Here’s the deal with the Contender (and, by extension, the Announcer and Boxer): the speaker looks fairly straightforward and—dare I say it?—not particularly exotic, but its sound is flat out stunning. This is definitely one of those designs where A) God is in the details, and B) the whole is much greater than the apparent sum of the parts. As I said in a recent show report prepared for The Absolute Sound, the Contender “conveys the elusive sense and sensibility of music—in all its intellectual and soulful beauty—as few high-end speakers at any price are able to do.” Truth.
Among the many products NuForce showed at CES, one we think will soon win the hearts and minds of sound quality-conscious home theater enthusiasts is the new NuForce-modified version of the brand new Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray/Universal player ($900). In NuForce’s hands, the Oppo is treated to an entirely new and improved audio circuit board (as shown in the photos here). If past history is any indicator, the NuForce/Oppo BDP-93 should be a sub-$1000 do-all player that sounds simply fabulous.
At CES Paradigm demonstrated a compact but very high-performance surround sound speaker system it had first announced to CEDIA 2010: namely the Millenia One system. The core of the system is the two-way MilleniaOne satellite (1-inch aluminum dome tweeter and 4.5-inch aluminum mid-bass driver, $249/each). Millenia one will be sold in bundled packs of either two or five speakers, and are meant to be used in conjunction with a matching MilleniaSub ($1399), which features a thin-line enclosure that can be floor or wall-mounted, that is equipped with dual 4-inch x 14-inch woofers, that sport a 300-watt woofer amplifier and that is set-up so that it can be used with the firm’s PBK-1 “Perfect Bass Kit” (a software driven woofer/room EQ system).
The upshot is that the MilleniaOne system, which is part of Paradigm’s upper-end Reference series by the way, looks compact and “lifestyle-oriented,” but sounds in every way like the serious high-end surround system it actually is.
Sherwood Newcastle (Sherwood’s upper echelon brand): As a more affordable follow-up to its flagship R-972 A/V receiver, Sherwood Newcastle announced its new 3D-ready R-876 A/V receiver ($1199), which should become available around July and that will—like the R-972—feature the powerful Trinnov Optimizer room EQ system. At the same time, a companion 3D Blu-ray player, called the BD-876 ($399.95) will also be introduced.
Sherwood America (Sherwood’s value-priced brand): Arriving in May of this year will be Sherwood’s firm’s new HDMI 1.4a-equipped (and thus 3D-ready) RD-6065 (5 x 100 Wpc, $269.95) and RD-606i (5 x 100 Wpc with Internet Radio, $349.95) A/V receivers. The two 5.1-channel receivers are very similar, but with the 606i serving as a step-up model that incorporates built-in Internet Radio functions. Users who need 7-channel receivers can tap into the similar RD-7505 (7 x 100 Wpc, $399.95) and RD-705i (7 x 100 Wpc with Internet Radio, $499.95) receivers, which are essentially bigger brothers to the RC-6065 and RD-606i.
The German firm T + A announced both its K-series surround speakers, and a fascinating new combo product called the K8.
The K-series speaker family includes the KS300 tower-type floorstanders ($4800/pr.), the KC550 center channel ($1000/ea.), the K-Mini surround/bookshelf monitors ($1000/pr.), and the KW 650 subwoofer ($1800).
The K8, in turn, is a combo Blu-ray player, headphone amplifier, high-performance DAC, and 7.1-channel A/V Receiver (7 x 150 Wpc, $9500). The K8 will appeal, I think, to people who know and appreciate the benefits of top-tier electronics, but who simply don’t have space for an entire stack of components. With the all-in-one K8 in your system, the problem’s solved