September 17, 2014
Here at Stereo East, our system designers and clients are thrilled with Sony’s line of home theater projectors. Why is that? With multiple models that deliver a lifelike cinema viewing experience in very attractive price-points, Sony continues to dominate in the front projector category.
Affordable High-Definition Front Projectors
Earlier this year, Sony wowed the A/V world with the launch of its most affordable home theater projector, the VPL-HW40ES. Jam-packed with the latest technology and retailing for only $2499, the 40ES quickly became a fan favorite. This 1080p projector incorporates Reality Creation for Full HD, a feature originally developed for Sony’s higher-end 4K projectors. By restoring missing information lost during broadcast transmission and content compressing, the projector is capable of reproducing details of the original 1080p signal. The projector also produces smooth and sharp motion as a result of Motionflow technology, an algorithm exclusive to Sony.
Consumers looking for enhanced contrast upgrade to the VPL-HW55ES model. The 55ES, retailing at $3999, includes automatic Iris control which maintains peak brightness while maximizing black and white levels. Unlike the 40ES, the 55ES model also comes with two pairs of 3D glasses and an extra lamp.
Sony’s 4K Ultra HD Projectors Set the Standard
In a previous blog post, we focused on an emerging technology, 4K Ultra HD. Ultra HD projectors from Sony deliver a truly breathtaking home cinema experience. The current entry-level 4K projector, the VPL-HW600ES, stuns with 4096 x 2160 resolution, an incredibly high dynamic contrast ratio of 200,000:1, and high brightness. New Motionflow modes, advanced SXRD panels, and TRILUMINOS Display technology create an ultra-smooth and realistic picture. Motorized lens memory allows users to match a movie’s aspect ratio, making it easy to view in a wide-screen format. In addition to native 4K content available from Sony, the 600ES upscales Full HD content to 4K using Reality Creation.
Viewers in search of the ultimate 4K home cinema experience turn to the top-of-the-line VPL-HW1100ES projector. Brighter than the 600ES and with improved scaling and processing, the 1100ES delivers a native 4K picture. Special attention has been devoted to the 4K All-Range Crisp Focus lens. Specifically created for this projector, the 18-element glass lens delivers high-precision and detail in all corners of the image. An automatic lens protector helps keep the optics dust-free while the device is not in use.
Top Projectors on Display at Stereo East Home Theater
Are you ready to see what all of the hype is about? Visit Stereo East’s huge showroom in Frisco to demo Sony projectors in multiple home theater setups. This year, Stereo East is celebrating three decades of serving A/V enthusiasts in the DFW area, including Allen, McKinney, Prosper, Keller, Trophy Club, Plano, and other surrounding cities.
August 13, 2014
Bursting on the audio scene in the summer of 2010, GoldenEar Technology created an immediate sensation with the release of the now classic Triton Two tower loudspeakers. Created by legendary speaker engineer Sandy Gross, previous co-founder of two other renowned speaker companies (Polk and Definitive Technology), his new speaker line promised to reflect a philosophy of uncompromising performance AND value. Sandy and Co. quickly began to release a line of products to rave reviews, establishing GoldenEar as the new kid on the (speaker industry) block who was not just cool, but also very smart.
Affordable High-End Loudspeakers at Stereo East Home Theater
“We Make High-End Affordable.” According to Sandy Gross, this motto guides GoldenEar’s design efforts. GoldenEar speakers deliver superb sound quality comparable to that of costly esoteric brands, but at a fraction of their price. From compact wall-mounted and bookshelf speakers to powerful towers and subwoofers, GoldenEar’s high-end, yet reasonably priced speakers provide solutions for any audio/video project, be it large or small. Needless to say, the company has quickly become the hottest new speaker manufacturer in many years.
The GoldenEar Sound
When asked to describe the sound of his speakers, GoldenEar’s Sandy Gross talks about them being “designed to sound like nothing except what is being played through them”, and mentions the concept of “suspension of disbelief”. This effect, created by great speakers, delivers the illusion of one actually being among the musicians in the studio or of seemingly being pulled into the movie action by the detail and accuracy of the reproduced soundtrack.
To create a line of speakers able to accomplish such a feat, the GoldenEar team made specific design decisions first introduced in their flagship Triton Two tower speakers. Using a HVFR (High-Velocity Folded Ribbon) tweeter, designed for outstanding treble response with very low distortion at high output levels, plus two 4 1/2” midrange drivers noted for their “smooth linear response extending above 20kHz”, this combination allows for seamless interaction between the very responsive tweeter and the midrange section of the Triton Two speakers. The final key element of the design is the powered subwoofer section, consisting of dual 5″ x 9″ woofers coupled with dual 7″ x 10″ passive radiators, powered by a 1200-watt digital amplifier offering superb bass performance extending to below 20Hz. All of this technology is contained in a slender and elegant cabinet that is an unobtrusive addition to all audio or video-base home theater systems.
The Magic Continues
After receiving glowing reviews from the high-end audio press for the Triton Two towers, Golden Ear has continued to hit home runs out of the park with the release of the slightly smaller, but just as potent Triton Three speakers, the SuperCinema 3D Array audiophile-grade soundbar, the Aon series of bookshelf speakers, and, most recently, the stunning Triton Seven Tower. In addition, the Invisa in-wall/in-ceiling speaker line is also expanding, complete with rave reviews. For the record, all the models utilize the renowned HVFR ribbon tweeter. GoldenEar’s new super-speaker, the Triton One, has just recently been released to rave reviews, of course.
