Accordingly, the K2 Blu incorporates a very high quality Blu-ray player with built in upscaling for DVD playback, plus a powerful, high quality amp section that puts out 5 x 95-watts at 8 Ohms or 5 x 150-watts at 4 Ohms (the intent is that three channels would be used in a main listening room, while the other two channels would support stereo playback in a separate room. Note: Those seeking a full-on 7.1-channel Blu-ray receiver will want to check out T + A’s much larger K8.
The K2 Blu also provides extensive streaming functions with USB 2.0, LAN, and WLAN connectivity, and decoding support for the following formats: MP3, WMA, WMDRM 10, AAC, FLAC, and OGG-Vorbis. The K2 Blu also provides A2DP Bluetooth Audio support, a built-in FM tuner, and supports the vTuner Internet Radio service.
For several years, Theta Digital has been offering extensively modified versions of Oppo Blu-ray/universal players under the Theta name. Lest you picture this as a mere exercise in “badge engineering,” it helps to know the list of modifications that Theta provides, modifications that include:
• A heavy 16 gauge steel chassis.
• A chassis redesign that positions the drive mechanism lower in the chassis for greater rigidity and less vibration.
• 3M damping material used on the drawer assembly to reduce vibration.
• New analog power supply featuring
o An 80-watt toroidal transformer.
o Separate 10-watt transformer for Standby circuit.
o A total of 7 amps of power to supply the unit.
o Four independently rectified and regulated power supplies.
o Over 40,000 µF filter capacitance, in small, low ESR multiples.
• Proprietary Theta Digital software.
For CEDIA, Theta showed its upcoming Theta Compli Blu 3D, which will replace the current Theta Compli (yep, the name is meant to rhyme with “fait accompli”).
In recent years Totem has concentrated development efforts on its Tribe-series on-wall speakers and Element-series in-room speakers, both of which leverage Totem’s ultra wide-bandwidth “Torrent”-type drivers—drivers that lend them selves to quasi-crossover-less speaker designs. For CEDIA, though, Totem chose to develop a range of affordable in-wall speakers intended to sound similar to Tribe or Element models, yet that could not—owing to cost and space constraints—use Torrent-type drivers. The result is the Tribe Kin range, comprising three models: the Tribe Kin LR ($750/each), the Tribe Kin Center ($600/each), and the Tribe Kin In-Ceiling ($750). For bass reinforcement, Tribe Kin systems are designed to use the existing Totem Tribe subwoofer.
For audiophiles, the significance of the Tribe Kin models is that they are among those rare in-wall speakers that can compete on a more or less even footing with good, like-priced, high-performance in-room speakers, which is saying a mouthful. To pull this feat off, Totem gave the Tribe Kin models rigid enclosures plus their own distinctive drivers, including a wide bandwidth ¾-inch high-excursion soft dome tweeter, a very wide bandwidth 4-inch mid/bass driver featuring ultra-light/ultra-strong MHEX cones, and a matching set of high-compliance, Mica-loaded polypropylene passive radiators. Those MHEX mid/bass driver diaphragms are pretty special and are said to be capable of supporting loads of greater than 50kg each—that is, an amazing 110 pounds+ per 4-inch cone!
How is the sound? After a brief demo, I came away thinking the Tribe Kins sounded a lot like the more expensive Tribe on-wall models, and also reminiscent (to a degree) of the new Element models. True, the Elements are better in an absolute sense, but they cost quite a bit more and also take up considerable space in the room. For audiophiles pressed for space or seeking a solution that will keep interior designers happy, the Tribe Kins could, I think, be just what the doctor ordered.