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2008 Consumer Excellence Award Winners

by March 11, 2009
2008 Consumer Excellence Awards

2008 Consumer Excellence Awards

The consumer electronics industry is awash with an influx of new products. Each year it seems that every manufacturer is on a quest to outdo all others in a race to integrate more features and advanced technologies into their products. The prestigious Consumer Excellence (CE) Awards program recognizes the most advanced and forward-thinking products in crucial CE categories. Awards are given to products which serve consumers directly and also those products which serve to improve the business and success of the custom installer. The CE Awards is a clear benchmark award for the products which will make an impact in the coming year.

Category: Loudspeakers

Speakers > Floorstanders

6T-Ccerry.jpgCompany: Aperion Audio
Product: Intimus 6T Towers
MSRP: $695 ea.
www.aperionaudio.com

The 6T tower speakers are the perfect choice for the customer that enjoys both music and movies. The ultimate in sonic excellence for medium and large rooms, the new Intimus 6T Tower Speaker offers flawless sound reproduction, tight bass, superior midrange, crisp highs and an absolutely enormous soundstage.    The thick, furniture-grade cabinetry is easy on the eyes and minimizes resonance while their new custom 1” silk dome tweeter and redesigned dual 6.5” woven-fiberglass woofers deliver tight bass and exceptional midrange clarity.

Speakers > Satellite Systems

accent_front_nogrille.jpgCompany: Axiom Audio
Product: Epic Accent/125 Home Theater System
MSRP: $998

The Axiom Epic Accent 125 comprises five compact, slim and identical on-wall satellite speakers with unusually linear uncolored sound quality, timbrally matched, and a companion subwoofer, the Axiom EP125, all at a price enabling newbies to enjoy authentic high-fidelity sound far superior to that of mass-market competitors.

Speakers > Bookshelves

VS240_cher_front.jpgCompany: Boston Acoustics
Product: VS 240
MSRP: $399
www.bostonacoustics.com

The Boston Acoustics VS Series VS 240 is a 4-1/2” Two-Way Bookshelf Loudspeaker that excels in a wide range of listening applications, including home theater, advanced stereo and multi-channel music reproduction. Innovative driver and cabinet designs yield outstanding sonic performance characteristics, and VS Series loudspeakers also stand apart from all others for their exceptional visual appeal. The striking piano lacquer finish and high-gloss furniture-grade cherry end panels cover a gently curved cabinet that brings a new level of aesthetic beauty to a loudspeaker market traditionally defined by the "rectangular box." The VS 240 is ideal for use in virtually any home entertainment system as it brings together superior sonic reproduction capabilities with exciting new dimensions in loudspeaker elegance and aesthetics.

Speakers > Subwoofers

Photon-8_CD-image.jpgCompany: Chrysalis Acoustics
Product: Photon-8
MSRP: $899
www.chrysalisacoustics.com

Big bass sound, a tiny subwoofer…are these incompatible? Not anymore! The Chrysalis Photon-8 subwoofer is a small, rectangular box (just over 10” squared, 12” deep), housing a front-firing 8” driver that extends to 26 Hz (-3dB). It can outperform many larger subwoofers, both in low bass extension and maximum bass output. Yet it fits easily into the home environment of consumers who value lifestyle, aesthetics, and thrilling bass performance – for a modest investment. Most high-performance subwoofers that deliver lifelike movie and music performance are bulky and intimidating. Photon-8 circumvents this problem via a powerful, one-kilowatt amplifier, driving a solidly constructed 8” driver weighing 12.7 lbs. The sealed cabinet, quality driver and powerful amplifier combine to deliver low distortion, high-impact bass from a compact, nicely styled cabinet that conceals easily. Photon-8 has a transparent sonic signature free of audible distortion and coloration, enabling dynamic bass to effortlessly integrate into the homeowner’s lifestyle. Its freedom from distortion and forward-thinking engineering allow it to sonically “disappear”, just as the small cabinet dimensions allow it to visually disappear. Even consumers who don’t need a small cabinet love the sound! This subwoofer perfectly suits customers desiring powerful bass from a compact, easily placed cabinet.

Speakers > In-wall/In-ceiling

SC-600-IW.jpgCompany: Velodyne Acoustics
Product: SC-600 IW / SC-600 Amp
MSRP: $999
www.velodyne.com

Custom dealers routinely hide speakers in walls and ceilings, yet struggle to conceal powerful bass in homes. Freestanding subwoofers often aren’t an option for aesthetic reasons. Few in-wall subwoofers deliver high-energy bass. Most powerful in-wall subwoofers don’t install easily in retro-fits, or cannot fit standard 2x4 walls. Many are expensive; excessively vibrate the drywall, disturbing others in the home; have protruding grilles; or suffer some combination of these issues. Velodyne’s SC-600IW In-Wall subwoofer system stands alone. It delivers deep, powerful bass, and installs in minutes, for easy retro-fit installations, at under $1000 retail. Its unique triple-vector engineering minimizes drywall vibration, making other home occupants happy. Powered by a 200-watt RMS outboard amplifier, the SC-600IW fits standard 2x4 walls, with a “cut, plug and play” design. It fits flush with the wall for a beautiful appearance. The bass can be tailored to the room with its one-touch, Auto-EQ room-bass correction system, enhancing placement flexibility. A convenient remote control offers four custom presets, perfectly adapting the bass to family member preferences for music, movies, and games. These and other IR or RS-232 remote commands can be easily integrated in any brand of universal remote, for seamless integration with the homeowner’s other equipment.

