Focal's Sub Utopia EM earns its $13,999 pricetag with the use of an electromagnetic active voice coil, pictured to the right of the sub. This affords its 13-inch driver a degree of control and damping not possible with a conventional passive voice coil. Outboard amp required, 500 to 1000 watts recommended. Focal also showed three multimedia speakers: the Little Bird, the Bird, and the Super Bird, hence the headline. The cool thing is the flat box that goes with them. It combines the functions of a stereo integrated amp, headphone amp, DAC, and active sub, with wireless connectivity for iOS devices. Pricing is $995, $1199, or $1499 for the package depending on size of fowl. Add another $99 for an iOS or USB dongle.
After yesterday's Media Preview appearance, the GoldenEar SuperCinema 3D Array soundbar offered smooth performance with dynamically challenging movie material and the broad on- and off-axis imaging afforded by its folded ribbon tweeter. We'd say it's worth the $999 pricetag.
Crimson AV primarily makes mounts for big flat-panel TVs and projectors. And while I was impressed by the company’s attention to even the smallest details of the largest mounts, one of Crimson AV’s smallest devices was getting the largest attention. The $39.95 pocket-eAzl is a cleverly designed stand for iPads and other tablets that folds up into a small brick-like package that’s about the height and depth of an iPhone but only half the width, so it easily fits in a shirt, pants, or jacket pocket when not in use.
Mozaex founder Douglas Kihm has been thinking about building a pair of super headphones since he was a kid, a dream he has finally realized with the BluWavs, which he is billing as the "world's first 7.1 discrete HD headphones." Each of the bulbous earcups contains five mini drivers, including what he calls a "vibration subwoofer" that literally shakes your head for a tactile experience. Each set of headphones comes with the Blender Console, which looks like a '70s-era equalizer and is available in analog and digital versions. In addition to a 15-band EQ for the front L/R channels, the blender has discrete level controls for each channel so you can really screw up...er, personalize the sound.
The 7.1-channel surround field was impressive while listening to DTS HD Master versions of the soundtrack for Tron Legacy, Peter Gabriel's Growing Up Live and Omar Hakim's Listen Up live jazz jam. Package prices range from $1,295 to $2,595, depending on the version of the Blender.
Epson's long delayed LCOS (reflective LCD) projector caused quite a ruckus when it was demonstrated at the 2010 CEDIA. But it was never released and has now gone back to the drawing board. So don't look for it any time soon.
But there is a new Epson LCD in town, the PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020. The claim of 2400 lumens and a peak contrast ratio of 320,000:1 would, if realized, be industry highs. The refresh rate of 480Hz is said to increase the 3D brightness. At under $4000 when available in November, the projector will come with 2 pair of active 3D glasses, a spare lamp, and a guarantee of an exchange if, on delivery, there is even one dead pixel.
It's about time KEF offered a product specifically for the growing computer-speaker audience. Though the X300A's ship date is not imminent, the preview demo made us want a pair right away, with the tight imaging we expect of a Uni-Q speaker and good top-to-bottom proportioning. It's KEF's first self-powered speaker, with powerful Class AB amplification and USB bridging the gap from one speaker to another, and each one having its own separate digital-to-analog converter. You might see it in December for $799/pair.
Though not exhibiting at the 2012 CEDIA Expo, LG Electronics took space in a local restaurant in Indianapolis on Thursday night to announce pending availability of its new 84-inch 4K-resolution flat-panel HDTV. According to Jay Vandenbree, senior VP of Home Electronics, the 3840 x 2160-pixel display will be sold by a limited selection of U.S. retailers starting in October. Manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing has been set at $19,999, about $5,000 less than Sony plans to charge for it’s own 84-inch 4K panel announced for the U.S market on Wednesday. That HDTV should be available in November. Of course, there’s no real 4K content available to view on these televisions, nor any medium to deliver it, so buyers will be viewing upscaled 1080i from their cable boxes or 1080p from their Blu-ray players for the foreseeable future. Both sets are said to accept a 4K signal, though, so viewers will not only be future-proofed but should also be able to use other 3rd party scalers to achieve the best image quality with existing 2K content.
JVC announced nine new LCOS projectors at its Thursday CEDIA press conference. As before, these fall into two lines, Procision (consumer) and Reference (pro), each of which have models that differ only in model number (with one exception, the Reference DLA-RS4810 at $5095, which does not have a Procision equivalent).
All but the base model in each line employ JVC’s e-shift2 technology, which upconverts 2D HD content to 4K, i.e. 3840 x 2160 (as last year, the projectors cannot accept a native 4K source). Further video processing then manipulates this upconverted signal to operate with the projectors’ 2K (1920 x 1080) LCOS imaging chips.
