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On December 1, the SoundStage! video team visited Paradigm Loudspeakers to film the latest episode of SoundStage! InSight. This video, which is the fifth in the InSight series, focuses on Paradigm’s new Prestige-series speakers, which were first shown at CEDIA Expo 2014, held in September. The series is comprised of three floorstanders (95F, 85F, and 75F), one bookshelf model (15B), two center-channels (55C and 45C), and one surround (25S). All of the models are in production now at Paradigm’s manufacturing facility in Mississauga, ON, Canada, and have just begun shipping to dealers. Look for the video to be online on YouTube later this month.

SoundStage! InSight series on YouTube

The SoundStage! InSight video series, which began this year, takes an in-depth look at audio companies, the people behind them, and the products they make. The first three episodes featured Muraudio, Axiom Audio, and Totem Acoustic. The fourth instalment, which was released yesterday, features Vivid Audio, which is based in South Africa. In it, the company’s chief designer, Laurence Dickie, talks about the company’s origins, his vision for the original Giya G1 loudspeaker, and the technologies that make the Vivid Audio loudspeakers unique. The video can be viewed on YouTube using the link below.

SoundStage! InSight -- Vivid Audio

Loudspeaker-maker SVS is now offering their products in the Canadian market direct with a Bill of Rights for its customers, designed to make online purchases less risky. This announcement came shortly after the introduction of the company’s Prime-series speakers, which are now the company’s most affordable offerings. According to the company’s press release: “SVS, a worldwide leader in high performance home audio products, is proud to announce the direct availability of its speakers, subwoofers and audio accessories to Canadian residents, via www.svsound.com. Customers will also be covered by consumer protection policies never before seen in Canada as part of the SVS customer Bill of Rights.

“Originally brought to market as an online direct brand, SVS established the Bill of Rights to provide a framework for delivering unparalleled technical and sales support and to ensure customers had every opportunity to validate the performance of SVS products. Canadians can now enjoy a 45-day in-home audition period, a 5-year unconditional warranty and a one-year trade-up policy on all products, in addition to other ‘rights.’ SVS also provides free shipping to most of Canada and a special subsidized rate for those regions where delivery rates prevent free shipping.”

The company’s Bill of Rights for Canadian customers can be found online through this link.

SVS website

Loudspeaker-maker SVS, which was founded in 1998, has released the new Prime Series line, consisting of the Prime Tower, Prime Bookshelf, Prime Center, and Prime Satellite. According to the company’s October 10 press release: “The Prime Tower speaker benefits from lessons learned developing the Ultra Tower, with its own distinctive touches. It has a completely new 3.5-way crossover that ensures a full, flat and seamless frequency response from the tweeter to the midrange driver, and through the two individually tuned and isolated 6.5" woofers. The design creates deep bass extension and a cohesive sonic presentation, with no compromises for either home theater or home stereo applications.

“Designed for two-channel purists and home theater fans alike, the Prime Bookshelf speaker serves equally well as a standalone reference monitor, surround sound speaker, or front channel speaker, depending on the end user’s preference and the room’s layout. The 6.25” woofer delivers deep and articulate bass and outstanding extension, courtesy of a stiffened polypropylene cone, a refined motor with aluminum shorting ring for reduced distortion, and a vented voice coil former. The 1” aluminum dome tweeter utilizes an FEA-optimized diffuser to deliver open, ‘airy’ presentation and unveiled highs.”

Prime series

One of the highlights of this series is the new Center model, mostly because it’s a three-way design at a very affordable price. According to the release: “It’s rare, if not impossible to find a true three-way center channel speaker at the Prime Series price point. Two-way center channel speakers are prone to off-axis frequency anomalies and simply can’t match the performance of other speakers in the line-up. To create an uncompromised, yet affordable center channel, SVS engineered a true three-way, four-driver design featuring a 1” aluminum dome tweeter, dedicated 3.5” midrange driver and dual 5.25” woofers.”

Finally there’s the Satellite, which the company says is versatile enough to be used as main or surround speakers, or even as a center-channel. The release states: “The Satellite speaker stands on its own, or matches perfectly with SVS subwoofers in 2.1, 5.1 and 7.1 systems, or it can serve as the front, center, and surround speakers in a very capable, very affordable multichannel home theater system featuring other members of the Prime family. The compact size and included wall bracket also make the Satellite ideal in locations where space is limited, but high performance is desired.”

Prime series

The Tower is priced at $999.99/pair in Black Ash, $1199.99/pair in Piano Gloss; the Bookshelf is $499.99/pair in Black Ash, $599.99/pair in Piano Gloss; the Center is $349.99 in Black Ash, $449.99 in Piano Gloss; and the Satellite is $269.99/pair in Black Ash, $349.99/pair in Piano Gloss. All prices are in US dollars.

