KEF's new R-series, mentioned in an earlier blog, was inspired by KEF's far pricier Blade ($30,000/pair), shown here in its dress whites. It sounded surprisingly good on the open show floor, with a tight, punchy bass that was undoubtedly helped by the lack of room modes--though the latter can hardly be blamed on any speaker. When I placed by hand on the composite cabinet during those heavy kick-drum hits, I felt practically nothing.
Voco is just one of the many manufacturers hawking wireless multiroom media streaming systems. In addition to being relatively inexpensive, Voco differentiates itself from the competition by giving you the ability to use your voice to find songs, podcasts, internet radio stations, and even YouTube videos. (You can also use your fingers if you’re the quiet type – or a quiet typer.) The system has the capability of streaming up to three audio sources (from your iOS device, CD player, computer, etc.) to up to 10 Voco device equipped zones. Voco V-Zone receivers start at $199.99.
Most recliners have a high back, which can interfere with the audio your ears receive. My long-term HT seats have long had this problem, which I minimize by using a different chair for serious music listening. It's hard to find a low-backed recliner, but the Axis model from Canada-based Palliser might be just the ticket. The rear headrest can be extended when you're in a more laid-back (literally) than critical mood. At roughly $2000 per seat (with power reclining and various shades of leather, straight and curved multi-seat configurations available), if they seem expensive, you haven't priced many premium HT seats. They're manufactured in Canada and Mexico.
Schneider Optics offers a wide range of some of the most respected anamorphic lenses in the business. Interestingly, they also market their own projector, not widely known in the states, that includes an anamorphic lens on a built-in track. The projector is priced around $25,000, with the anamorphic lens. It was on static display only.
This projector mount from Chief ($189) was not in the full-line catalog available at the show, but looks husky enough to handle many home theater projector. It might be useful for those who want their projector mounted high but don't want to hang it from the ceiling, Instead, it's mounted to the rear wall. But since in this case the projector will be mounted near the rear wall, you must be sure that the projector is compatible with the throw distance to your screen.
BDI says they have “high performance furniture”. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I do know the stuff they make is incredibly awesome with unique features, such as hidden wheels and integrated levelers, flow-through ventilation slots (in bottom panels, shelves, and back panels), IR-friendly glass, precision hardware (including things like soft-close hinges), as well as sliding - or removable - back panels. During past conventions I’ve breezed by the BDI booth, slowing down just enough to take in the different designs. This CEDIA, however, I spent some time with the folks at BDI who demonstrated for me just how well thought out and intelligently designed the company’s furniture is. The OLA cabinet pictured above has a gently curved front along with curved, tinted glass doors on either side of the center shelf. The stand will hold up to a 73-inch TV weighing 150 lbs or less. It’s also available in chocolate stained walnut finish. The price is under $1,500.
Once a pioneer of the home AV furniture world, the venerable CWD brand has been resurrected by one of the company’s original founders. But where the original CWD furniture was almost exclusively RTA (ready to assemble) – I think we called it “knockdown” back then – the current iterations are pre-configured and shipped mostly assembled. In other words, they’re more along the lines of fine traditional furniture rather than just an AV rack. The cabinets don’t include any particle board pieces, and each unit has a multitude of AV-friendly features such as generous ventilation and cable management. Customers who’d like to configure and price a unit for themselves can visit imagecraftersinc.com and use the online configuration tool.
Induction Dynamics has taken its sister company’s (Phase Technology) all-digital audio processing system that incorporated Audyssey’s MultiEQ XT and precisely matched each speaker to the acoustics of the room to the next level with the ID dARTS system. ID dARTS is available as a freestanding system currently, but in-wall and on-wall versions are in the works. The system Induction Dynamics played for me included a pair of the company’s new three-way S1.8Td tower speakers, a C1.8d center channel, and a pair of S1.8Sd surround speakers. One of the things that made the system stand out was its use of three-inch dome midranges and 1 1/8-inch soft dome tweeters all around. The system is powered, equalized, and filtered by the SX7000d – a sixteen channel amp with up to 250 watts per channel. The SX700d incorporates the Audyssey chipset plus the digital mic input for room calibration. I didn’t get exact pricing, but depending on the system configuration and subwoofer, systems should run between $30,000 and $50,000. Not cheap, for sure, but definitely impressive as all get out.
