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.
The Polk I-Sonic ES2 is the second-generation version of the famed do-it-all radio. It handles HD Radio, XM, Sirius, your neighbor's brainwaves, AM, FM, net radio, Rhapsody, our brainwaves, and iPod. Use full capabilities at your own risk. And it now has a tag button (center, bottom) that applies tagging data to up to 50 songs at a time for storage in its own flash memory and the iPod. You could tag songs heard on HD Radio for later purchase on iTunes. Coming in October for $499.
In what is becoming an annual tradition, we asked Steven Stone about his footwear for the show. The contributor to many fine publications replied that he brought three pair of suede shoes to CEDIA this year. Of course the blue, blue, blue suede shoes are the ones we wanted to snap.
Has that pun been used before? Well, the classics always endure. The French company's globular speakers include the way-cool iO2 floorstanding model at center, with its angular solid-wood base, and the tiny Alcyone mounted to the wall at top right. The latter comes with a magnetic stand and can produce 93dB with one watt of power, an enviable and pragmatic sensitivity rating for home theater applications.
The B&K 30.2 digital brick amp comes in 30, 60, or 100 watts times two. You can fit three of 'em on a plate (bottom) or six on a larger plate (hanging, top). Controls are on the back, but if you prefer them on the front, you want the ST30.2. B&K also showed the AVR707 receiver, with 200 watts times seven, due in 2008; and the AV1230, which covers 16 zones with two-channel goodness.