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Bob Ankosko

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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 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 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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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 1 comments
Black gloss has been the default finish for speakers for ages so when I saw a home theater suite of white-gloss speakers I stopped for a closer look. Adam Professional Audio, a German company known for its studio monitors, launched the ARTist Series line of consumer speakers speakers at CEDIA Expo with five powered models: the ARTist 3 and ARTist 5 bookshelf models with 2 x 25 and 2 x 50 watts of power, the ARTist 6 mini tower with 3 x 35 watts, the ARTist 6H center speaker with 3 x 35 watts and the ARTist Sub with 140 watts driving a 7-inch woofer.

The system's sonic character is defined by Adam's smooth sounding X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter, which improves on the Heil Air Motion Transformer concept developed in the '70s. Instead of the piston motion of conventional tweeters, a pleated diaphragm produces sound by squeezing air out like the bellows of an accordion, which is said to avoid distortion and dynamic limiting. Each speaker has RCA and XLR inputs and the bookshelf models also have USB and minijack connections. The ARTist system shown (ARTist 5s are used as surrounds) sells for $5,100 and, yes, the speakers are also available in black gloss.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
TV bling? Who knew. Séura, the master of TVs that morph into mirrors and mirrors that turn into TVs, is showcasing the Crystal Frame Vanishing Television Mirror at CEDIA Expo. Incredibly, all that glitters around that 55-inch screen is not gold but a gazillion tiny Swarovski crystals. Really. How much will Crystal set you back? How's $16,500 sound? Séura offers more than 100 vanishing TV options with screens ranging in size from 10 to 75 inches with prices from $2,000 to $35,000.

The company is also introducing the Storm 1080p outdoor television with LuminOptics technology, which is said to ensure a bright, clear picture even on those sunny days when you're lounging poolside. Highlights include an anti-reflective tempered safety glass cover, an airflow system to control moisture brought about by extreme changes in temperature, an O-ring system that keeps water and other contaminants at bay, aircraft-grade aluminum construction and the ability to withstand temperatures as low as 30 below zero or as high as a scorching 140 degrees. Available in 42-, 47- and 55-inch screen sizes.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
Just what the world needs, another A/V receiver, I thought as I approached the Sherbourn booth. But the new SR-8100 (7 x 80 watts) and SR-8200 (7 x 125 watts) receivers---the company's first---have a refreshingly uncluttered look and low-profile design, support Bluetooth streaming and are covered by a generous 10-year warranty. Other goodies include multiple HDMI 1.4 inputs (seven and four, respectively), automatic room correction and an audiophile-oriented Class AB amplifier section. The $999 SR-8100 is expected to be available by the end of the year while the $1,999 SR-8200 is slated to ship in early 2013.

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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 05, 2012 0 comments
Surprisingly big sound from a tiny box is what you can expect from the Bluetooth-enabled ClarityHD Micro Speaker Monster introduced at CEDIA Expo. The concept: Instead of suffering through the tinny sound you get from your smartphone, tablet or PC, stream the audio to a portable speaker that easily fits in a briefcase or backpack.

CSR’s aptX audio coding is employed to deliver CD-quality sound and functions such as playing music, answering calls and Bluetooth pairing are handled by simple voice commands. Operating range is 30 feet and the speaker’s lithium-ion battery is said to last 5 hours on a single charge. Available in black and white, the ClarityHD sells for $220 and has a minijack input for use with non-Bluetooth devices.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Sep 05, 2012 1 comments
Cary Audio has made a distinguished contribution to the headphone craze sweeping across the consumer electronics industry with the HH-1 headphone amp. Introduced at CEDIA Expo, the amp is designed and built in the U.S. and teams a tube preamp stage with a solid-state MOSFET output stage, chosen for its tube-like sonic characteristics. Featuring Class A operation at all output levels and a 30-second muting circuit to prevent annoying turn-on pops, the amp sports a pair of RCA inputs with loop-through outputs and is designed to drive headphones with impedances between 30 and 600 ohms. Price: $1,595.

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