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Product Launches Due At CEDIA Expo

9/06/2005 10:59:00 AM Eastern

Indianapolis — More than 560 companies are expected to exhibit at this week’s CEDIA Expo to unveil new products for home theater, stereo, and distributed-audio applications.

Here are just a few of the latest products that installers will find at the Expo:

AudioControl is launching its latest preamp/processor, the $2,399-suggested Maestro M2, a value version of the existing Maestro.

The step-up Maestro is positioned as a no-holds-barred device using better internal components for superior audio and video processing. The M2 is more feature-laden with features such as HDMI switching, up-conversion of composite and S video to component, and RDS-equipped AM/FM tuner.

The M2 incorporates multiple surround decoders including Dolby Pro Logic IIx, which creates a 6.1- and 7.1-channel soundfield from stereo, Dolby Surround and 5.1-channel sources.

Neither unit up-scales DVD-Video to HD.

Boston Acoustics plans early-2006 shipments of its new flagship E series of five speakers, which replace the VR-M Reference series. Each speaker is designed with multiple mounting options and intended to complement flat-panel displays, thin DLP rear-projection TVs and traditional TVs. Wall-mount brackets are supplied with all models, including the 5-foot tall, four-way flagship tower, and all models can be mounted horizontally or vertically because of their driver placement, the firm said.

Two L-R bookshelf models and two LCR speakers can be mounted on a wall, shelf or on accessory stands. When the LCRs are used as a center channel, a horizontal support allows it to tilt from 5 degrees down to 10 degrees up. Removable side panels on all models allow for customization to match different decors. The cabinets are made of real wood, cast aluminum, extruded aluminum and, for the baffle, an MDF/aluminum composite.

The flagship E100 features five 5.25-inch woofers, one 5.25-inch midrange/woofer, one 3.25-inch midrange and one 1-inch tweeter. Prices weren’t announced

Carver Digital is unveiling a home theater processor, a home theater amp, three two-channel amps and two powered subs. The $3,495-suggested HTP 9.1 processor features music surround modes that convert stereo to five- to nine-channel surround. The $2,995 home theater amp accommodates up to seven mono block amp modules, each capable of delivering 200 watts into 8 ohms or 400 watts into 2 ohms. The three M series two-channel amps drive 4-ohm loads; are bridgeable to mono; and priced at a suggested $1,699, $1,899 and $2,199. Power outputs start at 2x95 watts into 8 ohms and 2x150 watts into 4 ohms. The top model delivers 2x300 watts into 8 ohms and 2x600 watts into 4 ohms.

Definitive Technology is reprising its International CES introductions, showing an expanded plasma-friendly Mythos series of speakers that now includes its first speaker to deliver left, center and right channels and with the series’ biggest and smallest wall-mountable models, the company said.

Other new component speakers include the company’s smallest powered subwoofer, and SuperCube Trinity Signature Sub — originally designed for the pipe organ at New York City’s famous Trinity Church — where an array of Definitive bipolar towers is deployed, one per organ pipe.

The plasma-friendly Mythos Solo is a 40-inch by 4.13-inch by 4.25-inch silver- or black-aluminum enclosure that delivers three front channels and mounts on a wall, shelf or TV top. The projected retail is $699. The left and right channels are each reproduced by two 3.5–inch drivers flanking a tweeter in a curved array that widens dispersion. The center channel is delivered by a tweeter flanked on each side by a 3.5-inch driver and a 3.5-inch passive radiator.

The biggest on-wall-mountable Mythos, the Mythos Eight, is designed for 50-inch to 60-inch flat-panel displays and can be mounted on walls or on stands vertically or horizontally. Its silver or black aluminum enclosure is 28.5 inches by 6.06 inches by 4.38 inches. Its inert PolyStone baffle houses a 1-inch tweeter flanked by on each side by a 5.25-inch bass/midrange driver, which in turn are flanked by a 5.25-inch pressure-driven radiator, Definitive said.

The smallest wall-mountable Mythos is the $249-each Gem at 10.25 inches by 4.25 inches by 4.13 inches with the same design and mounting capabilities. It’s also available as part of a $2,044 5.1-channel sub/sat system that includes a Mythos Sven center channel and a SuperCube III powered sub.

SuperCube II is Definitive’ smallest powered sub at 10.25 inches in height, width and depth with 650-watt digital amp, 7.5-inch active driver and two 7.5-inch passive radiators.

Also new: two new in-wall speakers. One is the company’s second in-wall subwoofer, the IW Sub Reference. Both fit in standard-depth walls, and both come with SubAmp 600 outboard amplifier that can drive two in-wall subwoofers.

