Denon and Marantz are the first non-Apple manufacturers to incorporate AirPlay audio streaming without the use of an AirPort Express device. An AirPlay logo appears on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch (running iOS 4.2 and up). Press it and a drop-down list of compatible devices appears. Thus you can take music from an Apple mobile device, or a PC or Mac running iTunes, and stream it hither and yon to your Denon/Marantz toys. The capability is built into four Denon a/v receivers -- the AVR-4311CI, -3311CI, -991, and -A100 100th anniversary model -- plus the N7 tabletop system. Also on board are Marantz products: the SR7005 receiver, AV7005 pre-pro, NA7004 network audio player, and M-CR603 network CD receiver. You can get the software upgrade for $50 two days from the publication of this item. (Photo: Lisa Cazzola.)
That's it in the middle. As we've previously reported, it's the floorstanding big brother of the SCS4 stand-mount (left) with a slightly different crossover and outrigger feet that make it stable even in a house full of rocketing toddlers. Price $3690/pair.
The products Meridian promised at CEDIA 2010 are realities. They include the Media Core 200 (shown) whose "more accessible" $4000 price point will probably make you want to fling a whole bunch of these 500GB babies around your well appointed home. It combines Sooloos media server software with iWhatever or computer input, and we're not being sarcastic when we say that's a winning combination. Also shown were the Media Core 200 stereo preamp ($3000) with the DSP3200 powered speakers. The former includes a stereo width control: key in how far apart your speakers are, and it'll make the distance seen even wider (in a good way). After all, real people don't always put their speakers where they should go.
The Revel Ultima2 Salon2 speakers were driven by Mark Levinson electronics. Nothing new here either, but with a simple piano-bass-drums recording featuring Ellis Marsalis (not even an SACD, just a CD) the system sounded so natural we could have sat there all day. Total pricing just south of $122,000.
While it wasn't new, and didn't have the ultimate refinement of the Revel/Levinson system playing in the adjacent room, the imaging of JBL's massive horn-loaded Synthesis 1400 was striking and endlessly engaging. With two of these, you don't need a center speaker. With Mark Levinson electronics, the system weighed in at $44,500.
For folks who don't want to keep their two-channel and multi-channel rigs in separate rooms. You can see how that works. Parasound also showed two five-channel amps, the 250-watt Model 5250 ($2800) and the 150-watt Model 5125 ($1900). Both are THX Ultra2 certified and have dual toroidal power supplies.
We're pleased to announce that the D'Agostino Momentum monoblock amp has won the Home Theater 2011 CES Blog's Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cosmetics. It sounded good too, but man, look at that thing. It is the first product from Dan D'Agostino's new company -- you may remember him as Mr. Krell.
While DTS was industriously showing the 11.1-channel version of its Neo:X technology at South Hall, Onkyo was demoing the same technology at the Venetian, but in more low-key way, and with a mere 9.1 channels (5.1 plus back-surround and height, no width). We can't explain why, but it sounded better, even with the same demo material. The guy in the pic must have agreed as he slowly levitated into the air, somehow drawn to the height channels like a moth to flame, and spontaneously combusted.
The BDP-1 Player, as Bryston calls it, does not include a hard drive or streaming capability. Instead, taking a high-performance approach to the music serving process, it accepts high-res music files via digital in and feeds digital out to the Bryston BDA-1 DAC. Player at top, DAC at bottom. Pricing: $2150 each.
The SS-AR1 floorstander ($27,000/pair) has appeared at various shows in the past and we've seen it before. But CES 2011 marked its real entry into popular consciousness as part of a Sony division that also includes ES receivers and projectors. Ray Kimber of Kimber cable and IsoMike recording fame and Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds lent their credibility to the proceedings. The speaker's blend of woods includes a cabinet of Hokkaido maple that's harvested only in November when it's at the peak of its powers. Drivers are designed by Sony and custom made by ScanSpeak. The piano black finish is done by a company that makes, um, pianos. Demos included a Nat King Cole tune in which the strings were vivid yet unhyped and the voice reproduced so well, it practically burnt a hole in our brain. We're convinced this is a very fine speaker indeed, and not at all surprised, having liked Sony's long-gone SS-series speakers from the 1990s.
No model number, price, or availability date was given for this Samsung 27-inch PC monitor/3DTV combination. But it can handle all 3D formats (the image on screen shows the side-by-side format in its native form before it's processed into a single, unsqueezed 3D image. The display includes an antenna input (it has a built-in tuner) and an HDMI port. You will need active glasses to watch 3D on it (it is not autostereoscopic).