CEDIA 2006

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Wes Phillips  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  1 comments
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.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  0 comments
Neil Sinclair gave me a tour of Theta’s new multi-channel amp, which keeps the signal exclusively in the digital domain from the S/PDIF inputs to the PWM output stage, the latter said to operate at the super-high frequency of 1MHz. Designed by veteran amp engineer Dave Reich, what is in effect a powerDAC—that’s what it says on the output-stage printed circuit boards—will find its way, I hope, into some two-channel products in due course.
Wes Phillips  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  3 comments
Conrad-Johnson's Lew Johnson demos CJ's $7500 MET1 multichannel enhanced triode preamplifier. The twist? It's an analog six-channel preamplifier! It sounded exquisite, whether on two-channel sources or multichannel—only the MET1 can synthesize multichannel from the higher resolution two-channel PCM tracks present on many multichannel DVDs.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  1 comments
A speaker brand new to me at THE Show was YG Acoustics. Seen here with his four-way Anat Reference Studio ($60k/pair with a single subwoofer per side) is YG's Yoav Gonczarowksi, who says that he doesn't "voice" his speaker—the perfect speaker shouldn't have a voice but should just reproduce what's on the recording.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  2 comments
I finally got to see the new Cary Cinema II processor ($3000) that had been whispered about at the 2005 CEDIA. Sleek but prodigious, it has balanced analog and digital inputs in addition to single-ended analog, optical and coaxial digital inputs and a true analog bypass 7.1 input. There's balanced and unbalanced outputs as well as analog/digital outputs for a second zone. But get this: it is also Dolby-HD approved!
John Atkinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  5 comments
Eminent Technology’s Bruce Thigpen has always taken an interesting slant on how to design audio products—his air-bearing tonearm was one of the best-sounding back in the day and his push-pull planar magnetic speakers are thought by some to be unbeatable. But at THE Show, held next door to the official CEDIA venue, the Convention Center, in the Denver Athletic Club, Bruce was showing off his infrasonic subwoofer. Yes, that’s a fan, which rotates at a constant 800rpm. The wrinkle is that the audio signal is used to vary the pitch of the fan blades. Feathered with no signal, when driven with audio the twisting blades produce a massive acoustic wave with very little power input. The bandwidth is limited by the fan speed to below 30Hz or so—you have to rotate it faster to reproduce higher frequencies but then its self noise increases rapidly— but it will reproduce frequencies as low as 1Hz with a very high spl.
Wes Phillips  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  0 comments
Less flashy than the amplifier internals I blogged about earlier, but still enormously impressive, was this rack of Classé. Classé's Dave Nauber told me it was the first time the company had displayed their curved-profile components in these high-quality racks and that the installers were going nuts over them. They do do a restrained elegance.
Wes Phillips  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  0 comments
One reason the NAD M5—indeed, all of the Master Series components—sound so good, Mark Stone says, is the gigando special NAD class-A gain modules, which "offer tremendous dynamic headroom and nearly immeasurable distortion." JA is working on a review of the M3 integrated amplifier, which also uses these modules.
Wes Phillips  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  0 comments
Chord's CEO John Franks (right) and Bluebird Music's Jay Rein (left) regaled me with tales of Chord's Media Engine (price tbd). It includes an Intel Pentium 4 processor and up to 6TB of drive capacity, allowing you to centrally archive pretty much all varieties of CD and DVD formats. Chord promises "studio-quality audio" and "the best image processing technology available."
John Atkinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  8 comments
It was only a couple of CEDIAs ago that Paradigm introduced its Signature series of high-performance speakers, and I was very impressed by the stand-mounted Signature S2 when I reviewed it for Stereophile in July 2005 (see http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/705paradigm/). But the Canadian company’s big news of the Show was that they have redesigned, not just the Signature series but their entire line! The new models use beryllium-dome tweeters and midrange units with aluminum cones treated with cobalt to add stiffness. The looks of the Signature series are still to die for, however.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  2 comments
It's official. I am a nerd! I couldn't resist snapping the interior of Theta's amplifier, which takes an audio input as PCM digital and transforms it into PWM digital without ever changing it back to analog until the music arrives at the speaker terminals.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  0 comments
PS Audio's Paul McGowan was leaning so comfortably on these nice new AC Power Plants that it wasn't until my second visit that I realized the products carried the Ethereal label, the first fruits of a collaboration between these two companies. In addition to the 1500W Power Plant with its inbuilt harmonic distortion analysers, Paul also has the new surge-protected Power Center tucked under his arm. He looks pretty happy.
Wes Phillips  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  1 comments
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.
Wes Phillips  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  4 comments
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.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Sep 16, 2006  |  0 comments
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.