The Best and Brightest from C.E.D.I.A. Part 2

We start our second article on our coverage at CEDIA 2004 focusing on Video products and move into Audio components for the serious audio and video consumer.

While Blu-Ray and HD DVD are still a year away (at least), several manufacturers are upgrading their DVD players to output 720p and 1080i signals that take advantage of the progressive scan circuitry found on all new HDTV display products.  While not true HD because the signal is upconverted, image quality is certainly improved over other progressive scan DVD players on the market.  However, there is one caveat that everyone should take into consideration, which is that you must use a DVI or HDMI digital video connector only to pass the digital video signal.  Component video will not pass the upgraded or upconverted digital video signals to your HD display device.  Many of these models that offer upconverted video signals are also universal players, which means that they can play both DVD-Audio and SACD.

Another DVD product category that is exploding is DVD Recorders.  Several manufacturers are now emphasizing these products over standard stand-alone DVD players.  And many of those manufacturers, e.g. Panasonic, for example, are also including hard-disc recording capabilities into their DVD Recorder products.  However, if you are in the market for a DVD Recorder with PVR capability, make sure that the model that you chose includes its own electronic program guide as this will easily facilitate the recording of your favorite shows.

As well, DVD/VCR Combos have become quite popular with the manufactures as price points drop well under $200 for a model that includes a 4-head HiFi VCR and a progressive scan DVD player.  While sales of stand-alone VCRs continue to drop precipitously, sales of the DVD/VCR Combo are on the rise.  Since there is a large installed base of VCRs, a combination unit makes perfect sense for many people.

Lastly, DVD Home Theater Systems, or DVD Home Theater in a Box (HTiB), are now offered by virtually all manufacturers.  Several of these models like Sony?s Dream Systems include an all-in-one DVD receiver and slim speakers.  While some folks may scoff at these systems, there are some higher-end models from companies like Boston Acoustics, Denon, Panasonic, and Yamaha among others that are among the best we?ve seen and are quite decent.  However, remember that the speakers are always the weakest link with any HTiB.


EchoStar plans on offering later this year an interesting integrated LCD HDTV Package.  Reportedly, DISH Network was quite successful in 2003 with the lowest-priced bundled DISH Network HDTV systems that included either a 34-in. CRT or a 40-in. rear projection TV with an HD Satellite receiver.  For late 2004, DISH Network will be offering a bundled flat-panel LCD HDTV system, which includes their DISH 811 HD Satellite TV receiver (that also includes an ATSC over-the-air HD tuner) and a choice of either a 30-in. LCDTV ($1,999) or a 40-in. LCD TV (@ $3,999).  Both displays support full-blown 1080i screen resolution in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio.  Either LCD displays features a stand-alone Media Box that provides inputs for all auxiliary A/V components, modular speakers with amplifier, and a removable custom stand so that either television can be wall-mounted.  Free installation is included with the purchase of either HDTV System bundle.

Philips RC9800i

Philips? new home entertainment remote controller looks to help folks easily control all of their A/V components.  The new RC9800i (@ $499) is an innovative Wi-Fi controller allowing anyone to access and control information and digital content from all types of A/V devices in the home including the home PC.  According to Philips, the RC9800i can recognize more than 600 brands of consumer electronics devices, and be updated via the Internet making it future-proof.  Also by using the Internet, the remote can also provide updates for television guides.  The RC9800i uses Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) to provide content overview and control of all UPnP products using Philips? Digital Media Manger PC software, which is designed to manage and organize all multimedia content.

DVD Players

Marantz has revamped its flagship DVD player ? DV9500 (@ $2,099) by including advanced performance and convenience features.  The DV9500, which features the world’s first-ever use of Dolby Headphone® in a DVD-Audio player, includes an HDMI interface, scaling to 720p and 1080i, brand new HDAM-2 SA output stages, 216 MHz/14-bit video decoding, and advanced audio circuitry that the company claims is worthy of the legendary Marantz heritage.  Adding to the surround sound flexibility and performance of the DV9500, there is now full bass management (including delay) for DVD-Video, DVD-Audio and SACD discs as well as built-in Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound decoding.  As well Marantz had added Pure DSD bitstream decoding for SACD along with separate power supplies for the audio, video and display components add to the player’s reported unprecedented audio performance.

