The newer and smaller of Bang & Olufsen's two powered floorstanding speakers powers its woofer with 500 watts of Class D ICE power (the smart green kind) and saves sweeter-sounding Class AB for the midrange and tweeter. At $9900/pair, you might find it sinfully expensive, but when you see some of B&O's slick moves for integration with swiveling video displays and its brand-new multimedia interface, you just might change your mind.
Only the latest version of the HDMI interface, 1.3, will carry DTS-HD Master Audio, though 1.2 and 1.1 will do for DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, not to mention Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus. Sherwood receiver model R-872 ($999) is the lowest-priced one with the full monty. Also fully qualified to be your man is the R-972 ($1499).
You don't see the parts inside a speaker enclosure. So when you lay eyes on the latest generation of Wharfedales to live in the now-familiar curved enclosure, you won't see the fat, sexy, new magnets and capacitors that will provide "better dynamic range" and "much better high-frequency response." Is the familiar dark-hued tone of recent Wharfedale product about to change? I'd like to find out in my own environs.
What's the best way to arrest rapidly moving showgoers and convince them that your noise-cancelling headphone technology is the best? Sennheiser plopped a couple of plane seats (first class, of course) on the show floor with a speaker between them spewing recorded jet turbine noise. I then sat down next to the speaker, put on the cans, and got the point. The PXC 450 is comfortable, despite its ear-enveloping size, and sounds full, rich, and spacious, with profound bass.
Vogue Tech. Co. of Taiwan showed a peak-eared feline-like multimedia speaker system using flat-panel diaphragms licensed from U.K.-based NXT. Safe to say this is a Home Theater Magazine blog exclusive.
Get ready for wireless everything, a major theme at the show. Apple TV is grabbing the headlines, with MacWorld happening in SF at the same time as CES, but those wanting a cable-free life got a bunch of new options in Vegas this week. Going wireless is Neosonik's whole raison d'etre. Plug in your video source via HDMI 1.3 and watch (if such were possible) your video signals fly as an H.264 video transmission with audio in a separate stream. Depending on the size of supplied speakers, cost ranges from $6000 for Series 4 to $10,000 for Series 6.
"KEF Wireless" is the laconic name of the British loudspeaker's icon entry into cable-free audio. Proprietary algorithms (I've heard this so often, it's almost like a pickup line in a bar) resist noise from nearby appliances and ensure audiophile-ish bandwidth. The "after market" version (lower right) has a 50-watt Class D amp backed up with, I'm told, a great power supply. But you can also buy KEF Wireless built as a "doughnut" into one of KEF's slender, world-beating Reference towers (top left). Also in the works: The new Austin series, with redesigned Uni-Q coaxial driver array (KEF likes putting tweeters amid other drivers) with strengthened tweeter and bigger magnets--"not overly analytical" and "easier to place."
The JBL Control On Air 2.4G is so eager to identify itself that it approaches incoherence. It's based on the way-cool rubber-clad indoor/outdoor Control1Extreme speaker (whose 1980s grandpapa is the Pro III) with a 2.4GHz wireless thing. Now the name makes sense, doesn't it?
I'm beginning to lose track of the number of "goes wireless" headlines I'm writing. In a move reminiscent of Microsoft's Zune, Sandisk--which last year humiliated Steve Jobs by introducing an 8GB flash memory player before Apple did--has introduced the Sansa Connect, which uses wi-fi hotspots to tap into Internet radio and yet-to-be-announced download services (in the recent past SanDisk has done business with Rhapsody, hint hint). Zune killer? The price is $249 and it ships in a few months.
"Among the introductions at the first CES," says the little red placard, "was a line of 23-inch RCA console televisions like this 'Chatworth' model. It was delivered to the Bucklin family of suburban Minneapolis in February 1968 and used continuously since then. Almost 40 years old and in perfect working condition, this set features 'styling that calls to mind the stateliness of English manor house furniture tradition.' Connected to the RCA DTA800 Digital Wireless Adapter, even a 40 year old TV can enter the digital age!" And some idiot can enter the picture as I'm trying to take it.