John Bowers founded British speaker giant <A href="http://www.bowers-wilkins.com">Bowers & Wilkins</A> in 1965, hand assembling speakers in the back of an electronics shop he ran with Roy Wilkins in Worthing, England. Nearly 45 years later, B&W has become one of the world's pre-eminent speaker companies, thanks in part to the spirit of innovation embodied in its flagship 800 series.
I've been waiting a long time for the SSP-800 surround preamp/processor from <A href="http://www.classeaudio.com">Classé</A>. Originally announced in May 2008 and scheduled for delivery in July of that year, this Canadian company's statement pre/pro is finally about to ship.
I know, I know—this isn't exactly a home-theater product. But when I stumbled upon the CDM43 computer monitor from a company called <A href="http://www.ostendo.com">Ostendo Technologies</A>, I was intrigued by its potential to reinvigorate the rear-projection market.
Last year, I started hearing about front projectors that use LEDs for illumination instead of conventional lamps—in fact, there were a couple of prototypes being demonstrated in back rooms and hotel suites at the 2008 CEDIA Expo. Then, at CES 2009, I saw another such a projector from Taiwan-based <A href="http://www.vivitekcorp.com">Vivitek</A>. Six months later, the H9080FD is almost ready to become the world's first commercially available, LED-illuminated home-theater projector.
I'm always on the lookout for extreme A/V products, so when I came across a Dutch company called <A href="http://www.kharma.com">Kharma</A>, I was intrigued by its Grand Enigma, one of the world's most expensive 2-channel speaker systems at a cool $1,000,000. I don't have enough info to profile that product just yet, but meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the company's next-most-expensive Exquisite line, which offers a complete—and still <I>very</I> pricey—home-theater package.
Earbuds may be all the rage these days, but audio connoisseurs know that private listening sounds best with circumaural headphones, which cover the outer ear and offer larger drivers for deeper bass than most buds can produce. Among the finest headphones in the world come from Germany's <A href="http://www.ultrasone.com">Ultrasone</A>, including the new top-dog <A href="http://www.edition-headphones.com">Edition 8</A>.
In 1975, Meir Mordechai had a dream—to create the perfect speaker. Since then, his Israeli company, <A href="http://www.morelhifi.com">Morel</A> (short for Mordechai Electronics), has developed a wide variety of innovative drivers as well as finished speakers. Its latest flagship is the Fat Lady, named in reference to the famous saying, "It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings."
As an avid sci-fi fan, <A href="http://www.krellonline.com">Krell</A> founder Dan D'Agostino decided to name his company after the race of beings that had wielded almost unlimited power in the classic movie <I>Forbidden Planet</I>. Since that day nearly 30 years ago, Krell's lineup has expanded from a single power amp to a panoply of ultra-high-end A/V products, including the flagship Evolution 707 preamp/processor.
I'm always casting about for interesting high-end products to feature in this blog, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually find the
FH001 speaker from a British company called <A href="http://www.fergusonhill.co.uk/">Ferguson Hill</A>. As soon as I saw a photo of this intriguing design, I knew I had to profile it here.
<A href="http://www.martinlogan.com">MartinLogan</A>, well-known purveyor of high-end electrostatic speakers since 1983, recently introduced a new flagship to its lineup—the CLX. After reading the press release, I thought it might be fun to devise the ultimate ML home-theater system.
In its ongoing effort to advance the state of the speaker art, British manufacturer KEF has created a one-of-a-kind tower dubbed the Concept Blade. And by "one-of-a-kind," I don't mean a unique product that you can buyI mean a speaker built for the sole purpose of investigating and demonstrating various speaker-design principles. Only one pair exists, and it's not for sale at any price.
At the 2007 CEDIA Expo, I attended Meridian's press conference, during which the company unveiled its <A href="http://www.thef80.com">F80</A> table-top clock radio/CD/DVD player. I was a bit late, and the demo was already underway as I walked into the large concrete room with high ceilings. I clearly remember my first impression of what I heard—"Wow, that sounds great!" When I learned it was essentially a boombox, I was flabbergasted.
When I first heard about the BeoVision 4-103 from Danish design king <A href="http://www.bang-olufsen.com">Bang & Olufsen</A>, I thought I knew the story—a 103-inch 1080p plasma, undoubtedly sourced from Panasonic, with B&O's unique stylistic treatment. That's all true, but there's much more to it, as I discovered at a recent press demo held at the Aston Martin dealership in Beverly Hills, California.
Sometimes in this blog, I like to profile new and unusual technologies that may—or may not—actually perform well. Sony's <A href="http://www.sony.net/Fun/design/activity/product/sountina_01.html">NSA-PF1 Sountina</A> speaker is just such a product. I have no idea how it performs since I've never heard it in action and I know no one who has, but the technology is certainly intriguing.
In Greek mythology, the Titans were the children of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). Similarly, the flagship Titan Reference video projector from <A href="http://www.digitalprojection.com">Digital Projection International</A> (DPI) was born from the union of heavenly images and earthly concerns about service accessibility and recyclability.