Consumer Electronics Show: January 8, 1998
It now seems to be well-established. Sony has lowered the entry fee to $350 for an MD package that includes a home recorder, a portable player, and two blank MD discs. Several other manufacturers are offering MiniDisc recorders, including Sanyo and Aiwa, which has introduced a pair of portable MD machines---one a player, the other a player-recorder with a backlit display. A prototype Yamaha mini-system, the GX-900, includes a carousel CD changer, an auto-reverse cassette deck, and a MiniDisc recorder, although a Yamaha exec we spoke with said it hadn't been decided whether to market the system or not. A similar system, the $400 GX-500, includes a 75Wpc amplifier and a pair of three-way bookshelf speakers. Its classy styling, with real-wood veneer and brushed-aluminum trim, recalls Tandberg products of the early 1970s---sort of the audio equivalent of the Mazda Miata. The system could be a nice addition to a dorm room or small office.
San Francisco's Parasound has unveiled its new lineup here, including the AVC-2500 24-bit processor, which uses three Motorola DSP-56009 Digital Signal Processing chips. The AVC-2500 will decode Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby Pro Logic. An assortment of outboard decoders are among Parasound's offerings, as is the $1495 CDP-2000 Ultra, a belt-drive CD transport/player sourced from C.E.C. The machine features a highly damped chassis and a heavy disc clamp.
While multichannel systems are generating most of the sizzle at the Hilton and adjoining Convention Center, two-channel audio is far from dead, as evinced by new offerings from companies at the top of the hi-fi food chain (like Proceed and Krell) and those more in the middle (like NAD, which has introduced its "Silver Series" of amps and preamps in the $1200-$2200 range). Affordable high power has long been one of Parasound's hallmarks, a tradition that continues with the $2195 HCA-3500, which offers a whopping 600W out of each of its two channels, and pure class-A operation up to 15W. McIntosh, a classic name in American audio, is showing its MC122 two-channel power amp and C15 preamp at a combined retail price of $2700. Mac will bring a DVD player out at approximately $3700 sometime this year, according to sales exec David Black.
Is the High End headed for oblivion? Apparently so, according to Krell's always-outspoken Dan D'Agostino. Why? "The middle of the high-end market has been taken over by home theater" and "there are no Generation X audiophiles." Nonetheless, Krell is doing quite well with its top products, as well as with its $12,000 A/V Standard surround-sound processor---an item D'Agostino sells 80-90 of month after month, each accompanied by several amplifiers. It's hard to see what the guy's got to complain about.