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CEDIA Expo 2000

Part 2

 

Linn Knekt Kivor  At the show Linn unveils their new Knekt Kivor which is a recording and playback system for music. It is also a "music on demand" solution for multi-zone installations and sophisticated single system installations. Linn has taken the high road in making the Knekt Kivor web-enabled. It includes a hard drive to record music, replay it and distribute it from digital, analogue and on-line media. For the custom home installer, as many attendees of the CEDIA show are, customers can use up to 128 zones in a Linn Knekt Intersekt system via a Linn Knekt keypad, touchscreen and computer. Add the Knekt Kivor and music content can be simultaneously accessed by upwards of 16 users independently with individual start times. Linn is also showcasing their Aktiv AV51 Home Cinema System, with Dolby AC3, DTS and Linn Limbik surround sound processing, powered by Linn Klimax 500 Solo Power Amplifiers with the Linn Sondek CD12. Also showing are their Genki CD Player, Aktiv Sekrit and Diskreet in-wall loudspeakers.

 

The big buzz and complaints by quite a few of those needing to integrate all these custom home installations with multi-room, multi-zone capabilities is that there is a lack of compatibility between products. Installers are looking for a universal format so that products from various manufactures will work together. Fortunately computer integrations is helping in some regard. High-end audio single system units as virtually all audiophiles employ is quite low on the priorities here. Still, fully integrating ones music systems does not mean no high-end audio either (demonstrated by Linn above).

 

The folks from LiteTouch have focused on system integration and making it easy to rapidly install complex, multi-system home automation projects. Their new 5000LC Controller is compatible with virtually any master control system that an A/ V designer, security, or total home environment designer might choose via RS 232, RS 422 or dry contact closure protocols. The 5000LC system can provide master control functions for security, HVAC and A/V systems. It is also capable of controlling an unlimited number of lighting scenes and motor driven accessories. Furthermore, as more and more people want internet accessibility and controllability, the unit is manually controllable via modem. Offering various "if/then" programming to fully coordinate situational functions as well as sequential programming to coordinate predetermined relationship operations. The 5000LC works with Windows 95/98 and Windows N/T.

 

NAD C660Go NAD go! Coming on strong with many new products is none other than NAD who at CEDIA Launched their C660 CD Recorder, C350 and C370 Stereo Integrated Amplifiers, C270 Power Amp, C730 AM/FM Stereo Receiver, C420 AM/FM Stereo Tuner, and C521 Compact Disc Player. The C660 CD Recorder is a dual-transport CD-R/CD-RW deck that combines NAD sound quality with the convenience of the CD-R format plus offers MP3 decoding capability! Go NAD go! The C660 can deliver more than 20 hours of background music (10 hours per disc) without interruption when playing MP3 encoded CD-Rs at "near CD sound quality". NAD's Classic Series stereo component line is geared for those not desiring surround sound capabilities. Their new C350 and C370 Stereo Integrated Amplifiers, and the new C270 Power Amplifier, fit the bill quite bicely. All three include NAD's Impedance Sensing Circuit (ISC) topology which helps the sense tough loudspeaker loads and adjusts the amplifier accordingly. The C370 and C270 amplifiers deliver up to 450 watts into 2 ohms and as much as 50 amperes of peak current output into 1 ohm! Their C350 is rated to produce 60 watts per channel continuously into 8 ohms yet as is customary with NAD, it offers short term power upwards of 240 watts per channel into 2 ohms and 135 watts per channel into 8 ohms. Both the C350 and C370 feature relay input switching, seven line inputs and two tape loops, dual pre-amp outputs, defeatable tone controls, short signal paths, remote controls, a 12-volt trigger output for remote on/off switching of ancillary components, switchable Soft Clipping circuitry, and, in the C370, front-panel and remote A/B speaker switching. The C270 basic power amp adds an input level control, a12-volt trigger input, and a double set of speaker binding posts for simplified bi-wiring.

NAD's new C730 AM/FM Stereo Receiver includes six line inputs with two tape-monitor loops, 30 AM/FM station presets with eight-character alphanumeric naming for easy identification, RDS text and program display (for signals from RDS-equipped broadcasters), direct access to FM presets, a full remote control, preamp outputs, a 12-volt trigger output for automatic switching of remote components, switchable Soft Clipping circuitry, and tone controls with a defeat switch. The discrete power output stages is rated at 30 watts per channel continuous into 8 ohms and can produce as much as 90 watts output with greater than 20 amperes of current capability.

