Pre-CEDIA New Products

The annual CEDIA convention is only three weeks away, and equipment makers are generating plenty of pre-show excitement with new product announcements.

Ontario-based Paradigm Electronics has updated its Servo-15, one of the company's most popular subwoofers. Said to play louder and deeper than its predecessor, the new Servo-15 v.2 preserves the original's accuracy and low levels of distortion, but delivers three times the RMS power output. The Servo-15 v.2 is claimed capable of producing a 121dB sound pressure level without distortion and is said to be accurate to an astonishing 10 Hz.

The Servo-15 v.2 features a15" high-excursion bass driver spec'd at 2" of peak-to-peak cone travel. This ribbed woofer sports a "next-generation mineral-filled co-polymer polypropylene cone propelled by 3", 8-layer bifilar aluminum voice coils. Its dual spiders and oversize long-travel suspensions support extended cone excursion while maintaining exacting control over cone movement. The massive 29 lb. magnet is mounted on a high-pressure, die-cast aluminum chassis. The woofer's instrumentation-grade accelerometer is designed to withstand extreme changes in motion. The power plant is a new "Ultra-Class D" switching amplifier "10 times faster than conventional Class-D designs" and delivering 4500 watts peak/1200 watts RMS power. Opto-coupled inputs are said to offer better isolation and lower noise.

Functional features on the Servo-15 v.2 include RCA and balanced inputs, auto on/off, trigger on/off, subwoofer level control, continuously variable phase control, and bass contour which allows for up to +6dB boost at 60Hz. Safety features on the amplifier include a proprietary voice coil temperature sensor, an amplifier temperature sensor and short circuit protection which reacts within 10 microseconds. The Servo-15 v.2 subwoofer measures 20-1/8" x 18-1/8" in x 21-1/2", weighs 114 pounds and is available in cherry, sycamore, rosenut, and black ash. Suggested list price is $2200US.

Snell's two floor standing models and one in-wall speaker expand the company's offerings of THX-certified products, for a total of seven. The new offerings include the XA 55THX is a dedicated center channel speaker for use with any of the Snell THX Ultra 2 loudspeakers, the XA 60THX full-range tower, and the AMC 2000THX, a "hidden solution" loudspeaker. Snell has also announced the ICS Sub 24, the world's first THX-Ultra 2 sub.

The AMC 2000THX is said to overcome many factors that limit in-wall speaker performance through the use of an aluminum enclosure with a damped sandwich baffle constructed to control and extend bass response regardless of placement or wall construction. The AMC 2000THX fits into conventional 2 x 4 walls. Its dimensions (42" H X 14" W X 3 3�„4" D) are unusually small for a speaker with this level of performance, according to Snell.

The freestanding XA 60THX "will hold its own in any two-channel application or anchor a multi-channel system with the companion XA 55THX center speaker, the AMC 900THX or the SR30THX surrounds and the ICS Sub24. All three new THX Ultra 2 speakers feature Snell's "eXpanding Array" (XA) technology claimed capable of delivering broad and even vertical dispersion. XA design centers a single aluminum dome tweeter between two midrange drivers mounted over and under. This "MTM array" is said to "manage directivity without undesirable lobing for tonally consistent, vertically controlled response for an unmatched combination of multichannel and two-channel virtuosity" and provides a "wider sweet spot for the most consistent balance in large seating areas."

Both the XA 60THX and the AMC 2000THX's MTM array consist of dual 2.5" midranges and 1" aluminum dome tweeter mounted on a separate aluminum plate. This MTM array is coupled with two 8" high output woofers, capable of tremendous output providing bass response to 30Hz for the XA 60THX and to 60Hz for the AMC 2000THX. The XA55THX uses the same MTM array, however, it is coupled with dual 6.5" woofers since extended bass is not as critical for center channel dialog and effects. The XA55THX is rated with a bass response down to 55Hz.

For versatility in installation, the AMC 2000THX's MTM array can be rotated 90 degrees. The array can be pointed in any of 4 directions depending on its relation to the screen. The AMC 2000THX is finished in white with paintable metal grilles. The XA 60THX and XA 55THX are available in hand-sanded, hand-painted black oak veneer or hand-oiled natural cherry. All new Snell speakers are fitted with 5-way gold-plated terminals that accept spades as large as 5/16", pins, banana plugs, and bare wire to 12-gauge The XA 55THX and the XA 60THX are bi-wirable and bi-ampable.

Prices: The XA 55 THX, XA 60THX and the AMC 2000THX are individually priced at $1300, $1700, and $2000, respectively, and will be available in the fourth quarter of 2004. Snell's new products can be seen in Booth 650 at the Indianapolis Convention Center during CEDIA Expo 2004.

Snell has also introduced an external subwoofer amplifier, the SPA200, for use with their passive in-wall subwoofers. The SPA200 delivers 200W at 4 ohms of continuous power, features variable low pass filter (40Hz-160Hz /24dB octave), variable level control, plus a 0 /180 degree phase switch. It comes with switchable EQ specifically optimized to flatten and extend the response of Snell's in-wall subwoofers. The SPA200 also has a 12-volt and music-sense turn-on function, a stereo line level input, and LFE line level with crossover bypass. The LFE input should be used with surround processors that provide their own internal and adjustable bass crossover. All inputs are gold-plated RCA connectors. Also available in the fourth quarter 2004, the SPA200 has a suggested price of $600.

Theta Digital has announced a software upgrade for its "Xtreme D-2" operating system used in its extraordinary Casablanca III Music and Cinema Controller. The Xtreme D-2 upgrade enhances the performance of Theta's Xtreme DAC Card by raising its audio processing "to a new level of purity and dimensionality," according to a pre-show release from Theta. The Xtreme DAC Card provides four channels of the high-quality balanced audio, and is capable of processing up to 24 bit/96kHz sources. It can be installed to provide up to 12 balanced channels when using all three of Casablanca's DAC slots. Theta's open architecture design allows installers to configure and upgrade the Casablanca to meet the personal needs of each owner with the exact number of channels and level of quality desired. Theta's Xtreme D-2 Upgrade is available as a download from the Theta website into a Windows-based computer and moved from there into the Casablanca.