When I say, "horn loudspeaker," what do you think of first? Most longtime audiophiles immediately visualize big corner-mounted Klipsch K-Horns or Altec Lansing "Voice of the Theater" speakers. Although horn-mounted technology is not as common today as it was during the golden age of mono in the '40's and '50's, it still exists. The Triad InRoom Platinum speaker system ($29,850 as tested), for example, is very much here and now.
Atlantic Technology unveiled a new in-wall speaker that features an adjustable crossover that alters the speaker's lobbing effects to better control the speakers imaging and harmonic balance. Even when situated relatively high on the wall behind a Screen Research acoustically transparent screen the sound seemed to come from several feel below the speaker's actual physical position. Magic? No just solid engineering.
Limelight audio premiered their line of furniture with built-in speakers. With full 360 degree dispersion due to an upward firing midrange/tweeter and downward firing woofer, these granite veneered cabinets have their own patent pending and a three-way light switch. They actually make sound and can produce filament shaking bass.
Gibson introduced a whole new line of accessories bearing the Gibson logo, including USB cards, blank CDR disks, cables, CDR burner, and portable hard drives. No prices, or availability date, or any other information was available at the show. Obviously Gibson thinks that we all need to have the Gibson brand on stuff we can already get from over a dozen sources already. Rock on, Dudes.
Without fail, every CEDIA show Sharp tempts me with a 1-bit audio system. This year's installment has the catchy designation of BD/MPC10. With a Blue Ray player, 1-bit digital amplifier, speakers that look like high-tech ashtrays, and built-in Odyssey room correction system it looked and sounded very moderne. Price, delivery date, and final specifications are all TBA, naturally
Earthquake Sound's head designer demonstrates why you don't want to walk around holding their new floor-shaking driver. Made to mount under a wooden floor, this new pistonic vibrator can make things go bump in the night, day, or even the middle of the afternoon.
The best free gift at CEDIA came from CoolIT Systems who make cooling systems from high-end gaming and home theater PCs. Their Cool It chiller plugs into any USB port (either 1.0 or 2.0) to power its cooling element, which will keep a can of soda deliciously chilled for as long as your computer is on. Ideal for those all night illegal downloading sessions.
The most exciting product at the show with a nautical theme was debatably the "talking Pirate Skull" from Themeaddicts Inc. This patented product was developed for those poor souls who always wanted their own animatronic character (or any other character for that matter.) the skull "wakes up" and verbally provides real-time information about people walking up your driveway, entering your yard, standing at your front door, urinating on your daisies, or anything else your home automation/security system can monitor.
Maine is know for occasionally hostile weather, so it should come as no surprise that a company based in Maine should develop an all-weather speaker designed to handle even the most extreme conditions. Terra speakers "All Climate" models use a molded one-piece enclosure, cast aluminum mid/bass driver baskets, titanium dome tweeters, and a spiderless magnetic fluid centering system for their bass drivers. Available in a variety of colors, they have a sound that is both well grounded and liquid. Priced around $330 each, the Terra AV series will make any ground squirrel stop and take notice.
See the cow. Is it half here or half gone? Just like true high definition home theater, depends on how you look at it. 2006 CEDIA opened the flood gates on 1080P display devices, be they projectors, plasmas, or LCD flat panel displays, but the format war between Blue Ray and DVD/HD drags on with not clear winners, only losers – the consumer. Will the situation be better by Winter CES? Most likely, not. Perhaps by 2007 CEDIA the format debacle will be past and we will all be happily watching 1080P source material on 1080P displays, but I fear we will still be stuck with only half a cow.