Archives for January 2003

Parasound Ships its Much-Anticipated Halo C 1 A/V Controller

Parasound has announced that it will begin shipments this week of its highly anticipated Halo C1 audio/video controller.

The Halo C1 and its sibling model, the already-available Halo C 2, allow audiophiles to control their acoustic environment in ways never before possible with consumer products. These reference-grade components are THX Ultra2-certified multichannel A/V controllers that use the world’s most sophisticated DSP engine to deliver previously unattainable levels of performance and control, while remaining exceptionally easy to set up and operate. They also have four programmable output channels that take surround sound beyond the boundaries of conventional 7.1 channel systems.

“The Halo C 1 & C 2 expand the boundaries of 7.1-channel technology for audio and video enthusiasts, while providing automated configuration and outstanding ease-of-use for custom installers,” said Richard Schram, president, Parasound Products.

For the creative audiophile, the Halo models’ four additional channels provide remarkable opportunities to fine-tune the sound of the system in ways not possible with the current generation of controllers.

The programmable outputs consist of

  • (1) a second Subwoofer/LFE channel
  • (2) a sub-20 Hz LFE bass channel to drive a tactile transducer “room shaker”
  • (3 & 4) two completely customizable output channels

Each programmable channel has independent adjustments to mix its content from any or all of the eight main channels, plus adjustments for level and time-delay, and controls for high- and low-pass filters. Some possible configurations of these channels are for true stereo subwoofers, a dedicated rear-channel subwoofer, additional front or surround channels, mid-ceiling speakers for improved front-rear pans and improved spatial ambience, or mono channels for single speakers in adjacent rooms.

The Halo C 1’s most noticeable feature is a 5-inch front-panel video monitor that can duplicate the program and/or on-screen display on the component’s face plate. Both the Halo C 1 and C 2 provide the complete “alphabet” of all the latest state-of the-art surround processing modes, while future processing modes will be available via an upgradeable processor and software. An RS-232 port is provided to interface with a home automation system or a Windows PC for set-up, control, and processor upgrades. Available Parasound HaloControl™ software allows the user or custom installer to manage all the set-up and control functions, and to backup user settings. Custom installers will also appreciate the easy and effective automatic channel calibration process performed with an included microphone.

Other features include professional-grade balanced XLR audio and BNC video connections, two remote controls, and multi-zone capability. Except for the video monitor, slightly fewer connections, and some differences in the power supply, the smaller Halo C 2’s provides the same sonic and video prowess as the C 1.

“Three years ago we asked a team of designers in the US, Finland and Norway to create an instrument of such exquisite refinement that it would truly be in a class by itself,” said Parasound’s president, Richard Schram.

“The result has surpassed even my highest expectations, and it will have great appeal both to custom installers, who want to get the system running right and get it done fast, and to audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts, who want to fine-tune their systems to within the last fraction of sonic perfection.”

The Halo by Parasound C 1 and C 2 Audio/Video Controllers have suggested retail prices of $6,000 and $4,000, respectively.

Parasound Web Site

Treo Engineering Announces Treo Series Extreme (TSX) Subwoofers

At CES, Treo introduced several new products, including the Street Series Extreme Twelve Inch Subwoofer (SSX12.22), and the all-new Treo Series Extreme Subwoofers (TSX10.xx, TSX12.xx, & TSX15.xx)

The TSX subwoofers are aimed at the high-end car audio consumer. They take many of the same technologies used in the championship winning Treo Engineering Competition Series Extreme (CSX) SPL competition subwoofers and translate them into great-sounding subwoofers that will stand up to any kind of abuse.

The TSX subwoofers will be available in ten, twelve, and fifteen inch sizes. All sizes will be available with dual 4-ohm or dual 2-ohm voice coils.

The TSX10 and TSX12 feature a large 208 ounce motor structure, 2.5 inch dual two ohm or dual four ohm voice coils, and a polypropylene cone. The TSX15 features the same polypropylene cone along, with even larger 298 ounce motor structures and 3.0 inch dual two ohm or dual four ohm aluminum voice coils.

All TSX subwoofers feature hydro-formed steel frames with Treo-exclusive perimeter venting and durable and attractive black electroplated top plates and T-yokes. Power handling on the TSX10 and TSX12 is 275 watts RMS and power handling on the TSX15.22 is 350 watts RMS. The TSX subwoofers boast two and a half inches of peak-to-peak excursion.

