New Products - April 2005

PioneerEvery listening room has its own shape, size, and furniture - all of which affect sound. With the supplied microphone, Pioneer's thrifty VSX-815 receiver will automatically adjust its five-band equalizer to customize sound to best match your digs. With seven channels of amplification rated at 100 watts each, it can pump out all the excitement in Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES soundtracks, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx and DTS Neo:6 processing can adapt everything else for 7.1-channel playback. Plus there's Windows Media Audio 9 Professional decoding for stereo and multichannel WMA files. Three component-video inputs can switch HDTV signals. Price: $365., 800-746-6337


Sony It's surely no coincidence that the Qualia 007 SACD system's model number evokes James Bond. Part of Sony's high-end Qualia line, the player sports modern styling and a transparent lid that will dress up any listening room like a high-tech tuxedo. After you place a CD or SACD in the mechanism, a trio of metal pistons gently raises it to the spindle while leveling and centering the disc. A built-in digital stereo amplifier (the player can't read the multichannel layer on hybrid SACDs) is rated to deliver 75 watts each to a pair of maple-finish speakers (not shown). Each is 15 inches tall and has a 1-inch tweeter and a 6 3/8-inch woofer. Price: $12,500., 877-782-5423

0405-bw.jpgB&WFor the tweeters in its new 800 Series flagship speakers, B&W turned to none other than the hardest substance on Earth. Made of vapor-deposited and laser-cut diamond, the 1-inch tweeters are said to give cleaner sound at high frequencies than aluminum domes. They're also loaded into Nautilus-style tapered tubes, which are isolated from cabinet vibrations thanks to a gel cushion. At the top of the new line is the 800D (above), a three-way ported speaker with dual 10-inch woofers and a 6-inch midrange. Those sizable drivers let this 4-foot-tall, 275-pound bad boy reach down to 32 Hz. Choose your favorite finish from cherry, rosenut, or black-ash veneers - all real wood. Price: $20,000 a pair., 800-370-3740

NOTE All prices and product information are supplied by the manufacturers. Dealer prices may vary.