The room-correction band-wagon is already rolling across the home theater plain, and it's rapidly gaining momentum with each new batch of model releases. Several products, from the highest-end pre/pros to the lowest-end receivers, are touting room assistance these days. This is hardly surprising—in fact, the more-surprising part is that it's taken this long for the broader run of electronics manufacturers to embrace the idea. After all, room interaction will always be the single most important factor, by far, in making an audio system sound right in its particular listening environment. Naturally, it's in the manufacturer's best interest to provide as much help as possible. Fair or not, the vast majority of users are going to blame the product, not the room, when they hook up their system and it doesn't sound good. Considering the challenges that the vast majority of users' listening environments are going to present, it's easy to see why even a little correction could go a long way.
TacT is a company with a mission. Their amps are all digital, and their 2-channel and AV preamplifier-processors are dedicated to solving the single biggest puzzle in home audio reproduction: the effect of the room.
In the November 2000 <I>SGHT</I> I reviewed the HD800, an 8-inch CRT video projector from a Florida Internet startup called Theater Automation Wow!, or TAW. Phil Tuttobene and his crew promised then to "change the way America buys home theater." Since then we've seen the term Internet startup lose more than its sparkle, but TAW is still shining. They've succeeded in a tough marketplace—a high percentage of new companies fail in their first year of operation—but that same market has changed the way they do business. At first, TAW sold products directly to consumers; now, they work through a traditional dealer network, with 43 U.S. dealers. Not a bad start in less than 24 months.
The modern world revolves around easy. Look at the home-theater-in-a-box products. Consumers only need to make one shopping decision to purchase an entire home theater sound system. Unfortunately, they still need to set up the speakers and connect everything together.