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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.

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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 13, 2007 0 comments

There was a definite shortage of home theater exhibits at this year's home entertainment show. But no shortage of interesting products. When faced with limited home theater presence, I go to plan B: look for loudspeakers. Speakers do of course, handle two types of program material in most homes: music and films. If they sound good on music that's more than half the battle. And if they don't, even Angelina Jolie can't help them.

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

With home theater demos thin on the ground, I'll devote the next batch of blogs to some of the more interesting two channel demos I heard at the show.

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).

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

Back on the limited home theater front, Meridian/Faroudja had a small room with both audio and video, the latter a modest flat panel display. The heart of the audio system was the new Meridian G95 ($8495), a complete processor/amp/DVD player all in one case; in other words, it's a high-end DVD AV receiver, offering five channels of 100Wpc amplification. But it does have limitations, which are rather surprising for such an expensive device. There is no DVD-Audio playback (Meridian has long been a champion of that format), and no way to get an external multichannel source into the receiver (there is no multichannel analog input and no HDMI switching to provide multichannel audio on HDMI). The only HDMI connection is the HDMI output for the internal DVD player.