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Tom Norton Posted: Jun 04, 2006 2 comments

I've heard the $4495/pair Von Schweikert Audio VR-4jr on four different occasions now, in four different rooms at three different shows, and their sound has consistently ranged from very good to superb. The same was true here. They're on the right in the photo. To the left is the larger, VR-5SE, which will set you back $18,000/pair. The VR-5SE did sound better—tighter, crisper, and better defined. But not four times better. Von Schweikert does make a suitable center channel and surrounds, but for front projection I'd be inclined to try three VR-4jrs across the front, perhaps turning the sub module on its side if needed for the system to clear the screen (the top mid/tweeter module separates from the woofers in the Watt/Puppy style, but is not available separately).

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 04, 2006 0 comments

The folks from, Classic Records did announce new LP releases, as described by FM below. But they also announced the release of six new, audio only, 24-bit/96kHz DVDs (they call them HDADs). Playable on most DVD machines, these classical recordings originate from the old Everest label and were originally recorded on 35mm magnetic film. The photo shows the LP of one of them, but the cover art on the HDADs (which will be available this summer) should be the same. The kicker here is that the original recordings were 3-channel (left, right, center) and the same three discrete channels will be recorded on the discs. (RCA has provided enthusiasts with a similar service in their SACD releases of classic 3-channel recordings.)

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 04, 2006 1 comments

We've had a lot to say about various Sony video announcements and events at the show, but they unveiled a new 7.1-channel receiver as well. Its style is similar to that of other recent, but silver-toned Sony AV receiver designs. Features include 120W x 7 channels of amplification, HDMI switching and upconversion of composite, S-Video, and component sources to HDMI, and automated setup. ($800/August).

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 04, 2006 0 comments

The McIntosh XRT2K speakers sounded as big as they look, driven by a pair of the company's MC2KW, 3-module, 2000W (into 8 ohms), modular monoblock amps. Each speaker has six 12" aluminum cone woofers, sixty-four titanium-cone midranges, and forty " titanium-cone tweeters. The speakers are $45,000 each (and a quarter ton of weight, or 590 lbs.). The amps will cost you $30,000 each (they're nearly as heavy as the speakers at 495 lbs.!).

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 04, 2006 0 comments

Nola, the company formerly known as Alon/Acarion, introduced this LCR Reference center channel speaker at $2195. In the fashion of other Nola speakers, the midrange is open-backed. The mid and tweeter are arranged in a vertical array that should provide superior horizontal dispersion. The LCR Reference is also touted for left and right channel use.

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 03, 2006 1 comments

With a rack of their familiar gear driving top-of-the-line Atlantic Technologies speakers plus <I>four</I> Outlaw subwoofers, those scoundrels were stealing another show with the best home theater demo at HE 2006. And even if there had been more than three serious home theater demos at the show, they probably still be laughing all the way away from the bank.

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 03, 2006 0 comments

Vandersteen does build center channel speakers, subwoofers, and hang-on-the-wall speakers suitable for surrounds, and began as a company that specialized in high performance but surprisingly affordable speakers. They still do build less expensive models that compete strongly in that market segment,, but their flagship Model 5As, at around $15,000 and driven by Audio Research's $40,000/pair Reference 610T, 610W (!!) tube amp (sporting 36 viswible tubes in its two channels and warming up the room quite nicely) weren't designed for the beer-budget crowd. And surrounds, subs, and center channels weren't on the wine-list at the show, either.

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 02, 2006 Published: Jun 03, 2006 1 comments

Aperion Audio showed this new, larger center channel speaker. Added to its current line of value-priced, Internet-marketed speakers, and designed for a better match to the company's other 600-series speakers, the $495 634-VAC uses larger drivers for both bass and midrange than the Aperion's smaller, 500-series center speaker. It's a 3-way design for off-axis performance that should be superior to most comparably-priced, 2-way center channel designs, and its adjustablle crossover can compensates for use on a stand, in a cabinet, or on top of a big-screen TV.

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 02, 2006 Published: Jun 03, 2006 3 comments

Hyperion (not to be confused with Aperion) may be a small speaker manufacturer, but expect to hear more from them and about them in the future if their new HPS-968 speakers are any indication of what they're up to. Yes, like most exhibitors at the show, they were demonstrating 2-channel only, and with 35W monoblock tube amps to boot. (I didn't catch the amp brand, but wasn't looking closely at amplifiers at the show). Judging speakers with tube amps if you plan on using them with solid state can be dicey. Apart from any inherent sonic signature the amp may have, the output impedance of many tube designs often interacts with the impedance of a speaker to produce very real frequency response deviations that can be both measured and heard. That's fine if you plan on using tube amps with the speakers (even more appropriate if you plan to use the <I>same</I> tube amp you listened to in the audition), but solid state amps are generally far more neutral in the way they interact with speakers. That's why if I'm auditioning speakers at a show, I prefer that they be driven by a good solid-state amp. Nevertheless, the Hyperion HPS-968s sounded wonderful&mdash;in my opinion one of the best sounds at the show. And yes, Hyperion does make both a center channel and smaller models, the latter suitable for use as surrounds.

Tom Norton Posted: Jun 02, 2006 2 comments

HP becomes the second manufacturer (Samsung being the other) to announce a rear peojection DLP high definition television using the new Photonic Lattice (PhlatLight) technology that makes use of LED elements instead of the usual projection lamp. The 52-inch (diagonal) HP ID5286 is expected to ship in August at $2800 expected retail. Advantages are claimed to be longer life than a projection lamp, instant on/off, richer color saturation, and no color breakup (rainbows) because the sequential red, green, and blue illumination operates much faster than the mechanical color wheel it replaces. The set uses a wobulated chip offering 1080p resolution, with direct input capability for 1080p sources.

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