Tom Norton

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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.

Tom Norton Posted: May 13, 2007 0 comments

CinePro showed its new Mighty Powershelf two-way speaker ($3300/pair), together with the Mighty Center Channel ($2700), two jumbo 12" Dual isobaric subwoofers ($5000), and a rack full of CinePro electronics. The projector was from SIM2. The sound was punchy and dynamic, even though I did request a slightly lower playback level than those that CinePro usually favors.
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Also sharing the room with CinePro was VidaBox, a media center designed as a full-function server capable of storing music, television programming, and movies on its hard drive. It is also said to be capable of both Blu-ray and HD DVD playback. Shane Buetter has more to say about the VidaBox in an earlier blog entry (below)

Tom Norton Posted: May 12, 2007 Published: May 13, 2007 0 comments

Joseph also demonstrated its RM7xl speaker ($2299-$2499/pair, depending on finish), but in a very unusual way. The source was a laptop computer feeding uncompressed files into a new Bel Canto integrated amp via a <I>USB</I> connection.

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

There isn't a lot of budget gear at HE2007, but then the show has always trumpeted itself as a high-end show. New York dealer Sound by Singer had five rooms filled with increasingly expensive gear, but the first room was at least relatively real world, with a price of approximately $6000. The speakers were the JM Focal Chorus 836V floorstanders at $3000/pair. The electronics were from Cambridge Audio (the 840A integrated amp and 840C CD player, at $1500 each). The sound was very clean and well balanced. My only reservation: from a front row, center seat the imaging was a little bloated. But it was a fine-sounding system, and the step up to the next system in Sound by Singer's progressively more expensive chain of rooms was over $30,000. But that system was anchored by the JM Focal Electra 1037Be ($10,995/pair), one of the best sounding speakers I've heard at the show.

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 11, 2007 Published: May 12, 2007 0 comments

Aperion Audio, which like Outlaw sells through the Internet, is demonstrating two surround sound systems at very attractive price points. One of them is built around the Intimus 533-T speaker that just recently received a positive review in <I>Stereophile</I>. The Intimus 633-T tower speaker anchors the other system. The larger system will soon be receiving a new review in <I>Ultimate AV</I>. So it was no surprise to me that it offers great value for money. The setup being reviewed, the Intimus 633 Concert HD, normally sells for $2690, and is slightly less on a show special.

Tom Norton Posted: May 11, 2007 Published: May 12, 2007 0 comments

Freddie G. beat me to the punch on the new Krell speakers, but they're worth a few extra words. At $35,000/pair the Modulare Duos are hardly cheap, but Krell's charter has always been cutting edge design, not designing to a price point. Based on the sound I heard from their two-channel setup in a relatively large demo room (plenty big enough for a home theater demo—helpful hint for next year!?) they are definitely cutting edge. I'm sure the Krell electronics used to drive them weren't hurting the overall result, either. Their pricey Scandinavian drivers and solid aluminum enclosures might just have been making the best sound I will hear at the show, though it's still too early to go that far. A lot of rooms are yet to be visited.

Tom Norton Posted: May 11, 2007 Published: May 12, 2007 0 comments

One well-attended seminar on Friday (presented once only) covered the listening room and its effect on the system. Chaired by Richard Bird of Rives Audio, it offered advice from four experts on room design and acoustic treatment. While much of the information will be old news to long-time audiophiles, the advice presented new listeners with a heads-up on the importance of the room.

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