Panasonic has introduced their first DVD-Audio and Video DVD player ? model DVD-S97 ? that includes HDMI connectivity, and will upconvert video signals to 1080i.  It is available in either black or silver for $399.95

LG has introduced their LGDVB418 DVD player that outputs all video signals to 1080i.  Key features include 7-in-2 Multi Memory Card Slot, a slim cabinet design, built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoders, and SD-to-HD (1080i) upconversion.  Currently available, the LG DVB418 is priced at $249.95.

Immersive has introduced their new Simmetry DVP (@ $8,995).  This unique video component integrates an HDTV Video Processor and DVD Video player with DVD-Audio and SACD capability.  The Simmetry DVP offers a unique blend of video processing powerful enough to up-convert and down-convert everything from DVD movies, cable/satellite TV programming, and HDTV programming.  Key features include: Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-Audio and SACD decoders built-in; Burr-Brown 24-bit, 192 kHz DSD 1791 Audio DACs, Rubycon Capacitors, and full digital bass management(for DVD-Audio/Video).  To help process video images, Faroudja?s DCDi de-interlacing scaler has been added.  Connectivity includes DVI input/output, RGB HD-15 input/output, component video input/output, and multi-channel audio output besides standard video inputs/outputs.

Meridian introduces their new model 800 Version 4 (under $20,000) featuring HDMI output capability.  Version 4 is the latest incarnation of the model 800 Optical Disc Player, which combines new software with a modified ?core? card complement offering a reported significant increase in the quality and flexibility of the system.  The new V100 Video Input card is included along with the recently released VE 12 HDMI/Progressive Component output card, which enables the model 800 to be interfaced with a display via a single interconnect providing video switching and scaling of internal and external video signals.  The model 800 Version 4 also includes the V100 Video Encoder card that generates wide video bandwidth, extended black level settings, control of brightness and contrast, and NTSC hue.  This model also plays back DVD-Audio.

MOON has introduced the new Calypso DVD Transport Player (@ $5,200), which features both DVI and SDI (Stand Digital Interface) video outputs.  The Calypso features internal progressive scan (480p) circuitry using Faroudja?s DCDi technology.  It employs Burr-Brown PCM 1703E 24-bit/192-kHz Audio DACs with 8x oversampling, and 10bit-/54MHz oversampled Video DACs.

NAD L 53 DVD Receiver

NAD introduces two new integrated DVD/Receivers ? L 53 (@ $599) and L 73 (@ $999).  According to NAD, the L 53 is first and foremost about the music with an integrated 50-watt x 2 full, disclosure-rated, amplifier.  What makes the L 53 unique among other stereo components is the addition of a progressive-scan DVD player featuring an integrated MP3 decoder.  To enhance movie soundtracks, the L 53 includes built-in SRS 3D circuitry plus an AM/FM tuner with 30 favorite station presets, and RDS completes the package.  The step-up L 73 is designed for smaller Home Theaters featuring a 45-watt x 5-Channel amplifier driven simultaneously into 8 ohms, and an integrated progressive-scan DVD player.  The L 73 automatically detects and decodes DTS and Dolby Digital bitstreams.  The L 73 also supports Dolby Virtual Speaker and Dolby Headphone technology.  Both models include component video output to pass the progressive-scan 480p video signals.

Samsung has expanded its line of 2nd generation high-definition conversion universal DVD players ? DVD-HD841 (@ $249.99) and DVD-HD941 (@ $349.99).  Both players, which were designed for use with HD displays, use a proprietary digital process to provide high-definition resolutions such as 1080i or 720p as well as 768p.  Audio capabilities have been beefed up by the inclusion of DVD-Audio and SACD playback.  Model HD841 includes DVI output.  The step-up model HD941 also includes Faroudja?s DCDi (Directional Correlation De-interlacing) circuitry plus HDMI output

DVD Recorders

JVC adds four new DVD recorders to its line-up of innovative A/V products.  The entry-level model DR-M10S (@$699) records in DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW formats.  What separates this DVD recorder from others is its Super MPEG Encoder/Decoder processor that improves over-all picture quality.  Building on all of the DR-M10S features, the company has added their DR-MH30S (@ $999) that also integrates a 160GB hard-drive to the mix.  For those of us with a large VHS library, JVC adds their innovative two-tuner DR-MV1S (@ $799) that combines the DVD recording capability of their DR-M10S plus JVC?s new proprietary VHS Progressive technology.  VHS Progressive allows VHS signals to pass from the deck to the TV via component video at 480p.  JVC?s top-of-the-line unique model DR-MX1 (@ $1,299) offers a triple whammy merging their DVD Recorder format capability with VHS Progressive VCR and an 80GB hard-drive in one unit.  The DR-MX1 offers three different recording possibilities, and the ability to dub between any two.

