CES 2009

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 1 comments

TAD has a new Compact Monitor under development, and while it's still a year or so away from commercial availability, it was on demo at this year's CES. Driven by prototypes of new TAD class A monoblock amplifiers (150Wpc into 8 ohms, 600WPC into 2 ohms), it sounded sensational, with the apparent ability to convincingly replicate the weight and power of a full symphony orchestra, an ability that escapes most loudspeakers.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 1 comments

Thiel demonstrated a system that is said to produce audiophile quality audio either through a wireless connection or "wired" via Ethernet. As demonstrated, the package consisted of five full range SCS4D speakers plus an SS1D subwoofer (all powered via class D amps—like most "wireless" systems the individual pieces still require a connection to the AC line) and a dB1 THIELnet Audio Distribution Processor.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 1 comments

Thiel's Dawn Cloyd shows off the back panel of one of the powered, wireless Thiel SCS4D speakers that will be the backbone of the THIELnet system.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 0 comments

This wasn't a show for major video projector launches or even major projector demonstrations. That's CEDIA. But JVC, Optoma, Panasonic, Samsung, and a few others took a crack at it.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 0 comments

The ceiling mount that covers the Epson projector incorporates the Surround speakers.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 0 comments

Fred Manteghian recently reviewed the Definitive Technology Mythos ST and had a lot of good things to say about it. Now Definitive has introduced the Mythos STS, a similar but smaller design at $2998 per pair.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 2 comments

Sound bars are becoming popular for flat panel displays. While we prefer a typical setup with separate left, right, and center speakers arrayed properly across the front (which will always produce a better soundstage than any single enclosure serving all channels), that type of setup doesn't work for everyone. To that end, Definitive Technology demonstrated two new sound bars, or in their words, Mythos Solo Surround Arrays: the SSA42 ($899 for panels from 30" to 46") and SSA50 ($1099, for panels 50" and up).

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 0 comments

The One, a limited edition speaker from Totem Acoustics, has been released to celebrate that Canadian company's 20th anniversary. A 2-channel pair produced a sound that defied their size, and the dynamics of the speaker suggested that five or seven of them would not be out of place in a home theater system, mated to a suitable subwoofer. For music, the bass of the subwoofer-free pair in the demo was also surprisingly solid. $3495/pair.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 0 comments

Music Hall is distributing the Bellari VP530 ($399), a tube phono preamp (moving magnet only) that offers both conventional L/R analog outputs and a USB output for sending the contents of your vinyl to a computer for processing and storage. There's also a rumble filter, and the RIAA phono equalization may be switched off if you are equipped (and wish) to perform the equalization in the digital domain.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 Published: Jan 11, 2008 2 comments

The Davone Rithm, from a Danish speaker maker new to the U.S., utilizes a 5" coaxial driver in one of the oddest shapes ever for a product category (loudspeakers) known for inspiring odd shapes. $5000/pair.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 1 comments

Monitor Audio introduced its flagship Platinum loudspeaker to the US at CES. The lineup includes the floor-standing PL300 ($8999/pair), the PL100 bookshelf ($4299/pair), the PL350 center ($4299), and the PLW-15 600W subwoofer ($4299). Stands are optional. The big system was not in use while I was there, but the smaller PL100's sounded clean and natural, with fine imaging, an uncolored midrange, and sparkling but not exaggerated highs from the ribbon tweeter—a first for Monitor Audio.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 12 comments

Dome in this case doesn't mean a tweeter diaphragm, but rather Focal's new "Lifestyle Luxury" speaker package, consisting of small, two-way satellite speakers in a rounded enclosure together with a small, separate sub. The satellite is shown here. It's used for every channel, including the center. The tab is $1475 for a 2.1 channels and $2495 for a 5.1-channel system. The "Dome" satellite speakers themselves are available separately for $750/pair. Available in April.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 1 comments

The photo here shows the original image on SIM2's LCD local dimming prototype (the quality of the image on the LCD screen, by the way, was far better than this shot). The photo in the next entry shows the backlighting for the same image (I asked SIM2 to freeze the source so you can see what is happening.) More details follow in the next entry.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 0 comments

In addition to its line of projectors (which was heavily featured at the 2007 CEDIA Expo), SIM2 has begun working with Dolby to incorporate new Dolby video technology into its LCD flat panel displays. This technology involves LED backlighting with local dimming to improve black levels. The demo in the SIM2 room (and also in the Dolby booth) was set up to show not only the original image (in the previous post), but, with the flick of a switch, the lighting pattern of the LED backlights (shown here). According to SIM2, their prototype uses 1300 LEDs.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2008 1 comments

Focal redesigned its Electra series a year or so ago to incorporate the beryllium tweeter originally found in the Utopia series. That revised Electra line remains available, but a new Electra S range makes for a more affordable (though not cheap) Electra package. The prices start at $3495/pair for the bookshelf 1007 S all the way up to $5995/pair for the floor-standing 1027 S. The CC 1000 S center will run you $2295, the SR 1000 S surrounds $3495/pair, and the SW 1000 S sub $2995. The big savings in the S series come from a somewhat less elaborate and expensive cabinet construction and finish, and the substitution of an Aluminum/Magnesium tweeter in place of the beryllium design in the Be range.

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