Head Unit Alpine IDA-X305
Somewhere in the near future hard copies of CDs, books and even magazines like this will probably be obsolete as most media becomes hard-drive based. Alpine already has a leg up on the future with its iDA-X305 head unit. This is their third source unit without a disc slot. That's right, all the media comes through airwaves (HD Radio, Bluetooth and satellite radio require additional tuners or subscriptions), your iPod or iPhone and anything accessible through its USB slot (think thumb drives, other MP3 players, etc.). The bright 2.2-inch color TFT screen displays all your song info, such as artist, album and even album art. And, the iPod/iPhone friendly interface lets you search by playlist, artist, album, etc.
Subwoofer MTX Thunder Thin 65
Is it possible to get Aretha Franklin-sized sound out of a Nicole Ritchie-sized subwoofer? MTX feels that they're the first company to make a truly high-performance compact sub, and they've got a CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award to prove it. The Thunder Thin 65 has a progressive connex spider with integrated sub-cone that's the key to keeping the sub a mere 3.325-inches deep. The skinny sub also boasts MTX-standard features like advanced venting technology and Santoprene rubber surround. The sum of this tech is truer bass and greater output than other slim subs on the market. The Thunder Thin comes in 10 and 12-inch models and works with enclosures from .5 cubic feet to 1.25 cubic feet for maximum install flexibility.
Amplifier Pioneer GM-5400T
It's all about trickle-down technology. When a company like Pioneer starts bringing features from their high-end products to their more budget-friendly lines, the consumer wins. The new series of Pioneer GM amplifiers (MSRP starting at $100) inherited an H-shaped bottom chassis from the top-of-the-line PRS-A amps. This design practically kills all vibrations and resonance. The GM-5400T also got a sub-heat sink on top of the unit's main heat sink to, you guessed it, get rid of a lot of heat. On top of the performance upgrades from prior models, the GM amp also sports a new look that includes a touch of red on the RCA and speaker terminal inputs.
In the midst of a huge economic downturn it's easy to forget that we're still living in one of the most exciting times in terms of media. Our options for entertainment, for instance, be it in the car, house, office or on the street, is almost overwhelming. You have the Internet (which pretty much encompasses everything), satellite and HD radio, your portable media devices for audio and video, and then the almighty mobile phone. Phones like the iPhone are the new laptops for a lot of people. As if we needed another entertainment source - and maybe we do - miRoamer (www.miroamer.com) will have already announced a partnership with Blaupunkt by the time this issue of SS hits the newsstands. The two companies are collaborating on making the first Internet radio receiver for in-car use. Their Internet car radio enables drivers to tune into miRoamer's tens of thousands of radio stations from around the world. This is sort of like HD Radio or even satrad on steroids. If you spend a lot of time on the Web listening to "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on KCRW (a local L.A. station favorite - search for it online), or say Pandora, then you have an idea of what you'll be able to tap into through Blaupunkt and miRoamer. Look for details following CES.
Limbgear Noggin Net
LimbGear is a company that makes apparel that incorporates music players or accessories into its products. Their latest is the LimbGear Noggin Net. It's an MP3-enabled skullcap which works in conjunction with their own specially designed earbuds that fit into the Noggin Net's earbud channels.
Matched Component Speakers
In technology, if you're not moving forward, you're moving back. The folks at KICKER Performance Audio know that, so they wanted to make sure their new QS-Series (MSRP: $649.95-699.95) matched component speakers their best ever. The midrange rocks Kicker's new Tri-Tech cone, which is two layers of carbon-poly sandwiching Rohacell foam. This configuration creates the serious damping needed for fidelity. The 30-mm DuPont Tetoron dome tweeters recreate rich highs and can be mounted flush, angled or coaxial. Crossovers can be configured in a standard 2-way network or through bi-amplification. The QS65.2 system features a 6.5-inch midrange while the QS60.2 features a true 6-inch that can also fit in a 5.25-inch location.
4-Way Speakers Sony XS-GTX1640
Made to complement their GT series head units, Sony's affordable GTX series speakers give you no excuse not to swap out your factory speaks. For instance, the XS-GTX1640 4-way speakers cost about $120. The 6.5-inch set includes Sony's "highly-oriented polyolefine" (a.k.a. "HOP") cone woofer, for satisfying low frequencies and overall sound quality. If you have factory 6.5s they should swap right out, and if you plan on adding on an aftermarket amplifier, the XS-GTX1640 and its high-density layered diaphragm (HDLD) can handle up to 300 watts of peak power.