Panasonic has introduced the first DVD Recorder HDR (Hard-Disc Recorder) Combo with the largest hard-drive presently available.  Their new DMR-E500H features a 400GB hard-drive with the capability to record 709 hours of television programs along with high-speed dubbing (64x) from hard-disc to DVD.  This translates into 56 seconds dubbing time for a one hour TV in the extended play (EP) mode.  Other key features on this upgraded DVD-Ram/-R model include: MPEG4 recording capability, SD/PC photo card slots, and TV Guide On-Screen electronic program guide for easy record ability.  All signals are output progressively via component video.  Other connectors include: front 1394 (DV) for your camcorder and Ethernet for connection to your home network.  The DMR-E500 will be available this October for a price of $1,499.

Pioneer DVR-520H-S DVD Recorder and PVR

Pioneer introduced two new DVD-R/-RW DVD recorders.  The entry-level model (DVR-320-S @ $499) is designed as a replacement for your aging VCR. 32 different record modes are available depending on the quality level desired.  The unit?s Chase Play feature allows users to record a program while it?s being watched.  A front 1394 port is included for the easy dubbing of home movies from your DV camcorder.  Including all of the features found on the DVR-320-S, Pioneer has also added their new DVR-520H-S (@ $799) that also includes an 80GB hard-drive.  Content recorded on the hard-drive can be easily transferred to DVD for long-term storage at 8x, which translates into 2-minutes for a DVD-R disk in the EP mode.  Both models include Pioneer?s proprietary PureCinema progressive scan playback of standard DVDs.

Sharp introduced their top-of-the-line DV-RW350U (@ $479.95) DVD Recorder/VCR Combo.  While the DV-R350U records DVD images in the DVD-R/-RW format, it also plays back disks recorded in the other DVD+R/+RW format making it a very versatile performer.  Like other VCR Combos, it includes a 4-head VHS HiFi deck so that end users can easily upgrade their aging VHS libraries to DVD.  Completing the DV-R350U package, the model includes virtual surround sound for crisp and clear sound plus a Block Noise Filter, which decreases playback video noise.  Sharp also introduced three other DVD models: a standalone DVD-R/-RW Recorder ? DV-SR45U (@ $349.95), a DVD/VCR Combination Player ? DV-NC150U (@ $129.95), and a standalone progressive-scan DVD player ? DV-SL80U (@ $79.95)

Toshiba introduced three new DVD Recorders that include DVD-RAM, DVD-R, and DVD-RW recording options.  Models range in price from entry-level (D-R2 @ $299.99) to a step-up model (D-VR3 @ $449.99) that includes an integrated HiFi VCR to its flagship model ((RD-XS52 @ $599.99) with PVR capability.  Model D-R2 includes basic recording capability plus front DV (1394) input for the easy dubbing of home movies.  Building on all of the features found on the D-R2, model D-VR3 makes archiving home video easy via its built-in 4-head HiFi VCR.  Model RD-XS52, which will be available this October, is somewhat unique in that it features a 160GB hard-drive plus incorporates HDMI connectivity with video upconversion capability to 720p or 1080i.s


Denon has introduced their new flagship AVR-5805 (@ $6,000).  Weighing in at a hefty 90 lbs, it?s the world?s first 10-channel A/V Receiver with HDMI switching capability (including 5.1 audio).   The AVR-5805 offers custom installers and home entertainment enthusiasts the first-ever high-performance alternative to multi-component distributed audio/video systems with 16-channel output capability. The AVR-5805 can accommodate both audio and video from up to four independent sources and distribute them to four separate zones in the home. Through its ten fully discrete 170-watt amplifiers and comprehensive processing capabilities, the AVR-5805 provides numerous options, such as: one full 9.1-channel surround sound system in a single room; two discrete 5.1-channel systems in different rooms; One 7.1-channel system in the main zone, with a 2.1-channel system in a second room and a mono system in a third room; or an audiophile-oriented “bi-amp” mode, with two amplifiers used for each front, left, right and center speaker or for a full 5-channel system, delivering maximum power and performance. 

