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.
A whirlwind tour of the Paradigm booth: The Monitor 7 line is the latest version of a killer value series. It has fewer SKUs, and one of them (the Mini Monitor, $279/each) will soon be reviewed in our pages. The Paradigm Cinema Series has gotten its first rethink in 10 years. For a 5.1-channel treatment, mate the Cinema 100CT sat/sub set ($1249, pictured) with the MilleniaSub ($1399). The Millenia LP updates the flat speaker line with 4.5-inch woofers and one-inch tweeters, in various configurations, in 1.75-inch-deep enclosures.
Panasonic brought along its 152-inch, 4K plasma. It was surprising how small it looked on the open show floor, until a passerby stood in front of it to provide a sense of scale. I don't even want to imagine how much it adds to an electric (including air conditioning!) bill. Of course if you can afford the set, that probably won't matter much to you.
Totem Acoustic, you knocked our socks off. Now give them back. Technically, the Element Series was announced at CES and it is against our code of honor to cover anything but new-for-this-show stuff. However, the center speaker is new, so we've wiggled out. It's called the Wood ($4500/each) and it will be joined by the Water sub ($5500) at a time yet unspecified. The existing models include two towers and a monitor. Powered by Arcam electronics, the big Metal tower ($16,000/pair) provided the best sound we've heard at the show so far, with effortlessly natural and well imaged vocals that flourished despite noise from the show floor.
It ain’t easy being wireless. Soundcast Systems gave us a peak at just how crowded the wireless spectrum was inside the convention center this afternoon. At another booth, one of the guys told me that they had counted over 190 wireless access points visible from their relatively obscure location in the convention center. It’s a wonder anything wireless worked at all in such a brutal RF environment.
The KEF LS3/5A has a model number old grizzled audiophiles will greet with pleasure. It's a reiteration of a popular BBC-designed monitor that's appeared under many brands over several decades. Always glad to see this mellow classic resurface, though in this case, it was just a historical footnote in KEF's 50th anniversary celebration -- not a product you can go out and buy.
2011 is SIM2 Multimedia's 15th anniversary. To celebrate, the company is introducing 15 new models in 2011. In honor of the event, members of SIM2's upper management, including President Maurizio Cini, also attended the show.
All of SIM2's projectors are DLP designs. The new models fall into five different ranges: CRYSTAL, MICO, NERO, LUMIS, and CINEMA. The CRYSTAL range (2D only) consists of two entries, the $6500 Crystal 35 and the $8500 Crystal 45. To our recollection, these are nearly blue light specials for a manufacturer which is not normally known for relatively affordable projectors.
The Insight Series is the latest in flat speakers from Wisdom Audio, a company that specializes in them. These hybrid planar speakers use flat diaphragms through most of the frequency spectrum but switch to cones for bass reproduction. They're available as in-walls or on-walls. For surround channels, Wisdom suggests the smaller Sage Series.
Runco upped the 3D ante at its press conference with the new D-113d dual-engine projector system. Each 3-chip DLP engine includes twin UHP lamps, which means even 3D images have plenty of brightnessthe company claims it can fill screens up to 420 inches diagonally. Instead of linear polarization to separate the left and right images as in the D-73d, the new model uses spectral filtering similar to Infitec/Dolby 3D, though this system was developed by Panavision with five spectral bands rather than Infitec's three.
Monitor Audio's SF3 in-wall ($399/each) uses a dyed sublimation process -- not Freudian as far as we can tell -- to allow reproduction of any high-res image on the grille, so it hardly looks like a speaker. Monitor also showed a couple of biamped idecks and new trimless in-walls with rounded corners reminiscent of Apple products.
Integra's new lineup of A/V receivers and preamp/processorsthose with model numbers ending in ".3"include a Marvell Qdeo chipset that can upscale 1080p to 4K. Well, to be precise, it quadruples 1920x1080 to 3840x2160, which some argue isn't true 4K (4096x2160). The demo system consisted of a DBS-30.3 Blu-ray player sending 1080p via HDMI to a DTR-40.3 AVR, which upscaled the image and sent 4K via HDMI to a processor made by Marseille. This processor converted the HDMI to four DVI signals, which were sent to a 65-inch 4K plasma of unknown origin that couldn't accept 4K via HDMI. (No currently available display can.) The image looked nice and sharp with no visible motion artifacts, but without a split screen, it was very difficult to see any significant benefit of upconverted 4K.