Tom Norton

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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
Draper is a major screen manufacturer but doesn't get a lot of play in the press. The small 2.35:1 screen shown here is curved, though that's not easy to spot in the photos. Draper can make any of its fixed screen sizes in a curved configuration for about a 50% premium over a comparable fixed screen. If that sounds like a lot, check out the competition from manufacturers who have grabbed more ink.
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
Pioneer also introduced three new Blu-ray players, all of them manufactured in-house (last year's Pioneer players were made by Sharp). All of them are 3D capable. The non-Elite BDP-140, not shown, at $199, can play back SACD via its HDMI output (and of course CD and Blu-ray as well!). The two models shown, the Elite BP-52FD and the Elite BDP-53FD (the latter available in November for $500) are loaded with the features shown in the display card. My only disappointment is that they do not have a coaxial digital output, but are limited to HDMI and optical. None of the players includes multichannel analog outputs or component video outputs, the latter deletion mandated for all players released after July 2011, the former an industry trend as HDMI becomes more widespread.
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
While we don't spend a lot of time searching out these sorts of products, adapters and processors are fundamental at CEDIA. They make the custom installer's job easier in myriad ways, and Gefen is one of the best known names in the business.
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
Screen Innovations' Black Diamond screens are now available in gains of 0.8, 1.4, and 2.7. They can be made as a curved, fixed screen, a traditional fixed frame design, a new Zero Edge frame (shown in the photo—the one on the right is a 2.7 gain model) and, in six months, retractable versions. They are also available in any aspect ratio, as long as the maximum height is 56" (higher screens must be seamed.
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
I reviewed the Aragon 8008 amplifier for Stereophile back in the mid-'90s and loved it. I often wished I'd bought it, in fact, as it was a near perfect match for my Energy Veritas v2.8 speakers. When Mondial (the original source company) folded, the Aragon line (and the lower end but also well-regarded Acurus products) was acquired by Klipsch. That company never really supported either of these lines. The rights were recently acquired by a company called Indy Audio Labs, which has just re-launched the 2-, 5-, and 7-channel Acurus amplifiers (200w/ch intro 8 ohms, all).

Later this year Indy plans to re-introduce the Aragon 8008 mkIII, 2-channels at 200W/ch (8 ohms) at $4000 and the Iridium, a 400W (8 ohms) differential monoblock, successor to the Aragon Palladium, at $4000 each. Apart from some added control and status features, the amps are said to be nearly identical in design to the earlier versions, though to my recollection the original Palladium was lower powered (but biased heavily toward Class A). And, of course, those 1990s models were considerably cheaper. Time marches on.

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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
You can pay thousands for a good screen, or paint your own for the low hundreds. Screen Goo Americas (probably the company with the most memorable name in the business) offers four flavors: Reference White (roughly unity gain) HIgh Contrast, Max Contrast, and Ultra Silver 3D (high gain, preserves light polarity). All of them may be rolled or sprayed on an appropriate flat, smooth surface. The even make a screen paint for rear projection! It's also said to be flexible enough that the screen can be moderately curved after painting. We're not saying that it can equal a professionally produced screen, but the demo we saw looked mighty impressive. If the cost of a screen is keeping you from acquiring a projection system, this approach might well help.
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
Not much information was available on this Elite NP-M50 streaming device, but at $700, with an asynchronous DAC, it should be a hot ticket. A similar NP-M30 deletes some capabilities, including the asynchronicity in its DAC, will go for for $500. December availability for both.
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 1 comments
While it didn't photograph well in its dark location (despite my primo photographic skills!), DreamVision's new Inti series of projectors are lookers. At least their cosmetics are, and if their JVC innards are any indication, their performance will be as well (they were on static display only. The Inti 2, shown here, is $10,000. The Inti 1 is $7000, and the Inti 3 is $13,995.)
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
Schneider Optics offers a wide range of some of the most respected anamorphic lenses in the business. Interestingly, they also market their own projector, not widely known in the states, that includes an anamorphic lens on a built-in track. The projector is priced around $25,000, with the anamorphic lens. It was on static display only.
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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 10, 2011 0 comments
KEF's new R-series, mentioned in an earlier blog, was inspired by KEF's far pricier Blade ($30,000/pair), shown here in its dress whites. It sounded surprisingly good on the open show floor, with a tight, punchy bass that was undoubtedly helped by the lack of room modes--though the latter can hardly be blamed on any speaker. When I placed by hand on the composite cabinet during those heavy kick-drum hits, I felt practically nothing.

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