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CES 2010

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Though I've covered only a fraction of the rooms at the Venetian so far, with a day to go, my favorite rooms today were the Thiel (above) and the Avalon, where the new Avalon Times were making terrific sounds, driven by monoblock power amps from Jeff Rowland. The Time employs two 11" Nomex-Kevlar composite woofers, a 3.5" concave Ceramic Dome midrange, and a 1" concave Diamond diaphragm tweeter. The Thiel and Avalon systems could not have soundxed more different (Thiel leaner, Avalon warmer and richer) but both flattered a wide range of the music I tried on them. The Avalons, however, will cost you a lot more, at $49,000/pair -- and the fijnish shown is a $4000 option!
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 5 comments
When your woofer is so big you need an engine hoist to lift it, I think you might have gone a bit too far. I see counseling in your future - and maybe hernia surgery.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
TAD's new monoblock power amp outputs 300W into 8 ohms and 600 watts into 6 ohms. What looks like an amp stand under the thick aluminum chassis is actually a cast iron piece of the amp's structure that houses some of the components and adds to the rigidity of the piece. Each $26,500 monoblock weighs in at 200 lbs.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
We can't say too much about it, but PrimeSense is working on a 3D motion-control camera system that's extremely inexpensive, amazingly sensitive, and promises to be incredibly fun and useful. (How often does that happen?) Of course, many companies are developing systems that will let you control your computer or home entertainment system using gestures, but seems to have them beat hands down (and up) when it comes to a device that's affordable (and by that I mean really affordable) and yet very accurate. PrimeSense's technology can be used in place of a mouse or other input device for games and picture/movie viewing. You won't be seeing any PrimeSense branded equipment, but the technology will be coming to store shelves as part of at least one well-known company's products. Next year we may see the technology built into TVs, computers, and anything else that needs input from a remote control or mouse.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Here is a cutaway shot of the insides of Magico's Q5. The damping material and crossover have been removed. According to Magico, the speaker is made entirely in-house.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
No, it's the new Liquid Image Wide Angle Scuba Series HD322 Camera Mask. It shoots video in 720P and has a 135 degree wide angle lens. It's rated for use down to 130 ft, has a micro SD/SDHC card slot, comes with a 2GB micro SD card, and can shoot two hours of video on 4 AAA batteries. It almost makes me want to take up scuba diving.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Some of the best sound at CES was from speakers that don't officially exist. KEF gave the press a look at their skunkworks with a “concept” speaker called the Blade. In a cabinet carved from carbon fiber, the Blade uses the latest version of KEF’s Uni-Q coincident midrange and tweeter with four woofers mounted in close proximity around the sides of the cabinet to better emulate a point source. The woofers on either side of the cabinet cancel cabinet vibrations. The sound that came from these speakers was simply magic. Driven by Audio Research electronics, I heard spooky, lifelike imaging, high-resolution of detail, and tremendous dynamic swing and punch. Bass and drum kits in particular were simply right there in the room with us. Sticking to its story that this was a technology demonstration, KEF wouldn’t say that this speaker would ever come to market. But the sound here is just too good to keep it in the hangar at Area 51.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Wolf Cinema has something for those who can’t quite go to the screening room screen sizes supported by its big D-Cinema based projectors. The company was holding private demos showing pre-production samples of a new LED-based projector that will be available later this year. While it’s not small, it looks kinda cute next to the company’s digital cinema based line. The image was bright and punchy, and loaded with crisp detail on a 106” wide 2.35:1 screen. It didn’t hurt that the source material was comprised of clips of serious eye candy like Baraka and the psychedelic Speed Racer. Still, the projector wasn’t missing any of it. Final pricing is not yet determined, but is expected to be around $23k. While it already has a model number, Wolf Cinema’s John-Paul Lazars mentioned calling it the Cub, and I’m running with that. Consider the start of an online campaign!
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
The untimely passing last summer of Jim Thiel, the heart and soul of Thiel Audio, was a jolt to entire high-end audio industry. But he left the company in good hands, as its big demo room at CES amply proved. The Thiel CS3.7s ($12,900/pair) were clean, crisp, but never bright unless the program source made them so, it was one of the best audio demos I've yet heard. The front end of the system, and the amps, were from Bryston. Thiel subwoofers fleshed out the bottom below 30Hz. At some point in the future we can expect a matching center channel for this system; according to Thiel reps, Jim left detailed designs for future projects, and a center appropriate for use with the CS3.7 was one of them.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
TAD was demoing both its flagship Reference One speaker (priced in "if you have to ask" territory) and the smaller Compact reference shown here (at $37,000/pair, it's only in the "say again" price range). It sounds spectacular, however, and while you don't need TAD's new disc player and monboblock amps (see below) to make it sing, it couldn't hurt.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 2 comments
Purosol, arguably one of the best screen cleaners around, has a new look for the packaging. Fortunately, it's the same old formula inside. $10 for the little bottle. $26 for the big bottle/little bottle combo. Cleaning cloths are included.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 1 comments
Magico's Q5 loudspeaker is composed entirely of one-half inch thick aluminum, and while the speaker isn't very larga as high-end floor-standers go, each one weighs 400 lbs. There are two 9" woofers, one 9" mid-woofer, one 6A" midrange, and a beryllium tweeter. The latter is new for a for Magico; the other drivers are similar in design to the drivers in other Magico speakers. $54,000 a pair, if you have to ask! For five channels, that's...never mind.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Build a new mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Build a new mouse (the computer-type, that is), and the world will put their hands all over it. That's just what Jelfin wants to have happen with the company's new ball-shaped mouse that comes with a gel cover. In addition to being washable (keep your stinking H1N1 germs to yourself, thank you), the gel covering - and the ball-shape - make the mouse very comfortable to hold in your hand.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 0 comments
A demo of Toshiba's new top-of-the-line Cell LCD HDTV, with its 500+ zones of full backlit LED local dimming side-by-side with last year's LED local dimming set with far fewer LED zones, was exceptionally effective, even if too much was made of the new set's increased brightness (and too much of it used for the darkened demo room) . Toshiba claims a peak of 1000 cd/sq meter -- that's close to 300 foot-lamberts, nearly 10 times what I'd recommend for a good picture in a darkened room. Hopefully a movie or cinema mode will produce a more sensible brightness level.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 09, 2010 1 comments
The Reference 3.5 from Anthony Gallo Acoustics replaces the Reference 3.1. It was shown at the last CES but is now moving into production. New features include a patented cylindrical piezo film tweeter. The woofer enclosure, just one-quarter of a cubic foot in volume, includes a dampening material that is encased in plastic mesh and therefore does its job exceptionally well. Results: sassy crystalline highs, well-developed and well-controlled bass, and since Anthony has a good ear, a musically adept midrange as well. A second set of speaker terminals is provided for speaker-level output to a sub.

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