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Bob Ankosko

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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 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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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 05, 2012 1 comments
“Make it disappear” is a common refrain in the world of custom-installed home theater systems where speakers are routinely concealed in walls and ceilings.

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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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