Among Monitor's 18 new products are three in-wall/ceiling models. From left to right they are the C380FX ($500/each), W380LCR ($600/each), and C380LCR ($600/each). The latter two feature coaxial driver arrays with an unusual twist: the woofer is convex, not concave, so it follows the shape of the dome tweeter. And the whole driver assembly swivels, so it has a better chance of hitting the right seating position.
The new speaker lines from Mordaunt-Short include the Alumni, shown, with compact satellites, a fairly big center, and sub for $1000. Also new is the larger Mezzo, a step down from the Reference Series, with tweeter top-mounted in separate subenclosure.
Revel's new in-ceiling line includes two 6.5-inch models, the round IC-65 and rectangular IW-65 (both $600). There's also a round eight-incher, IC-80 ($800). Advanced waveguides grace all three. The rectangular guy also has boundary compensation to tailor its response to the room. In addition, Revel has its own version of a flat-diaphragm speaker that also appears in other Harman International lines.
The Tannoy Ellipse is part of the Studio Monitor range. Long available in versions with eight- or ten-inch woofers for $4000-8000, this egg-like speaker's dual concentric drivers and top-mount super-tweeters are common fixtures in recording studios, we're told. It's been available for years but is new to us, and we like to make every CEDIA a voyage of discovery. What is in fact new is the i30 iPod docking system, not pictured, because we're perverse that way. It has two 4-inch drivers and will be out in October for $499. Worth it? We'd like to find out.
Five new sound-bar products from Yamaha include the YSP-4000 ($1800), with 5.1 channels in one convenient box. It does XM, FM, and iPod with optional dock. And it offers a greater range of surround adjustments from the remote than previous products. Whizzing race cars illustrated how well it works.
The Clark Synthesis Stringless Quartet actually had sound coming out of a stringless violin, viola, cello, and bass. There were voice coils in back making the instruments resonate like magnificent speaker drivers. Unfortunately it was an attention-getting tactic for a more prosaic seat-activating product.
The Lexicon MV-5 is a new surround preamp-processor from the company that more or less defines the genre for multichannel audiophiles. At $2999, it's the most affordable Lex yet, and thus might entice a few receiver users to go for higher-performing separates instead. Put it together with the GX-7 amp and you've got a $6000 package.
Every six months some clueless publication hypes a stupid plastic turntable with USB output. This is a terrible way to transfer vinyl to MP3 because a bad turntable is a bad turntable regardless of how it outputs the signal. Pro-Ject eases my irritation over this sorry situation with the Phono Box II ($179), a decent little phono preamp with USB output. Connect a good turntable to it--Pro-Ject offers several, and also makes them for Music Hall--and your vinyl-sourced digital music library will sound a lot better.
The Decco is a stereo integrated amp that brings together the warmth of tubes with the digital convenience of USB input. It's shown here with a Sonos box--and imagine our surprise when David Solomon picked up the Sonos and shoved it into the back of the preamp! Apparently there's a space there just the right size for it. The product will make its debut in high-gloss black for $799 and the woody version shown here will go for a hundred more. Also of vital interest are floorstanding speakers from Era, including the D-10 ($1700/pair, October) and the D-14 ($2200/pair). We can't wait to get five of them in for review.
This flower-like object is part of the Klipsch Icon. "Lofted throat geometry" is the name and 100-degree vertical and horizontal dispersion is the game. Internal biamplification should give the floorstanding version ($2500/pair) quite a woof. There are stand-mount and bookshelf models with lofted throats too. Klipsch also showed a large floorstanding speaker, the Palladium, which is already selling to European and Asian audiophiles and will come to the U.S. in early 2008 for 25 grand.