The news from Energy concerns a tower and a center speaker. The RC-70 tower ($1100/each) has two 6.5-inch ribbed elliptical surround woofers and an aluminum dome tweeter, ideal for medium to large rooms. Available finishes are rosenut and black ash. The RC-Mini center ($275) has dual 4.5-inch ribbed elliptical surround woofers and the same tweeter and is available in rosenut, cherry, or black lacquer finishes.
If you want to extend a/v signals over Cat5 or Cat6 wiring, the Active Balanced Outputs of the AudioControl Maestro M3 pre-pro will do that for you. It has both XLR and RCA outputs and five HDMI inputs. The video scaler is "broadcast quality." Of course you'll get HDMI 1.3 and all the latest lossless and other codecs from Dolby and DTS. Oh, and there's a moving magnet phono input. That's the dealmaker for us! Pictured with the Pantages G3 power amp. Maestro price: approximately $6000 when sold through custom installers.
Two new satellite/subwoofer sets from Mirage include the MM-8, a sleek little cube with a high-gloss black finish hand-sanded to perfection (says here). The accompany sub has an eight-inch woofer and dual passive radiators. Price: $800 for the package. Mirage also plans to show the MX Home Theater System, with five palm-size speakers, reviewed in our print counterpart.
The new goods from Jamo are all for custom installation. All have paintable metal grilles. In-ceiling models include the IC 406, $449/pair; IC 608, $699/pair; IC 610 LCR, a three-way LCR ideal for multi-room use ($424/each); and IC 610 SUR, a three-way dipole with two 1.5-inch mids and two 1-inch silk domes ($474/each, shown). For in-wall use Jamo offers the IW 408 ($549/pair), a three-way speaker with pivoting tweeter, ideal for both multi-zone and home theater use.
Yamaha's neoHD media controllers creatively reinvent the audio/video receiver for the new media age. The YMC-700 ($800) adds wi-fi, Rhapsody, internet radio, and iTunes/AAC compatibility to the less full-featured YMC-500 ($600). Notice the distinctive look. These media controllers are designed to make it as easy to pull music or photos off a PC as it is to play a disc. Review of the YMC-700 forthcoming.
Speakercraft keeps rocking & rolling with an entirely overhauled rock-speaker line. What better name than the Ruckus? The five models, in granite- or sandstone-like finishes, will have a durable UV and weather-resistant lacquer coating over a reinforced color-matched polyresin enclosure. Chip it and it still looks like a rock. Along with five-, six-, and eight-inch versions there will be a dual-tweeter model that plays stereo out of a single enclosure. Ruckus 5, $225; Ruckus 6, $275; Ruckus 8, $450; Ruckus DT, $350; Ruckus Sub, $999 (prices per single speaker).
We've got some good news and some hmmm news. The good news is that Windows 7, the not-as-lame-as-Vista operating system now slithering out of Microsoft, will be compatible with Dolby Digital Plus, the newest and hippest of Dolby's lossy audio codecs. The hmmm news is that Windows 7 does not support lossless Dolby TrueHD. At least yet. We say yet not because Dolby said anything about it but because we are incurable optimists who believe in the perfectibility of humanity. Hey Steve Ballmer, when you're done changing your shirt to get rid of those obvious sweat stains, how about supporting lossless surround in your next OS?
Three new receivers and one preamp-processor from NAD use a modular construction that allows enhanced performance, features, flexibility, upgradability, and simplified service. The pre-pro is the M15HD. It's "music first" design philosophy will ensure that no audiophile is left behind. Modular construction will allow customizing. Available modules will include Audyssey MultEQ, Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ, Sigma Designs VXP image processing (2048 x 2048 pixels), and onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD, DD+, and both varieties of DTS-HD. Other features include four HDMI repeaters, dynamic headroom scaling for optimium resolution, an S/N program for all program and decoding combinations, digital tone controls with a center "dialog" setting, separate power supplies for digital and analog, and a switch-mode linear power supply with Figure 8 transformer. The new T 785 receiver has the same Sigma video processor. That and the T 775 have the the same desirable Audyssey features. Prices: M15HD, $4499; T 785 (pictured), $3999; T 775, $2999; and T 765, $2499. Shipping end of September.
