September 12, 2009: Part 1
All prices in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
NAD's new M56 Blu-ray player is part of the company's
Masters Series, so it's said to be built to a higher standard than their regular models.
The M56, which plays Blu-ray, DVD-V and CD, uses 12-bit/148MHz video DACs, 24-bit/192kHz
audio DACs, and supports all the major sound formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD
Master Audio 7.1. There are 7.1-channel analog outputs as well as an HDMI 1.3 digital
output with support for deep color. For those who can't afford the M56, NAD also released
the T577 Blu-ray player that has many of the
same features, but costs $999. The T577 will be available in October, the M56 in November.
NAD debuted the C245BEE four-channel power amplifier (top)
that is priced at $599 and is rated at 35Wpc into 4- and 8-ohm loads. The C245BEE can also
be bridged to create a stereo amp that is rated at 90Wpc into an 8-ohm load. All the
connectors as well as the main power switch are located on
the backside. [www.nadelectronics.com]
Cambridge Audio's $799 Azur 650BD universal Blu-ray player
(top) supports all current disc formats: Blu-ray, DVD-V, DVD-A, CD, SACD and HDCD. It is
also said to be capable of outputting DVD-A and SACD over HDMI. The 650BD has on-board
decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and, in addition to the HDMI digital
output, there are 7.1-channel analog outputs. The companion $1799 Azur 650R receiver is
HDMI 1.3c compliant and uses "a completely new Cirrus Logic/Crystal chipset with the
latest twin-core 32-bit DSPs." No power rating for the 650R was given. Both units
will be available in November.
Canton's new Chronos speakers have a gorgeous finish and
are reasonably priced. There are two three-way floorstanding speakers called the SL 590
($1750 each) and SL 580 (shown above, $1500 each). The two two-way stand-mounted models
are the the SL 530 ($750 each) and the SL
520 ($625 each). There is also the Chronos SL 555 center-channel (shown above, $1000) that
is a two-and-a-half-way design. All models are available in black or white and use
proprietary Canton drivers, including a unique waveguide
on the tweeter.
Epson showed two ProCinema and two Home Cinema projectors
that will start shipping in October. The ProCinema 9500UB and Home Cinema 8500UB both
boast a dynamic contrast ratio of 200,000:1. The 9100 and 8100 each have a dynamic
contrast ratio of 36,000:1. The performance of the equivalent models in the ProCinema and
Home Cinema lines is said to be the same. The main difference is that the ProCinema models
come with an extra lamp, a ceiling mount, and a longer warranty. No firm pricing was
given, although a company rep said that the target price for the 9500UB and 8500UB is
"less than $4000 and $3000."
JVC has received nothing but praise for their D-ILA-based
projectors, and although the three new consumer-based projectors they unveiled look
exactly the same as the previous-generation models, they are purported to have more
features and better performance. The most expensive is the DLA-HD990 (shown above) that's
priced at $10,000 and will be available in October. The DLA-HD990 is said to have a native
contrast ratio of 70,000:1. JVC also released two less expensive models: the $8000
DLA-HD950 (50,:000:1 contrast ratio) and the $5000 DLA-HD550 (30,000:1 contrast ratio).