Audio companies will exhibit an expanded assortment of Blu-ray players and networked A/V receivers (AVRs) at the CEDIA Expo along with new preamp processors and mono- to multi-channel amplifiers. Here at the show:
• Lexicon and Cambridge Audio will show their first Blu-ray players, Yamaha and NAD will expand their selections, and Marantz will show its recently expanded Blu-ray selection at an offsite venue.
• Yamaha (see p. 27), Sony, Integra and Arcam will expand their selection of networked AVRs, and Sherwood will show its first (see p. 25).
• SpeakerCraft and Proficient Audio (see p. 12) will launch their first AVRs.
• And such volume-leveling technologies as Dolby Volume and Audyssey Dynamic Volume will appear in more audio components, with Harman Kardon expanding its selection of AVRs with Dolby Volume.
Here's what you'll find in these and other companies' booths and suites:
Arcam: The company's second AVR and a new iPod dock are due in the fourth quarter from the brand, marketed in the U.S. by American Audio Video of Plattsburgh, N.Y.
The 7x100-watt AVR500 HD AVR, like the step-up $5,000-suggested AVR600 introduced at last year's CEDIA, features Dolby Volume, dual HDMI 1.3a outputs, and decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats. Compared to the 600, it features two-zone instead of three-zone stereo, lacks preamp outputs, and features optional rather than built-in networking, which provides PC streaming, Internet radio and IP control.
AudioControl: A new flagship home theater preamp-processor, the Maestro M3, is the company's highest-end model to date. It's said to be unique in offering active balanced outputs that extend component, composite and HDMI signals over Cat-5/6 cabling to separately sold active balanced receivers in other rooms. At an expected price of about $6,000, it will debut alongside the 5x230-watt Pantages G3 companion amplifier.
Classé Audio: The subsidiary of Bowers & Wilkins will launch a new series, the Custom Theater (CT) series, of four amplifiers and surround-sound preamp/processor, all billed as the only true high-end audio components suitable for installation in equipment racks or custom cabinetry because they hold up in such hot, noisy environments that degrade performance and reliability, said David Nauber, brand development executive VP. (See www.twice.com for details.)
Crestron: The company will launch a high-end HD 7.3 surround processor. Details were unavailable.
Integra: In launching four new AVRs and two preamp processors, the brand is expanding its selection of electronics with networking, Internet radio, Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Audyssey MultEQ XT, and embedded Imaging Science Foundation Certified Calibration Control (ISFccc) protocols. It's also offering its first electronics with Audyssey DSX and its first 9.2-channel AVRs. (See www.twice.com for details.)
Krell: Two new Krell amplifiers are the company's most compact amps designed for space-limited installations and are small enough to permit installation of multiple amplifiers in the space a conventional amplifier would normally occupy.
The two new S-series amplifiers, the $5,500-suggested 2x275-watt S-275 and $2,500 1x150-watt S-150M, feature technology from the flagship Evolution amplifiers. Ratings are into 8 ohms.
Sherwood: Two new AVRs and the company's second Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player will debut.
The Sherwood-series BDP-5004 Blu-ray player features 7.1-channel analog outputs, whereas the BDP-6003 introduced late last year features 5.1-channel analog outputs. Features common to both include 1080p up-scaling of DVD, front-panel USB Host port, decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, and playback of DivX, JPEG and compressed-music files. The 5004 also supports 24Hz or 60Hz 1080p, Deep Color and XV Color. Pricing was unavailable.
In AVRs, the company will launch a Sherwood-series model and a Sherwood Newcastle model, both with similar features. The Sherwood RD-8504 and Sherwood Newcastle R-774 are 7x100-watt models with decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, SACD and DVD-Audio decoding, up-scaling of all video sources to 1080p, and more. Pricing and ship dates were unavailable.
Sony: The company will launch two top-end ES-series AVRs that bring the opening price of an ES-series AVR with built-in networking to $1,999 from $2,499 and bring a stronger feature set to the $999 price point. Both 7.1 models ship September.
The $1,999 STR-DA5500ES features DLNA certification, streams music from a networked PC and accesses the SHOUTcast Internet radio aggregation service and Rhapsody. Those features were available in the previous lineup at $2,499. Other features in the DA5500ES include six HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, Faroudja up-scaling of all video sources to 1080p, second-zone 1080i up-scaling, third-zone audio, Sirius/XM-ready capability, and Digital Media port for iPod docks as well as a Bluetooth receiver.
The $999 STR-DA3500ES features four HDMI inputs, main-zone Faroudja 1080p up-scaling, second-zone video, three-zone audio, Digital Media port and XM/Sirius-ready.
SpeakerCraft: The company's first AVR and first stereo receiver join multi-room receivers. Both ship in Q4. The $425-suggested SCR710 stereo receiver is an 80-watt model with high-current output stage that drives low-impedance loads. The $1,250 7x130-watt SCR910 is a surround-decoding AVR.