- Written by Staff
- Published on 04 September 2008
Report from Sandy Bird
Well it seems that the high end SSP manufactures have finally all caught up to the mass market receiver companies this year. Almost ever classic high end SSP manufacture we visited had a unit capable of 1080p scaling, the latest surround formats like TrueHD and DTS-MA and most but not all had some form of room EQ built in.
Some of the processors are licensing know chipsets for their video processing and some are building their own (or at least aren't willing to tell us which ones they are using). On the audio side everyone seems to be doing their own room correction as I didn't see any Audyssey logos on any of the following gear.HALCRO Logic
Starting at the high end we have Halcro Logic with their 3rd generation SSP the SSP220. It has an MSRP very close to $12000 which isn't cheap.
Some of the key specs are:
- Multi-channel Linear PCM
- 7.1 channel balanced inputs and outputs with analog bypass and volume control
- 7.1 channel unbalanced inputs with selectable unbalanced and balanced outputs
- 4 special, programmable output channels. Auxiliary Manager for managing additional
- Channels (channels 9 & 10 for stereo subwoofers, ceiling speakers, etc.)
- Auto calibration of speaker levels and distances with calibration microphone
- 1080P 24
- 4 HDMI inputs
- 1 HDMI output
- Analogue video conversion
That doesn't mean they have forgotten their amp customers, take a look at this custom paint job on the DM38
Classe which belongs to the B&W Group responded to the market demand of rack mounting their gear. The gear could be rack mounted before, but certainly not as easy as other vendors in the space due to the beautiful curved cases. The new line up (CT Series) of the SSPs and amps have a new case and design which not only enables easier rack mounting, but also serves as an air cooling system that pulls air through the front of the chassis via a temperature controlled fan to keep everything cool. The CT-SSP shares the same specs as the SSP-800 but the amps have a new topology design.CT Series
SSP-800 is a new release for Classe and gives them HDMI 1.3, 1080p video scaling. It also support all the new sound formats like TrueHD and DTS-MA (although may come via a firmware update). It has the old classic chassis design.
Rotel another B&W Group company also has a complete refresh on their SSPs, receivers and amps. Allowing the customer the choice of Silver or Black. All the latest sound formats are present, HDMI 1.3, 1080p/24 video processing, etc.
Models include RSX-1560 receiver with 7x100w, the RSX-1550 with 5x100w, the flagship SSP the RSP-1570 and a number of amplifiers ranging from RMB-1575 at 5x250 w in to 8 ohms or 5x500w in 4 ohms down to the RB-1510 with 2x65w. MSRPs are the following: RSX-1550 $1,999, RSX-1560 $2,599, RSP-1570 $2,199, RMB-1565 $1,299, RMB-1575 $2,799, RB-1562 $799, RB-1572 $1,299, RB-1510 $499, RMB-1506 $999, RMB-1512 $2,999
The B&W Group didn't forget about their B&W speaker line up and added a couple of new models to the CM line-up. The CM5 bookshelf and CM9 floor standing model. To match these a larger CMC2 Center has also been released. These are shipping now and the center shown below is finished in the new gloss black which is available at no extra cost.
Adcom has decided to re-release a special edition of the original GFA-555. The new version uses updated electronics, but stands true to the original Adcom design goals of the "Great F*nk Amplifier" design. The new model will be the GFA-555se. I owned one of these amps at one time and I spend many years enjoying it.
Adcom is releasing a few wireless amplifiers which can be used to power multi-zone locations. There is a two channel version and a 5 channel version. The wireless receivers are built right into the amps and can be used with their SSPs as an internal module or via an external module (assuming you aren't using their SSP).
The GFA-7602d and GFA-7606d should be shipping in the January time frame.
ARCAM a company I have been a fan of for years has also going through a major update in the AVR lineup. This is a receiver but knowing ARCAM's past they will probably release a matching SSP in time. The new unit will support HDMI 1.3, all the latest sound formats, video scaling via their own proprietary technology. It has a new enhanced on-screen menu structure and will have room correction for frequencies under 200 Hz. The same setup will do basic setup of speaker levels and distance. The level settings are accurate to .25 dB increments. List price should be around $4300 and shipping should happen in 2 months or so. ARCAM has also added circuitry to reduce jitter over HDMI connections up to 10 times. They claim the amount of typically jitter over HDMI would be in the 1400 ps range and after their process it is down to around 100.
Parasound has updated their HALO line up processors. The soon to be released Halo C3 will update the line to support HDMI 1.3, latest sound formats, 1080p up scaling, auto room calibration and equalization, MP3 player link with onscreen navigation, etc.
Parasound is also now shipping their 7.1 analog pre-amp that were will all impressed with a year ago this time. It is selling for $2000. It has 2 - 7.1 channel inputs (one of them balanced), 7 stereo inputs, etc... Most important is the analog bass management features.
B&K has updated the entire line up of Home Theater gear. The Reference 70 being the center piece SSP and the 705 and 707 receives to back it up. Features include: 6 - HDMI 1.3 inputs and 1080p scaling from the Reon HQV processor. The claim to be leaving all the features of the video processor customizable to the end user and custom installer. It also comes with a number of test patterns built in. It has full aspect ratio control as well as a small increment zoom and stretch function. All settings are per input of course. Even the menus overlay at 1080p. The Ref 70 should list for $3798 and the receivers $4798 and $4598.
Report from Adrian Wittenberg
The first night kicked off with a Dolby Dinner at the Ritz Carlton where Secret's Piero Gabucci and Audioholic's Gene DellaSalla got into a heated discussion about the new Batman movie. Everybody agreed that Two-Face died too soon.
Here we see Claridy Amps powering SVS speakers and subs.
Sony has a Blu-ray mega changer in the works for 2009 that can hold 400 discs. I have about nine discs in my collection so I don't mind the wait.
Sony is introducing the S500-ES Blu-ray player which represents their top of the line model.
Here we see Denon's Blu-ray lineup including their new entry level DVD-1800BD player that will retail at $749 shown on the right. All of Denon's players are able to output the HD sound codecs in bitstream format.
Toshiba didn't have any announcements of joining the Blu-ray game but they did show off their upscaling DVD player that showed off some impressive looking noise reduction. The model is called the XD-E500.
LG had a unique Blu-ray offering in the BD300 which features the ability to display Neflix "watch instantly" movies. Netflix has been offering this feature for HTPC users as well as XBOX 360 owners. Personally, I like the Netflix feature but I hope there are improvements in the video quality especially when watching on larger screens.
Yamaha displays their first entry into the Blu-ray market with the SD2900. This player features direct bitsteam output of Dolby True-HD and dts-Master Audio.
Here's a cutaway of Pioneer's flagship BDP-09FD Blu-ray player where a lot of attention has been put into build quality. When coupled with one of Pioneer's flagship receiver there is a synchronization of the signals that is designed to eliminate problems associated with jitter.
Here we see Panasonic's BD 55 blu-ray player.
Secrets staff members from left to right Ross Jones, Piero Gabucci, Sandy Bird, Cynthia Johnson, and Sumit Chawla all enjoyed a Meridian press event that featured a demonstration of 10 megapixel projector.
Here we see a glimpse of the highly anticipated Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player. The design features an ABT 2010 solution, has SACD capabilities, possibly may include DVD-Audio, and reportedly will retain the excellent SD performance Oppo has been known for. This player is a Profile 2.0 player and has analog 7.1 outputs. Oppo has always been a value oriented company but no official word on the price point at this time.