SVS website

PSB, founded in 1972 by Paul Barton, has announced the release of the Imagine T3 loudspeaker, which now takes the position of being the company's top-of-the-line loudspeaker offering. The T3 is a five-driver design comprised of three 7” woofers, one 5.25” midrange, and one 1” tweeter. The 1” tweeter has a titanium dome and the midrange driver is newly designed -- as are all the drivers -- for this model. A unique design element of the T3 revolves around the configuration of the three woofers, which the company’s press release explains: “Three 7” woofers are arranged in PSB’s five-way transitional array, where all three woofers combine to produce the longest wavelengths of sound in the lowest frequencies. At higher musical frequencies woofers are strategically attenuated until only the woofer adjacent to the midrange is active, creating a perfect transition with uniform off-axis response. The position of each woofer, and the exact crossover slope, has been carefully optimized to reduce first acoustic reflections, also known as ‘floor bounce.’”

PSB T3

The T3 is available in High Gloss Black or High Gloss Cherry finishes, and the wood-based cabinet sits atop an aluminum plinth that has adjustable spikes. The price for the T3 is $7498 USD/pair. The matching C3 center-channel speaker has also been released, which sells for $1999. Both speakers are being shown for the first time at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, which is being held this weekend in Denver, CO, USA.

PSB Speakers website

Classé, which is a subsidiary of loudspeaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins, has announced the new Sigma-series components. The line is comprised of the Sigma SSP surround processor, Amp2 stereo amplifier, and Amp5 five-channel amplifier. The amplifiers are both rated to deliver 200Wpc into 8 ohms. In the company’s September 10 press release Classé’s president, Dave Nauber, states: “High end is about passion, discovery, experience and technical exploration. It’s not just who can make the most expensive things. Making more affordable products that are truly high end is a greater challenge, which is why there is a gap in the market between offerings from the mass-market CE companies and the high-end brands. We chose to exploit our cost advantage as part of the B&W Group to fill this void with some exceptional new products.”

The Sigma SSP will carry a retail price of $5000 in the United States when it becomes available in October. According to the press release: “The Sigma SSP has been optimized as a high-performance stereo preamp/processor with video switching, multichannel processing and bass management included. Connections for USB and Ethernet streaming augment the basic HDMI, coax, and optical digital inputs. Balanced and single-ended analog inputs, including an optional phono stage, make the Sigma SSP a truly versatile preamp/processor.“

The press release also states that “the amplifier models are derived from their breakthrough Delta-series CA-D200; a Class D topology that addresses the problem of dead-band-time -- the time when both halves of the amplifier are off -- once thought to be the Achilles’ heel of class-D designs. The Classé solution achieves an astonishingly low 3-nanosecond dead-band-time, dramatically lowering distortion and enabling numerous other design advantages. The result is said to be superbly musical sonic performance along with other class-D benefits like small size, low heat dissipation and high efficiency.”

The Amp2 and Amp5 will retail for $3500 and $5000, respectively, and will also be available in October. All three Sigma products will make their debuts at CEDIA Expo 2014, held September 10-13 in Denver, CO, USA.

Classé website

Paradigm Loudspeakers has announced the release of the Prestige series of loudspeakers, which is comprised of three floorstanders (95F, 85F, and 75F), one stand-mounted model (15B), two center-channels (55C and 44C), and one surround model (25S). Prestige is the company’s first new speaker line in several years.

According to the company’s press release about Prestige, the speakers have a “Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPA™) Tweeter Lens that protects the delicate S-PAL™ tweeter dome and acts as the Phase Plug, blocking out-of-phase frequencies for smoother, extended high frequencies with incredible detail and higher output.” The press release also states that all of the Prestige speakers will be manufactured at company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which is located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: “Maintaining control over the design and manufacturing process is the only way to ensure perfection. For the ultimate in control, Paradigm builds its drivers in-house. Only by handcrafting each midrange and bass driver ourselves can we guarantee the consistency of our precision engineering, going beyond the industry standard to deliver superior high performance in each and every Prestige loudspeaker we build.”

At the time of the announcement, no pricing for any of the models was given; however, the press release did state that the Prestige speakers would become available in the fourth quarter of 2014. Prestige’s official debut will be at CEDIA Expo 2014, held September 10-13 in Denver, CO, USA.

Paradigm website

The new Harman/Kardon Esquire Mini, according to the company's September press release, embodies “elegance, sophistication and extreme portability in a chic, urban uni-body design that spares no attention to detail.” The Esquire Mini is portable and wireless, and provides sound from dual "high-performance" drivers coupled with what the company calls an "enhanced bass port design." It is constructed from premium materials, including real leather backing and brushed aluminum for a high-end look.

The Esquire Mini is Bluetooth-enabled, for full stereo streaming with your portable devices. It doubles as a conference phone system with dual microphones and built-in echo and noise-cancellation technology. The unit also has a USB input. An eight-hour, rechargeable Li-ion battery promises remote accessibility.

The Esquire Mini will carry a list price of $149.95 USD when it begins shipping in the fall.

Harman/Kardon website

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