The new sub, the IWSub Reference, is similar to the smaller IWSub 10/10 and is 14 3/8x25 1/8 x 3 13/16 inches. The non-resonant sealed medite enclosure fits flush into a standard stud bay. It features a bezel and grille that can be painted and matches Definitive’s new Ultimate in-wall speakers. Inside the subwoofer box is a shallow-depth long-excursion active 13-inch driver coupled to a 13-inch pressure-driven infrasonic radiator. The projected retail price is $999 each, plus $599 for the SubAmp 600.

The newest Ultimate-In-Wall speaker is the Reference Line Source (RLS) 2, an enclosed speaker engineered for vertical or horizontal in-wall installation. The sealed non-resonant medite enclosure houses a line source composed of two cast-basket 6.5-inch bass/midrange drivers that surround a 1-inch pure aluminum-dome tweeter. Above and below these three drivers are two 6.5-inch planar pressure-coupled bass radiators. The RLS 2 can be used for in-wall custom install home theater systems as a left main, right main, center or surround speaker. Their frequency response is 22Hz to 30kHz. The projected retail is $625 each.

The Trinity sub is a 2,000-watt Class D-amplified model in a 31.75-inch by 18-inch by 18-inch enclosure priced at $2,999. Two 14-inch woofers and four 14-inch infrasonic radiators belt out 10-200Hz bass at 128dB levels at 20Hz, and 116dB at 16Hz in a living room.

EchoStar unveiled a thin client that uses HomePlug powerline networking to connect to a home’s main EchoStar satellite set-top box, control its music channels, display the channels’ metadata, and stream the music through a home’s powerlines to a connected stereo systems or tabletop radio.

Harman Kardon is launching multiple DVD players, including its first two universal models and its first with HD/up-scaling HDMI output.

The $399-suggested DVD 47 and $349 DVD 37 are universal models, the former adding the up-scaling HDMI output. They also play MP3- and WMA-encoded CDs, Kodak Picture CDs and JPEG-encoded CDs.

The DVD-receiver in the new HS 100 HTiB at a suggested $899 plays DVD-Audio discs and CDs encoded with MP3, WMA and JPEF files. The 5x35-watt receiver comes with four two-way wall-mountable satellite speakers, a two-way center channel and a subwoofer.

Lagotek of Bellevue, Wash., is demonstrating a home-control platform based on the Z-Wave low-power, 9.6Kbps mesh-network protocol, which delivers two-way wireless-remote control over lighting, appliances, garage-door openers, thermostats and other home systems from LCD touch pads wired into a home’s existing light switches.

Lamps and appliances are controlled via Z-Wave power outlets that replace a home’s standard power outlets. Other home systems are controlled wirelessly when connected to a wireless interface hub. The system would allow A/V system control through the touch pads, which would also display music metadata. Zykronix, an OEM, offers a finished hardware design to suppliers.

McIntosh is unveiling the highest priced speakers it has ever made and one of the highest priced consumer speakers in audio history. And it’s meant to be driven by the company’s highest power amp.

TheXRT2K line-array speaker ships in September at $40,000 each, not $40,000 per pair. Each three-way, tri-wire-capable speaker contains a column of six 12-inch aluminum-cone woofers in a shared enclosure. A companion midrange/tweeter column, also in its own enclosure, features four 2-inch inverted-dome midrange drivers and 40 0.75-inch titanium-dome tweeters.

The tall line-array speakers “are designed to be very delicate and accurate as well as having the dynamic range that is required to recreate the sound pressure level of reality,” said product manager Ron Cornelius. Their dynamic range of more than 130dB requires massive power handling capacity and two of the company’s $30,000 2,000-watt mono MC2K amplifiers, Cornelius said. “These amplifiers have the highest output of any McIntosh amps, with the lowest distortion and best signal to noise ratio,” he said. They’re due this month.

Each MC2K mono amp uses three separate chassis. The two chassis that contain the power supplies and output transistors are identical. Each section handles one half of the audio sine wave. The two halves are combined in the third section, which contains an Output Autoformer, control circuitry and output watt meter. This is a fully balanced possible with the use of the Autoformer, Cornelius said.

Each of the two power sections have its own AC power cord, as does the combining unit.

Consumers with money left over after spending $60,000 for stereo amplification can invest in a new $26,000 three-chassis preamp, the C1000. It offers a choice of solid-state or vacuum-tube operation or both. Any of 18 connected sources can be amplified by either the tube or solid-state sections.

The C1000 and the MCD/MDA1000 CD transport and DAC complete McIntosh’s flagship stereo system.

NAD is launching a new series called the Master Series of reference-grade A/V components. They are the M15 preamp processor; M25 seven-channel amp; M3 dual-mono integrated amp; and the brand’s first universal DVD player, the M55. . They ship in November at suggested retails of $2,999 for all components but the DVD player, which retails for a suggested $1,799.

