Two makers of one-box solutions for virtual surround sound were at the show. ZVOX was covered earlier in our show report (below). Soundmatters is the other. The Soundmatters SLIMstage40 Surround Console ($899, available in July), available in either silver or black (the silver version is shown in the photo, just under the flat panel set) uses four seven active drivers and eight internal amplifiers (170W total) to simulate a full surround sound experience. At 3.4" deep, it's designed to fit under a wall-mounted, flat panel television.
One of the interesting new features of this year's show is a variety of workshops, many of them to be presented more than once throughout the show. There are workshops on amplifier measurements, amplifier listening, speaker auditioning, speaker measurements, the peak power demands of music, and active loudspeakers. The Stereophile Analog Clinic also continues, as in past shows.
JBL's K2 loudspeakers, shown here in a conventional 2-channel setup on the show floor, is also a key part of JBL's latest Synthesis home theater system. But they can be had alone, if you prefer, for $30,000/pair.
When does a trilogy become a quadrilogy? (Is there such a word? There is now.) When they release the third sequel, of course. And the Spider-Man films have been such a rousing success that you can be sure another one is in the pipeline.
Pioneer's new flagship receiver, the SC-09TX is loaded with all the bells and whistles, including a display screen, 10 channels of 140Wpc ICE digital amplification that may be combined for 7 channels at 200W per, HDMI 1.3a, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio decoding, and THX certification. Reportedly four years in development, it won't ship until January 2008, so that will give you time to gather the $7000 you'll need to buy it.
Take me to your leader. The 8T is the leader, or at least the first entry in a new line of speakers that's an offshoot of RBH. The four midrange drivers in the upper array have beryllium cones. The tweeter is a beryllium dome tweeter from Scan-Speak. At $50,000/pair, however, they're not for most of us, though the layout is vaguely similar to a B&W home theater speaker system from the late 1990s. The shape of the woofer enclosure here also suggests an intriguing configuration for a floor-mounted center channel speaker for use below a projection screen—though no center speaker is likely to match the 8T.
With its line-array Model LS at the left and right consisting of fifteen 5.25-inch woofers and eight AMT tweeters, a similar array in the center partially hidden by an acoustically transparent screen, a stack of eight 12-inch woofers in each front corners, and a complementary setup in the rear, Steinway-Lingdorf produced the most dynamic sound, by far, at the CEDIA EXPO. All of the speakers were multi-amped, and Lingdorf’s proprietary room compensation was included. The gunfight from Open Range was so loud, but clean, that I needed ear muffs. None being handy, fingers in the ears sufficed after the first few volleys whizzed over my head. It can all be yours for a few bucks short of $500,000.