CEDIA 2016 is underway and Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention is overflowing with fantastic home theater and two-channel gear. Over the next two days, HTS will feature two summary reports detailing breaking news, new product sneak-peeks, and some favorite finds from the floor.
Several weeks ago, HTS reported on JVC's new native 4K projector: the DLA-RS4500. It was reported as JVC's first 4K projector, which turns out to be partly false. This, in fact, isn’t JVC’s first go around with native 4K imagery. Nearly 6 years ago, the company released a small run of native 4K projectors (DLA-RS4000) that sold for a whopping $125,000. The new RS4500 isn’t quite as pricey, but still is a budget buster with a price tag of $34,999.
The heart of the RS4500 is JVC’s second generation laser light technology called BLU-Escent. While this is the tech's first entrance into the home market, JVC’s first generation BLU-Escent projectors have seen commercial use in large screen applications (such flight simulators) for a number of years. The RS-4500 uses BLU-Escent laser light in conjunction with three small 4K D-ILA devices to produce 4096 x 2160 resolution, 3,000 lumens, and color that stretches beyond the DCI color space (roughly 80-percent of BT 2020).
With a laser life rating of 20,000 hours, the likelihood of seeing significant light loss over the lifetime of the projector is low (the laser can be replaced, but must be replaced professionally).
The RS4500 is currently undergoing rigorous testing by THX, and JVC believes it will become the world’s first THX Certified 4K projector. Unfortunately, technology used within the RS4500 won't likely trickle down to lower price points in the near future; moderately priced lamp-based JVC consumer projectors will continue to rely on e-shift technology. Sorry average guy (myself included), but you’ll need to wait several years for JVC to bring laser light to projectors priced below $10K.
JVC is showing off its new projector at CEDIA using a 16-ft x 9-ft Stewart Studio Tec 130 screen in a light controlled room. The presentation features stunning 4K nature scenes sourced from Mammoth HD and the trailer for Universal Studio’s LUCY film. Both show insanely deep blacks, wildly vibrant colors, and detail to die for. The RS4500 is, without a doubt, capable of producing reference quality video imagery beyond what other JVC projectors are currently capable of producing.
Look for the DLA-RS4500 to hit the street during December 2016.
HTS covered MartinLogan’s ESL 13A electrostat debut at Capital Audiofest 2016 just a few short months ago. Fast forward to CEDIA, and MartinLogan is delivering more large speaker newness in the form of its new ESL 9. This latest electrostat model falls one slot below another newly announced speaker, the ESL 11A, and is priced at a manageable $6,495 per pair. To keep the price down, the ESL 9 is a fully passive speaker (ditching the active bass drivers featured on its older siblings) without onboard bass room correction software. It does feature, however, MartinLogan’s award-winning Curvilinear Line Source controlled dispersion ESL transducer paired with the company’s new ultra-rigid AirFrame blade construction and a dual-opposing bass driver design (MartinLogan implements 8-inch low distortion aluminum cone drivers in this particular model).
Not surprisingly, the ESL 9 is a gorgeous looking speaker with all of the attention to fine details that we’ve come to expect from the company.
MartinLogan also is using CEDIA to launch three new center channel options, each of which is voiced to match MartinLogan ESL 15A thru 9 speaker products. According to Dennis Chern (MartinLogan’s Eastern Sales Manager), all three models are due to ship sometime during late October or early November.
The Illusion C34A (floor standing) is the most robust of the new center channel models, designed to create excellent vertical dispersion of high frequency sounds using dual Folded Motion XT tweeters paired with a 34-inch wide dipolar curvilinear XStat transducer (which handles mid-frequencies). The low end is managed by four powered subwoofers controlled by a Class-D amp and a 24-Bit DSP engine.
The ESL C18 uses a slimmer design to make shelf and wall mounting a possibility. This particular model incorporates an 18-in wide XStat transducer, a single Folded Motion tweeter, and dual aluminum cone woofers.
