Bolzano Villettri showed its new 3000 series Campanile speakers as a 5.1 system. I was extremely impressed by the $9000/pair BV 3005 Torre, which feature BV's "Roundstrem Technology" that focuses the up-firing and down-firing drivers in the upper and lower cabinets into a 360° soundfield. In a huge convention hallway, the 3005 Torres actually managed to sing. I'd love to hear them under more favorable circumstances.
While we have been salivating for months in anticipation of the impending release of the floorstander, the CS3.7 that Wes Phillips blogged about on Thursday, Thiel teamed a pair of them with 3 of the new SCS4 small LCR speakers (and a pair of SS-1 subs) in one of the most musical setups at the show. The SCS4 utilizes a single coaxial driver in a remarkably rigid and resonance-free enclosure. The front panel is an aluminum casting and the other panels are doubly-laminated 1" MDF. As a single source, this can be oriented vertically (as shown) or horizontally as a center channel without phase interactions. At only $1000 each, this matched sweetly with the CS3.7s.
Canton's chief speaker designer Frank Göbl stands beside Canton's $30,000/pair Vento Reference One DC, a 3.5-way floorstander that's probably going to keep some high-priced speaker builders awake at night.
So what does an audio guy discover at CEDIA? A turntable, of course. At the head of Sumiko's array of Pro-Ject turntables was their most elegant and impressive one yet. The RM-10 looks like a serious and grown-up RM-9 with a platform base and double-thick platter. At $2500, Pro-Ject's most expensive model yet, evoked buy-me-now urges in this lapsed vinyist. I understand that Michael Fremer has a review already in the hopper for our November issue.
I missed a call when I was showering this morning. It was producer Elliot Mazer (right) asking me to visit him at the Music Giants booth, where he and Halcro’s Philip O’Hanlon (left) had something they wanted to me to see (and hear). Music Giants specializes in hi-rez music downloads and Elliot, it turns out, has been spending a lot of time working on transcoding SACD masters to 24/96 or 24/88.2 LPCM for record companies who are starting to realize that they might not ever get back their investment in the new formats from sales of physical discs.
The amiable team of industry veterans David Solomon (left) and Jim Spainhour (right) make up Signal Path, who distributes Musical Fidelity products in the US. They are seen here with MF’s new “audio Swiss Army knife,” the kW250, which includes a CD player, an FM tuner, a preamp with an MM phono stage, and a 250Wpc power amplifier for its $9000 price. A digital input on the back takes the feed from your music server and yes, there is a jack for your iPod on the front. "An ‘exit-level’ component," is how Jim describes it, "for the middle-aged music lover who wants system simplicity without sacrificing sound quality."
JA already blogged about the Ultima Salon2 demo we attended yesterday, but I just had to second his praise with an additional rave: These large speakers are incredibly light on their feet. Yes, the bass was impressive, and, yes, they sounded fabulous on vocals, but for me, it was their ability to change rhythmic directions on a tack-head that was most impressive.
Archimedes famously said, "Give me a lever and a place to stand and I can move the world." Quartet Marketing's Stirling Trayle and Composite Products LLC's Gus Malek-Madani take that "place to stand" part seriously. Malek-Madani makes stands from carbon fiber and he's adamanant that metal and glass "are the worst materials for isolation and vibration energy dissipation." His solution? Carbon fiber.
Slim Devices' Patrick Cosson and OnPR's Marivi Lerdo-de-Tejada pose with the California company's high-end, $1999 Transporter network music player, after granting me a hands-on session with it. The Transporter's Dynamic Feedback control knob is amazing—choose a function and it becomes a silky-smooth volume pot, an indexed rotary switch, or a velocity-sensitive controller. Better yet, each function feels absolutely "real."
CEDIA is an installer's show at its core, so lots of exhibits have nothing to do with audio or video—many are about tools that make the installer's life easier. Some of them are small ideas, such as belt packs to carry cable ties in. Others,like the Little Giant folding ladder are big—and let me tell you, the Little Giants booth was hopping. Why not? It folds up small, and can be used as a straight ladder, step ladder, offset ladder, or staircase ladder.
Jim Shannon and Stirling Trayle of Quartet Marketing pose with the $4200 T+A K1 AV,which combines CD/DVD playback with analog matrix room sound processing, analog preamp duties, an FM tuner, and two channels of 100W power plus one channel of 60W.
Lenbrook Technologies' Mark Stone pops with pride over NAD's Master Series $1799 M5 SACD/CD Player, which employs separate signal paths for CD and SACD. The player's CD resolution is 24-bit, 192kHz. Since it's aimed at audio systems rather than HT applications, the M5 includes comprehensive bass management for multichannel SACDs and front-panel–accessible preset 5.1 speaker configurations.
File this under Only at CEDIA: Themeaddicts, Inc. is offering a Magic Message Mirror (also available as a talking pirate skull). The MMM looks like an ordinary mirror, but is integrated with your whole home automation system. It can update you on any changes within the system's ability to monitor.