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Soundbars, Tabletop Speakers Abound At CEDIA

9/05/2012 08:00:00 PM Eastern

INDIANAPOLIS — Speakers that require little or no installation could outnumber their installed counterparts here at the CEDIA Expo, where multiple suppliers will launch active and passive soundbars, high-performance in-room speakers, Air- Play speakers, and other tabletop speaker systems.

Here at the show:

• Artison and Golden Ear will show their first passive three-channel soundbars.

• Current Audio and Paradigm will show their first active soundbars.

• Boston Acoustics, Polk and Yamaha will show new active soundbars.

• NAD and Paradigm will show their first AirPlay speakers.

• KEF and Monitor Audio will offer their first powered speakers with USB connection to PCs.

• PSB will launch its first active speakers, intended for desktop audio.

Here are the details on these and other speaker introductions:

Adam Audio: The German company will launch the first speaker in its passive high-end Tensor Mk2 series.

The first passive Tensor Mk2 speaker is the $22,000/ pair Gamma, intended for left-right applications. It will be followed by more passive models to expand the passive series price range from $8,000/pair to $55,000/pair. A center channel and subwoofer are also planned for the passive series. In 2013, the company plans active versions of Tensor Mk2 speakers.

Artison: The company will replace its current passive three-channel soundbar with three new models designed for TVs with thinner displays. Also in acknowledging the rise of ever-thinner TVs, the company is launching in-wall install kits for its three DualMono (DM) series of flat speakers, which attach to flat-screen TVs.

The soundbars, comprising the Studio series, are 2.25-inches-deep and positioned as offering both aesthetics and performance. They are the $999-suggested Studio 39, $1,499 Studio 46, and $1,999 Studio 55.

The Studio 46 ships in September, followed soon by the other two, the company said. The kits ship in the fourth quarter.

Boston Acoustics: The brand’s M series of high-performance speakers is a completely new line consisting of six models that bring the brand to higher price points. The $999-suggested MSub subwoofer, $599 M Center center-channel speaker, $799/pair M25 bookshelf speaker, and three floorstanding speakers. Those are the $1,499/pair M250, $1,999/pair M340 and $2,499/pair M350.

All but the subwoofer are two-way models.

The new models add extended-bandwidth tweeters to extend high-frequency response, deliver lower distortion with higher power handling, exhibit more stable linear motion, and provide more clarity, the company said. They feature Lo-Q cabinet construction to minimize cabinet interference with sound accuracy.

The $1,999/pair and $2,499/pair speakers feature four woofers.

Current Audio: The company’s first two active soundbars are the $499 SB65 with 6.5-inch wireless subwoofer and the $699 SB8 with 8-inch wireless subwoofer. The later adds stereo Bluetooth for streaming music from portable devices. Additional details were unavailable.

GoldenEar: The company’s first soundbar is the passive, three-channel $999-suggested SuperCinema 3D Array, which ships in October. The company’s highest powered active sub, the $999 ForceField 5, ships in December.

The soundbar measures 49 inches wide by 4.75 inches tall by 2.5 inches deep. It’s designed to minimize interaural crosstalk in the 150Hz to 2,000Hz range to improve front-stage width and depth beyond what three separate-but-closely-spaced speakers can deliver, the company said.

The ForceField 5 is a step up from the current Force- Field 3 and 4 subwoofers, offering more power and deeper bass response to the infrasonic range for both movie and music listening.

KEF: The company is launching its first powered speakers with USB connection to PCs, Apple iOS devices, and Android devices to play back their music.

The $799-suggested X300A two-way speaker pair, shipping in the fall, is said to perform as well as professional studio monitors, thanks to biamplification, use of Class AB audiophile-grade amps, 96kHz/24-bit USB input, and KEF’s proprietary Uni-Q drivcer array, which places a tweeter in the acoustic center of the woofer to deliver wide dispersion and a wide sweet spot.

Martin Logan: The Motion 15 bookshelf and Motion 30 center channel join the recently launched Motion 20 and 40 floorstanding speakers as part of a plan to remake the Motion series, which are priced less than the company’s electrostatic speakers.

Both improve performance over their predecessors, in part through larger drivers and cabinet redesign. The Motion 15 is priced at $799/pair in gloss black or gloss white and at $849/pair in high-gloss black cherry.

The Motion 30 center channel is available in gloss black at $649 each.

The two new speakers join the Motion 20 tower at a suggested $749 each and the Motion 40 tower at $949 each.

Monitor Audio: The Kevro-marketed British speaker brand is showing its first home-theater speaker package, the MASS. The 5.1 system, priced at $1,299, consists of five curved satellite speakers and a curved active subwoofer.

The four satellites and center channel can also be purchased without subwoofer at $699. The sub is $599 if sold separately.

NAD: The brand is expanding its Viso series of docking speakers with the $600-suggested Viso 1 AP, which is the company’s first tabletop speaker with Apple AirPlay. The speaker also features Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth with the AptX codec, and rear USB port for charging and streaming music directly from Apple’s iOS devices. Other music sources can be connected via USB input or optical digital input , which is capable of streaming 24-bit/96kHz audio.

Polk: The company’s latest two active soundbars, the $399 SurroundBar 5000 IHT, will ship in September, and the $849 SB 9000 will follow by International CES. Both previously announced products are 2.25 inches deep.

PSB Speakers: The company’s first active speaker outside of subwoofers is the Alpha PS1, which is designed as a desktop audio system with enough power for a small- to medium-size room. It ships in October at a suggested $300.

Steinway Lyngdorf: The Danish high-end speaker maker is launching the 8.53-foot-tall Model LS Concert floorstanding speaker, which is its first speaker to combines dipole technology with dipole technology to create an open-baffle dipole line-source speaker.

The price for a stereo set-up starts at a suggested $228,000, including six LS boundary woofers, five A1 amplifiers, and one SP-1 stereo processor with RF remote control.

Triad: The CR-1 center-channel speaker, targeted to retail for a suggested $15,000, is the first speaker in the company’s Cinema Reference series of speakers, which are designed for larger screening rooms and dedicated home theaters with 15 to 30 seats. It ships in the fourth quarter.

It’s the company’s loudest speaker to date, delivering SPLs of up to 12dB at 1 meter. The 46-inch by 31-inch by 10-inch cabinet is designed for placement behind an acoustically transparent screen or 11-inch-deep stretched-fabric wall.

Yamaha: The company plans three new active soundbars to expand the lineup.

See TWICE.com for additional details.

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