CES is over and by this time the huge exhibits have been dismantled and put in storage until next year. This year marks my 20th CES, and that doesn't include the summer CE Show that used to be held every June in Chicago, Ill.
As in-wall speakers have grown in popularity, manufacturers have introduced in-wall subwoofers to complete the package. They have also struggled to deal with the inevitable rattles and vibrations of a subwoofer mounted inside a wall. Paradigm has introduced the RVC-12SQ Architectural Subwoofer, which solves the vibration problem by using two drivers in-phase but firing in opposite directions, thus canceling vibrations. The drivers face each other and fire horizontally rather than from front to back, further reducing vibrations. The RVC-12SQ can be used as a standalone sub or with the optional enclosure shown in the photo. The new Paradigm sub will be available in the first quarter with price to be announced.
Following the successful introduction of their high-end Zeppelin iPod speaker system, B & W has entered the sound bar market with a higher end model, the Panorama. Few details were available, although it is a powered sound bar with 5 source inputs including 2 optical and 1 coaxial digital input. Price is $2200. B & W also says it does not require a subwoofer and has enough bass to fill most rooms. We'll see.
Radiient Technologies has partnered with THX to jointly license and market THX Roomcaster, an ultra-wideband wireless speaker adapter system for surround sound and stereo speakers. THX Roomcaster operates in the 3.1 to 10.6 GHz frequency range to deliver uncompressed audio to as many as eight speakers in 24-bit signal resolution. High frequency operation minimizes potential interference from other electronic devices and THX Roomcaster has a range of 30 feet. The system includes one Wireless Audio Source Adapter that connects to any audio source in the system and one Wireless Speaker Adapter connects to each powered speaker in a system.
Don't laugh, you'd look like this too if you walked as many miles and talked to as many exhibitors as I have looking for the latest and greatest home theater and AV components and trends. It's time for a break, but more reporting to follow...
HDMI cables are advanced conduits capable of carrying high-definition audio and video signals, but HDMI connectors seem less robust. My experience with HDMI cables includes intermittent connections and connectors that don't solidly lock in place. So, when I received an email from Accell Cables regarding their new locking HDMI cable connector I decided to visit their CES exhibit.
Pioneer Electronics showed four new AV receivers priced below $500, all with HDMI 1.3a connectivity, Lip Sync for synchronized audio and video playback, a new full-color GUI, a new cosmetic design, two-zone audio operation with multi-zone playback of digital iPod and iPhone content and features that enhance the sound quality from compressed audio sources. The top three models feature Pioneer's MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration) system to optimize sound quality and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio decoding.
Pioneer Electronics introduced its first in-wall speakers at CEDIA, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. Since that time they have expanded the line to include Elite branded models. I met with Andrew Jones, Pioneer's chief speaker designer and he explained that the new Elite in-walls are designed to optimize the sound quality of new lossless audio formats and to minimize the inevitable problems associated with installing a speaker in a typical residential wall. In general the performance of an in-wall speaker can be compromised due to the wall cavity in which it is installed, but with the right construction materials an in-wall speaker can provide excellent performance. Pioneer uses titanium tweeters, woven fabric speaker cones and cast aluminum frames to maximize the audio performance of its new models. Pioneer also developed Coherent Source Technology to improve off-axis performance with smoother overall frequency response. To fine tune the sound, the new in-walls include bass and treble controls. I look forward to reviewing the new models when they become available in spring, 2009. Prices were not available.
Phase Technology has introduced two sound bars, the Teatro V-3.0 and Teatro PC-3.0 from their Velocity and Premier Collection. The sound bar shown in the photo is the Teatre PC-3.0. A unique feature of the Phase Tech sound bars is the midrange driver mounted on the sides of the enclosure (see photo) in order to produce a wider soundstage, which it does very effectively. During the first concert video demo I thought I was listening to the floorstanding speakers and not the sound bar. Another unique feature is the EVT (Enhanced Voice Technology) designed to increase dialog intelligibility.
It's the BGX-4850 BG Radia/THX Ultra2 Certified In-wall Subwoofer. After many months of tweaking and a few delays the BGX-4850 Architectural Subwoofer is here. The BGX-4850 is a joint development between BG Radia and THX and has resulted in a very unique in-wall subwoofer design. The BGX-4850 is the first in-wall sub to receive THX Ultra2 certification and the first to incorporate THX Balanced Bass-line technology to deliver vibration-free bass from an in-wall subwoofer.