We can only guess what other groundbreaking products GoldenEar has up their sleeve. Upon recently receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, GoldenEar’s Sandy Gross exclaimed: “I’m not done yet…!”
October 3, 2013
Every September, the team at Stereo East travels to the annual CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) show. Many of you may already be familiar with CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) which features a large spectrum of consumer electronics, but at CEDIA, the focus is narrowed to custom installation and systems integration of home technologies.
One of the main draws for us is technical education. Industry leaders and experts gather at CEDIA to provide extensive training and certification classes to help keep us on the cutting edge of our craft. They also offer panels and forums to talk about new technologies and showcase their latest products. Best of all, we can use this information to help our clients truly design systems that offer the greatest value and make the most sense for their lifestyle, all while providing a highly qualified technical staff to deliver on our clients’ expectations.
There were over 470 exhibitors and more than 20% were new, but several of the big staple vendors were conspicuously absent. LG and Samsung were two of the bigger names that didn’t show at this year’s CEDIA expo.
Automation and Distributed Audio Steal the Show
An overriding theme at CEDIA 2013 centered on extending control and automation to tablets and smartphones. App-driven control allows the user to operate products or systems without having to buy and incorporate special software. An example of this is the new app available from Universal Remote Control (URC). If you purchased a URC remote from Stereo East, you may purchase an app that will allow you to extend your programmed control to your tablets and phones by enabling them to communicate with the RF base stations. Control4 now includes the app for free for up to fifty of your mobile devices when you purchase a single processor.
Another primary driver at this year’s show was distributed audio. Simply put, there was a plethora of new products designed to effortlessly grab music from network-enabled devices and move them seamlessly around the home. Competitors NuVo and Sonos showed their latest products. Both are extremely capable wireless music systems. The NuVo products offer USB stick capabilities in case your Wi-Fi network goes down, and all processors have a line out and subwoofer output for connections to better audio systems. Sonos was showing their new Play Bar (soundbar), which manages to incorporate some of those features. Sonos offers Spotify, which is not yet available on NuVo. Voco is a new player in the category and will supposedly be the first of these to move video through these streaming devices. There are also countless apps and AirPlay technologies being incorporated directly into the more conventional products like TVs, A/V receivers, and portable audio.
Leading Brands Launch New Projectors and TVs
Epson displayed their new line of projectors, and they are stronger than ever. The new entry level 2030 allows Epson to compete against the poorly-performing, cheap projectors found all over the web and at price clubs, but with Epson’s quality, it should dominate the $1000 price point. Epson will soon debut the new 4030, which will squeeze in between model 3020 at $1599 (a home series projector) and model 6020 / 6030 at $3500 (a professional series projector). The professional series projector includes a mounting bracket, an extra lamp, and a three year warranty.
Sony was one of the few power vendors that did make the investment to showcase at CEDIA. Sony was showing their soon-to-be-released new 4K Ultra HD TVs. And yes, you will be able to find these spectacular TVs here at Stereo East Home Theater. We were one of the first to get these ordered for the busy holiday season. Additionally, Sony showed two new remarkable music servers that will store up to a terabyte of music and access it anywhere you have network access. Our vote for the “wake up call” of the year award goes to Sony. Sony has made great strides and is now producing some of the finest projectors and flat panel TVs in the industry. Even their ES line of high performance audio products has taken its rightful place back at the top.
High-Definition Video Distribution Solutions
HD Base T is a connection technology utilizing Cat5 e and Cat6 wiring to distribute video, control, audio, and POE (power over Ethernet) signals. It is so robust that it is now being incorporated directly into receivers and televisions. This is due in part to the failures of HDMI at distances beyond fifty feet, and the cost associated with up and down conversion such as baluns. Integra will be one of the first receivers to offer HD Base T on the back panel of their receivers, and Samsung will be incorporating the technology into at least two models of flat panel TVs. Higher performance products from companies like Leaf offer more reliable distribution of HD video at much lower prices, and all these offerings are substantially less than the previous $20k solution from Crestron.
High-Performance Audio Delivers
Audio was also omnipresent, and since it the most fundamentally important form of entertainment, we should give kudos where they are due. Accolades go to Sandy Gross and the team at GoldenEar. This company is spearheaded by one of the founders of Polk Audio and subsequent founder of Definitive Technology. With GoldenEar, he has taken another giant leap. The awe inspiring value-to-performance ratio in these products has made them the second biggest speaker line at Stereo East. At CEDIA this year, GoldenEar demonstrated a complete in-wall and in-ceiling theater system utilizing the new HTR7000, with the Invisa MPX and SuperCenter XL. It was incredible!
PSB showed some new in-ceiling and in-wall speakers with back-box designs that are sure to be ideal matches for the Imagine series of products. NAD joined the digital audio race with the entrance of BlueSound, a high-performance alternative to the type of products available from Sonos and NuVo. Q Motion offered some of the coolest shading and drapery solutions we have ever seen. Not only are they motorized and controllable, but we don’t have to drill through your walls to run wires.
Overwhelmed by Options? Let Stereo East Home Theater Help!
What does all of this mean for our clients? It means there is a wide range of effective, impressive, and affordable solutions available for any lifestyle. If you’re not quite sure where to start, visit our showroom in Frisco. Our design consultants can help with all phases of your project. You’ll also get to see and hear the great new products. If you’d like more information on any of our services, contact us!