"Technology breeds crime," FBI agent and one-time con man Frank Abegnale told a CEDIA breakfast audience. "It always has, always will." The subject of Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can discussed the misdeeds of his youth and offered two bits of advice to those seeking to avoid identity theft: (1) Use a micro-perf shredder--other kinds leave paper intact enough for reconstruction. (2) Pay for everything with credit cards, not with debit cards, which offer little recourse against fraud; nor with checks, which tell crooks more than you want them to know about your bank accounts.
One of the few non-excruciating audio auditions at CEDIA '07 was Wisdom Audio's L75i demo. The planar speaker, powered by Classe amps, shone with material featuring Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and Miles Davis. Music worth hearing: a novelty. Wisdom prides itself on the non-disintegrating metal in-wall frame. True, the bass was boomy in the rear of the room, and the ostensibly in-wall product was shown on-wall, but this was the rare public exhibit that didn't make us hate the product.
The Infinity ERS 610 in-ceiling speaker ($599, October) features a flat diaphragm CMMD woofer similar to that in the high-end and somewhat revolutionary Cascade series. JBL and Revel offer very similar-looking products (under the great Harman International corporate umbrella, of course). The hot one might be the Revel, since it's been voiced by Kevin Voecks. Note the three-position switch at right, which adjusts high-frequency response for the room. Not pictured are the wireless 2.4GHz subs, the 10-inch PSW310W (10 inches, 400 watts) and PSW212W (12 inches, $679, January).
More in-ceiling models join the Definitive Technology line, following the train of thought first established in an ingeniously angled product introduced at last year's CEDIA. The new ones are smaller. They include the RCS3 ($499 each) and RSS3 surround ($399 each). Also shown: the Mythos 10 ($899), a new center speaker intended to go with the existing Mythos ST tower.
The Pinnacle OC HT 1 in-ceiling speaker ($349 for one, $999 for a three-pack) uses a slot locking mounting system that attaches to a ring you screw into the ceiling. Also shown was the QP 2, a speaker designed for use with projection screens, an unusual design with neodymium magnets mounted on the outside ($999/each, black or white). Why we didn't photograph that will always be a mystery to us.
The Joseph Audio people say their Insider is designed "to solve the fundamental problem of in-walls"--the tendency of tweeters and woofers to interfere with one another. There is secret sauce in the crossover and consistent off-axis response is a major benefit. Drivers are high-end stuff sourced from Norway. Presumably all that high-caliber design and materials justify the price of $2500/pair.
The horn barely visible at right, part of a new Jamo in-ceiling speaker, is angled to aim directional information toward the listener. Just trust us on this. At $1000, due in spring 2008, one expects great things. Jamo's back boxes are now fire-rated, to pass building codes in some areas. Jamo also showed the Studio Series, including the floorstanding S60, with side-mount eight-inch passive woofer ($700, end September).
The biggest news at today's Sony event was the HES-V1000 home entertainment server. This boxy marvel has a 200-disc Blu-ray, DVD, and CD drive as well as a 500GB hard drive to serve up all your audio/video fantasies to as many as 10 zones. It can even do so wirelessly. Coming in October for just $3499. Amazing. See press release. Sony's new BD player line includes the BDP-S500 ($699), already announced at IFA in Berlin, and the BDP-S2000ES ($1299, November) which is the first BD player to proudly wear the ES label with all the deluxe build quality that moniker implies. Finally, Barry Sonnenfeld extolled various Sony SXRD projectors that have graced his numerous home theaters. He also eloquently discussed his abuse at the hands of the Sony Corporation in general and a shadowy figure known as "Finer" in particular. Imagine, a man of his stature--director of The Addams Family and producer of the forthcoming Space Chimps--repeatedly forced to pay retail.
Every year Apple stage a major product introduction just as CEDIA is getting underway. In case you hadn't heard, this year's news includes the iPod Touch, like the iPhone but without the phone; the iPod Classic, now with up to 160GB capacity; and a third-generation revamp of the iPod nano, now shorter and wider and therefore today's poster boy. You can get the complete details...elsewhere.
In the three previous Rack Attacks I discussed getting, connecting, and updating Pioneer Blu-ray and Toshiba HD DVD players. Now what surround goodness can I get now that I've updated them? Let's start with the Pioneer. Just when I was girding myself to write a longwinded piece, half the information dropped into my lap in handy chart form. (For larger text size, see PDF or JPG.) One surprise, as the Pioneer product specialist explained: "The player
internally decodes DolbyTrueHD into PCM for transmission over HDMI. The
BDP-HD1 does not have HDMI 1.3 so it cannot send the bitstream over HDMI to
be decoded in the receiver." The same is true of Dolby Digital Plus. However, footnote 17 has some good news: Depending on the number of channels, the PCM sampling rate can be 48kHz, 96kHz, or 192kHz, presumably without compression. So even converted to PCM, the new codecs may produce audible improvements over the old ones. Alas, the situation is not so sunny for surround buffs eager to experience DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. Go down the left column five rows to DTS-HD. Footnote 15 has this bad news: "DTS sound is output." I discussed this with the DTS people and they agree with my suspicion that this means the thing being converted to PCM is not DTS-HD MA or DTS-HD HRA but the lower-resolution DTS core signal. Sigh. Now, what's the story with the Toshiba? Find out next week.