Product News: Fall 2020 Edition Page 2

Elite’s Ultra-Short-Throw Screen Nets ISF-Certification
The Elite ProAV division of Elite Screens has announced that the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) has certified its Pro Frame Thin DarkStar UST 2 video projection screen for accurate color reproduction.

The designation means the screen material has been tested and found to maintain 1) the same RGB (red-green-blue) balance of the projector’s light signal, 2) a neutral appearance without color cast, even as projector lighting changes — a “key element in achieving superb contrast ratios,” according to ISF — and 3) superb black-level performance, which ISF describes as “the difference between crisp color clarity and visible details in dark images or a murky image with dull color representation.”

Designed for use with ultra-short-throw (UST) projectors, the DarkStar UST 2 uses material with a serriform optical surface to absorb “up to 85% of overhead light” and features a lightweight “edge free” frame that mimics the look of a flat-panel TV. Elite says the screen improves contrast “80x” over matte-white screen material in rooms with high ambient light. Visit for more information.

PSB Adds Power to Popular Alpha Series
Canada’s PSB has expanded the popular Alpha speaker series it introduced almost 30 years ago with two powered models it previewed at CES 2020 — the Alpha AM3 ($400/pair) and Alpha AM5 (shown, $600/pair).

Both are compact, two-way designs that support wireless streaming via aptX-enabled Bluetooth and robust connectivity with RCA phono inputs, optical and USB digital inputs, an analog minijack input, and an RCA subwoofer output.

The Alpha AM3 houses a 4-inch woofer, 0.75-inch tweeter, and 2 x 35-watt amplifier in ported cabinet with a front volume control that’s about 8.5 inches tall. The AM5 ups the ante with a 5.25-inch woofer and 2 x 50-watt power amp in an enclosure with a rear-mounted volume control that’s just over 11 inches tall. The tweeter in both models is made of aluminum and loaded in a waveguide for improved dispersion, and grilles attach magnetically for quick removal.

As is the case with all PSB speakers, company founder Paul S. Barton performed final voicing of the AM3 and AM5 at Canada’s renowned National Research Council testing facility.

Matte black or matte white finish options are available for the AM3 and AM.5. Visit for more information.

PS Audio Goes Hi-Res with Integrated Amp
Boulder, Colorado-based PS Audio recently began shipping an integrated amplifier featuring a “no-compromise” digital to analog converter (DAC) built to handle native DSD at resolutions up to 384 kHz and PCM up to 192 kHz.

Hand-built in the U.S., the Stellar Strata ($2,999) supports hi-res streaming when paired with the companion Connect app (which provides access to Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, and other services) or server software such as JRiver, Bit Perfect, Amarra, or Pure Music. Digital signals enter the Strata in native mode without sample-rate conversion (SRC) and are fed into a proprietary circuit that re-clocks incoming data to reduce jitter and “waveshapes” the data before passing it to a 32-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Users can select from one of three digital filters, each of which has a different sonic character.

Rated to deliver 2 x 120 watts into 8 ohms or 2 x 200 in to 4 ohms (both 1% distortion at 1 kHz), the power amp section incorporates PS Audio’s Analog Cell topology, which “closely mirrors the warm sonic characteristics of a vacuum tube while maintaining the power and control of the best solid-state amps.”

The Strata includes a dedicated headphone amplifier and provides analog switching for its four analog inputs (one balanced) and six digital connections: optical, coaxial (2), USB, Ethernet, and a rare I²S input. The preamp section is built around the company’s GainCell technology, which is said to prevent signal degradation by streamlining the signal path and using a variable-gain amplifier to control volume.

The Strata is available in silver or black and includes a remote control. Visit for more information.

Beyerdynamic Keeps Lagoon Headphones Up-to-Date
Germany’s Beyerdynamic is one of those rare audio companies that has been around since the early 20th Century, in this case making and perfecting microphones and headphones since 1924. Even more remarkable, it’s remains a family-run business. The company recently announced new sound-enhancing upgrades for its Lagoon wireless active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones: an equalizer and a feature called Sidetone, both accessible through the companion MIY app.

Building on the app’s MOSAYC personalization feature, which creates a custom sound profile based on your hearing acuity, the equalizer provides additional customization through a set of selectable EQ profiles. Sidetone endeavors to make phone conversations more pleasant by “improving the perception of your own voice.” Both features can be downloaded using a firmware update tool, through which the company issues regular software updates to keep the headphones up-to-date.

While many headphones provide simple on/off noise cancelation, the Lagoon has two intensity levels for blocking out intrusive ambient noise and supports both aptX- and aptX Low Latency-enabled Bluetooth for improved sound quality without sync problems while gaming or watching a video. Battery life is rated for up to 24 hours with ANC engaged or 45 without it.

The Lagoon is available in black (Traveller) or gray/brown (Explorer) for $299 but, as of this writing, Beyerdynamic was offering discounted pricing of $239 and $259, respectively. Visit for more information.

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