The JVC EX-A10, a home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) system that utilizes sake-soaked wood cone speakers, is now available for $1,000, according to a press release issued by the company. The wood speakers--which are made from sheets of birch that are soaked in rice wine (sake) to conform to the driver's complex cone shape--had previously been utilized in JVC's EX-A1, EX-D1, and EX-D5 minisystems. In CNET's 2004 review of the , we found "the sound was richly balanced and beyond the range we expect from compact systems, and we didn't mind the lack of a subwoofer" but that the the unique wood design couldn't "work miracles with more demanding material."
But the JVC EX-A10 has a couple of important distinguishing features from its predecessors. First, and likely the most important to the sound quality, is that the EX-A10's speakers utilize a two-way design (woofer and tweeter), which should offer a greater dynamic range compared to the one-way (woofer-only) speakers of the EX-A1. The new system also offers more than double the power of the EX-A1, as well as some of JVC's latest audio processing options. Otherwise, you'll get the standard HTIB features, including Dolby/DTS decoding, DVD video and DVD-Audio playback, and MP3 and WMA CD compatibility, all of which are wrapped up in a slick-looking two-component system.
Given the JVC EX-A10's luxury price tag, we're surprised to see the lack of an HDMI output, but the presence of analog and digital audio inputs means you'll be able to connect your iPod (or just about any other A/V device) to the diminutive system. Of course, it's the sake-soaked speakers that are the star of the show--and the reason for the premium price tag. We'll let you know if they live up to the hype when we review the EX-A10 in the weeks ahead.