The critical and box office verdicts on <I>Flyboys</I> weren't exactly glowing. Full of clichs with the usual assortment of standard characters…the dull subplot about the lonely American pilot falling for a beautiful young French girl…wooden dialog...a decidedly old-fashioned tone. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
In-wall subs are a fast growing category, and BG has its own wrinkle on the concept. The company's new BX-4850 in-wall subwoofer consists of four modules, each of which contains 12 micro-woofers. One of these modules is shown in the photo. The four modules may be positioned together in the room or separately, and an on-wall version may also be made available. The 12 micro-woofers are each separately enclosed and face each other in pairs. The bass generated by them fires out from the center of the array, through the opening between the left and right sets of drivers, and into the room. Mechanical vibrations are largely cancelled out due to the opposing drivers, minimizing the transmission of bass into the walls, which can muddy the bass and transmit low frequencies to the structure of the room and into other parts of the house.
Atlantic Technology has modified its flagship System 8200 THX Ultras2 speaker line. The revised version, the 8200e, does away with the pedestal subwoofers and replaces them with a passive pedestal/stand. The system may now be set up with the user's choice of subwoofer(s), such as Atlantic's THX-certified 642eSB ($1000). This change lowers the height of the speaker by about 10 inches. The side panels are now fixed instead of removable, and there is only a single finish available— gloss black. The 8200e C three-way center channel speaker also has fixed side panels in the same gloss black finish, plus a slightly modified crossover said to smooth the response in the lower midrange for improved dialogue reproduction. A complete 8200e 5.1-channel system starts at $10,000.
Panasonic's heart may be in plasma displays, but the company also launched a new line of LCD rear projection TVs at CES. There will be six models, three of them 1080p and three 720p. Each series will be available in 61-56-and 50-inch sizes. But the big news is that they all will use a new form of projection lamp, called LiFi, from LUXIM. This lamp is said to provide a much longer life than current UHP lamps, with a faster startup time and a wider color gamut that challenges the color available from the LED lamp-replacement that is just starting to show up in other RPTVs.
TAD showed off its new Reference One speaker (about $60,000/pair) with a variety of music, from 2-channel to SACD to open reel tape to multichannel. A planned demonstration of high resolution multichannel sound, without video, on Blu-ray disc didn't come off when mastering problems interferred, but the multichanel material, from Reference Recordings, was played from a standard DVD (in PCM) and sounded terrific.
The big tape deck visible in the photo is an old Technics RS 1500. A company called The Tape Project (www.thetapeproject.com) plans to issue a number of pre-recorded analog tapes in 15ips, half-track, two-channel. They will also sell refurbished Technics decks (estimated price about $8500).
SVS is a company that specializes in subwoofers, sold mostly on-line. They had one of the few home theater demos at the Venetian, and the only one that actually used film as a program source. I know, that's tacky in a venue in which 99% of the demos are 2-channel audio, but they did their best.
Later this year, SVS will make its new AS-EQ1 system available. It’s an Audyssey-based bass room equalizer, operates in both the time and frequency domains, and is designed to correct the in-room performance of one or two subwoofers. It is expected to sell for $750.
I may be the only reporter to take pictures of raw loudspeaker drivers at this year's CES. But I've always been fascinated not only by the products we buy, but by the parts that go into them. And SEAS of Norway is one the biggest suppliers of high quality loudspeaker drivers. These new DXT tweeters offer controlled wide dispersion. Note the rings molded into the front plates of both versions. These rings produce diffraction, thereby widening the radiation pattern above 7kHz—the first time to my knowledge that this audiophile boogie-man has been deliberately generated to <I>enhance</I> speaker performance!