There was one sure way to beat the long cab lines outside the Grand Hyatt. It was a bit breezy and sometimes a little nerve-wracking, but I never had to wait in line to take a bicycle taxi to dinner during the Show. Lane markers evidently don't mean anything to these guys. At least the open seat conveyance did have a seat belt. It's hard to get a receipt for your expense account, though.
There wasn't anything brand new in the way of announcements or products - just great sound and video. Meridian's room featured the company's DSP3100, DSP3100C, and SW1600 digital loudspeakers with the G91A DVD/controller/tuner and DVP1080MF video processor along with an unnamed plasma TV. The Meridian gear totalled about $20,000, which makes me remember why I need to make more money. In the back of the room was a static display of one of Meridian's custom install speakers.
Simaudio chose HE2007 to unveil three of its newest components. In this not-so-great photo, the MOON CD-1 CD Player is shown under the new MOON i-1 Integrated Amplifier (50 watts x 2 into 8 ohms or 100 watts x 2 into 4 ohms). Each piece of gear will sell for $1,349 and will be available in the Fall of 2007. Also in the booth was the MOON LP3 Phono Preamplifier, a smaller version of the MOON LP5.3, which sells for $499.
The TAD room was definitely one of the three busiest rooms that I've seen so far during HE2007. Inside the room, TAD's director of engineering, Andrew Jones, energetically explained the inner workings of the brand new TAD R-1 speakers with concentric beryllium dome tweeters and midranges. Make sure your Visa card has around a $26,000 limit, though, before you start moving the furniture around in your room to make space for a pair.
The picture doesn't do it justice, but Logitech's $299 Squeezebox wins the prize here for the coolest looking display on a product. You can pick other display layouts, but the one with the digitally simulated analog VU meters dancing back and forth warms my cockles. (And let me tell you, they've been pretty cold lately...) The fact that it's a great device to use to propagate digital music throughout the house doesn't hurt, either. The $2,000 Transporter (the Squeezebox's audiophile big brother) was in the next room, but I was afraid to get too close for fear I'd like it too much and have to buy one.
Okay, we couldn't hear a real demo because the show sample wasn't treated as kindly as it should have been on the trip to New York, but the ZVOX 425 looked nice, anyway. It's a "single-cabinet home theater system" that's five inches deep, mounts on the wall, has a built-in amplifier, five speakers, two powered subwoofers (yeah, that's right, two powered subwoofers in a five-inch deep cabinet that hangs on the wall), and virtual surround circuitry. The subwoofers are side-firing to help eliminate wall vibrations. The box is filled with five 3.25-inch full-range speakers and two 4-inch subwoofers. There's no digital input - it's designed to accept the stereo audio (or headphone jack) output from a TV and use the source material's encoded Dolby Pro Logic signal. As a result, says ZVOX, it's less expensive and there's no "digital weirdness". ZVOX says the 425 is the perfect ticket for people who are painfully afraid of wires and want a simple system they can hang on the wall under their plasma/LCD panel TV and pretend they have true home theater. The total size is 37" W x 7" H x 5" D. Price is $599.99.
Outlaw Audio took the wraps off the company's latest and most powerful amplifier, the 7900, which is rated at 7 x 300 watts continuous into 8 ohms and 7 x 450 watts into 4 ohms. At 125 pounds (56.6990463 kilograms), the amp weighs just a couple of pounds more than former talk-show host Ricki Lake's new bod (US Magazine says she went from size 24 to 4 without surgery). Unlike Ms. Lake, the 7900 eats so much electricity, it uses two separate power cords. Outlaw Audio suggests you plug it in to two different outlets, so make sure you have an extra-long extension cord. In addition to the price of the extension cord, figure on spending $3,500 for the 7900.
Denon has a long and venerable history in the audio/video industry, including much of the pioneering work in the field of digital audio. Fitting of that tradition, Denon was, for many years, a brand reserved solely for the audiophile (later followed by the videophile) who frequented the high-end shops. This was a no-nonsense era for Denon, and its designers and engineers eschewed flashy features and other niceties, such as easy-to-use menus.
IBM is showing off a prototype optical transceiver chipset that's capable of reaching speeds at least eight times faster than other optical components available today. The new tiny gizmo moves information at 160 Gigabits - that's 160 billion bits of information for the techno-term-challenged - per second. Such speediness is accomplished not by using wires, but by using light.
Axiom Audio says its new EP400 powered subwoofer is designed for maximum bass output in smaller rooms. The sub itself is relatively small, measuring 13.75" high and 10.5" wide, but it's supposed to be capable of generating an in-room SPL of 116 dB and a low-end response of 23 Hz. The sub was designed primarily for use in small rooms, such as bedrooms, dens, or home offices. (It's probably not appropriate for bathrooms, where you really don't want to see another bottom end.)