The Jade family consists of two floorstanders (the Jade 7, $4200/pair; and Jade 5, $3200/pair), two stand-mount monitors (the Jade 3, $1500/pair; and Jade 1, $1200/pair), two center-channel speakers (the Jade-C2 and Jade C1), and a dedicated surround speaker (the Jade SR). At present there is no Jade-labeled subwoofer in the lineup, though it is conceivable that there might be one later on.
Common technical features shared by all models in the family include enclosures made of an advanced material called Crystalam, which is a “thermo elastic polymer woven with wooden fibers" said to provide both high levels of rigidity and of internal damping. In particular, Wharfedale claims the Crystalam cabinets effectively prevent back-wave energy from drivers from escaping through the sidewalls of the enclosures.
Interestingly, all of the Jade models share a common tweeter/midrange module comprised of a 1” aluminum dome tweeter and a 3” midrange cone made of a material called Accufibre. This same material is also used for all of the mid/bass and woofer drivers featured in various models within the range. According to Wharfedale, Accufibre is an advanced material that “marries the responsiveness of class and carbon fibre materials with a self-damping woven matrix.” The result is said to be a group of drivers that “behave closer to the theoretical (ideal of an) acoustic ‘piston’ with the high ‘Q’ resonances experienced by formed metal drivers.”
Watch for an upcoming Jade surround system review in Playback/The Perfect Vision.
One other noteworthy detail revealed at CEDIA is the Sound Import, the US distributor for Wharfedale, had merged with Taiga LLC, the US distributor for Quad. The new business entity will be called Taiga Sound Import and will enable Wharfedale and Quad sales forces to team up for greater reach and better customer service.
Wisdom Audio chose CEDIA as its venue of choice for rolling out its new cost-no-object, “Statement-class” LS4 on-wall planar magnetic speaker, which will sell for about $40,000/each. If the phrases “Statement-class” and “on-wall speaker” seem not to go together, let me mention that the LS4 is in all seriousness Wisdom’s no-holds-barred attempt at a state-of-the-art loudspeaker that just happens to be presented in an on-wall format.
The LS4 is a large, very high efficiency (sensitivity is rated at 100 dB), planar magnetic line array-type speaker that requires bi-amplification and is designed to be used in conjunction with the firm’s gigantic, ultra high output STS subwoofer (which is, no joke, about the size of large steamer trunk). To control the system, you’ll also need Wisdom’s SC-1 system controller, which serves as both an electronic crossover and room/speaker EQ system that is based on a custom-tailored version of the Audyssey room EQ system.
Wisdom spokesman Mark Glazier said the LS4 system is even more capable than his firm’s spectacular Sage system, which—coming from anyone else—would be an audacious claim (because the “smaller” Sage system sounds terrific in its own right). But once I saw the very light and very high sensitivity planar magnetic drivers Wisdom has created for the LS4, I began to see how Glazier’s performance claims could make sense. This is a system that bears watching and, of course, listening.
Yamaha’s show presence focused on the release of the firm’s five new Aventage-series (“AV Entertainment for the New Age”) AV receivers. Aventage models include the RX-A3010 ($1999.95), RX-A2010 ($1599.95), RX-A1010 ($1099.95), RX-A810 ($849.95) and RX-A710 ($649.95).
Every model in the range is network-enabled and carries both DLNA 1.5 and Windows 7 compatibility certification. The higher you climb in the range, however, the larger the power output capabilities and features sets become. The top tier RX-A3010, for example, is a 9.2-channel receiver that puts out an impressive 165 watts/channel, that supports elaborate room/speaker EQ functions, offers a broad suite of Internet content access options, and is full of both audiophile-oriented and convenience minded design touches.