CES 2010

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Tom Norton  |  Jan 07, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Panasonic has two samples of its 152" (diagonal) plasma at the show. This one is showing 4K source material in 2D on the 4096 x 2160 pixel screen (that's 17:9, slightly wider than standard widescreen). The set is made from a full; Panasonic plasma mother glass, in its latest generation. This 2D picture was stunning. No price was announced, but if you have to ask...
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  3 comments
TAD, already one of our favorite speaker manufacturers, now offers both a mono-block amp and a SACD player cum DAC, both priced at $26,500. Stereo amp and preamp are on the drawing board. The final version of the Compact Reference speaker is now shipping for $37,000/pair. A demo with female vocal and piano was startling in its directness, marred only slightly by the sight of the chandelier gently swinging, apparently as a result of a subwoofer on the floor above.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
The Eos Converge Wireless Multi-room Audio System is a CES Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree and a "Best of Innovations" winner in the Computer Accessories category. The three new models include a standalone transmitter ($99) that accepts standard analog audio or an audio signal from your computer via a USB connection, a standalone pre-amp out only receiver ($99), and a receiver with a built-in 15 watts x 2 amplifier ($149). The system uses 2.4GHz frequency transmission, has a range of approximately 150 ft, and requires virtually no setup other than plugging in the power cords (and the speaker wire, and USB cable, and audio cable).
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  1 comments
It's an age old problem. You have a pair of ears. You have a pair of earbuds. Unfortunately, they aren't the same size - and even when the size is about right, the flippin' earbuds are darn uncomfortable to wear for anything longer than a few minutes. You could pay big bucks to have special custom-fit earbud covers made for you personally. Or you could spend $20 (plus shipping) for a set of yurbuds from yurtopia. The company makes 12 sizes of earbud adapters out of surgical silicone. The yurbuds slip over your existing earbuds and channel the sound directly to your ear canal. They're soft and flexible, so they're quite comfortable.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Onkyo's first foray into separates includes the PR-SC5503 surround preamp-processor ($2699), with the up-to-date feature set you'd expect in an Onkyo receiver, and the PA-MC5500 multi-channel power amp. The amp's got nine channels of 150-watt AB amplification, enough to accommodate both height and width channels, and can connect to the pre-pro via XLR. Both about to ship; pre-pro price may be around $2699. Onkyo also showed the BD-SP807 Blu-ray player which boasts Anchor Bay video processing. (And the company plans to introduce its first -- perhaps anyone's first -- HDMI 1.4 receivers this spring, reports TWICE.)
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Hannspree brought several of their unusual TVs to one of the giant press soirees that are filled with cheery PR people, good food, open bars, and every now and then an interesting product. I feel safe predicting that this set won't become the official TV of the Colbert Nation. I didn't see the remote control, but someone please tell me that it's not shaped like a baby seal...
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Epsilon is a French company founded in 1938. While these globular objects can serve as passive speakers, the active version is more interesting. It's got 100 watts of ICEpower amplification and connects wirelessly. Look for it in the third quarter for whatever the U.S. equivalent of 1200 euros will be then (currently a bit north of $1700).
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  2 comments
Achromatic is the name of a new line from the venerable (and underrated) Anglo-Chinese brand Wharfedale. In addition to the $399 sat/sub set, the line also includes towers, monitors, and subs. The existing Evo2 ($600-1900, shown) and Opus2 ($1700-5000) lines have been beefed up with aluminum-coated copper wire for better heat dispersion. They continue to have kevlar woofers and soft dome tweeters.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
NewKinetix Re (the e is supposed to have a line over it, but I don't know how to generate that character - basically because I'm alphabetically challenged) is a plug-in accessory for an iPhone or iPod touch that turns either device into an IR remote control. Other such IR-enabling products already exist, but as far as I can tell the NewKintetix unit is the first one that does not require a separate box to generate the IR signal. One can be yours soon for $49.95.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
I always like going to the NXT suite during CES to see what new things they've cooked up. The three-room suite is filled with a variety of current, brand new, and concept products utilizing NXT's slim and flat transducer technologies. One of the most interesting items was a 2.1 flat-panel TV add-on speaker system from Q Acoustics. The Q-TV2 attaches to the rear of the TV chassis and can be used whether the set is on a stand or wall-mounted. The subwoofer is around an inch thick, and the slender side speakers are mounted on arms that can be adjusted to match the width of the TV. The system accepts analog or digital audio from the TV and has boundary compensation circuitry for use when the system is up against a wall.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 07, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Panasonic's new "Infinite Black Pro" technology will appear in many of the company's new 2010 sets this year (from the G-series up), including all the 3D models. A new filter has been devised which is said to minimize reflective light and increase through-the-glass transmittence from the pixels. A native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1 is claimed.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  1 comments
It may not look like much, -- and our limited photographic skills don't help -- but we'll bet a lot of penurious audiophiles will go nuts for Dynaudio's new DM-6, a two-way monitor with 5.5-inch woofer and 1.5-inch fabric tweeter, in black or rosewood vinyl. Other models are now available in attractive black or white gloss finishes.
Tom Norton  |  Jan 07, 2010  |  First Published: Jan 08, 2010  |  2 comments
This Tokai Challenger, using Sharp solar cells, won the 2009 Global Green Challenge, an 1864 mile race across Australia. The weather was clear and sunny throughout, which was probably why they chose to race in the Australian Outback instead of from Juno to Seattle. The single seat, three wheeled car comes in any color as long as the underside is white and the top is plastered with 2176 black solar cells.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
Tunebug's Vibe is a small triangular puck that sits on any flat surface and turns it into a speaker. No, it's not audiophile stuff, but it can sure beat the pants off that teeny speakier in your portable media player or laptop. The Shake does the same thing for bike and skate/snowboard helmets - or any other three-dimensional surface from which you might want to produce sound. Using the Shake on a helmet lets you hear music and the ambient noises around you (potentially keeping you from getting flattened by an oncoming truck).
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 08, 2010  |  0 comments
One of the highlights of CEDIA 2009 was Atlantic Technology's announcement of H-PAS technology, which gets subwoofer-worthy bass out of a tower speaker. The prototypes shown then have developed into production models that are about to ship. First to ship will be the 5.25-inch tower; the 4.5-inch version may follow later in the year. With the inevitable pipe organ source material, the demo proved the ability of H-PAS to produce deep true bass sans sub. Phil Clements of Solus/Clements, father of H-PAS technology, weathers the media spotlight with good grace.