Speakers > Headphones

AH-D7000.jpgCompany: Denon Electronics
Product: AH-D7000
MSRP: $999
usa.denon.com

The Denon AH-D7000 over-ear headphones are ultra-luxury “easy-listening” headphones that combine old world craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technologies to literally redefine the ultimate in private listening. The large diameter (50mm, 1.97”) free edge Microfiber diaphragms provide extended frequency response, from the lowest 5 kHz bass notes all the way up to 45 kHz. The smaller size of the micro-fiber (1/100th compared to natural cellulose) results in a denser diaphragmatic material that increases frequency transmission rates for better sound and detail, affording maximum presence of acoustic sounds with low distortion. Further enhancing audio quality, high strength Neodymium magnets provide high efficiency and freedom from motor structure non-linearity.

Speakers > Portable Speakers

i.Sound-Ice-Speakers.jpgCompany: dreamGEAR
Product: i.Sound Ice Speakers
MSRP: $39.99
www.dreamgear.net

The Ice Speakers are crystal clear, compact speakers that glow with ultra-blue LED illumination when in use, making them the first and only speakers of their kind. The crystallized PC Plastic forming the speakers’ housing is the clearest plastic available, and the substantial weight for the speakers’ diminutive size hints at the superior audio technology housed within. The Ice Speakers can be used with any audio device that uses a 3.5 mm audio jack including all iPod models, and the included AC adapter is compatible with iPod and other MP3 players’ original USB cable, so users can charge their devices in between play time. This extra feature ensures that users are ready to combat low battery life at any time. Ideal for jazzing up computer desks and illuminating your favorite space, the Ice Speakers are an essential accessory for anyone who wants a fashionable alternative to bulky, unattractive sound systems.

Specialty > Youth Products & Accessories

LoudEnough-Ultimate-Ears.jpgCompany: Ultimate Ears
Product: LoudEnough
MSRP: $39.99
www.ultimateears.com

LoudEnough earphones maintain best-in-class audio quality while setting boundaries to the volume delivered to children’s ears by reducing sound pressure levels by up to 20dB, which is heard as about one quarter of the volume. These volume-limiting components are built directly into the ear buds, making these elements invisible to the pint-sized user while giving parents peace of mind. LoudEnough comes in three vivid colors of Blueberry, Mint and Plum and contains six sets of changeable soft silicone ear tips designed to fit the smaller ear canals of children. Two sets of extra-small, small and medium are included.  The shape and snug fit of the tips yield maximum wearing comfort and noise isolation. The 3.5 mm connector is compatible with most portable music and video sources like the iPod and Sony PSP as well as DVD car entertainment systems, TVs and PCs.

Specialty > Youth Headphones

CH68KG01.jpgCompany: Kidz Gear
Product: CH68KG01 Headphones
MSRP: $19.99
www.gearforkidz.com

Typically, children are the last ones considered when it comes to home theater systems and accessories and being a part of enjoying the experience.  Specifically, when talking headphones, comfort and fit along with audio quality and clarity just don’t seem to be there for the kids.  Until now.  Kidz Gear Headphones for Kids focuses on products that have adult-features and components but have been specifically designed for children.  With design focus on comfort, size and fit, the Kidz Gear CH68KG01 headphones deliver extremely rich sound quality for a variety of audio content.

 

Category: Displays & Televisions


Projectors > Lifestyle Systems

Epson-Grey-Room-Screen-Down.jpgCompany: Epson America
Product: Ensemble HD 1080 Home Cinema System
MSRP: $6999
www.epson.com

The world’s first high performance, integrated audio/video projection system, Ensemble HD 1080 has everything you need to create the home theater of your dreams.  It includes a high-definition Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080p projector, a one-of-a-kind integrated sound system developed in coordination with Atlantic Technology, a large, motorized movie screen, and an AV controller with built-in DVD.  The system also comes with a universal remote control, an equipment cabinet and all the brackets, cables and wire management tracks you’ll need for an easy, unobtrusive, professional installation in as little as four hours. Ensemble HD’s sophisticated engineering makes it a breakthrough offering for thousands of dollars less than comparable home theater systems.  With this high value, high performance home theater system, families can experience true cinematic adventures, night after night, right in their own home, complete with spine-rattling sound and mind-blowing visual clarity.