MusicLites is a wireless speaker/light system from Artison and Sylvania. Each MusicLite combines a 10-watt LED light (equivalent to an incandescent 65-watt light output) with a 2.75” speaker plus a built-in 20-watt amplifier and RF receiver. The system uses a proprietary 2.4 GHz technology, and the MusicLites fit in standard four-, five-, or six-inch recessed cans. Installation is as simple as setting a dipswitch or two on the back of the MusicLite assembly and then screwing it in to a standard light bulb socket. No cutting. No new wires. Any one of up to three sources can be transmitted to up to six zones, and multiple MusicLites can be configured together as one zone. Each MusicLite can be set for either left channel, right channel, or summed mono output. Audio sound quality is surprisingly good, especially for such a small speaker. The company will release a wireless 8-inch 300-watt powered subwoofer before the end of the year.
MusicLites retail for $250/each. A single transmitter with wireless remote control retails for $100/pkg. The subwoofer will have a suggested retail of $600. Overall it’s a very impressive package for the money.
Kaleidescape's CD/DVD/Blu-ray server gets around the copy protection issue with Blu-rays by having the user load his or her Blu-rays into this carousel-like unit--the Vault. The discs are then loaded onto hard drive servers and played from there. But they will only play from the server if the unit confirms that they are still in the Vault. If not, the server will no longer play the disc file. That's not a limitation with CDs or DVDs, which can also be loaded into the Vault, but can be removed (but still play) after copying onto the hard drives. The Vault holds over 300 discs, but the number of Blu-rays you can load will depend on how big a server you purchase. No word on whether the pretty blue light is standard or just a show special.
While we don't spend a lot of time searching out these sorts of products, adapters and processors are fundamental at CEDIA. They make the custom installer's job easier in myriad ways, and Gefen is one of the best known names in the business.
We showed the $400 PSB M4U 2 headphones in an earlier pose. Here they're worn by PSB chief Paul Barton. They're not only highly effective at noise cancellation (Barton claims about 18dB below 1kHz)) but sounded exceptional. The detachable chord can be attached to either side, and the phones will work for audio even with the batteries discharged. They will be available in December
You wouldn’t expect to find a company known for making cooking grilles at CEDIA, but Dimplex came to CEDIA for the first time bringing several examples of the company’s electric fireplaces – a couple of which were built into home theater media consoles. The Dimplex electric fireplaces can be run with or without producing heat. With the heater off, the fireplace costs just a penny or two an hour to run. While you wouldn’t be able to heat an entire home with one, the faux fireplaces are perfect for supplemental zone heating. At the moment, the fireplaces come with an RF remote control; but after many suggestions from interested installers, the Dimplex’s people now know how important it is to be able to integrate the operation of the fireplaces into home automation systems.
Draper is a major screen manufacturer but doesn't get a lot of play in the press. The small 2.35:1 screen shown here is curved, though that's not easy to spot in the photos. Draper can make any of its fixed screen sizes in a curved configuration for about a 50% premium over a comparable fixed screen. If that sounds like a lot, check out the competition from manufacturers who have grabbed more ink.
Screen Innovations' Black Diamond screens are now available in gains of 0.8, 1.4, and 2.7. They can be made as a curved, fixed screen, a traditional fixed frame design, a new Zero Edge frame (shown in the photothe one on the right is a 2.7 gain model) and, in six months, retractable versions. They are also available in any aspect ratio, as long as the maximum height is 56" (higher screens must be seamed.