After walking the second day of the show, here are a few items that caught my eye in the audio and video categories.
Like the prototype Sennheiser showed off at CES 2018, the final version of the Ambeo Soundbar houses 13 drivers inside what looks like a brushed aluminum frame. This soundbar is the result of a collaboration with Fraunhofer IIS, and is capable of decoding Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H (the immersive audio standard currently used in South Korea and China, along with several countries in Europe). Immersive 3D audio aside, the combination of tech and hardware here cranks out deep bass down to 30Hz without the need to have a separate subwoofer.
Much to my surprise, this C$3,299 soundbar (slated to be released in May) can rather convincingly replicate 5.1.4 sound. In fact, to this date, this is the absolute best 5.1.4 soundbar I've experienced. Yes it's not cheap. And no, it can't replace an actual immersive audio set up. But this soundbar is thoroughly impressive, even when compared to ones with dedicated up-firing speakers and a separate subwoofer.
Based on the popularity of the AT-LP60, Audio Technica improved upon this great entry-level turntable even further. By improving the quality of the turntable's cartridge/needle, redesigning the tone-arm base, headshell and giving the users the option to detach and use a pair of better interconnects, the AT-LP60X turntable (not the most creative naming convention, unfortunately) is versatile. And the MSRP of US$99 hasn't changed either.
If you want to have a version with a built-in headphone amplifier, all you need to do is pay a little bit more (US$129) for the AT-LP60XHP. Plus, you will get a pair of ATH-250AV over-the-ear headphones with 40mm drivers included in the package. Either way, you'll get the absolute best sound quality for turntables priced at US$300 or lower.
Did I mention that these are the best sounding entry level turntable I've ever listened to?
I mentioned this particular product in my previous article, but JVC's latest native 4K lineup deserves to be mentioned again. Combining the capability of full DCI-P3 colour space (most projectors can only do between 96-98%) and the newly announced HDR tone-mapping with the legendary Panasonic auto tone mapping algorithm (considered to be the best in the industry by consumers and professionals alike), the RS2000 (shown above) is the ultimate native 4K projector to put your money into, unless you have $18,000 to spare for the even-better RS3000 projector. It doesn't only sport native 4K, but is also the first home projector ever that can upscale to 8K. We all know when it comes large screen presentations that "The More, The Better."
Historically known as one of the leading headphone manufacturers used in many recording studios, beyerdynamic is once again advances wireless audio by releasing LAGOON ANC with the unique combination of active noise cancellation technology matched with versatile MOSAYC sound personalization. This sound technology creates an individualized hearing profile in the MIY app. The LAGOON ANC is available in two versions, Traveler (black/blue) and Explorer (grey/brown - my personal preference) encased in a sleek casing. While the look is not groundbreaking (after all, it's a pair of over-the-ear headphones), the utilization of digital signal processing in a beyerdynamic product line up is a surprising and a welcome one.
Gaming accessories manufacturer ioGEAR has now shifted into the video distribution category. The video meeting manager (my term, not theirs) allows up to 10 people within a room to manage a video presentation from their respective laptops by simply connecting a dongle to the computer's HDMI port and taking turns with the presentation by simply pressing a button when it's their turn. The output signal is then wirelessly fed into a hub, which is then connected to a display device. Compared to other produtcs that sell for upwards of $1,200, the US$399 is pretty sweet.
What excites me more, however, is ioGear's 4K wireless HDMI transceiver, with one unit to send, another to receive. The set sends the full uncompressed 10.2Gbps signal over the air using the 60GHz band with only 3 Watts of power consumption. Not impressed? The signal can also be sent up to 60 feet, has an IR-repeater, and lag of merely 2ms. Impressed now?