Panasonic demonstrated 3DTV from a DirecTV feed, presumably using the using the side-by-side 3D technique. But while the images would likely satisfy the uncritical viewer, the pictures lacked that last spark of detail. The side-by-side technique discards 50% of the horizontal resolution, resulting in 960 x 1080 images.
Perhaps it was just a matter of time before Paradigm employed the term Paradigm Shift to describe a new product line. In this case it's also a new marketing approach that adds online, direct, and other retail channels to the traditional a/v retailers who have always been Paradigm's mainstay. Say hello to the A² Active Atom, a powered version of our old friend, the world-beating Atom satellite. As you can see, it streams Apple-style. The one shown was a working engineering sample. Paradigm also showed the Millennium LP on-wall and mentioned head transducers including four earbuds, two headphone models, and two gaming headphone models.
Wisdom Audio's LS4 ($100,000 in a 2.2-channel configuration) is 84 inches tall, making it a suitable mate for the fridge-size sub the company introduced at CEDIA 2010. It uses subs for frequencies below 80Hz -- and handles frequencies above that with planar biamped polyamide-film drivers, imprisoned in heavy steel plates, coaxed into motion by 1030 magnets in front of and behind them. String the magnets end to end and you could measure their length in terms of football fields, or so we were told, and at that point, after a long day, our head began to swim, though this certainly wasn't Wisdom's fault. One point the Wisdom people made that we loved: As an on-wall, this model basically prevents the purchaser from putting the speakers in the wrong place, so he actually gets the performance for which he paid so dearly (assuming his installer is up to snuff).
The Martin Logan C2 ($799/each) and FX2 ($649/each) are eyebrow raisingly affordable entries from this longtime champion of the electrostatic speaker. What raised our other eyebrow is that we liked the model playing better than the most costly ones we've heard in the past. Go figure.
First, it's T+A, not T&A. Stop giggling. It makes you look sleazy. In addition to some cool-looking loudspeakers (which we didn't get to hear) the German company showed the K8 Blu-ray receiver with 150 watts time seven. It streams from iPods and other devices in lossless WAV, FLAC, and OGG as well as MP3 and WMA with resolution up to 96/24. Sure is purty, as it ought to be for $9500.
We're pleased to announce that the Kondo/Audio Note exhibit has won the Home Theater 2011 CES Blog's Award for Distinguished Achievement in Slogan Writing. See above. Really, isn't this what audio is all about?
Polk Audio's Blackstone series comes in the three versions shown including wireless sub not shown. The demo featured smooth and gentle mids. For more information see our review coming a few months after you read this.
The Polk FX Wireless Surround ($399) assigns surround-channel duty to a single speaker that sits on the floor behind the sofa. We heard it and it worked, though it worked better when we weren't standing over it with a camera. If surround aversion is a disease, this may be the cure, and quite an audacious one. Please note that the foot isn't ours. We wear Hush Puppies.
Five years in the making, Totem Acoustic's Element Series features a massive large-diameter magnet structure suitable for arm curls. Even the littlest member of the family -- as it happened, the one we got to hear -- combined the naturalism and balance typical of Totem with a new bass solidity, mated with Accuphase electronics. Pricing ranges from $5995 to $13,000 for the flagship. Note that the competition Totem is aiming at sells products for much more than that.
This German manufacturer is strictly two-channel but still captured our attention with the Dixie! stand-mount speaker, a smallish member of the Birdland Series. First it was the cool stand, then it was the beautifully layered sound of a blues recording. Some drivers are custom made, while others are off the shelf but modified by Lindemann. Guys: Please, please, please do some surround products. At least sell your speakers in odd-numbered configs. We're not too proud to beg.
The PSB Imagine Mini builds on the success of the Imagine line with a four-inch clay ceramic and polypropylene woofer and one-inch aluminum tweeter in a satellite-size enclosure. Bracket (shown at right) or stands optional. Price $700/pair, shipping April.
They include the T 787 ($3499) and T 757 ($1499) a/v receivers, with seven times 120 and 60 watts respectively, both fully up to date with HDMI 1.a for 3D compatibility. Also shown was the T 187 pre-pro ($2499). The pricier receiver and pre-pro can be outfitted with an optional Control4 module.
The Principal Grand subwoofer from Vienna Acoustics packs a 12-inch pulp-carbon driver into an enclosure with two separate chambers for the 300-watt amp and crossover. The latter, as shown in the pic, is on the bottom. The company, which actually manufactures in Vienna, is fussy about its drivers, in this case source from ScanSpeak because it's important for a sub "to play more than one note." Amen. Pricing ranges from $3000-4000 depending on finish. Also shown was the Strauss Series In-Waltz in-wall speaker, with features derived from an on-wall cousin.
As you'd expect, I'll start with a cheap joke: Each of these Silbatone Acoustics SGW-24 speakers can double as a studio apartment. Even if you have a roommate. But believe it or not, this massive horned loudspeaker has a plausible reason to exist in the home theater realm: It's an attempt to recreate Western Electric theater speakers from the early days of the talkies. Western Electric, in case you didn't know, was the manufacturing arm of the Bell System (later AT&T) for more than a century. Oh, and it was my father's employer for several decades, though he worked on the phone side of the business, not the cinema side. More on the SGW-24 here. Believe it or not, it had dynamic power, the focus associated with horns, and even a certain delicacy. But I would say that, being a Bell Baby.