Next-generation audiophiles-in-the-making are plugging their iPods into tube amps. So building an iPod dock into a tube amp is a logical progression. Sonic Integrity's Tube Pod (shown by System Audio, $1000) includes 13-wpc amp, dock, and speakers. Long live the revolution. For more details: tube-pod.com.
"I love driving a cab. But you've got to be careful. Few nights ago I had a gun in my cab. Guy got in, and I said, either you give me that gun or you're gettin' out. He gave me the gun. When we got back from the crack house, he was so happy to have his drugs, he got out of the cab and forgot about the gun. I sold that gun to a cop."
These two JBL sat/sub sets are so cute, I couldn't decide which picture to run. The sexy globe at top left is the CS480 ($700 for a 5.1-channel set). The inverted wine bottle at bottom right is the CS6100 ($1000/5.1-ch set). Both are two-way designs with 3.5-inch woofers and come with 12-inch subs. You, the reader, decide--which one should I review?
When Revel revamped its highly successful 10-year-old Ultima line as the Ultima2, the Lexicon people needed come up with new high-current amps that can drive difficult loads. Say hello to the ZX-7 ($7999), RX-7 ($5999), and GX-7 ($2999). The biggest gun delivers 300 watts times seven into eight ohms, 450 watts into four ohms, and is stable down to two ohms. Oh, and make sure you've got a dedicated 20-amp circuit to run it.
Paul Barton has been putting his legendary ear (actually, both of them) to work in an overhaul of the Stratus line. He's bringing over the liquid-cooled aluminum dome tweeters and fiberglass woofers from the even higher-end Platinum line and promises furniture-grade cabinetry like the gleaming gloss-black beauties shown here. They are the GT1 tower ($1999/pair), GB1 bookshelf ($1099/pair), and GC1 center ($849/each). Strong bass and a sweet midrange are givens. These may become the midpriced high-end speakers to beat.
Didn't get to hear them, unfortunately, but don't the Yamaha Soavos look great? They include a full surround set, shown, plus the floorstanding Soavo-1 and monitor-sized Soavo-2, not shown. Pricing TBD. Yamaha also showed the RX-V2700 receiver ($1799) with 140 watts times seven, iPod dock (of course, $100), XM satellite radio (the antenna goes for about 20 bucks), and network jack for Internet radio or connection of a multi-zone Yamaha MusicCast system. Is there an all-Yamaha system in your future?
Joining Definitive's in-ceiling lineup is the RCS II, a step up from the company's smaller existing in-ceiling models. Sealed into a medite enclosure are a one-inch aluminum dome tweeter, two 5.25-inch woofers, and two 6.5-inch passive radiators. The enclosure is tilted at a 45-degree angle. Price: $569 each.
A hot issue among surround buffs is HDMI and what it does or doesn't do. If you want your system to handle next-gen surround formats like DTS-HD Master Audio, you need HDMI version 1.3 connectivity in your receiver. According to Denon's Steve Baker, his company's receivers will support HDMI 1.3 "as soon as the chipsets become available." That is likely to happen in 2007 though it's hard to be any more specific than that. In the meantime, you'll have to be content with the fact that Denon's ASD-1R docking station ($129) comes in both iPod-white and iPod-black.
In the Faustian struggle for the soul of the audio industry, Mephistopheles mans the sales floor, giving the public what it wants, namely on-wall speakers. The beckoning demon's proposition is irresistible. If you're hanging a flat-panel display, why not hang speakers there, too? All other things being equal, on-walls are at a sonic disadvantage when it comes to soundstage depth. But, as any competent demon knows, all things are rarely equal. So, let's restate the proposition: If on-walls are what you want, why not buy the best-sounding ones you can find? If they sound good in the space and look good on the wall, you might find yourself handing the demon your credit card.