CES 2012: Soundbars and All-in-One Systems

Where was home theater at the 2012 CES? Mostly swamped in a sea of disinterest. Maybe consumers got tired of adding more channels. Maybe they got tired of complexity. Or maybe they’re just broke! For whatever reason, the focus at CES 2012 was on simpler systems that minimize complexity without (we hope) minimizing sound quality.

As Sound+Vision’s most audio-centric contributor, I didn’t spend much time in the booths of the big TV companies who dominate the soundbar market. But I did see and hear several new soundbar and all-in-one system offerings from boutique audio companies. Some of them were evolutionary. Some, however, were truly revolutionary. Let’s take a look.

By the way, there’s one new soundbar I heard but didn’t get a picture of: the GoldenEar Technology SuperCinema 3D Array. The $999 SC3DA incorporates three woofer-tweeter-woofer speakers (for left, center, and right) and incorporates crosstalk cancellation that gives the bar a lush sound when it’s playing plain ol’ stereo music. And it’s just 2.7 inches thick. Best of all, it uses three High-Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeters that are similar to those found on the company’s awesome tower speakers.