Among all the super-expensive projectors at CEDIA, some of the biggest buzz has been about Epson's entry into the LCoS market, which turns out not to be entirely true. In fact, Epson has developed a new but related imaging technology it calls "3LCD Reflective," which is basically liquid crystal on quartz instead of silicon. (Keep in mind that quartz is silicon dioxide, so maybe it's not that different after all.)
When Sharp introduced its new four-color Quattron sets at last winter's CES, they were met with a collective, "Fine, but where's the 3D." Sharp's Quarttron launch may have been buried in an avalanche of 3D news at that time, but the company knew that it had 3D designs waiting in the wings.
The new Sharp ZV2-1700 is the first new 3D projector we've officially heard about at the show, but we know it won't be the last. It's a 1-chip DLP. Like the Quattron 3D sets it comes with 2 pair of active 3D shutter glasses. These are triggered not only by a IR link, but by DLP-Link as well. The latter places invisible white frames into the image periodically to trigger the glasses, which works better than the usual IR link for larger, more widely seated audiences—more likely with a projector than with a flat panel display.
Definitive Technology has long been a leader in bipolar loudspeakers (with drivers on both sides) so the BP8000 ST Series carries on a long tradition with four towers, including active side-mount subs, at prices from $599-1499/each. Just as novel are the XTR on-walls (pictured) with their extruded aluminum enclosures and both active and passive drivers. They go for $499-899/each.
Martin Logan's new Motion Series is a downsized line of towers with folded motion ribbon tweeter, shown. Both this smaller Motion and the existing larger Motion have complementary center and surround models. The company also showed the new ESL tower, which offers its famed electrostatic goodness at less than $2000/pair.
Struggling with an in-wall speaker in one hand and a drill in the other is the bane of the custom installer. RBH offers a solution in the QM-615. It comes with a two-way Allen wrench. Connect the speaker cables, pop in the speaker, and use the rounded end of the Allen wrench to punch in spring-loaded tabs which lock the speaker into place. The more conventional end of the Allen wrench would be used to lift the tabs and remove the speaker. Price is $250/pair, shipping now. RBH also showed the new Signature SX line, with a full range of sizes and eventually some custom veneers.
Two subs in Paradigm's Signature Series have hexagonal enclosures to defeat bass-polluting vibration with six drivers inside. The SUB 1 has 1700 watts and sells for $4499. The SUB 2 has 4500 watts, sells for $8999, and will be a limited production run, so act fast if you want it. Of course all the brawn in the world still won't provide tuneful bass if your room's standing wave is muddying the waters -- but these elite subs use Paradigm's Perfect Bass Kit to measure the room and apply appropriate correction.
This router-shaped device is actually the Millennium Sub with drivers on the exterior of its extruded aluminum enclosure. A wireless option can feed up to four subs. Mate it with the Millennium One satellite speaker, also in tough extruded aluminum. The back piece can serve as a stand or mount and can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally. The One is $249/each, the Sub is $1399.
The Anthem 700 ($1999), 500 ($1499), and 300 ($999) receivers all have the company's proprietary ARC auto setup and room correction, Dolby Volume low-volume listening mode, Dolby Pro Logic IIz height listening mode, power rated with all channels driven, linear power supplies, and discrete output devices. The top two models have USB inputs that can support a large external drive, generating a full content list with ease. Not all competing USB-equipped receivers can support a large drive. Shipping in 30 days, except the 300, shipping in 60 days.
T he rest of the industry may not be ready to abandon dome tweeters, but Sandy Gross and his new company, GoldenEar Technology, are using accordion-like High-Velocity Folded Ribbon (HVFR) high-frequency drivers in place of the ubiquitous domes found in 90-some-odd percent of the speakers currently on the market. The HVFR drivers work in a manner similar to an accordion and generate sound by squeezing a folded diaphragm from the sides rather than in an up-and-down motion. The result is a dramatically open, sublime sound free of any listening fatigue you might get from a lesser, standard driver – at least, that’s what I heard in the GoldenEar Technology booth earlier this morning. The HVFR tweeters are in the $1,249/ea floor-standing Triton Two Towers, the$499/ea SuperSat satellites , and the $249/ea SuperSat 50 satellites. GoldenEar Technology is also introducing a pair of powered subwoofers (ForceField 3 - $499, ForceField 4 - $699).
HDMI has an up-and-coming competitor in HDBaseT, as one of us will undoubtedly report later in the show. In the meantime, here's a harbinger of the future at the Tributaries booth, where Joe Perfito showed us his various HDMI extenders, all of which convert HDMI to something more suitable for a long cable run. The HX1C6-PRO converts to HDBaseT, extending range to 328 feet with either 8- or 12-bit color. For companies like Tributaries this is a bittersweet moment. Once they sold cables for three-connection component video and various digital and analog audio formats. Then all that got replaced by do-it-all HDMI. Now HDMI, which can still fetch a fair price for cables, may be about to give way to HDBaseT, which uses commodity-priced Cat5e or Cat6 cable. Fortunately Tributaries also has a line of surge suppressors. Onward into the future.
The most gripping thing at the MonsterCable press conference -- besides Noel Lee shifting his Segway back and forth within a foot of the edge of the stage -- was the Revolution 200 remote. For $249 it integrates lighting into the usual a/v functions, and as the picture shows, it looks crazy cool. Monster says its Max 3D eyewear is the only one to work with all 3DTVs. It costs $250 including the RF transmitter which provides greater freedom of movement than an IR transmitter. The FlatScreen SuperThin 300 is, at one inch, the thinnest power center for use behind a flat TV. Don't want your surge suppressor to burst into flames? The HTS 1700 ($400) has fireproof MOVs. Don't want your touchscreen devices to spread bubonic plague? CleanTouch is your hot ticket. Oh, and Monster HDMI cables now operate at a Simplay-certified 17.8Gbps. If you can see far enough into the future where such a thing might be relevant, your eyesight is better than ours.
Which would you rather have, a budget receiver with networking features for $500, or one without them for $400? We ran a picture of the second one, the RD-705, just to mess with you a little, but the correct answer is the first one, namely the RD-705i. It has DLNA certification to pull media off your router-connected PC's hard drive and also supports Bluetooth with an adapter and wi-fi with an adapter. For your subscription music fix there's Rhapsody and for your internet radio fix there's Pandora and SHOUTcast. Auto setup is Sherwood's proprietary SNAP, not the higher-end Trinnov it's licensed for a higher-end model. HDMI connectivity is 1.4a, not 1.4 as the literature says.
The world-beating PTM series power amps from Audio Design Associates include six- and eight-channel models but nothing in the more popular seven-channel configuration -- till now. The PTM-7150, at 150 watts into eight ohms and 250 into four, uses a new thermal design that combines the company's traditional fan-cooled approach with heat sinking. The amp monitors itself and the fan kicks in when needed. This makes for a quieter, albeit larger, amp that needn't necessarily be banished to a closed gear closet. Price $10,000. Incidentally, the PTM is a tribute to ADA cofounder Peter T. McKean. We still miss him.
Andrew Jones of TAD has been designing hugely underrated speakers for Pioneer for years. Until now his bleeding-edge designs have been high-priced. But the SP-BS41-LR hits a new low price point of $199/pair in hopes of moving units through big-box retailers. The curved cabinet is cooked and formed, in lieu of the more conventional cut and fold process. Center and surround models are available to form a 5.1 system that will go for under $1000. The slim tower at far right is the Series 9, whose drivers were designed specifically for the enclosure. A vertical tube feeding out the bottom sucks away standing waves.