CEDIA 2006 Kicks Off September 14

Even though the calendar year starts January 1 (or, if you're in the electronics industry, with the January CES), many of us still think of Labor Day as the beginning of the year. That's when school always started—or, again if you're in the electronics industry, the week after is when CEDIA's (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo takes place. As the show has grown over the years, it has also become the kick-off to the important (and, hopefully, lucrative) end-of-the-year sales season, with many companies debuting significant products they hope will make their Q4 profitable.

Stereophile's John Atkinson, Kal Rubinson, and Wes Phillips will be blogging from the Colorado Convention Center, as well as from The Home Entertainment (THE) Show at the neighboring Denver Athletic Club. Check the blog frequently for up-to-the-minute reports on new product introductions, high-end personalities, and impressive-sounding demonstrations.

In the interim, here are some of the products that are already creating a buzz:

NAD will be introducing its $1799 Masters Series Component M5 SACD/CD Player, which boasts separate signal paths for CD and SACD, to "assure best performance for each format." Connections include AES/EBU (balanced) digital audio output, as well as coaxial and Toslink optical. The player's CD playback is said to result in 24-bit, 192kHz resolution. The M5 also includes comprehensive bass management for multichannel SACDs and front-panel–accessible preset 5.1 speaker configurations.

PSB loudspeakers will be demonstrating an innovative dual-10" in-wall passive subwoofer, the $2499 CW363. The CW363 offers bass response to 35Hz, thanks to neodymium magnets, which are said to allow better control over the drivers within the limited excursion range permitted by the depth dictated by the in-wall enclosures. The CW363 is designed to mate with PSB's $699 300W CWA-1 subwoofer amplifier.

Musical Fidelity will debut its triple threat: XT100 Tube integrated amp, X Rayv8 CD player, and its separate power supply. The XT100, MF claims, "sounds like the kW500, but sells for $1800." Other items on demonstration will include kW250 (price tba), which packs six kW products into a single box: "a 250Wpc amp that can push Apogee Scintillas, a tube preamp, 24/192 CD player, D/A converter, MM/MC phono section, and an FM tuner. No one has ever put the 'best' of everything into one box," claims Musical Fidelity. "Now we have."

Oh, let us be the judge of that.

MartinLogan is being coy about the show, promising only to unveil "the rest of the MartinLogan ESL Series and Design Series." We'll be there and tell you what that means.

Actually, two can play that game. Revel told us what they'd be doing—and then they swore us to secrecy. All we can say is that Revel has been very, very busy—and we'll have a lot to write about.

Audio Research is promising a "musical oasis" with its MP1 multichannel preamplifier, 150M modular multichannel amplifier, and a whole bunch of Vandersteen Quatro speakers. Home theater, you mutter? Well, ARC is promising multichannel music, so we think we'll have to check it out—especially Kal Rubinson, who is duty-bound to cover such things.

Cabasse, the venerable French loudspeaker company hasn't had a North American presence in a while, but it recently inked an agreement with the St. John Group, so it will be at CEDIA with a vengeance. We're looking forward to hearing La Sphere, billed as "the world's first 20Hz–20kHz point source loudspeaker—theoretically perfect and masterfully executed."

What audiophile could resist a come-on like that? Not us, that's for sure.

Nor can we resist a chance to hear Avalon's Isis loudspeaker, "where time and space become one." We've been there before, but it wasn't just a Rocky Mountain high. We can't wait to experience that enhanced awareness with a two-channel delivery system.

Yup, it's official: We are giddy with excitement. Join us at the blog on Thursday and see if the real thing is as much fun as the anticipation.