New Products. Price Drops

This month, Integra Research should begin delivering the RDV-1.1, a high-performance universal disc player announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The THX Ultra-certified RDV-1.1 not only plays every current optical disc format, including DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, CD, and SACD, but includes a video scaler that upconverts ordinary DVDs to 720p or 1080i. The internal "O-Plus FlexScale" video scaler also works with external video sources connected to the RDV-1.1's unit's rear-panel component, composite, and S-video inputs.

Refinements include a low-jitter master clock circuit developed by professional audio firm Apogee Electronics, of Santa Monica, CA. Combined with the player's 192 kHz/24-bit Wolfson DACs and Integra Research's proprietary "Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry" (VLSC), the RDV-1.1 is claimed to "deliver the highest quality digital conversion available."

Connectivity options include HDMI/DVI outputs for direct hookup to high-definition displays. Video circuitry features new Analog Devices dual 216 MHz/14-bit video D/A converters, and an advanced four-field Silicon Image de-interlacer with 3:2 pulldown conversion. For analog component video, the RDV-1.1 eliminates the need for menu selection of interlaced or progressive scan output by the inclusion of dedicated connections for each. Video output options include two BNC progressive scan outputs, a single RCA interlaced output, two S-Video and two composite video jacks.

Audio performance should be equally impressive. There are two "iLink" (IEEE 1394) connections for digital output of high-resolution 5.1-channel audio, as well as 7.1-channel analog outputs. For conventional DVD and CD audio, there are also two coaxial and two optical digital audio outputs. For what Integra Research calls "the ultimate in two-channel fidelity," the back panel sports an AES/EBU balanced digital output compatible with many high-end stereo preamplifiers. The player's versatility is extended by the inclusion of a 12-volt trigger input, IR in/out jacks, and an RS-232 port for compatibility with whole-home control systems. The RDV-1.1 has a suggested retail price of $4000.

At the opposite end of the price spectrum is a new subwoofer from Outlaw Audio. Announced in December, the $579 LFM-1 was designed in cooperation with subwoofer guru Dr. Poh Ser Hsu. Sales exceeded expectations, causing a temporary shortage, but the Easton, MA–based direct marketing company now has plenty in stock, according to a recent announcement.

The LFM-1 features a black enclosure with smoky Plexiglas top panel, a long-throw, down-firing 12" woofer and two large ports, and a 325W amplifier, claimed to be capable of 1300W peaks. Sound pressure level is rated at 115dB (25Hz–180Hz +/-2dB). Crossover level is continuously variable from 40–180Hz, and can be bypassed entirely for integration with a full-range speaker system or with electronics that include bass management.

The 25Hz low-end specification was chosen for maximum "real world performance" rather than trying to achieve a much lower figure such as 18 or 16Hz, according to Outlaw sales manager Scott Jackson. The down-firing, dual-port design is said to "ensures maximum flexibility in placement," as does a phase reverse switch. Inputs include line-level via a single RCA jack, and speaker-level inputs on five-way binding posts. Speaker-level outputs simplify connections to a stereo pair. Outlaw is now running a special, offering two LFM-1 subwoofers for only $999.

Fujitsu General America has dropped prices on its 50" and 55" Plasmavision SlimScreen flat-panel displays. On April 1, Fujitsu announced price adjustments on the company's popular 50" P50XHA30WS and 55" P55XHA30WS, to $8999 and $11,999, respectively. Both units are 16:9 widescreen monitors spec'd at 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, and can display video in 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i.

Plasmavision monitors feature a 10-bit video processing system, producing "more than 1.07 billion colors," and a proprietary "Advanced Video Movement" (AVM) processor, claimed to eliminate "motion artifacts and flicker, improve vertical resolution and reproduce natural movement with ease." Inputs include DVI-D with High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and an RS-232 port for integration into large systems. Current prices on all products: 63" P63XHA30WS, $24,999; 55" P55XHA30WS, $11,999; 50" P50XHA30WS, $8999; 42" P42HHA30WS, $6999; and 42" P42VHA30WS, $4999. Fujitsu General America is a subsidiary of Fujitsu General Limited, based in Kawasaki, Japan.