Displays & TVs > LCD Flat Panel

KDL-55XBR8-Front.jpgCompany: Sony Electronics Inc.
Product: BRAVIA KDL-55XBR8
MSRP: $6500
www.sonystyle.com

Take the next step forward in HDTV technology with the KDL-55XBR8 BRAVIA XBR LCD flat panel HDTV. In addition to Full HD 1080p, this XBR-8 Series TV features TRILUMINOS RGB Dynamic LED backlight which produces breathtaking images with enhanced color purity that result in deep blacks and bright whites with startling depth and exceptional shadow detail. You\'ll also see the difference with Motionflow 120Hz PRO technology which enhances motion and delivers a smoother and clearer picture. Your 1080p HD images will look more breathtaking than ever thanks to the BRAVIA Engine 2 PRO fully digital video processor.

Displays & TVs > Projectors

JVC-DLA-HD750.jpgCompany: JVC
Product: DLA-HD750
MSRP: $7499.95
pro.jvc.com

Of all home theater products, front projectors come closest to replicating the cinema experience at home.  The JVC DLA-HD750, a THX certified projector, uses JVC's its own LCOS technology -- D-ILA -- to deliver an image that is smooth and filmlike, while also delivering in the one area that truly characterizes a great cinema-like image -- outstanding contrast, with deep blacks and bright whites.

Displays & TVs > Projector Screens

Kestrel.jpgCompany: Elite Screens
Product: Kestrel floor-rising screen system
MSRP: $2199
www.elitescreens.com

Kestrel is a premium grade mobile electric floor-rising screen designed for residential home theater rooms executive presentations or formal functions that require a flexible alternative when wall or ceiling installations are not practical such as textured walls or cathedral ceilings.  They are used primarily for “disappearing" home theater installations as well as in private practice offices that are limited on space. The design provides a high quality projection surface in an aesthetically pleasing package for high-end quality in a projection system without the commitment of wall/ceiling installations. The screen measures 72 to100  inches diagonally in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios with the option of multi-purpose 1.1 gain fiberglass-backed matte white "MaxWhite FG" or 4-ultra high gain "Starbright4" material.  It has internal Infrared and Radio Frequency receivers and 12 volt trigger port with remotes for total control.  It fuses high tech convenience with superior quality materials for a premium grade addition to the finest in \"disappearing\" projection system installations. Its precisely engineered cross rising mechanism is driven by a powerful 120 volt 30rpm tubular motor of our own design and operates with a smooth and flawless action in its breath-taking appearance at the touch of a button.

Displays & TVs > Specialty

SunBriteTV-4610HD-fireplace.jpgCompany: SunBriteTV
Product: 4610HD All-Weather Outdoor 46" LCD TV
MSRP: $4995.99
www.sunbritetv.com

DigiLinX IP-Based Multi-Room Audio/Video Solution is the first and only system in the world that can distribute multiple streams of uncompressed high definition video and/or audio over CAT5e, while providing synchronized delivery of multiple streams to all points on the network. DigiLinX can also convert audio or video from analog or digital sources (tuner, CD player, etc.) into “packeted” network streams in real-time. To distribute uncompressed video in real time over a gigabit TCP/IP network, NetStreams incorporates PerfectPixel technology, which provides 100% accurate picture replication; while its patent-pending StreamNet technology ensures the reliable transmission of synchronized audio, video and control packets across the network.

 

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About the author:

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

pzaur posts on March 15, 2009 18:57
corey, post: 536407
Does Audioholics do design work for Aperion, or is Aperion part of your “family” of companies? If so, that should be stated in the article.

I'm going with neither. It looks like a quick cut-and-paste job for the blurp about the speaker. Word structure is identical to the website.

If there was a connection, they'd be sold at the audioholics store. Aperion is out of Oregon.

-pat
dschill posts on March 15, 2009 12:47
^^ i agree!!
Midcow2 posts on March 12, 2009 05:25
One thing that has always bothered me …

on awards such as this (like Motor Trend's Car of the Year) is that only completley brand new products are reviewed. They may be the best of the completely new products offered, but that doe not necessarily mean they are better the the current not compleltely new products.

I personally would like to seee the comparison set expanded to all products and if a new product is better than an existing product, then so be it, it is the best in category. But to say a new product is best — when some existing products IMHO are better is as bad as Barney Frank stating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were solvent.

Later,

MidCow2


Okay trivia – what was the MTCOTY mistake in 1983
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/high_performance/best_worst_lists/dishonorable_mention_the_10_most_embarrassing_award_winners_in_automotive_history_feature
corey posts on March 12, 2009 04:44
abboudc, post: 536278
I'm a bit confused as well.

Me too. In the article, Clint wrote: "The thick, furniture-grade cabinetry is easy on the eyes and minimizes resonance while our new custom 1” silk dome tweeter and redesigned dual 6.5” woven-fiberglass woofers deliver tight bass and exceptional midrange clarity.“

Does Audioholics do design work for Aperion, or is Aperion part of your ”family" of companies? If so, that should be stated in the article.
Djizasse posts on March 11, 2009 21:32
Zion, why do you have a swf object in your post????
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