The AVR-5805 features an Equal Power amplifier section that delivers a massive 170 watts of high-current power into each of its ten channels, and is compatible with every popular 6.1 and 5.1-channel surround sound format from Dolby EX, DTS-ES, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx to THX Ultra2 Cinema and Music, and THX Surround EX decoding. It also features THX 4.0/5.1/6.1 post processing, and offers additional and useful DSP modes. Audio performance is maximized through Denon’s newly improved DDSC-D (Dynamic Discrete Surround Decoder-Digital) and Advanced AL24 Processing circuitry, which utilizes the use of advanced Texas Instruments and Analog Devices 32-bit floating point processors and Burr-Brown 24-bit/192kHz audio DACs.   In addition, the AVR-5805 offers the an extensive complement of connection options, including 3 HDMI (passing 5.1 audio) inputs, 1 HDMI output and 1 DVI-D digital video ports, 6 high-bandwidth (100 MHz), HDTV-compatible component video inputs (including dual component video monitoring for the main zone), IEEE-1394 (for the passage of all digital audio signals), a total of 14 audio/video inputs, connections for 2 high-resolution audio sources, such as DVD-A or SACD, multiple RS-232C ports, and Ethernet connectivity.  It will be available this November.

Pioneer Elite introduces three new A/V Receivers ? VSX-52TX (@ $1,000), VSX-54TX (@ $1,500) and VSX-56TXi (@ $1,700).  Each receiver utilizes a new 15-pound power supply and reportedly the largest capacitors in the industry ranging from 2 x 15,000uf (VSX-52TX) to 2 x 27,000uf (VSX-56TXi).  All models include equal amplifier power (110-watts x 7) to all channels featuring Auto Room Tuning with multi-channel acoustic calibration and offer THX-Select, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and DTS: Neo-6 surround processing.  All models include component video up-conversion as well.  Step-up models VSX-54TX and VSX-56TXi add advanced room tuning via Advanced MCACC, and universal remotes with LCD displays.  Model VSX-56TXi also adds a 1394 interface to port receive all digital audio signals including DVD-A and SACD from a 1394-equiped DVD player.

Harmon Kardon AVR 7300 Audio Video Receiver

Harman Kardon is shipping its flagship A/V Receiver AVR 7300 (@ $2,399).  Unlike other 7.1-Channel (7 x 110W) A/V Receivers currently on the market, the AVR 7300 utilizes an integrated Faroudja integrated video processor with its patented DCDi (Directional Correlational Deinterlacing) technology.  DCDi provides extraordinary image quality with 480p progressive scan video output from interlaced 480i video sources, which means that all incoming video sources from composite and S-Video are upconverted and passed via component video out.  The AVR 7300 incorporates a full complement of cutting-edge technologies and features, including a Quadruple-Crossover Bass Manger, bi-directional RS-232C connectivity with software and firmware upgradeability, and A/V Sync Delay.  Harman Kardon also introduced five new main line A/V Receivers ? AVR 135 (@ $449), AVR 235 (@ $549), AVR 335 (@ $799), AVR 435 (@ $999), and AVR 635 (@ $1,299).  All models include Harman Kardon?s proprietary EZ-Set EQ feature, which provides precise automated room equalization and system calibration.

Lexicon RV-8 Audio / Video Receiver

Lexicon, who has long been a separates high-end brand, has entered the integrated A/V receiver arena with their new flagship RV-8 (@ $6,995) rated at 140-watts x 7 amplifiers.  The RV-8 A/V receiver is designed as an audio/video control center with independent zone monitoring that provides control of audio and video source selection in three zones.  This model includes eight configurable inputs, and a built-in AM/FM tuner.  Besides including all possible 7.1 DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX configurations and THX Ultra2, the RV-8 also includes 7.1 LOGIC7 decoding that is compatible with all input sources and requires no special encoding.  To harness processing power, there are two Hammerhead Digital Signal Processing (DSP) engines included.  Complementing the RV-8?s audio prowess, it also features two broadcast-quality video switchers that accept all types of video signals including HDTV.  There are three component video inputs and one component video output with video upconversion from all composite and S-Video inputs.

Integra DTR-10.5 Home Theater Receiver Front View Integra DTR-10.5 Home Theater Receiver Rear View

Integra previewed their new ?built-to-order? Home Theater Receiver ? DTR-10.5 (@ $3,800).  Following the lead of PC manufacturers, the DTR-10.5 is a top-of-the-line Home Theater Receiver that features removable card-based circuit modules that provide a wide range of features, performance, and connectivity options.  Initially, this 150-watt x 7 receiver will include four modules ? digital audio, analog audio, composite and S-Video, and an AM/FM tuner.  Optional modules include: HDMI digital video interface, i.LINK (1394) digital connections for DVD-Audio and SACD, Net-Tune Ethernet audio, and multiple connectivity choices.  As new technology appears on the market, Integra will develop new modules.  Using the HDMI module, it upconverts all non-HD incoming video signals for 480p output.  This 7.1-channel receiver plays back all types of surround sound including DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX.  The DTR-10.5 will be available this November.

