Here are my picks for the HomeToys Hot Product Picks for 2005 award.
– KEF KIT100 5.1 sound system
– ARTcoustics’ loudspeakers and subwoofers
– iGroove from Klipsch
Sake or audio? Maybe both. JVC started using wood for their speaker cones because it provided an ideal combination of high sound propagation speed and natural vibration attenuation, allowing the speakers to naturally reproduce a wide frequency range. The problem was that the wood cracked and split. The solution was Sake, a Japanese rice wine. It kept the wood from splitting. JVC now offers the wood speaker cones in two speakers, the SX-WD10 tower and a bookshelf system, the SX-WD8. Both are three-driver, two-way, bass-reflex systems.
JVC Company of America www.jvc.xom
AVToolBox Home Theater Components
Some speakers use Kevlar for their loudspeaker cones. Angstrom uses Vectramâ„¢, a high performance thermoplastic multifilament yarn spun from liquid crystal polymer. Pound for pound, Vectranâ„¢ is five times stronger than steel and 10 times stronger than aluminum. The Ambientiâ„¢ line of speakers utilizes this breakthrough science for its line of in-wall speakers. The speakers are tonally accurate. The Ambientiâ„¢ in-wall speakers are virtually invisible. They employ contour switches to allow for critical adjustments to the mid and high frequency ranges after wall mounting. The connections are gold plated.
Transducer or sub-woofer? The term is used interchangeably, but the Forza transducer from Angstrom is powered by a 150-watt RMS amplifier providing acoustic output, which extends below 28Hz. The Forza resembles a small coffee table and blends with most home environments. The Forza is part of the Obbligato series of loudspeakers. For a sonic impression that you will enjoy for many years, just listen.
Angstrom Loudspeakers www.angstromloudspeakers.com
Surround yourself with sound, not speakers. One of the most unusual home theater in-a- box systems is the KEF KIT100 5.1 sound system, which just uses two speakers. It takes about ten-minutes to set up. .KEF discovered a way to deliver all of the subtleties and spatial depth encoded in today’s digital formats from a compact system. The styling is exceptional. For those looking for an easy and simple system or just have limited space, check this out.
KEF also introduced an in-ceiling home theater loudspeaker that automatically tilts to project lifelike movie audio directly toward the audience. The Ci-80QT adds realism to the movie experience while maintaining near-invisibility. Combine this with the Ci FDT motorized rear/dipole in-wall surround speaker and you have a hidden speaker system ready to use. Because their proprietary flat-panel driver fully extends from the wall, it is able to envelope the entire audience with uniform sound effects.
KEF America www.kefamerica.com
Tired of looking at that subwoofer? Soundmatters introduced their SUBstageâ„¢ 100 under-sofa, on-wall, behind the TV â€œflatmagicâ€ subwoofer. You can hide this subwoofer almost anywhere.
The newest additions to the award winning Neo Series are the In-walls which will are produced in four different models. These in-wall speakers will revolutionize the stereotype of the in wall speaker sound and design. Who would have ever thought of high end audio sound coming from an in-wall speaker? Wisdom Audio did! Maximizing the small area of an in-wall speaker was the greatest barrier to overcome, the extensive use of neodymium magnets throughout the planar magnetic drivers and the TNT-17 mid-bass drivers maximized the efficiency and size of the newly designed drivers.
Wisdom Audio www.wisdomaudio.com
Another way to hide that sub-woofer is to place it in a corner. The Atlantic ICS-10 enhances the bass performance while minimizing the visual impact on the room. Placing a sub-woofer in a corner greatly increases deep bass responses and sound pressure levels. The Atlantic sub-woofer is designed to work exclusively with their SA-225 subwoofer amplifier.
Atlantic Technology also introduced the first of the in-wall closed box loudspeaker systems. This unique design is completely enclosed for improved performance, yet mounts as simply as open-air designs. The IWCB-525 has the performance of Atlantic’s freestanding speakers with the invisibility and simple installation of their in-wall speakers.
Atlantic Technology International www.atlantictechnology.com
IPods here . . . iPods there. With six million shipped during the last quarter, you can find iPods almost everywhere. Monitor Audio announced its new I-deck for iPod. IPods are now part of the home music experience, not just for teenagers and joggers. The I-deck transforms the iPod from a personal digital player into a stereo system with stunning sound and good looks. It even automatically charges the iPod, and comes with a remote control. The design is Euro-chic.
