For my last CES demo of the year, I spent 15 relaxing minutes in Wisdom Audio's suite at the Venetian. The company was showing off its Sage Series of hybrid speakers that use both traditional woofers and thin-film planar magnetic drivers. An outboard system controller handles the electronic crossover between the speaker's different elements, and it performs room correction using Audyssey MultEQ XT technology. The line includes four models ranging from 20 to 75 inches tall, and each speaker is available in a freestanding, in-wall, or on-wall configuration. The demo consisted of various 2- and 5.1-channel music tracks, and the top-of-the-line L75s sounded absolutely fantastic, impressively spacious and dynamic for such thin speakers. After five days of chaos and concepts, this moment served as a tangible reminder of all that we love about home theater.
Yamaha's DVX-S100 has all the makings of a good HTIB.
Like the proverbial chain, a home-theater-in-a-box is only as strong as its weakest link. What's the point in putting outstanding speakers in your HTIB if you top them off with a weak amplifier that can't exploit the speakers' gifts? Does it matter that everything is conveniently located in one box if the consumer can't figure out how to set up the system because the manual and remote are too confusing? Keeping in mind a target audience that consists of entry-level home theater consumers, any good HTIB's goal should be to offer the most well-rounded package for the least number of dollars. In this respect, Yamaha's new DVX-S100 HTIB is a qualified success.