The C420 Stereo Tuner has a MOS-FET front end for clean, low-noise reception, 30 AM/FM station presets with 8-character alphanumeric naming for easy station identification, RDS text and program display, a 12-volt trigger input for remote switching capability, direct access to station presets, and a non-volatile memory for retaining station tuning data should the C420 be controlled via a switched AC outlet.

Keeping the custom home installers needs in mind, most products from NAD offer 12-volt turn-on triggers for integrated system power-up from a remote location, discrete IR command codes, and direct access to FM presets. Pricing is as follows:

C660 CD Recorder $999
C350 Stereo Integrated Amplifier $429 
C370 Stereo Integrated Amplifier $699 
C270 Stereo Power Amplifier $599 
C730 AM/FM Stereo Receiver $429 
C420 AM/FM Stereo Tuner $249 
521 Compact Disc Player $299

 

Panja SystemWe here at Enjoy the Music.com first ran into the wonderful Panja system at our coverage of the Interactive Music Xpo. They were the only people showing true high-performance audio systems integrating with their system. Panja systems are delivered through the Panja 1000, Panja 2000, Panja AMX and Panja PHAST product lines. The Panja AMX offers an efficient way to manage the equipment and information sources that make an office or enterprise run smoothly. With computers, presentation equipment, lighting controls and other essential office tools and applications linked in a single system, access and control is simple and convenient. For the non-business home environment, their PHAST systems allows for a myriad of appliances and devices such as television sets, air conditioners, light switches and dishwashers can be linked and controlled through a single control panel. Internet geeks such as myself love the Panja1000 Home Networking System. This allows for information and integration control to and through the Internet! More and more manufactures at CEDIA are looking towards internet integration and controllability.

i was impressed at the Panja system as used at the Interactive Music Xpo and here at CEIDA their use of the Panja 1000 Gateway allows for their "Broadband Blast". This is a Panja designed system which funnels multimedia content as music and video from Broadcast.com directly to the home (or business) without using a personal computer as an interface. Those of you may recall our coverage of the Streaming Media East 2000 where RealNetworks showcased their capability of streaming "VHS Quality" audio/video over the internet at only 500kbs. Soon, though high bandwidth connectivity, we may be watching TV over the internet! Panja has you covered. The Panja Control allows owners to monitor their homes and businesses no matter where they are through the internet. Furthermore, the PanjaCast users receive only the information they want from the internet (news, weather, etc) delivered to them instantly without the constraints of a personal computer.

 

Peerless Wall LCD MountVirtually all custom home and business installers need to find creative ways to mount on walls, or somehow creatively locate products (TVs, audio/video equipment, etc) for their customers. These solutions need to be incredibly strong and yet offer effective and very safe mounting. Peerless line of audio and video mounting equipment have expanded to offer more new products to their customers. Peerless has expanded their line of Plasma screen mounts includes wall, ceiling, back-to-back mounts, a plasma screen cart, and a new quad matrix mount for four plasma screens. Their new Articulating Swivel Mount for plasma screens swivels, tilts, turns, and fits flush against the wall. Two pivot points and 180 swivel provide multiple viewing positions. Peerless offers plasma mounts to support screens from fifteen different manufacturers, and the list of models is continually expanding.

Peerless A/V Wall MountTheir new wall-mounted Electronics Towers support any combination of audio/visual equipment within minimal space and are engineered for practicality as well as with dramatic contemporary styling. They are available in two configurations, and there are three models to choose from: the PM 627 (for 25" to 27" TVs) and the PM 632 (for 30" to 32" TVs) feature a rotating TV tray and three height adjustable equipment supports; and the PM610 offers four height adjustable supports without a TV tray. Cords are neatly concealed behind the cover plate, preserving the lines of the equipment and keeping the chances of tripping over cords to a minimum. Safety is of course a key issue with wall mounting devices.