Monitor Audio USA www.monitoraudiousa.com
The Timeframe Evolution series loudspeakers from DCM features one-voice technology, which matches the voicing, tone quality, and sonic characteristics of every speaker to create a perfectly harmonized system when different models are used together. All models feature a Kevlar woofer and a PTC protected Teteron tweeter with shorting ring. DCM has five new models for two-channel music listening or surround sound multi-channel applications.
Mitek Corporation www.mitekcorp.com
The engineers at Sharp have designed a speaker system to complement their Aquos LC-TV series. The design is a beauty to behold. The SD-PX2 digital panel theater is compact enough to sit on a bookshelf or mount on the wall. It brings full 5.1 channel surround sound to close living spaces. It features a multi-format disc player, five 35-watt 1-Bit digital amplifiers, clock, timer and multiple surround sound decoders. Sharp also has the SD-HX600 and the SD-HX500 digital panel theaters to compliment any panel display.
Sharp Electronics Corp www.sharpusa.com
Are you into gaming? While most gaming consoles can process Dolby Pro Logic II, Xbox from Spherex can decode Dolby Digital 5.1. The core of the system is housed in the subwoofer, which has a DDX digital amplifier with 300-watts RMS. The speakers disperse sound in all directions rather than directly to one area. The sound dispersion draws you onto the game rather than isolating the sound direction.
Spherex Inc. www.spherexinc.com
With SpeakerCrafts’ MODE connected to a MZC muti-zone control system, one iPod becomes one of the many sources throughout the home with the same feedback available from the iPod itself. MODE will support up to six iPods. Each of the six can be accessed as a separate source from any MODE throughout the house. Mounted in a double gang wall-plate, the MODE features a scroll wheel and push button that will allow scrolling through iPod music information on the color display. The iPod will reside in a proprietary dock which can be placed anywhere in the home and connected via CAT 5 cable to the main system.
SpeakerCraft, Inc. www.speakercraft.com
Everyone tries to hide wall speakers. Some are hidden better than others. ARTcoustic solved the problem nicely. Now the question is . . . â€œIs it art or is it a speaker?â€ ARTcoustics brings both high performance sound and style together in one elegant solution. ARTcoustics’ loudspeakers and subwoofers are thin, as slim as 2.5 inches and are covered with beautiful textiles or artwork. Their interchangeable, acoustically transparent front screens are covered in a choice of fabrics that can be printed with artwork or photography to complement any dÃ©cor. Its not just style, its also performance. Now you have loudspeakers that are a pleasure to look at.
The most exotic loudspeakers come from the German company, MBL. The MBL 101 E are omni-directional speakers. They radiate sound 360 degrees. You forget that you are listening to speakers. The 101 E takes on the sonic characteristics of its environment placing the orchestra in your home. The styling looks like something from a science fiction epic and the sound is engrossing. This is German engineering at its finest.
While we are discussing music, we should not pass by Sennheiser head-phones. The HD 201 and the HD215 are over-the-ear closed back designs that deliver outstanding attenuation of ambient noise. You become totally immersed in the music without distractions. Both models deliver dynamic potential with a tooth-rattling 12Hz for the HD215. The SPL limit is 112 dB. They are fitted with kink-resistant cables with 3.5 mm stereo plugs and Â¼ inch stereo plug adapters.
The stand-alone iGroove from Klipsch is compact and stylish. Did I mention that it is another all-in-one iPodÂ® shelf system? The iGroove is a true two-way system with dual 2.5-inch woofers, dual 1-inch horn-loaded tweeters, and a built-in iPod deck. The iGroove is easy to operate. Drop in the iPod and hit play. The IR remote gives you full system control. Klipsch also presented the iJam , a digital boom box utilizing the iPod. The iJam is battery operated and comes with an A/C adapter. It also has an FM tuner. Jam to your favorite tunes with the hottest colors.
Klipsch Audio Technologies www.klipsch.com
Placing speakers outdoors is always a problem. Earthquake’s AWS indoor/outdoor speakers combine performance, reliability and aesthetics in one package. These speakers blend with most any dÃ©cor. They have anti-rust aluminum grilles and screws, molded PVC construction, weather resistant silk dome tweeters, electro-plated Mylar woofer with UV protection, Marine and RV compatible and paintable.
Earthquake Sound Corporation www.earthquakesound.com
Polk introduced the new SurroundBar loudspeaker featuring their patented SDA surround technology. When connected to any multi-channel receiver, the SurroundBar delivers an immersive surround sound experience from a single, slim, front mounted speaker without the need for rear mounted speakers. The SurrounBar delivers a room-filling surround experience in nearly any location in almost any type of room.
