Like the original VISO 1, the VISO 1 AP uses NAD-developed combination Class D amplifier/DSP modules with speakers developed with and for NAD by the firm’s sister brand PSB Speakers. Indeed, no less an authority than PSB founder Paul Barton was responsible for creating the voicing for the VISO 1 and VISO 1 AP systems. The upshot of this is that the VISO rigs may look like sleek “lifestyle” products, but they sound more than a little like serious hi-fi systems.
Onkyo’s cool new RBX-500 iLunar system is a tabletop iPod dock speaker with several very unusual twists. First, the iLunar system is not a traditional stereo solution, but rather a six-channel system featuring six full-range drivers plus a downward firing subwoofer. Second, the iLunar features sophisticated “3D sound processing” from the Swiss firm Sonic Emotion. According to Onkyo, the Sonic Emotion processing system uses “wave field synthesis” and is “able to render a 3D audio image creating an impression for the listener of being on stage or in the studio with the musicians.” Finally, the iLunar rig not only allow iPod docking, but is also Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR compatible, giving it greater versatility.
While Onkyo’s “on stage or in the studio” description might be a bit of a stretch, a brief listen to the iLunar suggested to me that it could and did create a far more spacious and enveloping soundstage than is the norm for most iPod docking speaker (even very good ones). What is more, the 3D effect seemed to hold up pretty well, even when listening to the iLunar at quite close range (as would be the case when, say, using the iLunar on a desktop, but within arm’s reach of the listener).