The Treo TSX subwoofers will be in stores beginning February 1, 2003, pricing to be announced.

TREO Engineering Web Site

More CES 2003 News

Outlaw Audio Debuts 200-Watt, $299 Mono Amplifier

Outlaw Audio has introduced the Model 200 “M-Block” single channel amplifier with a power rating of 200 watts into 8 ohms, and a remarkable low Web-direct price of just $299 (US).

While audiophiles have long appreciated the inherent channel-isolation benefits of single-channel amplifiers, these “mono-block” amplifiers are typically very expensive components available only in the most exclusive high-end audio salons. The Outlaw Model 200, which is sold only on the internet, presents a very affordable way to add extra channels to a home theater, power multiple remote-zone speakers, bi-amp premium audiophile speakers, or create a high-performance two-channel music system.

The Outlaw Audio Model 200 M-Block uses a proprietary hybrid Class A/B/Class G amplifier design that is conservatively rated at 200 watts into a 8-ohm load, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, < 0.05%THD, or 300 watts into 4-ohms. The short-term dynamic power rating is 300 watts into 8 ohms. This amazingly compact amplifier is just 1-3/4 inches high, or one rack-unit in pro-audio jargon, while its footprint matches conventional 17 inches wide components.

Compared to conventional two-, five-, and seven-channel amplifiers, the Outlaw Audio Model 200’s mono configuration provides inherently perfect isolation between channels and a separate power supply for each channel. The Model 200 uses a large-diameter pancake toroidal transformer with a 400VA rating, and two filter capacitors with a combined rating of 20,000 µF to ensure a steady current supply no mater what the input signal.

The Model 200 operates as Class A/B power up to 80 watts, transitioning within 2 microseconds (2 millionths! of a second) to Class G above that. This allows a remarkable combination of signal quality, high power levels, high efficiency, and low operating temperatures without the use of a cooling fan. The transition to Class G is absolutely inaudible, because the 2 microsecond transition lasts about 1/25th the duration of a single cycle of 20 kHz audio. For the Class A/B operation mode the output stage uses four 15-amp bipolar transistors, while the Class G operation employs two 40-amp high-power MOSFETs.

Since the unit is designed to always be either on or in stand-by mode, there is no front-panel power switch. The rear-panel Master Power Button provides the safety switch required to remove the unit from an AC power source. In the standby mode the Model 200 is turned on or off by a standard 6-35VDC trigger signal applied to a rear-panel jack, or when the “music sense” circuit detects the presence of an audio signal at the input jack. When the audio signal stops for 10 minutes, the amplifier automatically turns off.

The front panel has a three-color LED status indicator that glows Outlaw Green when the unit is on, yellow when the unit is in standby, and red if the unit goes in the protect mode. The input signal transits a gold-plated RCA input jack, with the output signal connects via high-quality five-way binding posts.

The Model 200 is available immediately, direct from Outlaw Audio, for $299 (US).

Model 200 Technical Specifications

* Power Output (FTC Continuous RMS):
– 200 watts @ 8 ohms, 20 Hz 20 kHz, < 0.05% THD
– 300 watts @ 4 ohms, 20 Hz 20 kHz, < 0.05%

* Short Term Dynamic Power Output:
– 300 watts @ 8 ohms

* THD Signal to Noise: 100 dB (unweighted)

* Input Impedance: > 10K Ohms

* Gain: +27dB (1.7V sensitivity) for full output

* Input Connectors: RCA Jack

* Output Connectors: Five-Way binding posts

* Power Consumption: 600 watts maximum, < 3 watts standby

* Weight: 18 pounds

* Dimensions (H/W/D):1.75″ x 17″ x 11.5″

Outlaw Audio Web Site

Onkyo Tunes In MP3s Around the House

While digital music files such as MP3 and Widows Media Audio (WMA) are popular for playback on portable MP3 players and personal computers, CD players and radios still reign supreme in family rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms.

At CES 2003, Onkyo demonstrated the new NC-500 Net-Tune Client, a compact stereo system that unites high fidelity sound with home PC networking, to deliver MP3 music to any room in the house.

