Audio News for November 25, 2008

by | Nov 25, 2008 | Audio News | 0 comments

Naxos Promises Lossless Downloads and Blu-ray Audio – Naxos International’s website ClassicsOnline.com will be offering lossless downloads of 1000 of their best-sounding titles within three months, according to their founder Klaus Heyman.  This is in addition to their large catalog of 320kbps MP3 download selections. He said that anything big and well-recorded over the last seven or eight years will become available in lossless and eventually in surround sound. The initial Blu-ray audio-only title from Naxos will be John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 3 “Circus Maximus.” Heyman said this release will be a test to see how the market reacts. He wasn’t sure if they would add stills or video since there isn’t an established release format as yet.

Epson Introduces Under-$800 Front Projector
– Front projection is regarded as the standard for high-end home theater, but has also been the most expensive route, barring all but a small percentage of HDTV users from enjoying it. Epson now offers the value-priced PowerLite Home Cinema 700 front projector using LCD technology to project a highbrightness 720p hi-def image.  Its brightness rating is up to 2000 lumens, it has seven preset color modes and HDMI connectivity. Consumer-friendly features make setup of the projector easy.

Silicon Mountain Combo HDTV/PC/Blu-ray Player
– Another industry first is Silicon Mountain’s Allio 42-inch display combined with a full-blown PC and a Blu-ray player.  The computer uses an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU, has 4GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive with Windows Vista 64-bit software. Inputs include USB, wired and wireless options and a 1080p panel. The PC drive is a digital recorder for PVR, the display has a 2000:1 contrast ratio, PIP and split-screen capabilities. Channel choices span cable, satellite and the Internet. Also offered is a 32-inch version. Both units are assembled in Northern California.

ZVOX Unveils Slender HT Audio System – With the falling prices of flat-screen HDTV displays, more and more people are buying them, but fewer are mounting them on the wall, as seemed to be the initial attraction. Instead, smaller flat-panel TVs between 32-inches and 47-inches are being situated on tables or cabinets. ZVOX has designed the Z-Base 550 as a complete home theater sound system built into a slim platform to go under stand-mounted flat-panel TVs. It features five 2-inch full-range speakers and a 5.25-inch woofer. Using PhaseCue virtual surround sound it creates a three dimensional soundfield, has an auto on & off circuit and remote control. There are two analog stereo inputs and the system is Energy Star qualified. The finish is high-gloss black to match most screens and SRP is $500.

Wireless Low Bass Transducer Launched – This Friday is the launch date of a new wireless ButtKicker Kit (sorry, but that’s what it’s called) which transforms any piece of furniture to allow those sitting in it to experience tactile sensations tied in to the home theater, music or games in which they are participating. All the bumps and thumps can be added to HDTV home theaters which already have surround sound and a Blu-ray player, without fussing with wires. The effect is similar to what one experiences at a Disney-type “ride,” but takes its signals from the lowest bass notes of soundtracks. It is not specially programmed as is the more expensive D-Box system featured on some Blu-rays, but manufacturer Guitammer is working with broadcasters to develop a special technology called ButtKicker Live to allow owners of the Kit to experience the effects live and in real time.  The new wireless unit is priced at under $300.

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