Auralex is trying to make acoustical control attractive to more than just hard-core home theater owners. At CEDIA they showed off some of their new SonicPrint custom-printed ProPanels – fabric-covered acoustic absorptive panels – that can be outfitted with fabric covers printed with any kind of design or image you want. They have thousands of licensed artwork available, or you can send in your own image(s) for immortalization on your home theater wall. Auralex has some movie poster artwork available already, and their negotiating to have even more. Hanging an acoustic panel that looks like a movie poster on the wall will sure sound better than hanging a real movie poster covered with glass in a frame on the wall.
Quiet Solution makes a variety of products designed to keep your home theater room quiet – both inside and out – such as QuietRock drywall panels and QuietWood for floors and the like. Now you can even soundproof the door in your home theater with the company’s QuietHome doors, which are about as heavy and dense as a door you might find on one of the Egyptian pyramids (of course, they didn’t have hinges then). The door ships pre-hung, and the frame includes a foam-like gasket that seals the door when it’s closed. There’s also a gasket the seals the bottom of the door against the threshold. A 2.25” THX certified version is available for $1,995. The 1.75” non-certified version is $1,499, which the company says is up to 50% less than other acoustic doors.
Raxxess makes more racks than you can shake a remote at, including some affordable residential racks that utilize wood shelves. If you need a bit more ventilation, however, you’ll need some of the metal shelves that have plenty of cutouts for better airflow. For really serious (and heavy) systems, Raxxess offers racks that include a rolling support that hides under the front of the rack.
AVRak’s new Fatrak component rack is 36” wide – enough for two components to sit side-by-side on each shelf – so the rack can hold the same amount of gear as a 72” tall standard rack. The Fatrak pulls out far enough from the cabinet so that you can swivel the rack for easy access to the cables and wiring that will look like a rat’s nest no matter how hard you try to organize it. The 36” tall model (FT-36) is rated to hold up to 350 pounds of gear. There are also 24” and 30” versions available. Custom heights can be ordered as well. The FT-36 sells for $2,172.
Boston Acoustics rock-like speakers aren’t new, but I did learn something new about them. The tweeters in the speakers are angled upward about 45 degrees. If you use these speakers around your patio or pool where people will be standing or sitting near by, the angled tweeters will help your guests hear the high frequencies in the music. And then you might even get a write up in the society page of your local newspaper detailing what swell entertainment you have in your backyard.
I don’t know how humid it gets in Boston, but I do know how humid it gets in my bathroom after one of my children takes a luxuriously long shower (the kind that sucks every last drop of even lukewarm water out of the hot water heater). Boston Acoustics’ new HH 460T2 is a “high-humidity and weather-resistant” single-point stereo in-ceiling speaker that includes a foam collar around the center post that protects the voice coil from dampness and a crossover that is covered with a special type of varnish to protect it from the elements. The speaker also uses the same type of binding posts found on Boston’s Voyager outdoor speakers, so they’re easy to seal with silicone after the wires have been connected. Two models are available. The HH460T2 is $275 each. The higher-end VH470 T2 is $450 each.
So lighting won’t make your home theater sound better, or will it? No, it really won’t, but it might make you think your home theater sounds better – and even if it doesn’t, it’ll definitely make your room look better. Traxon Technologies is a company that offers just about any kind of colorful – and changeable – lighting products, from strip lights to panels to, well, you name it. The lighting system I saw had a simple, programmable controller that let you change the colors of the lighting as well as program a schedule of color changes. You could even do a disco floor if you wanted to, but I think that definitely would make your home theater sound bad.
Not really, but two new power conditioners from PS Audio could keep your electricity from being at fault when it comes to better sound and picture. Sure, you might think AC is just AC, but if you’ve ever been to my house you’d know that minor fluctuations (not to mention major ones) can do some insidious things to electronics gear. PS Audio’s PowerPlay conditioners clean up your power company’s act – and they also are fully configurable, programmable, and controllable over the Internet. The web interface can show you cool stuff like the fluctuations in voltage and noise in the current. They can also let you know of unfortunate electrical goings-on in your home if you’re away. Ideal for the installer crowd here is the fact that the installer can also be notified of problems that might be fixed by accessing the PowerPlay conditioner over the web – instead of making a long, gas guzzling service call. Plan on spending $2,000 or $1,000, and then maybe another $1,000 for the controllable UPS. Shockingly expensive, you say? Not if you consider the sonic and visual benefits plus the long-term reliability and security aspects. I used to dismiss power conditioning as voodoo, but now that I’ve seen how a bad electric mojo can mess with your stuff I’m a believer.
Let’s say you have a nice home theater system in one end of the room and a powered subwoofer in the other. Everything sounds nice until you plug the subwoofer into the AC outlet next to it, and, viola, your system is now humming a new tune. Unfortunately, it’s not humming the tune you wanted it to.