The New York Groove
By Chris Boylan
here to e-mail reviewer
on the 4th floor, New York City high end audio and home theater dealer Harvey
Electronics showcased a fine home theater system featuring Martin
Logan loudspeakers and McIntosh electronics. As usual,
sounded great on home theater and music-only material, and the HD
picture coming from a D-VHS copy of "Fifth Element" (the powerful
"Diva" scene) looked crystal
clear, except for one visible drop-out in the five minute demo (which is,
alas, common to D-VHS, based on my own brief experience owning a JVC
D-Theater D-VHS deck).
Local high-end dealer Harvey Electronics
McIntosh electronics and Martin-Logan loudspeakers.
In-Wall Speakers, and
Next door, Joseph
Audio showcased their new RM55LE ($12,500/pr.), which are nestled
in the higher end of Joseph's line, between the RM33 and the top of the
As in previous years, The Joseph speakers were powered by Manley's
excellent 250 wpc. mono-blocks... Or were they? In fact, Jeff
Joseph pulled a fast one on us. Not only was he not using the
Manley 250 amps, he wasn't even
playing the RM55s! In a trick that harkened back to the
Bose Acoustimass demos of the 1980s, Jeff walked over to the curtains
and revealed that we were actually listening to his new "Insider"
in-wall speakers ($2,000/pr.) powered by the diminutive Manley Stingray
40 Watts/Channel integrated amp ($2,250). I wish I could tell you
I saw right through this little ploy, but frankly, he got
Jeff Joseph proudly reveals his in-wall
Of course, when he actually switched on the RM55s and bigger Manley
amps, the difference in detail and low bass extension was immediately
evident. But these little in-wall speakers certainly held their
own, and would make an excellent choice if your specific requirements
dictate that speakers are better heard than seen. As for the real RM55LEs, they carry on in the tradition of their big sisters, the Pearls -- the extended bass of a dedicated sub and pinpoint imaging of a good set of mini-monitors. Had there been a "best in show" vote this year, I'm sure this system would have been a contender.
Manley Labs 250 monoblocks (rear) and Stingray integrated amplifier
(front top) were a great match for the Joseph loudspeakers... as usual.
Reason For No "Best In Show" Vote This Year?
Show," I was curious as to why there were no voting cards this year for
attendees to vote for their favorite systems. Joseph revealed a
tale of favoritism and political influence that some of his unnamed
competition has apparently garnered with the show hosts,
Primedia. A Primedia publisher had apparently gotten complaints
from Joseph's competition that they were unhappy that Joseph kept
winning "best in show" year after year. So, said publisher took
Jeff out to lunch, bought him a nice meal and broke the bad news:
"Sorry, no voting this year." True or not, it's unfortunate that
attendees were not able to express their votes for their favorites this
year, and I hope Primedia reconsiders this decision in the future.
Down the hall
Joseph was mbl, who showcased their new SACD/CD
player the model 1532 ($8,000, available June, 2004). I love the
look of the mbl gear. It always reminds me of some 50's SciFi
movies... but in a good way.
Distinctive styling makes mbl stand out in a
chose a different approach to attract listeners to its home theater
demo. Attractive booth babes (works every time... at least on
me). In addition to the lovely spokesmodels, their demo featured
all Cinepro electronics and loudspeakers. At levels that far
exceeded "Dolby Reference," the Cinepro folks showed an entertaining
clip from the film "Underworld." Two words come to mind - visceral impact. You could
feel this demo in your guts. And I have to say I did not notice a
lot of strain or distortion. Had I stayed in the room any longer, I fear I would have lost some high frequency hearing, but if you're looking for
gut-wrenching punch, this is the place.
Cinepro's Evolution Series home theater
play loud... REALLY loud.
series 7.1 channel speaker system cost around $19,500 including two
15 inch subwoofers, front left, right, center and four surround
speakers. For electronics they had their Reference 4K6 Mk. 4 SE ($8,795) and 3K6 Mk. 4
($5,795) - 6 channels each, 475 WPC and 450 WPC
respectively (the 4K6 supports peaks of over 1,000 Watts Per Channel,
according to the Cinepro rep.), and their DTC10 preamp/processor was
driving the bus ($6,000 - not yet available).
Cinepro's Multi-Channel amplifiers and
more watts than anyone could ever possibly need?
What's New from the Outlaws?
displayed sneak previews of three different pieces of gear at the show
this year, all slated for production
before the end of 2004. First up is the Model 1070, a home theater
receiver packing 65 Watts X 7 channels, all of the expected surround
processing modes (including Dolby PLIIx),
Outlaw sneak peaks - (left to right), 1070 home
theater receiver, RR2150 retro
stereo receiver with MM/MC phono stage and model 790 seven channel
demo system included only current production pieces -- the model 950
full review here), the model 770 amplifier (200 WPC X7) driving
Vifa loudspeakers that are currently only available in Europe plus 3,
count em THREE of Outlaw's new LFM-1 subwoofers ($579 each).
Outlaw's Peter Tribeman suggested that most folks would be perfectly
happy with one, or at most two LFM-1s, but in order to make the best of
a hotel room where all 40 people in the room expect to get the same
balanced sound, they felt three subs would be the most prudent
move. Video duty was handled by a Dwin HD2 DLP projector firing at
a Stewart screen. Although I'm unfamiliar with the Vifa speakers,
I can say the demos were well-balanced and the low-end packed a wallop
with excellent extension. I may have to take a closer listen to
these little subs because they sounded very promising, particularly for
We're Putting The Band Back Together...
I have to say, Delphi
have done a fine job entertaining us this year. After a two-hour
open bar on Thursday to announce their teeny-tiny new ROADY2 XM
satellite tuner module, Delphi and XM also sponsored a great concert on
Friday to benefit the ELF Foundation. The Elf
Foundation builds "Rooms of Magic" - custom theaters in children's
hospitals across the country, so that sick kids and their families can
enjoy a couple of hours of entertainment during potentially trying
featured singers Carla Lother, Nicole Henry and Joan Osborne as well as
a crack band of studio/session players known for this gig as the "New
York All Stars" and led by saxophonist/conductor Tom Scott. Tom's
band included bass-player Will Lee (from the "Late Night with David
Letterman" band), and horn players Tom "Bones" Malone and Lou "Blue
Lou" Marini, both from the Blues Brothers band, among other talented
Singer/songwriter Joan Osborne belted out a few
classics as well as some originals but, oddly, not "One Of Us" -
the enormously popular single that put her on the map.
The backing band stole the show. Pictured
is the horn section, featuring
Tom "Bones" Malone (far left), "Blue Lou" Marini (center) and Tom Scott
here for for Part III including my votes for "best in show."
Why not start
beginning (Part I) or check out our complete show coverage for Home Entertainment 2004?
here to see a
complete listing of show exhibitors.
here to see our 2003 show coverage.