 

Phase Technology Model CI-110Phase Technology's new in-wall Model CI-110 loudspeaker features a user-adjustable, variable-axis soft-dome tweeter to optimize the sound reproduction to have the upper frequencies better disperse to the desired location. Included is Phase Technology's proprietary Unicell treatment is a highly absorbent material that recessed on a one-inch-thick MDF baffle to dampen unwanted driver resonances and substantially reduce transmitting vibrations to the walls they are mounted on. Not using off the shelf parts, their soft-dome driver was invented and patented by the company's founder, Bill Hecht. This allows for high quality reproduction of both music and movie sound. The CI-110 features dual solid flat-piston rigid-polymer-foam 6.5" midrange/woofer drivers with the tweeter centered between them. Phase technology's new extruded aluminum mounting flange and bracket system holds the new speaker securely to its drywall location. Suggested retail per speaker is $500 and is shipped with a white, paintable frame and measures 22 1/2" H x 8 3/4" W x 3 3/4" D. Specifications include a 38-22,000 Hz frequency response with impedance at 8 Ohms and 90db sensitivity.

 

Stratus SubSonic 7Not resting on their laurels, PSB loudspeaker company is offering new items in their critically acclaimed Stratus Series. The self-powered subwoofer Stratus SubSonic 7 and two updated center channel systems, the Stratus C5i and Stratus C6i to be specific. The Stratus SubSonic 7 employs a 15-inch driver coupled to a "BASH" amplifier that delivers 330 watts RMS, 600 watts dynamic power, and 1200 watts dynamic peak-power, in an acoustic-suspension enclosure that measures 17-3/8 x 18-1/8 x 17-3/8 inches. The Stratus C5i and C6i both employ a pair of new 1-inch neodymium-magnet aluminum-dome tweeters with the distinctive Stratus phase plug, replacing the poly-flare and fabric tweeters in the earlier Stratus centers. In the C5i, the new tweeters are coupled with dual 5-1/4-inch polypropylene-cone, rubber-surround woofers. In the C6i, the tweeters are matched with two larger (6-1/2-inch) polypropylene-cone, rubber-surround woofers. The enclosure of the C5i measures 19-1/2 x 6-3/4 x 9-3/4 inches, while that of the C6i measures 23-3/4 x 8 x 11-3/4 inches. Both the new centers are available in black ash or high-gloss finish, and the SubSonic 7 is available in black roughcast finish. The Stratus SubSonic 7 is $949/each while the Stratus C5i is $549 and C6i $799 (high-gloss finish adds $100).

PSB's new Alpha Intro loudspeakers employ a new 3/4-inch, anodized aluminum-dome tweeter and a new 3-1/2-inch woofer with polypropylene cone and rubber surround that fits into a cabinet measuring only 4-1/4 inches wide by 6 -3/4 inches high by 6-1/4 inches deep. The Intro CLR places the tweeter between two of the woofers in a cabinet measuring just 4-1/4 inches wide by 9-3/4 inches high by 6-1/4 inches deep. Both models come in textured black or white, have structural, molded front baffles and backs mounted on MDF cabinet sleeves, and sport color-matched, removable, perforated aluminum grilles. Both have video shielding to allow placement right next to a TV set or computer monitor. For ease of mountability for the custom installer, the back panels include rear keyhole slots to allow direct wall mounting and threaded brass inserts that can easily secure the speakers to OmniMount brackets or to Vogel Sat-5 brackets and to new Alpha Intro stands. Both Intros have five-way, gold-plated binding posts to accommodate virtually any likely connection. Suggested retail prices are $199/pair for the Alpha Intro LR and $169 each for the Alpha Intro CLR.

Still more goodies by PSB include the Image 7PT and 10S that is part of PSB's Image Series. Both of the new Image models use the "high-definition" Image 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeter. The Image 10S surround model uses two baffle arrays of this tweeter with a 5-1/4-inch polypropylene-cone, rubber-surround woofer. The drivers on each array are positioned 45 degrees off axis, 90 degrees between them. The Image 10S enclosure measures 12-1/2 x 12-7/8 x 7 inches and backs conveniently against a side or back wall. The Image 7PT combines the Image tweeter with three 6-1/2-inch polypropylene-cone, rubber-surround drivers, two of which are powered by an internal amplifier delivering 130 watts continuous power. These powered woofers are located within their own sub-enclosure within the 7PTs cabinet, which measures 8 x 39-1/2 x 19-3/4 inches. The enclosures for both models come in black ash or cherry finish. PSB will begin shipping the Image 10S in September, with a Suggested Retail Price in the US of $649/pair. The Image 7PT is due to start shipping in October, at a suggested price of $1,449/pair.

PSB Loudspeakers
From left to right: Images 2B (on pedestal), 3LR, 4T, 1B (bookshelf), 5T, 7PT, 6T, SubSonic6 (bottom right), 9C (middle right), 8C (top right).

 

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