Outlaw has a new LCR speaker in development. Using the ubiquitous two-woof one-tweet arrangement found on many affordable designs, this new LCR comes with a twist. There are two crossovers in the box, one optimized for a vertical left / right stance, the other for a center channel stance. The latter minimizes comb filtering, the bane of horizontal arrayed two way center channels. The switch to "switch" between the two crossover is on the back.
Murphy's got this law, see? When you only have one working prototype of your new product, but you go ahead and set yourself to be the first press event for a room full of just fed journalists who are eager to hear or see something exciting, well then, you can rest assured knowing your prototype will crap out. That's what happened at 10 AM when the ZVOX 450 ZBIT the ZDUST just before the press arrived. Someone said it was a Bill Gates moment.
I've got to hand it to <a href="http://www.nicollpr.com/" target="new">Nicoll Public Relations</a>. Not only do they represent a lot of our favorite manufacturers, like Meridian, B&W, and Silicon Optix, they're also responsible for supporting the press during our Home Entertainment shows, and YES, that basically means feeding us.
I remember my first audio / video trade show. Chicago, June 1995, the last official summer CES. I arrived at O'Hare mid-afternoon and made my way to the Palmer House, a grand old hotel where the show would take place. The lobby was huge, enormous and, as I would come to find, the place where journalists, manufacturers and their PR firms would come together each evening to conspire over cigars and cognac, with the manufacturers or their agents, naturally, picking up the tab.
Shortly after "Austin Powers" was released on DVD, I bought a Dwin CRT projector. I won't confirm or deny if the two events are related. In order to mount the projector, I had the low bidders cut holes in my "cottage cheese" ceiling for snaking video cable and power to that most unnatural of spots, the middle of my ceiling. I've been living with the patched up results for years. Only through a decade of burning toast in the adjoining kitchen has the ceiling in the home theater begun to uniformly discolor enough to diminish the starkness of the patch job. Now that I want to mount my new JVC projector, the prospect of letting the Butchers of Sheetrock back into my house is unappealing.
I've always had a thing for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's recordings. Their long standing relationship with Telarc is probably why. I've had a long standing relationship with Telarc too. Well before I was a reviewer, I was just a rabid stereophile (the avocation, not the magazine) and I read every issue of Stereophile (the magazine, not the avocation), cover to cover. Telarc and Delos recordings were always spinning on their reviewers' CD players. I bought a few, like <a href= "http://www.amazon.com/Respighi-Pines-Rome-Birds-Fountains/dp/B000003CT0/... target="new">Respighi's Pines of Rome </a>, Louis Lane conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and <a href=" http://www.amazon.com/Copland-Appalachian-Spring-Fanfare-Common/dp/B0000... target="new">Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, Rodeo and Fanfare for the Common Man</a>, with Lane at the helm of the ASO once again. The recordings were excellent, No excellent is too tame a word. They were – they still are – exquisite. Expansive as the universe, as civilized as infinity, and punctuated with their trademark Tympani kicks that separated the boys from the men when it came to seeing whose audiophile tweaked system was better than whose.
According to an AFP article at Breitbart.com, <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070322121539.enwwmbqh&show_artic... target="new">Nielson Tracking</a> reports CD sales for (almost) the first three months of 2007 are down 20% over the same period last year. Only 89 million retail CDs were sold year to date, compared with 112 million sold during the same period in 2006. Downloads of albums were off too, dropping from 119 million to 99 million this year.
I've been reviewing speakers for a long time. I'm not saying my ears are any better than yours, but they're trained. Give me that much credit. I can wax rhapsodic paragraphs ad nauseam on why the latest multi-thousand dollar speaker can bring you closer to your music and movies. If you can afford them, great! But if you can't, it's not the end of the line. A more than decent system can be built around five mid-priced speakers, like the Polk LSi-9 ($500/ea), plus a good sub. But <i>really</i> inexpensive speakers? Well, that's always been a big challenge – until now that is.