Boston Acoustics Avidea 770 Integrated Home Theater System

Boston Acoustics is finally starting to ship their Avidea 770 Integrated Home Theater System (@ $3,999).  According to Boston Acoustics, the Avidea 770 is the first of a new generation of totally integrated Home Theater Systems that combines state-of-the-art performance and technology, and ease of installation and use.  The system includes a Control Center incorporating Dolby Digital and DTS Surround Sound Processors, a progressive-scan DVD player featuring UniView video technology, an AM.FM tuner with Boston Recepter technology, six totally new satellite speakers, a powered subwoofer / amplifier, an intuitive touchscreen universal remote control, and patented, easy-connect speaker cables.  The UniView video technology will upconvert or downconvert video signals so that they can be perfectly ported to the appropriate display.  Each A/V input includes both analog and digital inputs.  The satellite speakers use a two-way design that includes a pair of 2-in. mid-range drivers and a ¾-in. soft dome tweeter.  The subwoofer includes a powerful 10-in. front-firing driver featuring Boston Acoustics? Deep Channel Design (DCD) technology.  The system is available in either white or charcoal.

Philips MCW770

Philips has added their Wireless PC Link Micro System ? model MCW770 (@ $399).  What separates this Micro Audio system from many others on the market is that it uses 802.11b Wi-Fi technology so that folks can wirelessly stream their favorite tunes from their PCs to the micro system from anywhere in their home.  Equipped with a 150-watt digital amplifier, the MCW770 also features three-way bass reflex loudspeakers and a remote control.

Classé CDP-100 Touchscreen CD Player

Classé, which is a leading Canadian audio brand, has introduced their new CDP-100 Touchscreen CD Player (@ $3,500).  Part of their Delta-line, the CDP-100 includes a TFT color touchscreen display that is incorporated into the front panel with an easy-to-use interface.  By using the touchscreen display, there are only three hard-key buttons found on this innovative audiophile CD player: Standby, Menu, and Load.  The CDP features an ultra-low noise power supply and a professional-grade disc transport/optical pick-up assembly integrated with Classé?s proprietary IMC (Isolated Master Clock) system.  The CDP-100 also employs a high-performance 24-bit/353kHz digital filter with oversampling and HDCD decoding capability.

Innovative Speakers and Speaker Systems

Boston Acoustics P400 Slim Theater Speaker

Boston Acoustics introduced their truly innovative P400 High Performance Slim Theater Speaker (@$1,500).  The P400 is a unique three-channel solution that delivers powerful, impressive surround sound for the left, center, and right channels from a single  thin chassis designed to complement next-generation displays such as Plasma or LCD TVs, and Micro Display rear projection TVs.  The P400 can be wall-mounted above or below any flat-panel display. It is also magnetically-shielded.  The speaker array consists of three 4-1/2-in. bass drivers, three 4-1/4-in. passive radiators, and three VR aluminum dome tweeters ? one set of each for the left, center, and right channels.  An included bracket allows the speaker to be angled up to 15-degrees up or down to better direct the sound towards the listening area.  The chassis measures 5 5/8-in. high by 40-in. wide by 3 15/16-in. deep, and is available in either black or silver finish.

Infinity has introduced their new TSS-4000 (@ $3,994), which is part of their Ultimate Total Solutions Home Theater System.  This flagship system reportedly offers exceptional sound quality and versatile installation options.  With its contemporary appearance, it has been designed to complement LCD and plasma TV displays.  The TSS-4000 can be placed in-wall, on-wall or on optional stands.  The system is comprised of four SAT-4000 three-way satellites (four 3-1/2-in. Metal Matrix Diaphragm [MMD] woofers, dual 3 1/2-in. MMD midrange drivers and a ¾-in. MMD tweeter), one CENTER-4000 three-way center channel loudspeaker (four 3-1/2-in. MMD woofers, dual 3-1/2-in. MMD midrange drivers, and a ¾-in. MMD tweeter), and one SUB-4000 powered subwoofer (12-in. MMD woofer, built-in 400-watt amplifier) featuring Infinity?s proprietary Room Adapter Bass Optimization System.  All speakers are magnetically-shielded, and available in a platinum finish with matching grills.

