One of the highlights of CEDIA 2009 was Atlantic Technology's announcement of H-PAS technology, which gets subwoofer-worthy bass out of a tower speaker. The prototypes shown then have developed into production models that are about to ship. First to ship will be the 5.25-inch tower; the 4.5-inch version may follow later in the year. With the inevitable pipe organ source material, the demo proved the ability of H-PAS to produce deep true bass sans sub. Phil Clements of Solus/Clements, father of H-PAS technology, weathers the media spotlight with good grace.
A lot of horizontal multiple-channel speakers designed to go with flat-panel sets look a mite starved. Not so the Atlantic Technology FS-5000 ($1499). Each of the three front channels gets two 4.5-inch woofers and a tweeter.
Price: $900 each At A Glance: Comprehensive bass optimization in a small cabinet • Compelling midrange • Speckle gloss finish
As a surround-oriented magazine, we rarely review speakers in stereo. But when Atlantic Technology offered a pair of its AT-2 H-PAS speaker, we couldn’t resist a listen. This loudspeaker uses an intricately constructed stand-mount enclosure to deliver bass comparable to that of an equivalent conventional floorstander. Does anyone want it?
The Atlantic Technology exhibit at the Venetian featured the first 5.0-channel demo of the smaller H-PAS speaker. We hope to atone for this awful picture of of it with a quasi-review in our print mag. What depraved impulse moved us to go gallivanting off to Vegas when this product was sitting in our bedroom? H-PAS uses a variety of construction techniques to produce deep, true bass without resorting to a sub. While this demo was less than ideal, we could still hear an ideally proportioned rhythm section with precisely pitched bass guitar tones and good impact from the drums. Closing our eyes actually made it sound better: Once we were freed from the tyranny of visually reinforced preconceptions, our ears told us this was the good stuff. Incidentally, the speaker will be sold in single units, so if you want five or seven of them, no sweat.
Atlantic Technology uses cabinet-related techniques developed in collaboration with designer Phil Clements to achieve truly scary deep bass response from small cabinets and 5.25-inch woofers. This H-PAS technology was a highlight of the last CEDIA. At this year's show the floorstanding Model AT-1 ($2500/pair, shipping now) has been joined by the stand-mount Model AT-2 ($1500/pair, shipping February). The demo seemingly defied the laws of physics, achieving the kind of bass you'd expect from a decent midpriced subwoofer, except without the sub. Without even a floorstanding enclosure. We wouldn't have believed it if we hadn't heard it.
The long-awaited debut of the Atlantic Technology H-PAS PowerBar 235 will come in about two weeks, when it will finally ship, offering the most extended bass you can get in a bar thanks to ingenious multi-chambered enclosure design. Numerous tweaks over the last few months include the addition of DTS decoding, and Atlantic makes a big point of having on-board Dolby Digital decoding as well, as opposed to counting on a conversion to PCM (which we're told some new LG TVs won't do). More tweaks: vocal enhancement to push dialogue forward, left-minus-right surround expansion, a less aggressively illuminated display that fades to black after confirming setting changes, and replacement of the see-through grille for something more discreet.
Price: $3,350 At A Glance: Stand-mounts and center with three-way HF control and bass adjustment • Switchable bipole/dipole surrounds • Sub with front-baffle volume control
HT Roots Matter
To Atlantic Technology, home theater is not a necessary evil. This is not a loudspeaker company that specializes in two-channel audio and tosses out a few centers and subs as an afterthought. The brand has been firmly rooted in home theater from day one. The company cares about dialogue clarity, panning, surround effects, and bass dynamics. The first two alone are worth a thousand-word essay: You want to catch every word, but you also want pans to be seamless across the three front channels. How do you go about reconciling those two requirements? You do a lot of listening and experimenting. After about a third of a century, Atlantic Tech has gotten pretty good at it.
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.
Atlantic Technology's Peter Tribeman was in no mood to mince words about the divergence of the video and audio industries. TV makers, he declared, "have thrown our industry under the bus." The occasion—and the solution—is a soundbar with killer bass that will "take the den and the livingroom back for the audio industry."