Tom Norton

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Tom Norton  |  Sep 06, 2007  |  0 comments

KEF had a small booth, but a lot to show. Its updated XQ speaker line was particularly interesting. Gone are the pod-like supertweeters sitting atop the cabinets. Instead the tweeter in the company's UniQ concentric drivers has been re-engineered to handle all the high frequency chores. The XQ 30 floor stander, shown, will run $3400/pair. Not shown are the matching bookshelf model, the XQ 10, at $1400/pair, and the $1200 XQ 50 center.

Tom Norton  |  May 30, 2007  |  5 comments

Mel Gibson may or may not have terminally damaged his impressive film career with his well-publicized antics last summer, but no one can accuse him of being a hack filmmaker. His box office draw as an actor may not be what it once was, but he does know how to direct a movie.

Tom Norton  |  May 20, 2007  |  Published: May 21, 2007  |  8 comments

Stop the presses. There's a new set of reference high definition discs in town, discs that in technical quality alone very nearly blow anything you've seen so far out of the water. It's the <I>Complete Matrix Trilogy</I>, available this Tuesday (May 22) only in a boxed set of three HD DVDs.

Tom Norton  |  May 13, 2007  |  0 comments

CinePro showed its new Mighty Powershelf two-way speaker ($3300/pair), together with the Mighty Center Channel ($2700), two jumbo 12" Dual isobaric subwoofers ($5000), and a rack full of CinePro electronics. The projector was from SIM2. The sound was punchy and dynamic, even though I did request a slightly lower playback level than those that CinePro usually favors.
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Also sharing the room with CinePro was VidaBox, a media center designed as a full-function server capable of storing music, television programming, and movies on its hard drive. It is also said to be capable of both Blu-ray and HD DVD playback. Shane Buetter has more to say about the VidaBox in an earlier blog entry (below)

Tom Norton  |  May 12, 2007  |  Published: May 13, 2007  |  0 comments

Joseph also demonstrated its RM7xl speaker ($2299-$2499/pair, depending on finish), but in a very unusual way. The source was a laptop computer feeding uncompressed files into a new Bel Canto integrated amp via a <I>USB</I> connection.

Tom Norton  |  May 12, 2007  |  Published: May 13, 2007  |  2 comments

There isn't a lot of budget gear at HE2007, but then the show has always trumpeted itself as a high-end show. New York dealer Sound by Singer had five rooms filled with increasingly expensive gear, but the first room was at least relatively real world, with a price of approximately $6000. The speakers were the JM Focal Chorus 836V floorstanders at $3000/pair. The electronics were from Cambridge Audio (the 840A integrated amp and 840C CD player, at $1500 each). The sound was very clean and well balanced. My only reservation: from a front row, center seat the imaging was a little bloated. But it was a fine-sounding system, and the step up to the next system in Sound by Singer's progressively more expensive chain of rooms was over $30,000. But that system was anchored by the JM Focal Electra 1037Be ($10,995/pair), one of the best sounding speakers I've heard at the show.

Tom Norton  |  May 13, 2007  |  0 comments

There was a definite shortage of home theater exhibits at this year's home entertainment show. But no shortage of interesting products. When faced with limited home theater presence, I go to plan B: look for loudspeakers. Speakers do of course, handle two types of program material in most homes: music and films. If they sound good on music that's more than half the battle. And if they don't, even Angelina Jolie can't help them.

Tom Norton  |  May 12, 2007  |  Published: May 13, 2007  |  1 comments

With home theater demos thin on the ground, I'll devote the next batch of blogs to some of the more interesting two channel demos I heard at the show.

Tom Norton  |  May 12, 2007  |  Published: May 13, 2007  |  2 comments

Silverline was demonstrating two different speakers, the floorstanding Prelude ($1200/pair) and the small Minuet ($600/pair). I heard the Preludes ($1200/pair). One attendee remarked that the Preludes sounded better than a lot of more expensive speakers at the show. Apart from a trace of aggressive brightness, which could well have been due to a completely untreated room, I have to agree. The speakers sounded more dynamic, and bigger, than their size might suggest. Silverline makes a wide range of speakers, including a center channel (which at $1200, may be a little pricey to mate with the Preludes).

Tom Norton  |  May 13, 2007  |  0 comments

Two makers of one-box solutions for virtual surround sound were at the show. ZVOX was covered earlier in our show report (below). Soundmatters is the other. The Soundmatters SLIMstage40 Surround Console ($899, available in July), available in either silver or black (the silver version is shown in the photo, just under the flat panel set) uses four seven active drivers and eight internal amplifiers (170W total) to simulate a full surround sound experience. At 3.4" deep, it's designed to fit under a wall-mounted, flat panel television.

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