M-Design, which is a sub-brand of Monster Cable, introduced a truly innovative speaker system within its new ?Eleganza? line of Home Theater speakers.  Offered in various configurations including Component Centers, Tower Speaker Systems, Streamlined Center and Surround Speakers, Subwoofers, and Bass Modules, the most striking model is their Eleganza Flat Screen InvisiSound Frame (@ $3,999 to $6,999).  Looking like a picture frame that surrounds your flat-panel TV, the speaker drivers are embedded into the frame itself in a unique design.  The frame can be wall-mounted to surround your plasma TV, or it can be mounted to a one of its Component Centers.

Martin Logan, who produces some of the most creative and innovative speaker designs these days, introduced versatile and compact new on-wall/off-wall Vignette loudspeakers (@ $649 ea.).  These LCR/Surround loudspeakers, which are magnetically-shielded, feature ATF (Advanced Thin Film) transducers and plasma screen friendly styling.  According to the manufacturer, ATF transducer technology is ideal for all sound applications from two-channel to multi-channel music.  It is based on RADIA planar technology that consists of a micro-thin, low-mass diaphragm with an ultra-light, etched conductive aluminum surface suspended between two high field strength neodymium super magnet arrays.  Complementing the ATF transducers, two 4-in. high-excursion aluminum woofers are employed.  For ultimate clarity, a Vojtko crossover is utilized.  The Vignette comes standard with both silver and black grill covers and a low profile, single pivot wall bracket.

Polk Audio RM7300 Speaker System

Polk Audio introduces its new RM Series of Home Theater Satellite/Subwoofer Speaker Systems specifically designed to be used with all flat-panel TVs (Plasma and LCD TVs) and micro-displays such as rear projection DLP, LCD, D-ILA or LCoS HDTV models.  Except for the floor-standing subwoofer, all satellite speakers can be wall-mounted and come supplied with a bracket that allows for up to 15-degrees of lateral movement.  Stands are also available for table-top mounting.  All models feature Titanium finish extruded aluminum enclosures with a rounded back design.  For improved performance all satellites and center channel speakers include Polk?s proprietary Power Port technology.  There are four systems included in the RM Series all of which include 4 satellites, a center channel and subwoofer.  Additional satellites may be purchased for 6.1 or 7.1-channel set-ups. The RM6800 (@ $899.95) satellites/center channel speakers include a 3 1/4-in. midrange drivers and a ¾-in. silk dome tweeter along with a 10-in. powered subwoofer @ 65-watts.  The RM6900 (@ $1,199) doubles the 3.25-in. midrange drivers, and beefs up the powered subwoofer with a 12-in. driver with 100-watts of power.  The RM7300 (@ $ 1,99.95) utilizes twin 4.5-in. midrange drivers and a 1-in. silk dome tweeter for each satellite, a 3 1/4-in. midrange with a ¾-in. silk dome tweeter for the center channel with a shielded 100-watt power subwoofer (Polk?s PSW12) that features a 12-in. driver.  Rounding out the series is the RM7400 (@ $2,499), which is almost identical to the RM7300, that turns the front satellites into floor-standing towers and beefs up the center channel by including twin 3 1/4-in. midrange drivers and a ¾-in. silk dome tweeter along with the PSW12 subwoofer.

NHT is introducing their new XdDSP Powered Speakers (@ $5,500).  It?s a new 2.1 DEQX Calibrated DSP-corrected powered speaker system that, according to the manufacturer, reduces distortion and offers impeccable frequency and phase response, regardless of placement or listening position.  The system features two small satellite speaker cabinets, a powered bass or woofer module, and a hybrid outboard component that houses the DEQX-calibrated digital signal processor, and PowerPhysics XdA One-Cycle Sound amplifiers.  Capitalizing on the reported benefits of the DEQX Calibration, the XdA supplied DSP/amplifier is the ?brain? of the system, and includes only a few intuitive controls ? one for each channel.  There are two sets of inputs ? RCA and differential balanced (XLR) as well as outputs in the form of five-way binding posts.  The amplifier section contains four PowerPhysics One-Cycle Sound Class D amplifiers.  Each XdS satellite speaker features a two-way suspension design that houses an ultra-low distortion 5 1/4-in. midrange and a 1-in. neodymium tweeter along with a massive ?heat sink.?  The XdW bass module is comprised of two active, opposed 10-in. drivers and a PowerPhysics 500-watt amplifier.  Unlike other powered woofers, the xDW features only three controls ? volume trim, balanced output, and voltage selection.  Crossover functions, however, such as frequency response, phase, crossover point, and time domain filtering are also handled by the XdA.  Additional channels and bass modules can be added to create surround sound systems.   

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