Looking to the future of lifestyle sound, Sonance showed a preview of possible upcoming products, one of which was a ceramic hanging thing that looked pretty cool. It wasn't playing, so we couldn't tell how it sounded. No pricing or estimated availability was given, but it's pretty certain that you can expect to see something like this -and other exotic speakers - from Sonance in the near future.
Epson and Atlantic Technology are teaming up to bring out the world's largest HTiB. There are two versions. Each one includes a drop-down screen with built-in Atlantic Technology speakers (LCR), a DVD-based media center (with HDMI inputs and upscaling capability), and rear speakers (also from Atlantic Technology) that can either hang on each side of the projector or be mounted on the wall. For $4,999, you get a 720p Epson LCD projector with the system. For $6,999, you get an Epson 1080p model. Both systems come with racetracks to help hide the wires for installations even I could do.
Sonance took great pleasure in touting their lifestyle approach to in-wall/in-ceiling/on-wall/the-wall-is-the-speaker speakers. One of the coolest of the new speakers was a model that used a circular mounting plate that could be mounted on the surface of a wall or flush with the wall. The speaker itself attached to the mounting plate using an array of very powerful magnets, and the wiring is routed through the wall plate. When in place, the speaker almost looks like a light fixture.
After handing out a pair of boxer shorts with the slogan, "We've got your bottom end covered.", honcho John Miller showed off the newest, smallest Velodyne subwoofer. Called the MicroVee, it uses one 6.5" active driver, two 6.5" passive drivers, each with 5" piston diameters. The active driver has a 2" dual-layer voice coil and a 64 ounce magnet structure. Velodyne rates the Energy Recovery System amplifier at 2,000 watts of Dynamic Power. The cabinet is made of ribbed (no snide comments, please) extruded aluminum, which makes the sub cool - both in terms of heat dissipation and looks. The sub is only 9" x 9" x 9.6" (HWD), and Miller says it kicks butt. (What else was he going to say?) Oh, yeah, the MSRP is $999, but you could very likely see it on sale for $799 when it arrives in October.
In addition to bribing those members of the press who were smart enough to preregister for the press conference with 30GB iPods loaded with a special message from founder Jeremy Burkhart, SpeakerCraft showed off enough products to fill a mansion or two during one of the first press conferences here at CEDIA. First there was the new wireless MODE Free controller that can be in-wall mounted using a special bracket that allows for the controller to be removed whenever you want to take it for a walk. In addition to multi-room audio distribution, the MODE controllers allow a homeowner to link up to six iPods in the house and share music and metadata. Then came the new Accufit Ultra Slim in-ceiling speaker which is only 1 7/8" deep. It uses what SpeakerCraft calls a "sealed and ported" enclosure which is sealed on the back (the part that hides in the wall) but has a front-mounted prort that fires into the room. Also discussed were the new smaller TIME Mini speakers that descend from the ceiling and can be aimed toward the listening area.
Monster has embarked on a full frontal assault against the idea that "all HDMI cables are alike" with combination of education and marketing that will include the introduction of five rating levels for its HDMI cables. The top-end "Ultimate High Speed" HDMI cables will fall under Monster's "Cable for Life" program. HDMI cables with this rating will be "performance guaranteed", and Monster says they will replace the cables if the performance of future sources begin to outstrip what the cable is capable of.
Proficient is laying claim to "the world's most powerful LCR ceiling speaker", and the C1030 just might be it. The new behemoth ceiling speaker uses a ten-inch Kevlar woofer, a three-inch pivoting midrange, and a one-inch pivoting tweeter. The woofer and midrange/tweeter bridge are set at a 15-degree angle to the speaker's mounting flange. Speaking of mounting, Proficient says you have to use its special mounting bracket to keep the C1030 from falling out of the ceiling. (That would be a bad thing as it would ruin an evening of home video entertainment.) A system of seven C1030 speakers has a MSRP of $4,000. (It would be especially bad if all seven fell at once, but it would make a cool YouTube video.)
What is an HTiB?
What exactly is a Home Theater in a Box, or, as those of us who prefer to use acronyms rather than real words call it, an HTiB? Before you guffaw and wonder what kind of an idiot put this bit of advice together, give this question a chance to sink in. Now let's consider just how difficult a creature this HTiB thing is to pin down.
Several years ago I was just setting up my current home theater room. While it was not scheduled to be equipped with multi-tiered stadium seating, faux art deco design, and a popcorn machine, I did have the luxury of setting it up strictly for movie and music listening. It didn't need to be compromised to serve any other purpose.
Wireless transmission of data may look like the wave of the future, but it's a lot further along in the computer world than in the traditional AV environment. Yes, manufacturers are undoubtedly burning the midnight oil in hopes of becoming the first to develop a wireless standard for high quality transmission of audio and video programming inside the home. But for now, good old hard wiring is the only way to go.