The good people at NextGen showed off their new “universal” active shutter 3D glasses. Each set comes with two additional nosepieces that allow you to adjust the glasses for the most comfortable fit, a USB charging cable, a carrying pouch, and a cleaning cloth. The current $79 version supports IR-sync based 3DTV systems, but RF and Bluetooth models will be available shortly.
Wolf demonstrated its Cub 3D projector ($15,000) on a SI Black Diamond screen (gain 1.4, 10-feet wide). The demo material consisted of music, including scenes from the new Blu-ray release of Rio which I recently reviewed for our November issue. It's a terrific transfer, and I had no complaints about the Wolf. A review sample of the Cub is expected at chez Home Theater, soon.
Hate your TV's speakers? Need a sweet little amp to drive something better? The Audio Design Associates CCA-3D is a third-generation device designed for that purpose. Also shown was a typically weighty seven-channel power amp, the MPA-7500, with 250 watts into eight ohms and 450 into four. ADA's longtime designer Alfred Langella is working on the company's first Class D amps but isn't quite satisfied yet. With his high standards, we suspect they'll be special.
I reviewed the Aragon 8008 amplifier for Stereophile back in the mid-'90s and loved it. I often wished I'd bought it, in fact, as it was a near perfect match for my Energy Veritas v2.8 speakers. When Mondial (the original source company) folded, the Aragon line (and the lower end but also well-regarded Acurus products) was acquired by Klipsch. That company never really supported either of these lines. The rights were recently acquired by a company called Indy Audio Labs, which has just re-launched the 2-, 5-, and 7-channel Acurus amplifiers (200w/ch intro 8 ohms, all).
Later this year Indy plans to re-introduce the Aragon 8008 mkIII, 2-channels at 200W/ch (8 ohms) at $4000 and the Iridium, a 400W (8 ohms) differential monoblock, successor to the Aragon Palladium, at $4000 each. Apart from some added control and status features, the amps are said to be nearly identical in design to the earlier versions, though to my recollection the original Palladium was lower powered (but biased heavily toward Class A). And, of course, those 1990s models were considerably cheaper. Time marches on.
When I first heard H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) technology from Solus/Clements and Atlantic Technology at CEDIA two years ago, I was very impressed at the depth of bass produced by relatively small drivers in a specially ported cabinet. Since then, we've reviewed the AT-1 floorstanding speaker, which garnered a Top Pick designation. At CEDIA this week, Atlantic Technology will be demonstrating its new H-PAS PowerBar 235, a 2-channel, 42-inch soundbar that claims to reach down to 47Hz at -3dB with no subwoofer. Can't wait to hear it!
Atlantic Technology's Peter Tribeman was in no mood to mince words about the divergence of the video and audio industries. TV makers, he declared, "have thrown our industry under the bus." The occasion—and the solution—is a soundbar with killer bass that will "take the den and the livingroom back for the audio industry."
Sound control company Auralex brought examples of the company’s HD Cinema Series of absorption panels that not only seriously improve the sound quality of your home theater room – they can seriously improve the looks of your room, too. The panels come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors; so you can mix and match panels to come up with your own unique look. Panels start at $255/each.
There are days - many of them just like today - when I muse over how nice it would be to replace nearly all of my body parts with shiny mechanical, motorized versions. (No more worn out feet or stiff backs at the end of a long day covering a convention!) If it ever does become feasible to cyborgify myself, I know just the folks I’ll have do it: Future Automation. One stop at their booth immediately gives you the impression that if there’s a way to make something move, slide, lower, raise, turn, or otherwise shift and hide, these guys have figured out how to get it done. You won’t find their mechanisms boxed and stacked on an end cap at Best Buy or Walmart, though. Future Automation likes to do the weird, wacky, and close-to-impossible stuff. Until now, they’ve concentrated on motorizing the UK. Now they’re bringing their hidden-wire act to the US. Welcome to America, guys!
The Bowers & Wilkins ISW-3 sub has a front-facing slot grille that can be disguised as a vent for very minimal footprint. It costs $1000. Budget another grand for the SA-250MkII sub amp. B&W also showed the PM-1 monitor ($2800/pair). It has a new carbon-braced aluminum tweeter that pushes breakup mode up to 40kHz, beyond the range of human hearing. It's mated with a five-inch Kevlar woofer.
After Belkin's first attempt at a wireless HDMI system several years agowhich never got off the groundthe company is trying again with its new ScreenCast AV4. The system uses the 5GHz radio band and consists of a transmitter, shown here in the lower right, and a receiver (upper left) that can be up to 100 feet away in the same room. The transmitter has four HDMI inputs, which are selected with the included remote, and it can pass full-resolution 1080p and 3D signals. Available this fall, the list price is $249.
The BG Radia RS-420 ($5000/pair) caught our eye with its gleaming red finish. Name your color -- the company is willing to custom mix anything you want. The speaker mates two Neo-10 planar midranges with two Neo-3 ribbon super-tweeters. Price $5000/pair including paint.
Canadian audio manufacturer Bryston Ltd. was showing off its soon to be released SP3 surround processor at CEDIA 2011. Taking a purist approach, there's no video processing to potentially muck up the audio signal, but the unit provides convenient HDMI v1.4 video pass through from each of seven HDMI inputs, and should a higher HDMI version ever be required, modular construction insures that a factory upgrade can do the trick. The prototype on display was a 7.1-channel model that decodes all the latest Blu-ray codecs and steers the audio to either balanced or RCA outputs. There's also a pair of AES/EBU inputs and a USB input along with the usual mix of analog and digital stereo inputs. Bryston sales VP James Tanner said the SP3 uses all discreet Class A circuitry in its analog stages for optimal sound quality, and great care was taken in the circuit topology to keep incoming video signals away from the audio, including dedicated power supplies for the video and audio circuits with no shared common grounds. Price is expected to be $9,500 when the SP3 ships at the end of September.
Carver's assets have been bought from their previous owner by the Carver Holding Group and many of the company's world-beating products will be reintroduced in early 2012. That will include amps of seven, five, and two channels, not to mention mono-blocks. What caught our eye was a new product, the CSB-601 2.1-channel soundbar. In development is a surround pre-pro. Welcome back.
Summer is just about over, which means it's time for the annual confab known as CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) Expo. Next week, the show returns to Indianapolis, Indiana, after several years in Denver and Atlanta while the Indiana Convention Center underwent extensive renovation as depicted in the rendering above. Home Theater will be there in force with five correspondentsRob Sabin, Tom Norton, Mark Fleischmann, Darryl Wilkinson, and myselfall blogging from the show floor about the super-cool audio, video, and custom-installation goodies that will undoubtedly be unveiled. So be sure to check HomeTheater.com often for the latest from the world of high-end home theater, and prepare to drool!
The CEDIA Expo focuses on home theater sound, home automation, high-end video projection, and all sorts of toys for rich guys’ mansions. So I’m surprised to say that the first report I’m filing from the Expo is about headphones — a product that few custom installers even sell.