Three new receivers from Onkyo will be the first to deliver nine amplifier channels. They also support dual subwoofer outputs, making them 9.2-channel models. Why this, why now? The advent of Audyssey's DSX and Dolby's Pro Logic IIz post-processing modes have prompted the increase in channels. Both of these modes add height while DSX also offers the option of width. With nine amp channels, you can run any two of the following: height, width, and back-surround. The receivers are the TX-NR5007 ($2699), TX-NR3007 ($2099), and TX-NR1007 ($1599). These THX Ultra2 Plus also boast THX Volume Plus, a low-volume listening mode that evens out differences among source inputs and tames the insane dynamics of some movie soundtracks. Also included in the two top models is Dolby Volume, which does the same. An ethernet connection allows streaming with Pandora, Rhapsody, and vTuner, not to mention Sirius. Video processing is HQV Reon-VX. ISF Certified Calibration Controls (ISFCCC) allows a qualified installer to tweak everything to perfection. See press release.
Morel has enhanced the Octave Signature Bookshelf speakers with a "building block" modular cabinet design plus new subwoofers. The cabinet design hails from the Fat Lady speakers. It adopts an entirely empty cabinet with strategically placed partitions and no internal damping, to provide pure bass and a massive soundstage. The vertically designed subs fit beneath the monitors and have a 250-watt amp. other features include large aluminum coils, neodymium magnets, and silk dome tweeters. System pricing is $1900 for the SpotSound MT2 and $1300 for the SpotSound MT1.
D&M Holdings will not be exhibiting at CEDIA this year. That means no Denon, no McIntosh, no Escient--and no Marantz. However, Marantz issued some new product announcements two weeks ago. The highlights include four new Blu-ray players. Two of them are full-fledged universal players with SACD and DVD-A, including the flagship UD9004, with Silicon Optic Realta video processing for $6000. Three new a/v receivers include the affordable NR-1501, a slimline product that delivers a pretty full feature set for $600. Step up to the SR5004 ($850) or SR6004 ($1250) for the height-enhanced Dolby Pro Logic IIz listening mode and an iPod-compatible USB jack. Some two-channel products were also introduced. See our news item on Denon's product announcements of a few months back.
Three new models from this formidable Baltimore-based company include an ultra-thin on-wall or on-shelf model plus two in-walls. The biggest news is the Mythos XTR, a 1.5-inch-deep speaker designed to complement a flat-panel TV. That DefTech is giving it the coveted Mythos name is significant. It is said to deliver punchy dynamics by coupling the drivers to four dome low-bass radiators. The speaker also uses the same aluminum tweeter found in the high-end Mythos ST SuperTower. The XTR-50 will ship in the first quarter of 2010 for $799, to be joined for two additional Mythos XTR models later in the year. Also to be shown at CEDIA are the in-wall DI 5.5LCR and DI 6.5LCR, which go with the previously introduced DI 5.5BPS bipolar surround. Woofer sizes are indicated in the model numbers. Prices: DI 5.5LCR, $399/each, DI 6.5LCR, $499/each.
Peter Tribeman's voice dropped to a whisper as he gave me the word a few weeks ago about a bass-related technology that will figure prominently in Atlantic Technology's exhibit at CEDIA. Atlantic will license the H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) technology from inventor Philip Clements of Solus/Clements. As chronicled in this press release, it will combine bass reflex, inverse horn, transmission line, and a resonance/harmonic filter, all with no active electronics or special drivers. CEDIA-goers will hear (we are told) two 4.5-inch drivers in a 1.4 cubic foot enclosure produce bass output of 105dB down to 29Hz, +3dB, with bass harmonic distortion under three percent. Said Tribeman: "Until now, I would have considered it virtually impossible to achieve such high levels of bass performance and quality in such small enclosures.... This new system is the first ever to break the famous Iron Law of loudspeaker design, which states: 'deep bass extension, compact enclosure, or good efficiency...pick any two at the expense of the third.' For the very first time, due to Phil Clements' breakthrough design, we can have them all." The first product to ship will be the H-PAS-1 floorstanding speaker in the fourth quarter. Another 6.5-inch tower and bookshelf model will follow next year. Pricing TBA. We can't wait for the pre-show demo.