New Products -- April 2003 Page 2

Parasound parasailingYou can leave the TV off when configuring Parasound's Halo C 1 preamp/processor-its front-panel 5-inch color LCD screen lets you navigate menus and preview video signals. Setup is also made easier with automatic audio channel calibration using input from an external microphone (supplied). In addition to Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES 6.1-channel decoding, the THX Ultra2-certified preamp has Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 processing, as well as THX Cinema and Music modes. Audio outputs include balanced XLR connectors and RCA jacks for 7.1 channels, plus four additional outputs: one for a second sub, one for a tactile transducer, and two programmable outputs that can be mixed from any or all of the eight other channels. The three BNC-style RGB/component-video inputs can switch HDTV signals. Two remote controls-a master and a sidekick-are supplied. Price: $6,000., 415-397-7100

Canton cantonThere's a new flagship in the fleet at Canton, the Karat Reference 2 DC. The three-way speaker stands 47 inches tall and has a cabinet shaped like a trapezoid to avoid parallel surfaces, which cause standing waves. The front panel has two 7-inch midrange drivers above and below a 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeter. Filling in the bottom end on either side are a 12-inch graphite woofer coupled with a 12-inch passive radiator. Rated frequency response is 30 Hz to 24 kHz -3 dB. The 1 3/8-inch-thick cabinet sides consist of a layer of high-density particleboard laminated to a layer of lower-density board, said to be more acoustically inert. The 139-pound speaker is shown finished in silver satin lacquer, but it also comes in either alder or beech real-wood veneer. Price: $10,000 a pair., 612-706-9250

ToastRight toastThe most important meal of the day gets an upgrade with ToastRight's iToaster. The built-in Wi-Fi interface lets you stream recipes, nutritional information, and customized "toast is ready" ring tones from your home network or over a broadband connection. And the second you lower the bread, the iToaster will automatically download grain-specific toasting patterns from Its 7-inch LCD screen displays streamed MPEG-9 video and can show toasting progress in regular or infrared mode, ensuring you never get burnt again. The iToaster also has a 300-gigabyte (GB) hard drive, USB and DVI connectivity, and balanced XLR outputs for . . . um . . . er . . . ah . . . . Price: TBA April 1., 800-ITOAST

Wood Technology woodyReady to go in 15 minutes, Wood Technology's easy-to-assemble MGV-3 component rack measures 44 1/2 x 23 1/2 x 23 3/4 inches-big enough to hold even the largest direct-view TV. All the shelves are made of tempered safety glass, and the metal frame has a black powder-coat finish that's said to be scratch-resistant. The middle shelf adjusts to fit your gear, with the cables stringing through supplied wire guides that attach to the rear supports. If you have uneven floors, the rubber feet are adjustable, too. The top shelf can hold up to 350 pounds, while the other two top off at 75 pounds each. Price: $300., 888-445-5520

Apex apexMore than meets the eye: not only is the ADR-1000 a progressive-scan DVD player, but it also has a 40-GB hard drive to record TV shows. Just like a VCR, the ADR-1000 can time-shift programs, but you'll never have to rewind another tape. You can view digital photos on the DVD player as long as they're either in JPEG format or on a Kodak Picture CD, and it can play MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files from CD-Rs and CD-RWs. In addition to component video, output jacks include composite- and S-video as well as optical and coaxial digital audio. Price: $250., 909-923-8686

Barix barixYou've got MP3s to burn, but just one problem-no burner. Dude, CDs are so 20th century when you can just listen to downloaded tunes directly from your PC. All you need is a home network jack near your audio system and an MP3 decoder like the Barix Exstreamer. The Exstreamer accepts MP3 bitstreams from your computer over your network via its RJ-45 Ethernet port, converts them to analog audio, and passes them along to your music system through stereo RCA or minijack outputs. Browser-based software manages the 3 1/8 x 1 3/4 x 4 3/8-inch device, and an RS-232 port makes it possible to operate the Exstreamer with a home-control system. Price: $149., 866-815-0866

Sharp patthebatIf you want to experience multichannel sound, you can get all you need in one pop with Sharp's SD-AT50DV home-theater-in-a-box system. It includes a mini DVD player and receiver along with five satellite speakers and a subwoofer. The player has a progressive-scan video output and can read CD-Rs and CD-RWs with MP3 files. In addition to Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, the receiver has Dolby Pro Logic II processing and is rated to deliver 50 watts each to six channels, including the sub. The system's 1-bit digital amplifier is said to reduce signal degradation and operate more efficiently than an analog amp. Both the player and receiver measure 8 1/2 x 2 3/8 x 10 3/8 inches. The speakers weigh 1 1/2 pounds each, and the subwoofer is rated down to 50 Hz. Mounting brackets and speaker stands (floor or table) are optional. Price: $800., 877-388-7427

iSun iThe next time your laptop or cellphone runs out of juice and a power outlet is nowhere to be found, the iSun BattPak will be your new best friend. It can feed a starving portable device with power from up to ten charged AA, AAA, or 2/3AAA batteries and can act as a charger as well. To get power from the BattPak, just hook up your portable to either its female cigarette-lighter socket or minijack terminal. When used as a charger, the BattPak takes 4 to 7 hours for a set of nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) or nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, and it can get power from an AC outlet or a car's cigarette-lighter socket-adapters for both are supplied. The BattPak can even connect directly to iSun's solar charger ($80) to get power from the sun's rays. Price: $30., 514-270-5770

Classé classeIn an age when people get their information from TV, satellite, and the Internet, traditional AM/FM radio sometimes seems left out in the cold. Classé's CT-10 tuner aims to bring radio back inside. Attractively finished in two-tone aluminum, the CT-10 has a front-panel LED readout that can display Radio Data System (RDS) information, which will tell you call letters, time information, and the program type of stations broadcasting RDS data. You can dial in stations with the knob or key in specific frequencies, plus there are 30 AM and 30 FM presets. Discrete on/off commands and an RS-232 port allow the CT-10 to be more easily integrated into a whole-house system, and it has both balanced XLR and regular analog stereo outputs. Price: $1,400., 514-636-6384