How do we know that? Because these prototypes were labeled Premium Speakers. Looks like they'll include a three-way, four-driver tower, a three-way center, smaller surrounds, and a pretty substantial and handsome sub with rounded hardwood side panels. The orchestral music trying to be heard above the hubbub of the show floor was as pleasing as anything could be under such circumstances.
B&W's MM1 multimedia speakers are two-way babies with three-inch woofer and one-inch tweeter, 18 watts, and the company's DSP, which is said to eliminate the need for a sub. Look for them in February, price n/a.
Every day, I wake up and think I've seen it all when it comes to iPod accessories; and then something comes along to renew my faith in the amazing power of human ingenuity to create ever-more-useless stuff. On my way through the international section of the convention center, a series of wooden iPod covers caught my eye. That's wooden as in real wood - not a vinyl or plastic lookalike. I don't know if any store sells these in the U.S., but if they did you'd probably pay $24.95 or more for one. (I'm sure the name on the package has some significance overseas, but it's just aching for bad puns and innuendo here in good old America.)
The Zeppelin now has a little sister, the Mini Zeppelin, and it offers a new feature: PC streaming via USB. The iPod dock swivels so your touch or iPhone can be used vertically or horizontally. Unlike the original Zep, which could dominate a large room, the Mini Zep is designed for more intimate spaces. Price $399.
We hope Bowers & Wilkins will forgive us for using the once ubiquitous acronym B&W – we are old fashioned that way. Any changes in the company's world-beating 800 line, lately known as the Diamond Series, qualifies as major news. The original 13 models have been reduced to 7 ranging in price from $2500 to $24,000. Lineup is what you see here plus two centers not pictured. New stuff includes new crossovers, magnets, gloss black finish, and every model has the cool Diamond tweeter.
The Sound Egg is a complete 5.1 personal surround sound chair with five speakers and an integrated 10-inch subwoofer under the seat. The company says "the chair is a mobile acoustic chamber that will give you the most realistic sound in audio technology with a full 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency spectrum." The Sound Egg chair is available in a variety of colors for $1,450 (shipping included).
With an ad campaign and slogan like this, you'd never guess that one of the products this company makes is a Touch Pad Digital Bible Reader. No, seriously. (They also make digital media players, digital video recorders, and digital picture frames.)
A few years back the maker of Energy and Mirage speakers, Audio Products International, was bought by Klipsch. Then a company celled Gentec International gobbled up all three brands. Unfortunately, Energy and Mirage went through the succeeding years with little new of interest to the serious audiophile. A shame, because the Energy Veritas v2.8 from 1994 remains one of my all time favorite (and underappreciated speakers). I still own a pair and although they were never ready for home theater (a matching center channel was never made for the original Veritas'). I break them out every time I need a (still excellent) 2-channel referenced. That's not often these days, but as little as time as they get in my listening room they aren't going anywhere.
The audience is all ears listening to the flagship home theater system from Swans (more below), via Arcadia of California via Hi-Vi in China. For those who are interested, they were listening to Yanni Live at Mandalay Bay on a multichannel DVD.