CEDIA: Day Two

While most of the speakers at CEDIA seem to be designed for concealment, from on-wall to in-wall and, even, behind-wall in the case of the Stealth Acoustics designs. The latter mount in the wall but with the expectation that the installer will plaster over them. As a result, no pix from me but you can imagine what they look like by viewing your own wall.

Taking another route, Madison Fielding (now there's a name from the past!) showed their Planter series of speakers which look like potted plants. Prices range from $600 to $3200 but you save money on landscaping. It was hard to judge the sound quality of these (or, indeed, of anything) Under Show conditions, but they did work and were not offensive.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are mainstream audiophile speakers with spectacular fit-and-finish that will dominate almost any room, visually and sonically. One example is the new MAXX III ($68,000/pair) from Wilson Audio Specialties. Taking some ideas from the Utah company's Alexandria, the new MAXX has three stacked enclosures (instead of two), with the upper two independently adjustable for height and angle. The topmost module has a new midrange driver, the middle one another midrange and the inverted titanium-dome tweeter, and the bottom the dual-driver woofer. Wilson's Peter McGrath tells me that this endows the MAXX III with improved clarity and focus.

For the past months, the Web AV forums have been hot-beds of discussion about how high end electronics will handle the HD audio codecs. In particular, the Cary Audio Design C11A has been much-anticipated by many who found much to like in the C11 I reviewed a while back but who hungered for HDMI and HD codecs. The future seemed clouded by the realignment of features between the C11 (and C11A) and the promised companion video processor, the C11V. It seems those clouds have parted with the unveiling of the production C11A and C11V at CEDIA. The C11A ($3500) is now a complete multichannel digital processor with serviceable video switching and full codec support. Cary's Jason Barbour told me that they will begin shipping in a matter of weeks but insisted that my photo provided proof of HD audio support. There it is!

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