HE expo in SF this past week end...what was hot

Just got back from the HT expo in Frisco this weekend. Hope many others of you made it!...I know Rivesaudio made it. Their "PARC's" were in like 6 or 7 rooms it seemed! The PARC was a big indeed! I got to hear how it sounded(or didn't sound actually) first hand. It was very transparent! It was also very effective at doing what it was designed to do, and that's correct bass anomolies in the room from the system. It simply got out of the way of the system, and made a noticeable(not suttle for sure) improvement in the sound comming from the "smallish" bass challenged rooms at the St. Francis Hotel. When they A/B'd the systems with and without the PARC in the system's, the differnce was tremendous and significant! Anyway, I wish Rives all the success in the world with his business and his products/services!....and hope he sells a TON of PARC's!... Great product.
They made a big splash at the show with the "Big Boy's" in the Hi-end biz, got a great Review in Stereophile for the PARC(and a plug for his services as well), as well as got an "out-sert" exposure in the free issure of Stereophile mag that was handed out at the show. Nice job Rives!
There were other standout's at the show as well. Sony's new SXRS(or whatever) display techonolgy is "the bomb"! You might want to watch to this to possibly become the next thing for high end Video display's! It appears to have tremendous potential, with VERY LARGE SCREEN size capability, tremendous detail and resolution, brightenss, contrast ratio, and black level. Probably will cost a ton when it comes out though. Anyway, you can check out the into on the net.
Also, I heard talk about a new display tech called "liquid tv" which sounded way cool as well! Supposedly it's some sprayed on the wall stuff that's supposed to be an actual video display technology or something...sounded wild anyway. I guess they spay this clear substance on the wall, and hook electical signals to it, and you can view images in it! I'd like to see that anyway.
Also, some French company(ehem....), which I think was called Screen Technologies or something introduced some new screen that was virtually transparent acoustically, yet did a superb job of playing back video material on it! Outlaw audio's room used the screen (85") for playing back their Dwin(?) DLP on it. The potential of the screen was immediately evident! And, the sound passed right through it like it wasn't even there!!..a big plus for sound improvement indeed!...and the picture quality of the screen was as good as I've seen I think. It will be available sometime this year I believe, and should be in the $2k range or there abouts. In the Same room, was what had to be the most killer acoustic treatment to come around in a while! Can't remember the name of thc company, but the sound was absolutely superb from the "quickly treated" room! There were some "diffusive/absobtive" pannels set around the room, which seemed to make the room sound "massive" and "open" in the midrange and upper frequencies! Anyway, for relatively cheap(and workably attractive) acoustic treatment pannels, they sure were effetive at treating reflections, balancing the sound at beter, and giving life to the room!...very qualty products for sure. I think the company was called PMI or IPM or whatever..forgot. Whatever it was, they made that difficult room sound VERY OPEN AND EXPANSIVE ACOUSTICALLY!..probably the best HT demo in the show!...really!!
That said, Outlaw audio and Atlantic Tech really put on a superb demo (Outlaw's room) with the new speakers from Atlantic debuting there, powered by Outlaw's "very over-achieving" 950 pre/pro and 100x7 channel power amp combo! That had to be the single best sounding Ht experience to be had at the show for shear sound quality!!! I must say, I have a new found appreciation for the Outlaw stuff now. For really cheap consumers can get their pre/pro and power amp combo's, that will just about give you all you could ask for sonically from a music eperience! I say that, and I used to sell Krell HTS's, Theta's, Classe's, Aragon's, and mnay other higher end pre/pro's!.and the Outlaw hangs right in there with the best of them!!!...defintely a steal for the money what they're offering.
I think for like $799(absolute hands down best sounding movie pre/pro for that money on the market ever produced in my experience!) for the pre/pro, and about $899 for the VERY STRONG,DYNAMIC AND MUSICAL 7x100 watt amp, you can have killer HT with some good spears! I would recommend what I heard there in a heartbeat to anyone looking for excellent HT gear for certain. Good Job Outlaw!
As for other video stuff, Seleco's 300 plus DlP projector was still as stunning as ever on high def, and looked fabulous on DVD material on a 110-120 inch screen. Runco continued to impress with their new projector line. For $6k, you can bet about as good as you care to ask from a DLP projector for DVD movies on a modest sized screen set up,using something like Silver Hawk and such.
There was also the very cool "3D" demo in one of the rooms, that was very very cool! The gear they were using was like $3k for some processor, an IR repeater and a couple pair of special 3D glasses. The Software is evidently becoming more availble on the horizon. And This technology definitely showed promised(looked like the IMAX 3D tech you see out there, like Vegas's "Race for ATlantis" at Cesars). You need any Hi-def projetor or tv out there for this to work for your home however, just so you know.
There were obviously lots of other cool things to talk about from the show. But these other things really caught my attention and WOW'ed me personally. I would have liked to see more "cheep" DLP and LCD projector tech at the show (like Infocus's X1, Sanyo's Z1 and suchj). So that was a bit of a let down.
If anyone else saw things cool worth mentioning, please post em!
IT was fun...
Sorry to hear of your problems at the Cabasse room, Golden-ears. Given the great room the big Cabasse was in, I am not surprised they could engineer a great sound. Still, I thought the Butler/cabsse put on a stunning show. It was the only room I visited three times.

