The best thing I heard at the show was the JL Audio demo. Partnered gear included a SIMS2 projector, Screen Research screen, HALCRO Logic disc player, Dynamat acoustic treatment, and Tributaries cable plus JL's speakers, subs, and electronics. The demo had everything that matters including big bass, non-abrasive midrange, and wide dynamics. Subs are extremely adjustable, using either an automatic setup routine or manual controls.
These two Canadian speaker brands may now be under the Klipsch umbrella but they retain their distinctive identities and sounds. I was most impressed by Energy's in-walls including the RC-6W left/center/right speaker ($350), RC-8C surround ($325), and RC-8C sub ($600). They have the clarity that is Energy's signature at affordable prices. Pictured is the Mirage OMD-15 tower ($1250/each), a relatively more affordable member of the OmniSat series. It bounces tweeter output off a spoon-shaped object to achieve surround-like spaciousness even with just two channels, though it would also form a surround system with the matching center ($750) and satellite ($375/each).
Top-flight DVDO deinterlacing is the highlight of Arcam's DV139 DVD-Video/-Audio/SACD universal player. It acknowledges the latest fad in video specsmanship by upscaling images to 1080p though it is not a Blu-ray or HD DVD player. Still, given the fact that the first-gen Blu-ray and HD DVD players don't play SACD or DVD-Audio, the DV139 may deserve a place as the second (or first) of two players on your rack. (Feeling artsy, I forbade removal of the water bottle.)
You don't need a fancy docking station to link your iPod to a big system. A patch cable will do, the kind that has a stereo mini-plug at one and two RCA connectors at the other. But many of the cables sold for this purpose are of unreliable quality. Wireworld promises better performance with the iWorld, pictured. Also pictured is a green teabag because it's good for you.
Approximately 87 percent of all speaker models introduced at the show were from Paradigm. Bill VanderMarel shows off the new Signature line with beryllium tweeter. Even more significant, to me, is the fourth-gen revision of the Studio line--the second-gen Studio/20 happens to be my longtime reference speaker--with the aluminum tweeter upgraded to a better one and the polymer woofer giving way to satin-anodyzed aluminum. Highlight of the revised Monitor series is a new and larger version of Paradigm's classic budget bookshelf model, the Titan. Millenia is the new "lifestyle" line, and there are in-walls galore.
Snell's legendary designer Joe D'Appolito has taken the LCR 7 ($1000/each), favorably reviewed in our pages by Steve Guttenberg, and gotten two new models out of the same driver array, including a silk dome tweeter and two 5.25-inch treated-paper woofers. The ICS 1030 ($900/each) is an in-cabinet model while the AMC 6030 ($1250/each) is an in-ceiling model.
Would you believe that Polk's THX Ultra2-certified RTS-100 in-wall and RTS-105 in-ceiling models were among the best-sounding speakers of any kind at CEDIA? It's true. Polk also showed off a shrewd sub-concealment strategy that involves hiding the driver beneath a floor grate, shown here in cutaway.
In the base of each of these elegant table lamps is a bottom-firing 6.5-inch woofer. Located just beneath the shade is a silk-dome tweeter, firing into a diffuser. Both leak sound through grilles at top and bottom. The enclosure looks like granite but is an acrylic-like material. Nine years in the making, the Limelight lamp line made its debut at CEDIA but is not yet available. If you're interested, get in touch with inventor Scott Zwolski via limelightaudio.com.
Next-generation audiophiles-in-the-making are plugging their iPods into tube amps. So building an iPod dock into a tube amp is a logical progression. Sonic Integrity's Tube Pod (shown by System Audio, $1000) includes 13-wpc amp, dock, and speakers. Long live the revolution. For more details: tube-pod.com.
The B&W CM series falls between the higher-end 700 series and lower-end 600 series. New to the line are the floorstanding CM7 ($900/each) and stand-mount CM1 ($450/each). They'll be available in 30 days. Already out is the CMC center ($600). Inside the wood-veneer enclosure is B&W's famous tube-loaded tweeter, which gives the much higher-priced Nautilus line its extraordinarily clean and revealing high frequency extension.