New Products - Nov. 2001


Rated to deliver 110 watts of power to each of six channels, Sony's STR-DA5ES digital surround receiver is ready for 6.1-channel DVD soundtracks. If you're torn between DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD, the receiver's two sets of multichannel analog audio inputs let you hook up both at once, and one set can even handle 6.1-channel sources. The receiver features a multichannel/two-channel direct analog mode that shuts down all digital circuitry, which is said to optimize sound quality from analog sources. High-definition TV signals can be routed through the two sets of component-video jacks, and there are also four S-video inputs, along with two coaxial and four optical digital audio inputs. An RS-232 port provides for future software upgrades. Price: $1,500. 800-222-7669,


Helping to shove tape media over to obsolete status, Panasonic's VDR-M10 camcorder records video and still images on 3-inch DVD-RAM discs. Each 2.8-gigabyte double-sided disc can store 60 minutes of MPEG-2 video in Fine mode or 120 minutes in Standard mode. When recording, the cam automatically finds the blank space on the disc, so there is no danger of recording over something you want to keep. The cam's 1.1-megapixel CCD image sensor has an effective resolution of 720,000 pixels for video and 1 million pixels for still photography. Composite- and S-video outputs, a USB port, and a 3 1/2-inch color LCD viewscreen are provided. Price: $2,500. 800-211-7262,


Looking like a subwoofer that's been on Slim-Fast, Cerwin-Vega's RL-28W stacks dual 8-inch drivers in a lean 10 x 23 3/4 x 22-inch cabinet. Its amp is rated to deliver 200 watts of average power, and frequency response is given as 35 to 120 Hz ±2 dB. A phase switch and magnetic shielding give you some latitude in placing the sub, and the crossover is continuously variable from 40 to 120 Hz. Rounding out the rear control panel are line- and speaker-level inputs and outputs. The high-density wood cabinet is finished in black woodgrain vinyl with a black cloth grille. Spiked feet are included. Price: $500. 805-584-9332,


Here's one speaker the cat definitely won't knock over - Snell's XA Reference stands just over 6 feet tall. The tower is a three-way design with eight drivers. Two 4 1/2-inch midranges are positioned above and below a 1-inch titanium-dome tweeter, pairs of 8-inch aluminum-cone woofers are mounted above and below the midrange/tweeter trio, and a 1-inch rear-firing aluminum-dome tweeter completes the array. The configuration is said to result in even vertical dispersion, and its rated frequency response is 28 Hz to 20 kHz ±2 dB, sensitivity 88 dB. The cabinet, finished in black oak veneer, has a footprint of 12 1/2 x 18 inches. Price: $25,000 a pair. 978-373-6114,