There are quite a few add-on devices that will turn your iPod touch into a remote control, but most of them are cumbersome or require some sort of obtrusive dongel. The most interesting one I’ve found so far is the Surc, which is an iPhone case with a built-in IR emitter. The case isn’t much larger than the iPhone itself, and it’s easily removable if you only want to use it at home. A free app is available that lets you customize the remote by adding in remote control code sets already in the Surc database – or you can teach the remote codes that aren’t yet available. Multiple rooms and macros can be easily programmed into the iPhone/Surc combo in minutes. It’s extremely easy to set up, and the UI is configurable (buttons can be moved, added, or removed). Availability is targeted for early 2011 with pricing yet to be determined. Surc cases for the iPod touch and iPad are in development. You can learn more at www.getsurc.com.
The new Speaker Box 5 from Project (the turntable people) sounded ridiculously dynamic for such a tiny feller. Distributed by Sumiko, they will sell for $400/pair in a variety of colors, such as this fire engine red. The electronics shown here are not included!
The Xi3 Modular Computer is small, cube-like, completely modular, and less than 4 inches per side. It uses 64-bit x86 dual core processors running at 2.0 GHz and, since it uses less than 20 watts to operate, it is totally silent due to the lack of fans. The silent operation and solid state storage make it a great choice for a home theater PC or DVR. Pricing starts at $849 (with Linux operating system – add $149 for Windows 7). Additional storage memory and thin clients are available. The computer can be ordered in different colors and various configurations.
Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems showed its new $42,000/pair Momentum monoblock amps, shown here with the Wilson Audio Sashas, dCS Puccini SACD playback system, Weiss Firewire to coaxial digital converter, and high-rez music from a Mac laptop that together teamed up with them to produce one of the best sounding rooms at the show.
I know that we in this country are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the form of some sort of iPod accessory; but I draw the line at karaoke – especially iKaraoke. Friends don’t let friends karaoke.
Focal showed off a new multimedia speaker system called the XS Book. The system consists of a powered speaker (2 x 20 watts) that takes an analog audio output from your computer. A speaker cable is then run from the amp in the first speaker to the companion speaker. Even though the system doesn’t include a subwoofer, Focal claims a frequency response of 50 Hz to 22 kHz, which is very believable based on what I heard during a demo at Focal’s suite in the Mirage. In fact, these speakers are good enough to be used as main bookshelf audio or TV speakers in a small room. They’re compatible with Omnimount brackets for on-wall mounting. Pricing is expected to be $399.
Greensound Technology unveiled a line of three speakers and a subwoofer made of glass. The speakers are said to produce sound from 70 Hz to around 17 kHz. Round holes strategically cut into the glass cause the upper frequencies to be emitted by the upper portion of the glass panel with the lower frequencies emanating from the lower region. Pricing ranges from $4,000 to $19,000/pair.
The Intrepid II, in lower right corner, is Theta Digital's first Class D amp, at 7 times 150 watts. It is expected to go into production in four months. Class D amplification, in general, is more energy efficient though some audiophiles question whether it is ready for primetime. Theta's implementation will boast load-agnostic frequency response regardless of speaker impedance. At upper left is the Theta III HD pre-pro, at $19,995 for version with Xtreme DACs and a mere $14,999 for version with Premium DACs. Upgrade your old Casablanca III for $4995 and your old Casablanca I or II for $5000. Apologies for awful pic.
Watch out, Google TV. Fanhattan is a new service scheduled to launch in early 2011 that uses a very simple and easy-to-use UI to let you surf the world of video entertainment. It not only makes it easy to find the TV shows and movies you want to watch – it also lists the various services that provide that content and the prices charged (in the case of movies, for instance). Fanhattan will also provide a bunch of options having to do with the main content, such as related movie synopsis, bios, and YouTube videos.
The McIntosh MCLK12 clock puts the signature power meters to new use, displaying hours at left and minutes at right. It can mount in an equipment rack but why not give it a more prominent place on your wall?