The DVD player features HDMI and component-video outputs with Faroudja DCDi chip that up-scale DVD to 720p and 1,080i HD formats. It also features DVD-Audio and SACD playback, HDCD decoding, and MP3 and WMA decoding, NAD said.

The M15 preamp processor is THX Ultra II-certified, features HDMI switching and up-converts to component video.

The M25 amp is THX Ultra II-certified and delivers 7x160 watts with all channels driven simultaneously into 8 or 4 ohms at 0.03 percent THD from 20Hz to 10kHz. Its PowerDrive circuit automatically senses a speaker’s impedance and adjusts power-supply settings for that load to deliver high power with low distortion into low-impedance loads.

The M3 dual mono amp features PowerDrive, 2x180-watt output, RS-232, 12-volt triggers and IR outputs.

NHT is replacing its Super Audio line of value-priced, high-performance speakers with the NHT Classis series of acoustic suspension models. The eight-SKU series isn’t a “rehash of old designs” and sports improved cosmetics, accuracy and performance, the company said. More three-way designs, for example, are included in the new series than in the Super Audio series. Suggested retails are $200 and $250 each for the series’ two two-way bookshelf models, $400 each for a three-way bookshelf, $1,800 for a pair of four-way towers, three-way center channels at $450 and $600 each, and powered subs at $600 and $850 each.

Paradigm is showing its UltraCube 10 powered subwoofer, which packs a 10-inchd river and 650-watt continuous Class D amp into an enclosure that’s 12.3 inches by 11.5 inches by 11.5 inches. The suggested retail is $799 in black ash.

PSB is targeting flat-screen owners with the VisionSound series of enclosed speakers due in November. The $749-each VS400 is a floor-stander, and the $999-each VS300 is designed for wall-mounting next to 42-inch and larger flat-panel displays. The VS300’s included wall-mount bracket becomes a center-channel stand when two feet are added. Another option turns the speaker into a tabletop mini tower. Both speakers feature extruded-aluminum enclosure and 4-inch woofers to maintain a svelte look, PSB said.

Sherwood is unveiling an automatic room equalization feature for its receivers and an HDMI switcher/up-converter.

The Newcastle-series R-771 A/V receiver at a suggested $599 offers SNAP (Sherwood Newcastle Automatic Parametric EQ), which is also being included as a running change to the current R-965 and R-865 receivers and the P-965 tuner/preamp processor. Consumers who already own these models can get SNAP added for $100 if they ship it to Sherwood for the upgrade.

SNAP adds seven bands of parametric EQ to each of seven channels after measuring the frequency response of each channel at 1/12th-octave increments, applying equalization to the frequencies most in need of it. Dual Point EQ lets users and installers measure the system performance at two different points in the room to improve system performance at both places.

The new R-771 also features video up-conversion to component video; multiroom, multisource operation; RS-232 control; field-upgradeability; and more.

Sherwood’s Newcastle HSB-600 HDMI Link lets HDTV owners up-convert [transcode] the component output of an AV receiver to HDMI and also switch between two HDMI sources to maintain a single-cable A/V connection from receiver to digital TV. The $299-suggested device adds digital audio to the converted HDMI data stream. The device doesn’t upscale a receiver’s component-video output to 720p or 1,080i HD, instead leaving it up to the HDTV to do the up-scaling, the company said. If the receiver itself up-converts composite- and S-video analog sources to component video, the device will also deliver those sources via HDMI to an HD display.

It can also split off digital audio from any HDMI input for processing and amplification by the consumer’s A/V receiver or pre/pro. It’s controllable by both RS-232 and IR.

Stealth Acoustics of Mount Vernon, Wash, is expanding its series of completely invisible architectural speakers with the F8 two-way speaker, joining the F6 two-way and an invisible in-wall subwoofer. The F8 features an 8-inch woofer and 25mm tweeter covered by an active diaphragm that can be painted, which is bonded to a mounting frame that attaches to standard structural framing. The edges of the panel can be feathered into the wall by using wallboard tape and joint compound.

Triad is downsizing with the introduction of its first Mini LCR speaker, available in the fall in in-ceiling, in-wall and component-style versions at $450, $500 and $550 each, respectively. They’re the company’s smallest speaker to date. The two-way speakers feature 4.5-inch woofer and silk-dome tweeter. They’re intended for tight-fitting applications, including installation between 12-inch on-center ceiling joists. The in-wall and in–ceiling versions, like other Triad architectural speakers, feature sealed-enclosure cabinets to prevent bleed-through to other rooms; tune response; and protect the drivers and crossovers from moisture, dust and construction debris.