How much bandwidth is enough for the upcoming HDMI 2.0 standard? Well, if all you want to do is watch what you’re watching today, your current cable will work. Even if you want to watch 4K material, the standard developing HDMI Forum says you don't have to get new cable provided your cable meets the latest HDMI 1.4 spec. Step in Noel Lee of Monster Cable who is worried about future requirements for 8K and beyond. Monster announced their new cable will be capable of 31.5 Gbps, well over the 18 Gbps the HDMI forum says is required for 60 fps, 4K material. Nothing available yet, just the promise, but I’d believe the head Monster. Or else!
Walk into MartinLogan’s demo room at CEDIA 2013 and you walk into the past—specifically, the ‘60s, maybe early ‘70s. All-too-familiar glowing psychedelic posters line blacklight-lit walls accented by lava lamps and glowing tubes. Music blaring. It could be 1967, if not for the lack of a particular aroma and the 7.4-channel sound system. It was quad on steroids: Seven ElectroMotion ESL hybrid electrostats powered by five PrimaLuna DiaLogue tube amplifiers and four BalancedForce subwoofers, each with its own 850-watt amp, anchoring the corners of the room. The demo I walked in on wasn’t music of the ‘60s or ‘70s but a 5.1-channel mix of the Dire Staits ’80s anthem, “Money For Nothing.” The slow build and swell that introduces Mark Knopfler’s electronically processed guitar was like you’ve never heard before…If only I had more time to stick around and maybe listen to a little Pink Floyd.
The CX-A5000 is the new crowning jewel of the Aventage series introduced by Yamaha a few years ago. The 11 channels (not even counting the subs here folks) pre-pro uses Yamaha’s proprietary YPAO room correction software, four distinct zones and more ins and outs than the revolving doors in Washington D.C. The extra channels are a Yamaha trademark, you know the old, you bring a knife, I’ll bring a gun chestnut. But they are used to create front and rear “presence” channels which, if your room and budget allow, could make your movie experience all that much more intense.
The RMB-1585 is a new flagship multi-channel amp from Rotel. High current class AB topology delivers 200 watts to each of its five channels via two massive toroidal transformers. Rotel credits the use of a total of 120,000 µF of British-made BHC “Slit Foil capacitance and the use of six output transistors per channel for the RMB-1585’s power delivery capability. This 80 pound behemoth offers both RCA and XLR inputs. From my perspective the $2,999 pricing is in line with separates of this quality and in many ways it’s a bargain!
Yamaha's YSP-1400 BL soundbar ($450) has eight little drivers behind that metal grille. They are designed to attain 5.1-channel status by beaming sound all over the place and bouncing it off walls. Take a look at those fat cylindrical feet. Those are the subwoofer drivers. There's Bluetooth, of course, and control apps for iOS and Android. A second new Yamaha soundbar is the YAS-152BL ($350) which is said to produce virtual 7.1-channel surround and also has built-in subs, this time firing out of the bottom surface. This bar's apps can be used to fine-tune the sound in addition to the usual volume and other adjustments. Both products have Dolby Digital and DTS decoding and (no surprise at these price points) no HDMI or lossless surround decoding. Both shipping next month.
RedSeat Entertainment is launching the Tremor FX Home, “a dynamic home theater system that incorporates seat vibrations into movies, games and other entertainment.” Available in both pre-installed versions as well as kits for retrofitting into existing seating, Tremor FX’s technology is designed to dynamically vibrate and pulsate in response to a movie’s soundtrack via a series of actuators integrated into each seat.
Vicoustic USA is a company new to me in the field of acoustic treatment. They offer a wide range of products, including some unique absorbers and diffusers, for that application. Many of them are less expensive, in my experience, than many of the similar devices currently available. They begin as low as $75 each for an approximately 2-foot square panel (but only available in a package of 10), though the prices can escalate rapidly when you get to premium products such as all wood diffusers.
When you think Definitive Technology, you probably think large, monolithic tower speakers or giant cube subwoofers. While the company would be OK with that, they have branched beyond the large home speaker into the portable market. Definitive Technology launched its portable speaker line-up with the terrific sounding Sound Cylinder, and they expanded their offerings this year by introducing The Cube. The Cube is a 7.7-inch black, uh, cube using tri-polar technology to deliver big sound across a large listening area. The cube features five 1-1/4-inch mid-high frequency drivers, one 5-1/4-inch woofer and 80-watts of total power. It can run off AC power, but for hi-fi on-the-go, the built-in Lithium Ion battery can deliver up to 10 hours of listening. Users can connect a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack or beam music to The Cube wirelessly via Bluetooth aptX technology. Also handy is an integrated rubberized handle in the back of The Cube, meaning that you can easily take your music with you when you get assimilated.
If there is one reoccurring theme at the show it’s that your subs are nowhere near big enough. California Audio Technology seems to have gotten the message with their in-wall 18” drivers. These were actually some of the smaller subs I saw around the floor.
In the market for a movie-theater size home theater with a projector to match. Sony has your number. This 4K giant is based on Sony's pro theater projectors, modified to be suitable for home theater, including HDMI inputs, of course. It can be yours for only $125,000. The lens is extra!
Orlando, FL based Automated Technology Control Partners introduced the TiO StealthStream 1 (AZSS1) digital audio zone player at CEDIA 2013. At 1.9 x 2.73 x 3.9 inches, the company calls the small black box (with a stubby antenna protruding from it) the smallest such player on the market and says it provides a simple, cost-effective multi-room music solution—one that is controlled and configured through the TiO Home Android App.
Revolv’s Smart Home Solution is designed to easily bring together a variety of off-the-shelf devices such as the Sonos music system, Philips Hue wireless lighting, Yale automated locks, and thermostats into an automation system that’s extremely easy to set up and control with a single one simple smart device app.