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.
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.
NAD's new M5 CD/SACD player features AES/EBU PCM digital output, separate 2-channel and 5-channel analog outputs, bass management for SACD, Burr Brown 24 bit 192 kHz audio DACs, and pure class A discrete gain modules. With a suggested list price of $1,799.00 it complements the rest of the NAD Master series of components.
Audioquest's latest Horizon termination hardware consists of a solid alloy that is guaranteed not to bend regardless of how many times you strike another human over the head with it. If unsuccessful in the audio market it will be a surefire hit among law enforcement professionals looking for a billy club with flare.
Although exhibits at THE SHOW were primarily an example of how out of touch some high-end audio manufacturers are with reality, Magnepan's Wendell Diller demonstrated that given a deadline with a wad of money at the end a fertile mind can find a way to solve a technical problem. True dipole ribbon speakers don't lend themselves to in-wall placement, but when the owner of a large and well-heeled casino chose Magnepans for their high-roller suites Diller devised a way. He automated his panels so when the video display is turned on the panels swing away from the wall, ready for action. With an adjustable angle and automatic reset if bumped, these Maggies are ready to deliver more sparkle than a trough full of slot machine quarters