Here and There at the 2007 Home Entertainment Show
Loudspeaker and amplifier solutions dominated the mainstream new-product introductions at New York’s consumer-oriented Home Entertainment Show last week.
• ZVOX demonstrated a prototype of its $599 Model 425 (dubbed by company founder Tom Hannaher as the WOWSA, for Wide-angle On-Wall Surround Audio), due to ship “mid-to-late summer”; it’s a full-range, wall-mountable single-cabinet home theater system with built-in subwoofers that fire out the two ends of the cabinet to circumvent wall-vibration problems. “Ninety-five percent of TVs sold in the U.S. are sold ‘naked’—without any audio system sold with it,” said Hannaher. “The complication, size and expense of surround-sound systems have worked against them becoming a true mass-market item. While home theaters-in-a-box have solved some of the problems, surveys have shown that 40 percent of HTIB buyers don’t even connect the rear speakers.” He added that multi-driver all-in-one under-TV systems with outboard subwoofers “don’t sync with the form factor of flat panels; there’s a ‘suitcase’ look to those subs.” The WOWSA, which ZVOX is selling direct and through distribution to CEDIA-type accounts, is 5 inches thick, 7 inches high and 37 1/2 inches wide, and includes a complement of three monaural speakers driven by a dedicated amplifier. ZVOX’s PhaseCue system provides a stereo soundstage effect. “The one thing you won’t hear from this system is digital weirdness,” he said, “because we’re not digital. It’s an analog system.”
• Soundmatters presented its SLIMStage 40 (shipping July, $899), which features 170 watts of power from eight internal amps in a chassis that is 39 inches wide by 3.3 inches high by 3.4 inches deep. Two subwoofer options are also available: the SubStage200 (4 inches tall; shipping July, $399) and the SubStage250Cube (shipping August, $449).
• KEF used the occasion of the show to mark the U.S. debut of the latest incarnation of its flagship Reference 207/2 tower speakers ($20,000 a pair).