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Bob Ankosko

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 08, 2012 0 comments
We can thank Michael Phelps for making it cool to wear over-ear headphones while on the go. In a nod to that trend, Yamaha will roll out the stylish Pro Series line of headphones at the end of the month. Good/better/ best models were previewed at CEDIA Expo: the Pro 500 ($399 in black or blue), the Pro 400 ($299 in blue or white) and the more compact Pro 300 ($199 in black, white or blue).

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 08, 2012 0 comments
The Boundary B404 speaker Leon is demonstrating at CEDIA Expo may well be the most indoor-looking outdoor speaker you’ll see (shown above in an outdoor theater setup). Available in mahogany, white or black finished with a high-gloss marine varnish that would be at home on any boat, the weatherproof speaker has two 4-inch aluminum woofers and a 1-inch aluminum/magnesium dome tweeter, specially formulated to withstand the elements. Price: $2,200 apiece.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 08, 2012 0 comments
Along side its impressive lineup of A/V receivers, Onkyo is demonstrating the EnvisionCinema LS3100 at CEDIA Expo, a 2.1-channel powered TV speaker package featuring two oval speakers with removable stands to accommodate wall or cabinet mounting, a wireless powered subwoofer and a low-profile 20-watt digital amplifier/control center offering SRS audio processing and Bluetooth 2.1 for wireless streaming from compatible devices. The system, which comes pre-programmed for control with most TV remotes, switches on and off with the TV and responds to volume commands. Better yet, it incorporates SRS’s TruVolume equalizer that smoothes out fluctuations in volume as you switch channels, WOW HD audio processing for a more expansive soundstage and a Dialog Mode that enhances voice intelligibility. EnvisionCinema will be available in November with a suggested retail price of $499.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
Home-automation stalwart Crestron is demonstrating at CEDIA Expo a Near Field Communication (NFC)-based technology called airConnect that enables homeowners to trigger personal control settings for a home theater system and other devices connected to a central control system by simply holding an NFC-enabled smartphone close to an NFC tag in the room. The tag can be programmed to initiate any number of activities or automated routines, such as turning on system components, closing motorized shades, lowering a projector screen and launching a control app on the phone. The NFC tags, which are 1-inch, paper-thin squares, can be embedded in convenient locations, such as behind a wall keypad. A number of Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices are NFC-enabled and Crestron says it will support iPhone and iPad as soon as they incorporate NFC technology.

Crestron is also demonstrating enhanced AirPlay functionality for its Sonnex multiroom audio system, which allows you to stream audio from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac PC to any room in the house without having to switch audio sources. Hit play and the system detects audio signals and automatically switches to the AirPlay source. The Sonnex system incorporates high-performance digital audio processing, full matrix switching and high-powered amplification.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
The Monster Audio Subwoofer Satellite (MASS) speaker system Monitor Audio is showcasing at CEDIA Expo stands out among satellite-based systems for the gently curved polymer cabinet that defines the MASS 10 satellites. Each aluminum-capped cabinet, which houses a newly developed 1-inch tweeter and 4-inch bass/midrange driver, can be mounted on the wall or placed on optional stands (as shown in the photo). Bass chores are handled by the equally stylish MASS W200 powered subwoofer, which teams a 10-inch driver and passive radiator with a 220-watt DSP-controlled Class D amplifier offering selectable Movie, Music and Impact modes. Due out in the October/November time frame, MASS is expected to sell for about $1,200.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
Sonance, which introduced the first in-wall-speaker a couple decades ago, is demonstrating the third generation of its Invisible Series speaker panels at CEDIA Expo. The panels mount flush in the wall and can be covered with up to an eight of an inch of any flexible material---including spackling compound, wallpaper or plaster---and painted over without compromising the performance. Hailed as the company’s best sounding invisible speaker to date, the panels are designed to fit between the studs in standard 2 x 4 wall construction. Judging from the demo on the noisy show floor, the sound is surprisingly decent.

The four new models boast 90-dB sensitivity, enabling the panels to play much louder than previous generation panels. All models have an injection-molded polypropylene diaphragm, extruded aluminum frame and require only 2 inches of depth for mounting. Optional enclosures are said to reduce sound transmission to adjacent rooms by up to 20 dB. The IS4 three-way panel shown in the photo has a suggested retail price of $1,600 per pair. Other pricing: The two-way IS2 is $1,100 per pair, the single stereo IS4SST is $900 and the ISW Woofer is $600.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
Artison, the company founded by respected audio designer Cary Christie nearly a decade ago, is replacing its SB-1 SoundBar with three low-profile models designed for seamless integration with the new generation of ultra-thin TVs. The numerical designations of the new Studio Series models---Studio39, Studio46 and Studio55---reflect the approximate width of the soundbar, although each grille is custom fitted and color matched to the TV it’s being used with as in the photo above.

Highlights of the soundbars include a 2.25-inch-deep extruded aluminum, bass-reflex cabinet, 3.5-inch carbon-fiber mid/woofers---Studio39 has four drivers, the other models have six---three 1-inch Vifa tweeters and two 1-inch “stage” tweeters that fire out the sides of the enclosure to expand the sound stage. Pricing is $999 for Studio39, $1,499 for Studio46 and $1,999 for Studio55. The Studio46 ships this month with the other models expected to be available in October/November.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
The gorgeous zebrawood finish and Retro meets Danish styling of Triad’s towering Cinema Reference speaker was hard to miss on the CEDIA Expo show floor. The 47.5-inch-tall CR LCR 1 main speaker combines a horn-loaded Air Motion Transformer (AMT) driver with two 8-inch midrange drivers and a 15-inch woofer. The companion CR Surround is 27 inches tall and features a pair of 1-inch compression tweeters and two 5-inch mids in a horn-loaded configuration and a 10-inch woofer. In-wall, on-wall and stand mounting options are available. Estimated pricing is $12,500 each for the CR LCR and $5,000 each for the CR Surround, both of which are expected to be available for sale in January. A companion subwoofer is being developed.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
Mozaex founder Douglas Kihm has been thinking about building a pair of super headphones since he was a kid, a dream he has finally realized with the BluWavs, which he is billing as the "world's first 7.1 discrete HD headphones." Each of the bulbous earcups contains five mini drivers, including what he calls a "vibration subwoofer" that literally shakes your head for a tactile experience. Each set of headphones comes with the Blender Console, which looks like a '70s-era equalizer and is available in analog and digital versions. In addition to a 15-band EQ for the front L/R channels, the blender has discrete level controls for each channel so you can really screw up...er, personalize the sound.

The 7.1-channel surround field was impressive while listening to DTS HD Master versions of the soundtrack for Tron Legacy, Peter Gabriel's Growing Up Live and Omar Hakim's Listen Up live jazz jam. Package prices range from $1,295 to $2,595, depending on the version of the Blender.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
What’s not to love about a leather recliner with diamond stitching, a built-in cup holder for your brewski and an optional LaunchPort swivel-base that holds and charges your iPad? Your biggest challenge will be to not fall asleep during the big game. Best part: You can position the motorized backrest and footrest from a smartphone/tablet or home automation control panel from Crestron, AMX, Control4, Savant and others. Available for $5,500-$6,000 apiece with or without the stitching.

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