While waiting to be briefed on Monitor Audio's GX Series, we couldn't help being fascinated by the incredible woofer excursion of the GX50 ($1795/pair, left) -- not to mention how little influence it seemed to have on the tweeter output. Turns out the GX Series is a re-do of the old Gold Series. All drivers are made of C-CAM, a ceramic powder coated aluminum magnesium. The high-res ribbon tweeter is crossed over at 2700Hz, indicating a healthy appetite for power. The 15-ply red bubinga woodgrain covering the one-inch MDF on the speaker was unusual, subtle, and lovely and the cabinet did well in the knuckle-rap test. Other GX models include another stand-mount, two towers, two centers, and sub.
A life-size mannequin of Chinese basketball wonder Yao Ming was the most visually striking element of Monster Cable's typically eventful pre-show press conference. This "aspirational figure" says he integrates technology into his busy life because "music helps me achieve." He promo-toured China with Monster last summer, but what really raises an eyebrow is that Monster has opened 10 Yao stores in China. Entire stores devoted to a single marketing idea. Wow.
Monster now has 34.9 percent market share in headphones, thanks to its Beats line, with only Bose even coming close. Last year's Miles Davis Trumpet earbuds have gone into a second generation at a lower $299 price point. The "world's smallest" in-earphones achieve their small size by building the driver into the tip, not the body. Trumpet-valve-like controls are built into the cord. A release of Davis' classic Sketches in Spain in surround complements the product.
And here's what it does, according to the carton. Note that the iPod streaming includes component and composite video, the former using a proprietary jack and dongle that physically resembles S-video with more pins.
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.
If you look at the back of NAD's new T787 AV Surround Sound Receiver ($3499) you'll see the plug-in modules that make the 120 WPC x 7 unit amenable to future upgrading. As delivered it includes the latest digital video, HDMI, and audio modules. A Control4 Director Series Module is an option. The T187 AV Preamp Processor ($2499) is similarly equipped.
I thought I’d seen just about every variation of an iPod case by now, but a quick walk-through of the section of CES devoted to all things iPod brought me to this booth. Beaheadcase has combined a bottle opener with an iPod case because you never know when you might be using your iPod and need to open a bottle of beer. Just remember, don’t drink and download.
Driving from Las Vegas to LA, I had to stop and get a picture of my favorite highway sign, which marks the exit to Zzyzx, California, an unincorporated settlement in San Bernardino County and the former site of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa that is now occupied by the California State University Desert Studies Center. My ride was a 2010 Lincoln MKZ on loan from THX so I could evaluate the car's THX-certified multichannel sound system. I played a wide variety of music on CD and DVD-Audio, including jazz, classical, and rock as well as two CDs I recorded—one with my wife, Joanna Cazden, and the other with my avant-garde trio Many Axes.
Onkyo announced that they are partnering with Rocketboost for use in a slew of new wireless products to come in 2011. All Onkyo AVRs introduced this year will be Rocketboost-ready via a transceiver module connected to the AVR through a proprietary U-Port connection. The wireless transmission can be used for a second zone of audio or for wireless rear channel speakers. All Rocketboost accessories are compatible regardless of manufacturer.
While DTS was industriously showing the 11.1-channel version of its Neo:X technology at South Hall, Onkyo was demoing the same technology at the Venetian, but in more low-key way, and with a mere 9.1 channels (5.1 plus back-surround and height, no width). We can't explain why, but it sounded better, even with the same demo material. The guy in the pic must have agreed as he slowly levitated into the air, somehow drawn to the height channels like a moth to flame, and spontaneously combusted.
In addition to all the 3D flat panels on the show floor, there were also a few 3D front-projection demos, including one from Optoma at the low end of the price spectrum. I've always been impressed with the quality and value of Optoma DLP projectors, but its 3D demo was very disappointing—it wasn't even 1080p! The projector was the 720p HD66, and the source was an HQFS (High Quality Field Sequential) DVD playing at 480i through a composite connection. There were jaggies galore, and the sense of depth was very unconvincing. A separate demo of 3D stills, from which this photo was taken, looked better, as I would expect with no motion.
Of course, you're going to need a 3D Blu-ray player to go with that new 3D TV, and Panasonic is ready to oblige with the PP-BDT350, seen here with a pair of shutter glasses on top of the DMP-BD85, a 2D model with WiFi and a claimed boot time of 0.5 second. The PP-BDT350 implements HDMI 1.4, and both let you access online content. Not shown is the DMP-BD15, Panasonic's second-generation portable Blu-ray player, which also provides access to online content.