Transparent enclosures are a staple of product exhibits but in the case of the Velodyne DD-10 ($1999), this is the actual product! Good art is destiny in this cynical blogging game, so you don't get to see the arguably newsworthier MicroVee six-inch sub, with front-firing driver and passive radiators on the side, and 1000 watts of Class D power. Velodyne, ever versatile, also has in-wall and in-ceiling models. And it showed, yet again, the 1812 Digital Drive monster sub, one of the few subs with a crossover--from a 12-inch driver to an 8-inch one. We never tire of seeing and hearing its mighty cones vibrate.
The Infinity ERS 610 in-ceiling speaker ($599, October) features a flat diaphragm CMMD woofer similar to that in the high-end and somewhat revolutionary Cascade series. JBL and Revel offer very similar-looking products (under the great Harman International corporate umbrella, of course). The hot one might be the Revel, since it's been voiced by Kevin Voecks. Note the three-position switch at right, which adjusts high-frequency response for the room. Not pictured are the wireless 2.4GHz subs, the 10-inch PSW310W (10 inches, 400 watts) and PSW212W (12 inches, $679, January).
The Joseph Audio people say their Insider is designed "to solve the fundamental problem of in-walls"--the tendency of tweeters and woofers to interfere with one another. There is secret sauce in the crossover and consistent off-axis response is a major benefit. Drivers are high-end stuff sourced from Norway. Presumably all that high-caliber design and materials justify the price of $2500/pair.
Every six months some clueless publication hypes a stupid plastic turntable with USB output. This is a terrible way to transfer vinyl to MP3 because a bad turntable is a bad turntable regardless of how it outputs the signal. Pro-Ject eases my irritation over this sorry situation with the Phono Box II ($179), a decent little phono preamp with USB output. Connect a good turntable to it--Pro-Ject offers several, and also makes them for Music Hall--and your vinyl-sourced digital music library will sound a lot better.
The Polk I-Sonic ES2 is the second-generation version of the famed do-it-all radio. It handles HD Radio, XM, Sirius, your neighbor's brainwaves, AM, FM, net radio, Rhapsody, our brainwaves, and iPod. Use full capabilities at your own risk. And it now has a tag button (center, bottom) that applies tagging data to up to 50 songs at a time for storage in its own flash memory and the iPod. You could tag songs heard on HD Radio for later purchase on iTunes. Coming in October for $499.
The B&K 30.2 digital brick amp comes in 30, 60, or 100 watts times two. You can fit three of 'em on a plate (bottom) or six on a larger plate (hanging, top). Controls are on the back, but if you prefer them on the front, you want the ST30.2. B&K also showed the AVR707 receiver, with 200 watts times seven, due in 2008; and the AV1230, which covers 16 zones with two-channel goodness.
The people at Boston Acoustics couldn't resist assembling a bunch of their colorful Horizon speakers into a chandelier (and we couldn't resist taking a picture of it). Injection-molded plastic enclosures, shaped to maximize the front and minimize the back, are braced both by the molding and by MDF. Complete 5.1 systems range from $499-700 with black or white grilles plus optional grilles in eight other colors for $19-100 depending on size. Boston also showed the SoundWave cubes, which stand on one of their corners, in seven colors for $99 each. They're indoor/outdoor.
One of the few non-excruciating audio auditions at CEDIA '07 was Wisdom Audio's L75i demo. The planar speaker, powered by Classe amps, shone with material featuring Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and Miles Davis. Music worth hearing: a novelty. Wisdom prides itself on the non-disintegrating metal in-wall frame. True, the bass was boomy in the rear of the room, and the ostensibly in-wall product was shown on-wall, but this was the rare public exhibit that didn't make us hate the product.
The Pinnacle OC HT 1 in-ceiling speaker ($349 for one, $999 for a three-pack) uses a slot locking mounting system that attaches to a ring you screw into the ceiling. Also shown was the QP 2, a speaker designed for use with projection screens, an unusual design with neodymium magnets mounted on the outside ($999/each, black or white). Why we didn't photograph that will always be a mystery to us.
The Lexicon MV-5 is a new surround preamp-processor from the company that more or less defines the genre for multichannel audiophiles. At $2999, it's the most affordable Lex yet, and thus might entice a few receiver users to go for higher-performing separates instead. Put it together with the GX-7 amp and you've got a $6000 package.