Rounding out the group is a much smaller table/cabinet mount speaker (ESL C). This particular model features MartinLogan’s Center Force dual-woofer system that centrally mounts two 5.25-inch woofers within the cabinet, behind the tweeter and electrostat panel.
Look for center channel pricing to be released soon.
We’ve all either dealt with or read about buzzing or hums emanating from speakers (or, perhaps, power dropping out altogether) when running a system. It can be a frustrating experience, for sure. SurgeX’s enVision diagnostic tool (available through various online and brick-and-mortar stores for $496) can help identify existing power conditions through performing a power analysis. Results are displayed on a computer (in real time) using a Windows-based software package. SurgeX's demo team showed how the enVision can instantaneously identify a neutral-to-ground issue (appliance induced), an event that easily can introduce buzzing or a hum into a system. It’s a sharp little tool that certainly might come in handy when tackling a frustrating power situation.
SurgeX also demonstrated a premium Standalone Surge Elimination power surge protector ($399), managing a stable line of power to a television while being pounded with surges of electricity just below 6,000 Volts (which is near the structural limitations of residential romex wiring). Despite these massive spikes of energy, the television’s receiving power didn’t rise. This particular Standalone had 1 input and 1 output plug (but users can connect a power strip for multiple devices, if so desired). Unlike similar products on the market, the Standalone is “non-sacrificial,” which means it can take near limitless hits and continue to work. Definitely something to check out if you’re concerned about nasty power spikes and surges damaging your expensive home theater or two-channel equipment.
Polk Audio is a champion of great sound at a reasonable price and the company’s brand new (just announced today) Signature Series of loudspeakers looks to continue that tradition. The Signature Series falls just below the LSiM and RTiA lines in Polk’s hierarchy of models, and will replace its current TSX speaker series. Buyers will have three different tower models to choose from (priced from $500 to $900 per pair), two center channels ($229 to $299 each), two bookshelf models ($229 - $299 per pair), and a small surround sound module ($199 per pair).
The entire series sports artfully rounded MDF cabinets with a washed black walnut finish (which, to my eyes, looked sensational), quality hardware, five touch point feet, magnetic grills, and Polk’s signature power port technology. In addition, the line has Hi-Res certification (achieved by offering performance up to 40kHz). We’re hoping to acquire a pair of towers for review; Polk’s onsite demo session was impressive.
Polk also brought its new 13.4-inch MagniFi Mini soundbar ($299). It’s a speaker with an incredibly small foot print, vast connectivity, and amazing room filling sound. It pairs with a uniquely-shaped 6-inch wireless subwoofer. I heard a demo of the MagniFi Mini that certainly caught my attention. Based on sheer size alone, you might think it’s incapable of any kind sound worthy of mention…but trust me when I say: this is a product to keep an eye on.
I'll have more details about Polk Audio's new speakers next week.
Pioneer dropped a bomb today, introducing three new members to its Elite line of AV receivers. The new group (SC-LX701, SC-LX801, and SC-LX901) all feature Class D3 (Direct Energy HD) amplifiers, MCACC Pro room correction with optimization for Atmos speaker modules, full DTS:X functionality out of the box, and new HDMI technology that eliminates delay and handshake issues experienced with previous HDMI versions.
The biggest news is that Elites’ new flagship receiver (SC-LX901) ships with 11 onboard amplifiers, allowing it to power a full 7.1.4 Atmos setup as a standalone unit. This kind of functionality is relatively rare among receivers made by larger consumer-oriented brands.
Pioneer also revealed several slim two-channel receivers (Elite SX-S30 and VSX-S520) made for driving smaller two-channel speaker configurations.
Pioneer’s demo room showed off its incredible sounding Elite branded Andrew Jones designed Atmos enabled tower speakers in addition to a new sub $1000 FS-EB70 Speaker Bar (comprised of a 6-inch subwoofer, a processor unit, and a soundbar). Both products delivered quite a show, with the smooth effortless sound of the Elite speakers leading the way.
I'll have more details about Pioneer's new receivers next week.
Image Credits: Todd Anderson / Home Theater Shack