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Tom Norton

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Tom Norton Posted: Sep 06, 2007 0 comments

KEF had a small booth, but a lot to show. Its updated XQ speaker line was particularly interesting. Gone are the pod-like supertweeters sitting atop the cabinets. Instead the tweeter in the company's UniQ concentric drivers has been re-engineered to handle all the high frequency chores. The XQ 30 floor stander, shown, will run $3400/pair. Not shown are the matching bookshelf model, the XQ 10, at $1400/pair, and the $1200 XQ 50 center.

Tom Norton Posted: Sep 06, 2007 0 comments

If you move up to the top of the KEF line you'll hit the flagship Reference series, also recently redesigned to eliminate the pod tweeters. Shown here is a cutaway of the smallest Reference model, the Reference 201/2 ($5000/pair). The port for this model, which is smaller than its predecessor, fires out of the top rear of the cabinet. The duct is visible at the upper left, just to the rear of the white damping material.

Tom Norton Posted: Sep 06, 2007 0 comments

Pioneer also had its new S-3EX speakers on static display. A smaller, $6000/pair variation on the floorstanding S-1EX we reviewed recently, the S-3EX keeps the price down by employing a simpler cabinet, substituting carbon graphite for the tweeter diaphragm instead of the beryllium used in the S-1EX, and using a slightly smaller midrange cone (but still made of magnesium). While the S-3EX should ship soon, you'll have to wait until mid 2008 for the matching center channel and "bookshelf" models.

Tom Norton Posted: Sep 06, 2007 3 comments

Lexicon showed a new AV receiver, the 7.1-channel RV-5 ($3999). It offers automatic system calibration and equalization, Faroudja video processing (though oddly the upconversion is limited to 1080i), and multichannel PCM audio via HDMI. But it does not directly decode Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio.

Tom Norton Posted: Sep 06, 2007 0 comments

Audyssey, the company behind the room compensation system that is appearing in more and more AV receivers and pre-pros, introduced its latest technology: Audyssey Dynamic EQ. it's designed to compensate for the loss of sound quality that results as the volume level, is reduced.

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Tom Norton Posted: May 30, 2007 5 comments

Mel Gibson may or may not have terminally damaged his impressive film career with his well-publicized antics last summer, but no one can accuse him of being a hack filmmaker. His box office draw as an actor may not be what it once was, but he does know how to direct a movie.

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Tom Norton Posted: May 20, 2007 Published: May 21, 2007 8 comments

Stop the presses. There's a new set of reference high definition discs in town, discs that in technical quality alone very nearly blow anything you've seen so far out of the water. It's the <I>Complete Matrix Trilogy</I>, available this Tuesday (May 22) only in a boxed set of three HD DVDs.

Tom Norton Posted: May 12, 2007 Published: May 13, 2007 2 comments

Silverline was demonstrating two different speakers, the floorstanding Prelude ($1200/pair) and the small Minuet ($600/pair). I heard the Preludes ($1200/pair). One attendee remarked that the Preludes sounded better than a lot of more expensive speakers at the show. Apart from a trace of aggressive brightness, which could well have been due to a completely untreated room, I have to agree. The speakers sounded more dynamic, and bigger, than their size might suggest. Silverline makes a wide range of speakers, including a center channel (which at $1200, may be a little pricey to mate with the Preludes).

Tom Norton Posted: May 13, 2007 0 comments

Two makers of one-box solutions for virtual surround sound were at the show. ZVOX was covered earlier in our show report (below). Soundmatters is the other. The Soundmatters SLIMstage40 Surround Console ($899, available in July), available in either silver or black (the silver version is shown in the photo, just under the flat panel set) uses four seven active drivers and eight internal amplifiers (170W total) to simulate a full surround sound experience. At 3.4" deep, it's designed to fit under a wall-mounted, flat panel television.

Tom Norton Posted: May 12, 2007 Published: May 13, 2007 1 comments

Rives Audio is repeating a demonstration that was a hit at last year's show in Los Angeles. Two rooms are set up with near identical systems. One room is completely untreated, the other uses a variety of acoustical treatment devices plus electronic equalization of the bass (using two Rives Sub-PARCs and extra amps to support the equalizers). The speakers in both rooms are Talon Thunderhawks ($25,000/pair), the amplifier the VAC Alpha Integrated ($10,000, an all-tube design with 100Wpc), and the CD player the Wadia 580i ($9450).

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