Best of Show

There was a definite shortage of home theater exhibits at this year's home entertainment show. But no shortage of interesting products. When faced with limited home theater presence, I go to plan B: look for loudspeakers. Speakers do of course, handle two types of program material in most homes: music and films. If they sound good on music that's more than half the battle. And if they don't, even Angelina Jolie can't help them.

My awards for best speaker in a 2-channel system go (in no particular order) to Krell for its new Modulare Duo, Wilson Audio for the Watt Puppy 8, Talon for the Thunderhawk, JM Focal for the Electra 1037Be, and Joseph Audio for the RM33LE. The last two are under $11,000, which is certainly expensive but far less pricey than the first three.

I'll admit that I didn't spend a lot of time in every room. Some were discouraging at the outset either by their sound, bizarre appearance (obviously no home theater potential there) or evident lack of an attractive performance/price ratio—particularly when you consider the need to serve at least five channels.

Outlaw Audio clearly won the home theater prize, but Lipinski Sound, CinePro, and Aperion also deserve mention for worthy efforts, with Aperion getting a Golden Asterisk for value for money.

But even without a lot of home theater demos, there were plenty of events, including seminars, workshops, and concerts, to keep things humming.

Soon enough the time will come for the big fall-winter trade shows: CEDIA and CES. They are not open to the public, but we'll be there again to report on all the great new goodies. And I guarantee that there will be piles of home theater news for us to report on from both of those shows.