. It will be available in April for $149.95.
At a low-key reception this morning, NXT showed off some recent introductions of their flat-panel speaker technology, including this Gateway all-in-one computer that incorporates the NXT’s SoundVu technology. It’s a flat speaker panel that’s clear enough to be used to cover an LCD screen on a computer, and amazingly the vibration of the panel does not affect the view of what’s underneath.
NXT doesn’t make products directly. They license the technology and help other companies bring their products to market. One of the companies using NXT’s flat speaker technology is Shinhint. They demonstrated several products, including monitors, TV sound bar speakers, and tabletop speaker phones as part of NXT’s press presentation this morning.