Of the few live audio demos I heard on the show floor, Triad's was among the most impressive. The company introduced its Cinema Plus home-theater package of in-wall speakers, including three modified Platinum LCRs in front, six Gold surrounds, and 12 modified Silver subwoofers powered by a total of 6kW. Also included in the package is a detailed installation plan from home-theater consulting firm PMI, acoustic treatments, and tech support.
Long known for exceptional value in DLP projectors, Optoma introduced another winner in this regard at CEDIA. The HD8600 is one of the only—if not <I>the</I> only—single-chip DLP projector with multiple lens options for less than $10,000. To be more specific, the projector with standard lens lists for $7500, while the long-throw lens option is $8600, and the short-throw version is $9500. It is said to output 1600 lumens with dynamic contrast of 50,000:1 thanks to Texas Instruments' Dynamic Black. To my delight, it also provides lens shift, which has been missing in the company's previous models, something I've complained about for years. The HD8600 will be available only through custom installers, not at retail.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of CEDIA's founding, a fact that was not lost on any attendees thanks to the ubiquitous signage, an example of which is shown here with Sony rep Jon Lin. A momentous occasion, to be sure. I just wish the celebration had been at a different venue—the Georgia World Congress Center was universally panned by everyone I spoke with. It's <I>way</I> too spread out, making it nearly impossible to walk from one end to the other in less than 20 minutes. And forget about getting anywhere offsite! Noel Lee, head monster at Monster Cable, was riding his Segue as usual, and I saw consultant Tony Grimani zipping around on a small razor-type kick scooter—maybe I'll get one of those for next year!
Monitor Audio announced the new SIlver RX series of loudspeakers, incorporating features developed for the company's more upscale Platinum and Gold lines (the Platinums are reviewed in the October 2009 issue of Home Theater). The Silver RX line includes seven models, from the small Silver RS 1 bookshelf ($675/pair) to the large floorstanding RX 8 ($1750/pair).
The new, smaller Kaleidescape Mini System can hold up to 225 DVDs or 2500 CDs with expanded optional storage (75 and 825 respectively with the standard storage that comes with the unit. $7995 with standard storage.
From Digital Projection we get the M-Vision Cine LED. This single chip DLP projector, if you're following the drift here, uses LED illumination to replace the projection lamp. As with the other digital projectors we saw at the show, from Runco, Projectiondesign, and SIM2, it's not a torch, is rated at a modest 600 lumens. Includes dynamic black for a rated peak contrast ration of 10,000:1 (2,000:1 native), and is best used on screens no wider than 8 feet. The screen it was used with at the show was 5.5' wide Stewart with a gain of 1.3. Or that's what a Digital Projection rep said. It did look a bit larger than that.
Things are tough all over. This man is the prettiest model that Definitive Technology could afford to show off its new Mythos XTR-50 ($799 each). Bada-bing. Actually that’s Definitive’s man in charge, Paul DiComo. The new XTR-50 is Definitive’s answer to the flat panel’s ongoing bout with anorexia. Although the speaker also ships with attractive table-top stands, the XTR-50’s wow factor is its shocking 1.6” depth, which is all the more startling when wall-mounted around one of the latest wafer-thin flat panels. Wall mounting is ultra simple with the supplied brackets, and they can be oriented horizontally or vertically (even the Definitive logo detaches and re-attaches to match). Now all you need is a flat panel that doesn’t look fat when surrounded by two or three XTR-50s.
Well, not really a secret when the product is prominently displayed on the floor, but the new Rotel pre-pro with its large display screen should sell for around $4500 when it appears early in 2010 at around $4500.
JBL's K2 loudspeakers, shown here in a conventional 2-channel setup on the show floor, is also a key part of JBL's latest Synthesis home theater system. But they can be had alone, if you prefer, for $30,000/pair.
It’s not every show that I see a truly unique new display category emerge, but Seura’s displays are just that. Damned difficult to photograph, but fascinating. Building flat panel displays into pretty looking art and picture frames is one thing, and Seura does that too. But Seura is building flat panels seamlessly into mirrors, kitchens, bathrooms and even showers. Shown here is the waterproof Hydra and its color matching options. I tried to get a shot of one of the mirror displays, but the reflections were out of hand. You have to see it to believe it. Utterly unique. I can’t wait to shower with Monday Night Football!
Martin Logan was featuring its flagship electrostatic speakers, but also in attendance was this small, stand/bookshelf design that incorporates An AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter--a technology developed by Oscar Heil in the 1970s and made popular, briefly, in a series of speakers from ESS. The demo was brief, but the sound very promising. The speakers will be available in February 2010, with models at $400 and $600 and a pair of floorstanders also are in the works. Here they were used with a pair of the currently available Dynamo 700 subwoofers (wireless, $695 each--there's also a larger $995 Dynamo 1000))
Optoma decided to forgo its usual huge demo booth this year (there was a lot of that going around) for a more modest setup, but its new HD8600 projector kept up the excitement quotient. It offers full lens shift and three interchangeable lenses, both of them firsts for the company's projectors. It also incorporates TI's latest DarkChip3 DMD, DynamicBlack, Pixelwork's DNX MotionEngine technology, a claime4d output of 1600 ANSI Lumens, and ISFccc calibration features. The projector comes with the standard zoom lens as part of its $7499 price. Prices were not yet settled for the long and short throw zoom lens options.
From Bryston in the Great White North comes the Torus RM100 BAL, a power line conditioner designed to not only totally isolate your system from garbage and spikes on the AC power line, but to provide higher instantaneous peak current, acting as a very low impedance current source, to juice-hungry components such as large power amps. This monster, with its humongous toroidal transformer, is MUCH bigger than the picture suggests (27"x 20.5" x 10.5", 220 lbs). $8500.
REL subs have produced some of the best bass performance I’ve ever heard for music and cinema. Thudpuckers that can crank out LFE are a dime a dozen. Subs like REL’s that can rattle the roof, but also keep up with the rhythm and pace of music are rarer by far. The Gibraltar is a concept piece with a gorgeous finish. Final specs and release date aren’t known, but a woofer that looks like this and sounds like a REL will be welcome. There’s a reason that most black box subs are often hidden from sight. A hot looking box like the Gibraltar might occupy a more prominent spot in people’s rooms!