Onkyo is positioning its Net-Tune® technology as an easy-to-use home audio network that delivers audio from PCs and digital media files to hi-fi stereo and home theater systems.

Net-Tune is available as a compact ‘stereo receiver’ component, the NC-500, priced at $400 (US) by itself, or $500 (US) in a compact stand-alone package with speakers. Net-Tune capability is also provided on the Onkyo TX-NR900, a full-featured 7.1-channel home theater receiver ($1,500 US).

To audio enthusiasts, the Onkyo NC-500 is a compact ‘stereo receiver.’ Computer networking people will call it a network ‘client’ device. Either way, it connects to standard wired or powerline Ethernet local area networks (LAN), which are becoming increasingly popular with consumers to simultaneously connect multiple home PCs to the Internet. Onkyo’s Net-Tune searches your home network to access MP3 files stored on family PCs or to play streaming Internet radio stations arriving at the PC through a high-bandwidth DSL or cable modem.

Up to 12 NC-500s can independently access music on the network at the same time without interfering with each other. Each person can listen to the same or different music as others on the network, selecting songs by album, artist, genre, or playlist.

With millions of homes adding broadband DSL and cable modems, consumers are adding home Ethernet networks so everyone in the house can go on-line simultaneously. As these networks expand, Onkyo Net-Tune products can plug into these networks, giving consumers even more benefit from their networks.

The Onkyo NC-500 has connections for an external CD player and includes a built-in AM/FM radio. It can also be used as a source component with outputs for delivering music from the network to a conventional stereo receiver.

Onkyo USA Web Site

Rockford’s Omnifi Awarded TechTV’s Best of CES in Mobile Audio Category

Rockford Corporation announced today that their new wireless digital media transfer system, Omnifi™, was a CES 2003 showstopper. After winning the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) 2003 Best of Innovations award in the Mobile Electronics category, it followed up with TechTV’s Best of CES in the Auto, Marine, and RV category.

TechTV’s Best of CES focuses on the best new products that are exhibited at CES 2003. TechTV describes award recipients as “the products … most likely to be coveted by consumers in the coming year.” Only twelve products out of the thousands of products on display at the show are awarded this prize.

“We are extremely pleased with the reception and overwhelming popularity Omnifi received at the 2003 CES from dealers, reps, and the media,” exclaims Gary Suttle, Rockford’s president and chief executive officer. “It was very rewarding to see that all of the hard work put into this product by the teams at Rockford and SimpleDevices has been acknowledged. We couldn’t be happier.”

With software from SimpleDevices, Inc. and hardware from Rockford Fosgate, Omnifi eliminates the need to burn CDs to listen to digital music in the car, and gives consumers the ability to download and transfer music and programs from the Internet to the PC hard drive to the consumer’s car and home stereo/theater systems.

“Omnifi was distinctive at the show because it allows the consumer to deliver a wide-range of Internet-based digital media from the PC to their automobile and/or home stereo/theater, making this product the most powerful and flexible digital wireless entertainment platform on the market today,” explains Craig Janik, CTO of SimpleDevices.

“SimpleDevice’s SimpleWare™ and SimpleCenter™ software leverages industry standards, such as 802.11 and Universal Plug and Play (UpnP), to extend home networking technology beyond the PC or home gateway to a wide variety of digital device applications. No other company currently offers wireless transfer capability this simple and effective.”

Omnifi is a family of connected devices based on the SimpleWare software suite. In the Omnifi system, these software applications give consumers the ability to manage their media in one simple, yet powerful media player application, SimpleCenter and then wirelessly deliver it to Omnifi devices that connect to the stereo or are installed in the car.

SimpleWare is the only connected device software on the market that enables the delivery of local and Internet-based music, radio streams, information updates and other types of media files to a variety of products. The Omnifi system allows consumers to manage all of their media in one location, and then access it at their stereo or in their automobile.

The Omnifi mobile system consists of a remote-mounted, drop resistant, 20-Gigabyte storage unit, an ARM7 microprocessor, and an easy-to-use 1-DIN front mounted controller.

The Omnifi home audio/home theater product consists of a stand-alone receiver capable of streaming media dispatched from the personal computer and an optional wireless access point that allows 802.11B wireless transmission and receipt of the media.

Omnifi should be available in April 2003 at a suggested retail price of $599 (US).

Rockford Fosgate Web Site

More CES 2003 News