E-shift2 is an upgrade from last years e-shift. Compared to e-shift, e-shift2 is said to sample 12 times as many pixels in its processing. It also simplifies the light path for higher brightness. The new projectors are said to produce higher native contrast ratios than last year’s models, with the top of the line designs said to achieve 130,000:1. The lamps in the new lineup are also specified to 4000 hours, with more stable brightness levels with increasing hours. You can also operate the projectors from your smart phone or tablet with a downloadable application.
The top two models in each line carry ISF and (pending) THX 3D certification. E-shift2 now extends down to a new $5000 price point with the DLA-X55R (Procision) and DLA-RS48 (Reference). The top models are the DLA-X95R and DLA-RS66, each at $11,999. The popularly priced DLA-X35 and DLA-RS46, which do not have e-shift, will retail for $3500. 3D glasses and a 3D transmitter are optional. Delivery of these new models is expected before the end of the year.
As lossless surround addicts, we deplore pricey soundbars that don't support HDMI and therefore lack lossless surround compatibility. Definitive Technology does it right with the SoloCinema XTR, as you can see in the picture, with three HDMI ins and one out in addition to optical and analog. The 5.1-channel bar is the first we've heard of to feature the Dolby Volume volume-leveling and low-volume listening mode: a huge plus. Three aluminum tweeters and three pairs of three-inch convex aluminum woofers are under the hood. The outboard sub has an eight-inch woofer in a flat enclosure that can go against a wall or under a sofa, with three spacer feet. In the demo the bar produced surprisingly discernible and well-imaged surround effects to the side and slightly behind the listener. The remote's highly tactile design helps you feel around for the right button in the dark. Product started shipping in small quantities this month but won't hit its stride till October, at $1999.
Cambridge Audio's Minx sat/sub sets have been so successful that a new division of the company has been formed to exploit their successors. They include the single-driver Min11 ($95/each) and the dual-driver Min21 ($180/each). They have a tad more bass than their predecessors, at 130 and 120Hz respectively, but the big design change is in the flat diaphragms. The dual cube now has a hybrid BMR (bending mode radiator) and dynamic driver on top and a plain dynamic driver on bottom while the single cube uses a single hybrid driver. The new approach yields better power handling, longer throw, and the removal of an 8kHz spike. Crossover has also been improved. With flat-diaphragm subs of 8, 12, and 14 inches, pricing ranges from $849-1849. Cambridge also showed the Azur Stream Magic 6 network audio player which plays pretty much anything with 24/384 upsampling and is priced at $1149. Cambridge is also shipping two surround receivers shown at CES, the Azur 651R ($1899) and 751R ($2799).
The long-awaited debut of the Atlantic Technology H-PAS PowerBar 235 will come in about two weeks, when it will finally ship, offering the most extended bass you can get in a bar thanks to ingenious multi-chambered enclosure design. Numerous tweaks over the last few months include the addition of DTS decoding, and Atlantic makes a big point of having on-board Dolby Digital decoding as well, as opposed to counting on a conversion to PCM (which we're told some new LG TVs won't do). More tweaks: vocal enhancement to push dialogue forward, left-minus-right surround expansion, a less aggressively illuminated display that fades to black after confirming setting changes, and replacement of the see-through grille for something more discreet.
Antennas Direct is really into antennas. That’s all they seem to want to talk about, which is not surprising since antennas are what the company makes. However, they may have gone too far with this prototype antenna for the person who likes to watch TV while cruising down the highway in his sidecar motorcycle. So far no one seems to make a mount suitable for use to install one of Sony’s new 84-inch 4K flat panels in the sidecar.
What’s not to love about a leather recliner with diamond stitching, a built-in cup holder for your brewski and an optional LaunchPort swivel-base that holds and charges your iPad? Your biggest challenge will be to not fall asleep during the big game. Best part: You can position the motorized backrest and footrest from a smartphone/tablet or home automation control panel from Crestron, AMX, Control4, Savant and others. Available for $5,500-$6,000 apiece with or without the stitching.
No price was announced for it today, but SIM2's Multimedia's Cinemaquattro must be that company's most pricey offering. Offering a full 4K resolution and a 3-chip DLP engine, it claims a brightness of up to 10,000 ANSI lumens from its 2kW Xenon lamp. As with all pro-derived projectors, its chassis is sold separately from its long list of available lenses. SIM2's PR maven, Lucette Nicoll, stands by to give you an idea of its size. It weighs 251 lbs.
The last model to commemorate KEF's much-celebrated 50th anniversary is an echo of its historic BBC-approved LS35A monitor. The new LS50's curved baffle includes the famous coaxial Uni-Q array, with the tweeter centered in the woofer, and the specific drivers having trickled down from the bleed-edge Blade über-tower. The ported design plays deeper than the LS35A's sealed design. Even amid the hubbub of the show floor, this was one of the best monitors we've ever heard casually demoed, and it hurts to say that it's priced per pair, at $1500, which will make odd-numbered surround configurations impractical unless you don't mind sticking an extra speaker in the closet. Shipping now.