This is Part 4 of a four-part report on High-Performance Audio at CEDIA 2011, which highlights new products from: Pioneer, Polk Audio, Pro-Ject, PSB, Rotel, Soundmatters, TAD (Technical Audio Devices), Totem Acoustic, Wadia Digital, Wharfedale, Wisdom Audio, and Yamaha.
Part 1 covers new products from: AKG, Anthem, Atlantic Technology, AudioQuest, Audio Research Corporation, Bryston, Canton, Cambridge Audio and Cary Audio. CLICK HERE to read Part 1.
Part 2 covers new products from: Definitive Technology, Focal, GoldenEar Technology, Harman/Kardon, Integra, JBL Synthesis, KEF, Klipsch, Labgruppen, and Lexicon. CLICK HERE to read Part 2.
Part 3 covers new products from: Linn, Mark Levinson, MartinLogan, Monitor Audio, NAD, Onkyo, Paradigm, and Paradigm Shift. CLICK HERE to read Part 3.
Also check out David-Birch Jones’ mostly video-oriented CEDIA 2011—Highlights, which highlights new products and technologies from Sony, JVC, Pioneer Elite, THX/LG, Panasonic Business Solutions, Sim2, Screen Innovations, Epson, Runco, and Lexicon. CLICK HERE to read CEDIA 2011—Highlights.
A major part of Pioneer’s show presence focused on the return of Pioneer flat panel TVs, as covered in my colleague David Birch-Jones’ “CEDIA 2011—Highlights” report, but there were many significant audio developments as well.
Key points of emphasis for audio enthusiasts were the release of a new family of Pioneer Elite-series AVRs, plus an expanded range of Music TAP-series components. For purposes of this report, though, we’ll focus on the AVRs.
A Pioneer spokesman gave me a walk-through for the Elite AVR line, which is comprised of seven models: the VSX-40 ($450, and the lowest priced Elite receiver to date), the VSX-50 ($600), the VSX-51 ($700), the VSX-52 ($900), the VSX-53 ($1100), the SC-55 ($1600), and the SC-57 ($2000).
The top two AVRs are 9.1-channel units driven by what Pioneer terms “class D3” (that is, third-generation class D) power amplifiers. Pioneer takes particular pride in these models, arguing that its current implementation of class D technology has overcome past sonic objections (by delivering a smoother, more natural and full-bodied sound), while preserving the expected benefits of efficiency, cool operation, and excellent damping factor for better bass control. As Pioneer’s spokesman put it, “we feel these are the most powerful AVRs on the market (in real world terms).”
Common connectivity benefits shared by all Elite receivers from the VX-50 on up include: Ethernet connectivity, AirPlay support, Pioneer’s free Air Jam App, DLNA 1.5 certification, Bluetooth audio streaming, vTuner support, “Made for iPad, iPhone, and iPad” certification, and Pioneer’s iControl AV2 App.
The centerpiece of the Polk display, at least for performance-minded audio enthusiasts, involved the firm’s previous announced and now fully released flagship LSiM loudspeaker family.
The LSiM range has been completely redesigned, from the ground, with most LSIM models (except the surround speaker) featuring what Polk terms the “Sonic Engine”—a 3.25” midrange driver and a ring-radiator tweeter. Driver cones are made of very light but also very stiff “aerated polypropylene foam” with rigid skins on their front and back sides. Careful attention has been paid to the motor structures, too, with an eye toward allowing larger driver excursions while still affording excellent control. By using the Sonic Engine across all models in the range, Polk is able to ensure a high level of consistency in model-to-model voicing. Other noteworthy design touches include heavily braced enclosure with not parallel internal surfaces, and Polk’s proprietary PowerPort bass venting system.