At the Sony video demo, the LED projectures were neat, but I wonder how practical. The rooms were blackened, which leads me to believe the image is fugitive. that's not p[aractical in a home environment.

There were some big name rooms I did not enjoy.
I attended last year's show in New York and this year's show in San Francisco. I thought the individual rooms in San Fran were generally larger and better accommodated the crowds.....however, the rooms were much too scattered making it easy to miss them. This is quite unfortunate for the folks spending alot of time and money to put their goods on display.
As for my favorite two channel set-up, the Cabasse/Butler room gets my vote. The guys running the room were very accommodating, allowing "outside" music to be played. The Butler 300B tube amp (I believe they actually call it the 100A mono bloc amps)appears to be a new revolutionary (and newly patented) design delivering the sonic advantages of the 300B tube at a much higher wattage ie 100+ watts into 8 ohms. The thing a really liked about the Cabasse/Butler room was that everything they played, including several plain old redbood cd's I brought, sounded alive, exciting and musical. Professor Keith Johnson happened to be in the room when I was there and he was very impressed when they demo'd the system using his newly recorded material.

The Tenor/Kharma rooms were also impressive and the guys running those rooms couldn't be nicer.

There were a number of high priced upper end rooms that left me completely unimpressed. How or why anyone would buy this equipment based on those demo's is beyond me.

The sound in the Von Gaylord room was very sweet and almost intoxicating. Unfortunately, they would not allow outside music, so I don't know how the system would compare on "regular" source material. It's generally a turn off to me when a room will not allow outside music to be played. I understand they cannot accomodate everyone, but to turn away a truely interested listener just doesn't make good business sense to me.

The Avantgarde/BAT room was hotter (as in heat) than hell. I'm not sure why they thought they needed what appeared to be six BAT 75SE amps to power the most efficient speakers at the show! I thought the system sounded nice in general, but the Pink Floyd demo at high volume was a real treat.

Some disappointments included: Cain & Cain speakers, they were absolutely gorgeous, but just didn't have the sound I like. The new Utopias...again looked great...sounded so-so.
Wilsons and Pipedreams lots of money and didn't really tickle my fancy.

Very best part of the show was meeting old friends and making some new ones....looking forward to next year!!!
Hi Muralman,
A darkened room is not practical? Oh, I'm sorry, that word is not relevant in the HT/projection world. :-) If you want to leave lights on, you get a rear projection TV, or spend huge bucks on a top-of-the-line CRT, DMD or DLP. If you want to watch movies with a more affordable projector, you turn the lights out for best results. I can find my drink and munchies in the dark, and I don't want to see anything else in the room but the picture. That wouldn't be.....er, well, practical!!!!! ;-)

Oh, and I forgot to heap a little abuse on the idiots who hired two gorgeous women in miniskirts to haul people into their 6th floor exhibit room. (See pictures of them at www.enjoythemusic.com , under "Show Girls".) They were awful purty, yep. But that's all the room had going for it; the sound was crap; a giant boombox!!!
Geez... were they playing "who let the dogs out" in that room? I mean they look like "very nice" gals but come on
get some girls there will make everyone forget about the
hardware... This is California not Croatia :-)
Golden Ears, Maybe I should have said, "Not practical in my case." The picture of the LED sets rivaled the plasma sets outside. That is, with black absorbent drapes all around.

I use my set for ordinary use as well as pop corn catered movies. For instance, I might be going throught the mail while catching the news.

If I had a dedicated movie room, sure, the new projectors would be on my list. The big prototype probably even has the attention of Keith Yates.

Compared to conventional projectors, the new Sony is leagues ahead.