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CEDIA Expo 2008:Infinity Flagship Tower Tops Lineup

Infinity is launching a new flagship tower speaker, the $6,000-each Prelude Forty, to commemorate its 40th anniversary here at the CEDIA Expo.

The brand is also expanding its wireless-subwoofer selection to three models from two.

The Prelude Forty tower, shipping in September, features dual side-firing 8-inch cone woofers, a 1-inch tweeter and four rectangular Maximum Radiating Surface (MRS) flat-panel drivers in a narrow-baffle enclosure whose baffle is angled back and whose sides are tapered in. MRS technology, which is used to deliver midrange and bass frequencies, was first used in the Cascade narrow-baffle speaker series unveiled in 2005.

MRS is said to combine the advantages of circular cone drivers with flat-panel planar-magnetic drivers to create high-accuracy, high-output speakers in small, narrow-baffle enclosures.

The speaker is 57.2 inches high, 7 inches wide at the bottom, 6.1 inches wide at the top, 18.5 inches deep at the base and 11 inches deep at the top. The 8-inch woofers are crossed over at 120Hz, the top two MRS drivers operate from 120Hz to 2kHz, the lower two MDS drivers operate from 120-350Hz and the tweeter operates from 2kHz.

In outlining MRS’s advantages, the company noted that cone drivers perform well in the bass to midrange bands with good linear excursion but require deep mounting depths. Planar-magnetic drivers require little mounting depth but are inefficient, have limited power handling, and perform well only at frequencies of 500Hz or more.

MRS delivers the advantages of both driver technologies by using rectangular high-excursion drivers that offer a “higher ratio of sound-radiating surface area to wasted baffle area” than either cone or planar-magnetic drivers. The greater amount of surface area, combined with MRS’s high-excursion capabilities, means Infinity’s MRS drivers can push as much air as larger cone drivers.

The drivers’ rectangular shape also yields other benefits. Because they’re narrow and tall, the driver delivers a wide, smooth horizontal radiating pattern that delivers a wide sweet spot while minimizing floor and ceiling reflections. The shape and size also help to reduce cone breakup, or flexing, to significantly reduce distortion, the company said.

In expanding its wireless-subwoofer selection, Infinity is adding the $549-suggested PS210W to the $679 PS212W and previously announced $1,199 PSW310W, which was due to ship by Expo time. The PS210W features 300-watt amp and 10-inch driver and was introduced a year ago.