CES 2008 Processor Update
Well, back from LV, and the audio industry proved they aren't sitting on their hand when it comes to adding HDMI and the new audio formats to their pre/pros. Many companies were showing off units with HDMI ins and use of the new audio formats.
The crown jewel of these was clearly the new Mark Levinson #502 which replaces the #40 as their top end AV preamp. We had gotten a sneak peak at this unit @ CEDIA but all details were hush hush (as were we) but the unit was on display and demo's @ the Hilton. 1080p scaling, HDMI 1.2 ins and outs, and the seductive sound we've come to expect of ML! The unit was of course running through an all Levinson system (433,432,390) to the new Revel Ultima2 system and wired with Transparent Reference cabling and their reference power conditioner and what can we say? It sounded simply amazing! I was very glad to see the HDMI was now 1.2, as when it was @ CEDIA they were talking about 1.1 which would have been a little silly in today’s world.
Anthem was demoing the new Statement D2's room correction and it did a great job taming the room, so much so I have one coming as soon as they ship and will review it ASAP. Anthem did it right on this one, they even calibrate each individual microphone to the unit! Andrew Robinson and I got the whole tour of this unit and the room correction software and it is simple to use and really solid in performance. The D2 is such a great unit and so flexible, the addition of room correction makes it an even bigger deal. There was also some rumor of an upgrade to enable decoding of all the new audio formats for the D2 soon. I can't wait!
German manufacturer Lyngdorf whom I first saw and was impressed by @ CEDIA 2007 was showing off a pre/pro that should ship very soon that utilizes there own proprietary room correction, had 4:1 HDMI switching and decodes all the new audio formats. These guys make some stunning looking gear, and the feature set they offer as well as their room correction are amazing. I am not sure but their gear looks a lot like TacT....
Sim Audio was showing their new pre/pro, which only had 2:1 HDMI switching but aesthetically was a beautiful piece, of course it won't be out until maybe September so no audition was possible.
I was very glad to see all these coming down the pike as the pre/pro market needs to catch up, and fortunately for us they are!
Ken Taraszka, MD