How do you make an in-wall speaker look interesting? You don't, but Atlantic Technology was one of a handful of vendors to actually make them sound interesting (most vendors didn't even try to demo their in-walls). Three Atlantic IWCB-626's were mounted behind an acoustically transparent Screen Research screen, together with dipole surrounds and subs. The projector was a small Crystal View single chip DLP, which appeared to be a variation on a modestly-priced Mitsubishi design. Nothing fancy here, but simply a solid demo all around of a system that is not outrageously priced. Featured were some particularly fine HD trailers from the upcoming films <I>Flyboys</I> and <I>A Night At The Museum</I>.
Fred Manteghian beat me to the punch in his description of the fabulous-sounding Wilson Watt Puppy 8s ($28,000/pr minus change). Unclothed, they look pretty much liked the previous WP 7, but sound both more refined and dynamic than my recollection from the last time I heard that earlier model (admittedly, a few years ago). Another 2-channel demo, but Wilson also makes suitable center channel speakers, surrounds, and subwoofers.
The Chorus 826W ($3475/pair) is the latest entry in Focal's mid-priced Chorus lineup. In fact it is the only Chorus model to incorporate the "W" sandwich cone construction previously available only in the more upscale Electra and Utopia series (the other Chorus models use a less sophisticated cone design). Unfortunately, there is as yet no matching center channel or surrounds, and the availability of such models has not been announced.
My rounds at the high-end audio exhibits at the Venetian Hotel only let me sample a few rooms that looked interesting, or appeared to have some semblance of relevance to both music <I>and</I> home theater. But If I diverge a bit from the home theater tack in a one or two of the following entries, well, it's stuff I found interesting.
Wharfedale demoed the top model in its new Jade series, the floor-standing Jade 7. Using vinyl as a source, it sounded most impressive, which was good because a complete surround package built around the Jade 7s is on hand at Home Theater for a future review.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that CEDIA is aimed for custom installers. And installers need tools. The mad dogger from Mad Dog tools was busy demonstrating his all purpose, drill and mixmaster Cujo thingy.
An ambitious Chinese manufacturer of LCD sets, that's who. The small booth had demos 3D sets and an innovative 21:9 flat panel set optimized for 2.35: 1 movies—with black windowbox" bars at the sides for 16:9 material. Reportedly, TCL makes sets for VIZIO, which makes sense seeing that VIZIO is nearly set to release 21:9 sets. The only puzzle here remains why my camera rendered the TCL logo on top a red-fringed yellow, when the sign was clearly solid red.
If I had to pick a single obvious trend at this year's CEDIA Expo, it would be 2.35:1 anamorphic projection using an add-on anamorphic lens. At least five lens manufacturers were showing product, and all but a few projector manufacturers were featuring some sort of 2.35:1 anamorphic projection. (The fact that our October 1008 issue, distributed at the show, featured an article on this type of setup was a happy coincidence).