JVC has announced six new projectors, three in the consumer Procision series (DLA-X9 at $11,995, DLA-X7 at $7,995, and DLA-X3 at $4495), and three models in the Reference Series (DLA-RS60, DLA-RS50, and DLA-RS40). The models at the same level in both series are equivalent in features and price (the DLA-RS-60 and the DLA-X9, for example) apart from slight cosmetic differences and different sales channels.
KEF’s new T-series of super-slim speakers – claimed by KEF to be one of the world’s thinnest, high-performance home theater and flat-panel audio systems – combine two big innovations: a new super-duper-slim bass and midrange driver; and a large, fully vented new tweeter developed straight from the company’s high-end Concept Blade project. The cabinets are only 35mm deep and looked really excellent hanging on the wall next to the flat-panel TV in the booth. Two different satellites are available ($499/pair and $349/each) and systems with matching subwoofers start at $1,499.
Upstart startup cable manufacturer from Australia, Kordz (evidently those Aussies can’t spell), demonstrated the company’s HDMI cables are not only high speed, they’re designed to be bent up to 90 degrees – something very welcome to installers and others who’ve ever had to deal with HDMI cables hanging off the back of a deep AVR.
Krell is finally about to ship its Evolution 555 Blu-ray player ($15,000, November), and a rep was quick to point out that it's not a rebranded Oppoit was designed and built from the ground up by Krell. It has most of the bells and whistles, including access to Hulu and Netflix, WiFi, UPnP (not DLNA), and an iPad control app; 3D will come in a firmware update next year. Processing is provided by Sigma Designs VXP, and if you connect it to a Krell pre/pro via HDMI, it will jump right to the disc menu, skipping all those pesky trailers and FBI warnings.
On the last day of CEDIA, I happened upon this incredible wall sculpture in Leon Speakers' booth. It turns out to hide five of Leon's new Profile 631 in-wall speakers, each with two 6-inch woofers, two 3-inch midranges, and a silk-dome tweeter, all powered by McIntosh amps. The entire package also includes four of Leon's Aaros ultra-thin subwoofers with 10-inch aluminum cone drivers, which were sitting on the floor, powered by the two of the company's L3-1K 1000W amps. The dragon itself is cut from a 16-foot sheet of solid ¼-inch billet aluminum using a giant water-cutting machine, and it includes 800 strands of fiber-optic cable and DMX-controlled LED lights.
When I asked about the price, I was told it's "seven pounds of gold." Really? Yes, really. I know that gold is popular in a troubled economy, but using it as actual currency is pretty unusual. Of course, the company would also take cash, which comes to almost $146,000 at gold's current price of about $1300/oz.
LG first introduced the CF3D projector at CES last January, but as one rep told me, "now it's real" and expected to ship by the end of the year for $15,000. The CF3D is unique in that it uses two completely separate SXRD imaging engines and lampsone for each eyeand a single lens. Also, it uses passive polarization, so it needs a special silver screen and inexpensive polarized glasses. Another unique feature is a built-in camera that monitors the projected image and automatically adjusts the convergence and light balance between left and right. The CF3D can accept four 3D formatsframe-packed, frame-sequential, and frame-compatible side-by-side and over-under.
Although the demo wasn't perfect, I have to say that it knocked me out in certain ways...
At $15,000, the new LG CF3D, shown here vertically behind a highly reflective glass case, utilizes two separate optical paths to provide a full 1920 x 1080 3D image using polarized passive glasses on a silvered screen. The demo, however, was disappointing. While the booth was not light controlled, the main problem was a very soft-looking image. Teething or setup problems, perhaps? The projector is in production now, and will be available here in November.
The DreamVision Starlight2 ($9,495) was being demonstrated on a 120" wide, flat white, Perfect View screen, with a fixed Schneider anamorphic lens. Scenes from both Avatar and Dark Knight looked terrific, which did not surprise me given my experience with the DreamVision Starlight1 and the same lens (Home Theater, October 2010).
As part of a suite of energy saving products aimed at saving up to as much as 60 percent of home energy usage, Lutron is introducing a plug-in appliance module that will integrate with the company’s current RadioRA2 lighting control system. The new module turns off standby power to electronic appliances when not in use, which Lutron says can save up to 10 percent of a home’s electricity usage. Installation is simple: plug the appliance into the module, and then plug the module into the wall. After installed and programmed into a RadioRA2 system, appliance control can be incorporated into whole-house scenes, such as “Goodnight” and “Away”. Scheduled to be available in December of this year, the module will have a list price of $149.
Marantz showed a new version of its BD7004 Blu-ray player, the UD7005 ($900). The BD7004 was very highly rated in my Blu-ray player evaluation blogs for ultimateavmag.com, so naturally the company decided to change it! The new player includes a 32-bit audio DAC with high quality multichannel outputs, on-line video streaming, SACD and DVD-Audio playback, and full 3D capability out of the gate.
Meridian plans to address itself in a more targeted fashion to affluent consumers who are not necessarily techies, we learned after arriving early to a press party at the Georgia Aquarium and wandering into a dealer meeting. The company, famed for its bleeding-edge DSP-driven active loudspeakers also plans to discontinue any products (such as passive speakers and amps) that don't bear the "Meridian DNA." That would be roughly half its line. New products to be officially announced in January include the DSP3200 flexible-mount compact digital active loudspeaker and the Audio Core 200, a stereo audio controller/hub that brings together myriad audio sources, connecting them via SpeakerLink to any of Meridian’s DSP speakers. The Aquarium contains the world's largest tank full of amazing aquatic life. And the Cerviche Shooters were fabulous.
Another new product on static display at the Meridian party was the Audio Core 200 2-channel analog/digital preamp with a chassis designed by Alan Boothroyd. It provides a SpeakerLink digital input to accommodate a Sooloos media server and SpeakerLink outputs for any of the company's DSP speakers. The price? $2500.