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Home Entertainment 2003 Hi-Fi and Home Theater Event

Home Entertainment 2002

Thursday Page 1
By Steven R. Rochlin

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  At the Sony press conference Tim Baxter, Senior Vice President, was enlightening us all about the future and direction of Sony. DVD-Video had more than $8 billion in sales in 2002, while Sony estimates that flat panel TV will have 50% of TV/monitor screen sales in 2005. New lifestyle options expected by consumers will keep electronics sales strong. Various value added benefits will meet and exceed consumer expectations as technology grows. Sony will soon release a DVD dual RW recordable unit that supports both - and + DVD recordable formats. Specifically, the Sony RDR-GX7 will be this new model. Sony ES line's CX777 disc player will hold 400 discs and play CD and DVD plus SACDs.


David Bent, Sony's Director of home audio, touted their multi-channel receivers/video distribution units. Some will have second and third zone A/V to drive upwards of three different systems. The new circuitry includes their Digital Drive that is claimed to reduce many of the problems that afflict processing a digital signal.


Sony's new XA9000 SACD player ($3,000, available in the fall of 2003) will have three times the processing power of the 777 and have an IEEE1394 iLink digital output. You read that correctly my friends, an SACD unit with digital output so an outboard digital decoder can be employed. Naturally it will have copy protection built in. The unit does have a Tri power digital to analog converter and specially designed multi-channel digital signal processing LSI to optimize playback.


The Von Schweikert VR-2 floorstanding and VR-1 monitor ($2,495 and $995 respectively) both have a 1-inch silk soft dome tweeter while the VR-2 has two 6.5-inch midrange/woofer and the VR-1 has a differently designed/optimized 6.5-inch midrange/woofer. They were being amplified by Audio Note's Shinir ($25,000) 300B monoblock amplifier. The Shinri uses hand wound silver wired transformers and Black Gate capacitors... just to name a few of the exotica inside.


Sonic Euphoria's PLC ($1,795, passive line controller) pre-amplifier is autoformer-based and made to be extremely simple and direct. This is a true balanced design from input to output, though RCA is also accommodated (two XLR inputs, plus four RCA inputs). The RCA only unit costs $1,195.


In the JMlab room was their new Altos ($17,000) that has a Beryllium tweeter and composite cone midrange and woofer. The side panels are wrapped in lovely wood finish and it has a pair of binding posts on the back. The front-end gear was Elecompaniet's EMC-1 ($5,500) high-resolution 24-bit CD player; EC4.7 balanced pre-amplifier ($2,000) while amplification was Manley Labs Neo-Classic 250 tube monoblock amplifiers ($9,000).


Hydra's Model-8 ($1,995) power filter has their "Trident Defense System" that includes special TMOV and Shuniata capacitors to not only protect your system, it also helps to suppress electrical transients and noise. Maximum current rating is 20 Amps and has a total of eight electrical outlets.


M+K had their new surround sound loudspeakers that are offered in various sizes. They are very slim for the ability to be placed behind the couch or other space challenged areas.


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