We can think of a few other manufacturers who have showed impressive-sounding new speakers behind an acoustically porous curtain and then whipped the curtain aside to reveal a compact satellite/subwoofer set. The latest is Cambridge Audio's Minx, with its three-inch cube available in single (Min-10) or dual (Min-20) versions with three tough little subs. The smallest 5.1 configuration would cost a reasonable $550/set with additional cubes at $80/each. If you are considering adding, say, DPLIIz height or DSX width speakers to your system with minimal fuss, this modular easy-mount approach may be just the thing. The full-range drivers had a pleasingly warm sound that did well with male vocals and had no nasty ringing. Bass was strong if a little tubby (but we were sitting against the rear wall). Minx got our attention and we hope to follow up with a review.
SpeakerCrafts’s latest outdoor subwoofer aims to go low – really low, as in subterranean. In fact, this woofer goes so low all you can see is a small, hooded port that’s exposed above the surface of the ground. The rest of the “BoomTomb” is buried underground for a near-total stealth look. Inside the BoomTomb is a 10-inch long-throw woofer, and a hood covers the top of the port to protect the stuff inside from the elements and curious critters. A dedicated 250-watt amp gets to stay inside next to the rest of your electronics where it is (hopefully) warm and dry. No word yet on pricing.
You might think CEDIA would be a poor environment in which to meet women – but it turns out that a broad assortment of the best and brightest women in the CE business were in attendance at the Women in CE Breakfast Saturday morning. The organization aims to help women become a more important part of the industry than simply the “W” in Wife Acceptance Factor, and today’s annual meeting kept them abreast of the many benefits of mentoring. Interestingly, the sponsor (who shall remain nameless but she knows who she is) of the table at which I sat had mentored me in the fine act of drinking me under the table the day before, so I feel perfectly justified making this politically incorrect post.
After several years of prototype demos at trade shows, Audio Design Associates (ADA) is finally releasing a consumer version of its Trinnov room correction technology in three standalone boxesthe TEQ-4 ($10,000), TEQ-8 ($12,000), and TEQ-12 ($15,000); the model number indicates how many audio channels each one supports. The first step is to play test tones and measure several listening positions with the included microphone, which uses four pickups spaced so that the speakers' positionincluding heightcan be measured accurately.
Audio Design Associates (ADA) introduced two versions of a new multichannel power amp at CEDIAthe PTM-7150 (seven channels, $10,000) and PTM-5150 (five channels, $8000). Each one pumps 150Wpc into 8Ω, 250Wpc into 4Ω, and around 600Wpc into 2Ω. It operates in pure class-A mode for the first 50 watts, after which it moves to class-AB, and a patent-pending cooling system uses a high-volume/low-speed fan under the heat sinks to keep the amp cool and quiet.
As I was listening to the Trinnov demo in RBH's booth, I was told about the company's brand new subwoofer amp, the SA-500, which provides 500W of class-D power. It's so new that only three exist, which were powering the company's 1010-SXN/R sub and the bass portions of two 8300-SX/Rs at the front left and right, and as I said in the Trinnov post, the sound was excellent with no hint of bloat. The rep didn't have pricing or availability.
Aside from a bunch of projectors, SIM2 was also showing its 47-inch HDR47E LCD monitor, which uses Dolby's high-dynamic range LED-backlight technology in which each of the 2206 LEDs are individually dimmable with 20 bits of resolution, leading to a claimed contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. Normally, I dismiss contrast specs, but I can believe this oneeven on the show floor, the blacks were stunning, and bright portions were really bright; according to SIM2, the peak light output is 4000 nits, which is equivalent to 1167 foot-lamberts!
The HDR47E is intended for professional applications, such as automotive and medical imaging, and there are no specific plans to bring anything like it to the consumer market. And $35,000 for a 47-inch LCD is mighty steep. But it sure looked great playing Avatar.
Krell is finally about to ship its Evolution 555 Blu-ray player ($15,000, November), and a rep was quick to point out that it's not a rebranded Oppoit was designed and built from the ground up by Krell. It has most of the bells and whistles, including access to Hulu and Netflix, WiFi, UPnP (not DLNA), and an iPad control app; 3D will come in a firmware update next year. Processing is provided by Sigma Designs VXP, and if you connect it to a Krell pre/pro via HDMI, it will jump right to the disc menu, skipping all those pesky trailers and FBI warnings.
At $50,000/pair, the Adrenalin monoblock from Pathos is a serious investment. But for all that bread, you get 180W of pure class-A power with a tube input stage and MOSFET output stage. And it looks wicked cool, too!
Focal is growing its Utopia line with the Viva, which comes in two varietiesa vertically oriented LCR that is also used for the surrounds and a horizontal center-channel that is otherwise essentially identical. Both incorporate the company's IAL2 beryllium tweeter and third-generation W-cone midranges and woofers for a frequency response from 39Hz to 50kHz (±3dB) and a sensitivity of 92dB/W/m.
Last week, I wrote about the DreamVision Starlight3 LCoS projector ($9500), which is available in several finishes, such as the faux carbon-fiber pictured here. Today, I popped in to see a demo of the Starlight2, and it was mighty impressive on a Perfect Vu unity-gain screen (2.35:1, 140 inches diagonal) using a Schneider anamorphic lens ($8000)great blacks and colors on clips from Avatar and Up.
Looking like a scene from CSI, Velodyne's booth is emphasizing the goal to "kill the competition" with its new Digital Drive Plus subwoofers, which come with drivers measuring 10 ($3000), 12 ($3500), 15 ($5000), and 18 inches ($6000). These models feature 4.5 to 7dB more output depending on model, new rohacell driver material, redesigned cabinet, and much easier setup with 8-band EQ. Retained from the previous Digital Drive models is the same high-gain servo technology that reduces distortion to a mere 0.5% at 20Hz.
JVC has announced six new projectors, three in the consumer Procision series (DLA-X9 at $11,995, DLA-X7 at $7,995, and DLA-X3 at $4495), and three models in the Reference Series (DLA-RS60, DLA-RS50, and DLA-RS40). The models at the same level in both series are equivalent in features and price (the DLA-RS-60 and the DLA-X9, for example) apart from slight cosmetic differences and different sales channels.