"We like the sound," said the MK Sound folks in response to my question -- "why an analog bass management controller?" The DMC-1 accepts five XLR input for line-level loop-through. Available in February for $1200. MK is the newly returned heir to the M&K legacy, so expect to see lots of classic models return with upgraded parts to make them even better.
Phase Technology's dARTS has been around for awhile. That stands for Digital Audio Reference Theater System, and it involves custom programming, software tuning and amplification precisely matched to the room. But with the 650 Series speakers, it now has cosmetic sophistication to match its digital smarts. The whole package goes for $20,000, but if you have high-end tastes and a wallet to match, try it before you decide that's too much.
If you like your speaker bars under a thousand, try the Phase Technology Teatro V3.0 for $800. Besides the half-dozen woofers and tweeters on the front, it also has side-mounted drivers, something it has in common with the one above.
Phase Technology's Teatro PC310 ($1200) has three 5.25-inch woofers, five 1.5-inch soft dome midranges, and three 1-inch soft dome tweeters, some of which you see here, and some of which are mounted at the sides. Imaging was wide, the feel was smooth and natural (more so than most sound bars), and if the regular one-size grille doesn't match your flat panel display, you can have one custom cut.
Which some might construe as weightist. The composite fiberglas, carbon fiber, and resin enclosure makes damping material unnecessary. Two 9-inch woofers share the enclosure with a 6.5-inch mid and 1.1-inch tweeter. The $32,000 pricetag (per pair) may seem stiff but the composite enclosure trickles down to the monitor-size Super Octave. Morel also offers three Sound Spot satellites, all of which have coaxial drivers in a metal pedestal enclosure, but the drivers differ, so pricing ranges from $1500 to $2000 to $2500. The best version has a resin-covered silk tweeter.
DLS designs its products in Sweden and has them assembled in Taiwan with enclosures from China. But the company designs and manufactures its own drivers. The M Line includes the M66 tower, for $3500/pair, plus the MC66 center, M60 monitor, and M Sub 10.
Arabesque, from the Crystal Cable folks, is the second manufacturer we know of (in addition to Waterfall) to use glass enclosures. The faceted design of this floorstander came about after the company realized that a curved glass enclosure wouldn't be possible -- but it looks great.
The Suite 7.1HD surround preamp-processor from Audio Design Associates, second from bottom in picture, supports Dolby Volume as well as the new lossless surround codecs. It costs $5500 and will ship in a few months. There are eight HDMI ins and two outs, which should cover every high-def contingency known to humankind. Rather than introduce new amps, ADA is sticking with the existing PTM-6150 and -8150, which is absolutely the right decision, as they are (I'll stick my neck out) the best outboard surround amplifiers in the industry.
The Paradigm Seismic 110 sub has a rounded top, and to complement the Millenia Series speakers, a diecast chassis. And it makes the best picture. But the Paradigm subs that will really raise eyebrows are the marginally less photogenic Sub 12 ($1999) and Sub 15 ($2999), each of which has dual 800-watt amps and dual voice coils driving a single cone. Why? More output, better control, less distortion. And there's USB input for fine tuning via the Perfect Bass Kit.
HDMI Licensing LLC, who won a Technology and Engineering Emmy for their contribution of the HDMI™ single cable audio and video standard, has announced the development of a new HDMI specification beyond the current 1.3 version.
While not final, it is expected that the new standard will include transfer of Ethernet over the new HDMI cable. The other significant addition will be an “audio return channel.” Currently when a source—say, your HD satellite—is connected directly to a TV, an optical audio cable must be connected to an AV receiver to hear your satellite programming in surround sound. This new bi-directional feature brings it back to a single connection that will send the sound back to AV receiver without the need for an additional cable. Woohoo! We’re getting closer to a single cable connection, I’m all for that type of simplicity. Go HDMI!
Got $36,495 burning a hole in your pocket? SIM2 has an answer in the new C3X Lumis HOST. According to SIM2, this 1080p, compact 3-chip DLP projector produces excellent blacks thanks to its Dynamic Black auto iris and modulated projection lamp. The "host" part is an outboard processor/input switching box included in the price (not shown in the photo). It did produce an outstanding image.
SIM2's Domino 60 single-chip 1080p DLO was making sweet pictures on a 2.35:1 screen together with a static anamorphic lens from Panamorph. The projector can process the image so that a conventional 1.78:1 image will be properly proportioned when it passes through the lens. $8300 for the projector and Panamorph (the projector is also available separately).
Epson demonstrated its top of the line ProCinema 7500UB LCD projector at CEDIA. It looked excellent there, but after undergoing further refinements to smooth out some pre-production wrinkles, its finally ready for prime time, with one of the best-looking images at the show. With a claimed native contrast ratio of 6000:1, it didn't appear to need the help of a dynamic iris (though it has one) to produce convincingly deep and rich blacks. Worked great with an anamorphic lens, too, on a 101" wide Stewart Studiotek 130 projection screen. The projector uses an HQV REON processor, has a full color management system, red, green, and blue-only modes for setup, and a claimed tight color alignment of the three panels. The best part may be the $4199 price.
Pioneer introduced two new standard Blu-ray players, the BDP-120 and the BDP-320. The BDP-120 is expected to sell for under $300. A new Elite player, the BDP-23FD, offers Kuro Link, a new feature said to sync up with Kuro HDTVs for optimum setup and operation. We'll wait to se on that one.