Polk Audio www.polkaudio.com
Columns portray the feeling of sophistication and elegance associated with the old theaters. Acoustical Solutions makes custom columns to give your home theater that elegant look. The columns can be manufactured with cutouts for speakers, acoustical wall panels, or no cutout at all. Even you can have gothic columns in your house.
Acoustical Solutions www.acousticalsolutions.com
Do you have unwanted HVAC fan noise or other noises through your ductwork? Cascade audio has the solution, Silent-Mod DuctSilencersâ„¢. Don’t let extraneous noise interfere with those quiet moments in a movie. Cascade Audio has everything necessary to make a perfect home theater listening environment from acoustical graphic wall systems to rubber sound isolation clips.
Cascade Audio Engineering www.casacadeaudio.com
Most of us do not think about noise coming from our house’s AC line. It does, and it has become worse in the last 25 years. Such noise masks and distorts critical low-level signals and destroys detail, resolution and reliability. Utilizing Furman’s new Ultra-Linear filtering, televisions, projectors, DVD players, amplifiers, and processors are fed pristine AC power for unequaled audio and video clarity. Furman’s Elite-20 PF enables home theater equipment to, operate at maximum efficiency, reaching levels of performance previously unattainable. A critical feature of the Elite-20 PF is the exclusive Series Multi-stage Protection Plus featuring extreme voltage shutdown. This virtually maintenance-free surge suppression assures the highest level of AC protection possible, without sacrificing itself even when the offending surge is severe. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in my area we have many serious T-storms and power outages.
Furman Sound www.furmansound.com
A UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) maintains power temporarily to ride-out short black-outs or brown-outs. It allows for safe shut down of equipment during extended black-outs. This allows for DVR’s to continue to record. It also allows for projectors to be shut down and the lamp cooled. If a projector lamp is not cooled, the life of the lamp will be short. Voltage regulation prevents equipment from heating up due to low-voltage. The Panamax MAXâ„¢ 1500-UPS is an Uninterruptible Power Supply and Power Conditioner than protects your equipment up to 50 minutes depending on the load. You have an investment in your Home Theater. Don’t take the chance of a power problem damaging the equipment.
How do you install a DVD player, VHS player, satellite decoder, and PC so that all can be shown through one data projector or flat panel display? Easy . . . plug them all into a Kramer PrScale Digital Scaler/switcher. Kramer scalers allow video devices to be smoothly switched and scaled to the native resolution of the display device. The scaler/switcher digitally reprocesses the signal to correct mastering errors and regenerates the video at a higher line and pixel rate format, providing native resolution video for LCD, DLP and plasma displays. Kramer scaler/switchers can be controlled via front panel touch keys, IR remote control, and RS-232.
Kramer Electronics, Ltd. www.kramerus.com
If you need to output high definition audio and video sources to multiple HDTV’s at the same time, you might want to check out the Gefen 2:8 HDMI Distribution Amplifier. It’s a plug and play solution for signal distribution. Two switchable HDMI inputs allow you to alternate between sources for continuous audio/video play. Each source delivers HD video up to 1080p plus multi-channel digital audio to each of the eight connected displays.
Premier launched its VuTerra floor stand for LCD and plasma displays. The stand will fits most displays from 32 â€“ 61 inches. The stand is adjustable up to 48â€ from the floor for perfect viewing. It even has magnetic cover packs to conceal the cables. In addition, Premier showed the AM3 Universal Swingout Arm. It fits LCD and Plasma display from 40 â€“ 61.â€ It features 10ï‚° tilt, up or down, 180ï‚° swing, left and right, and has a 4 â€“ 26â€ extension from the wall. All cable routing is inside the arms. These are two outstanding products.
Premier Mounts www.mounts.com
We now have video in the 1080p resolution for the ultimate in visual experiences. To augment the video, Dolby has launched TrueHD. When coupled with high-definition video, Dolby TrueHD offers an exceptional home theater experience that enables you to enjoy sound that is as stunning as the picture. You will experience audio performance equal to the highest resolution studio masters currently available.
Dolby Laboratories www.dolby.com
Hope you enjoyed this brief view of the greatest home theater experience called Cedia. Check our articles and PR releases throughout the year to learn more about what’s new, what’s improved and what’s in the works.
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