On display at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas were moderately priced, attractively styled audio components from Taiwan. In the past, a few well-known brands (such as Rotel and Super-scope) have marketed equipment made under their auspices in Taiwan, but this is the first time Taiwan manufacturers have been known to enter the U.S. market under their onw brand names, such as Tatung, Samsumg and Sampo.
No one can teel yet how these units will perform. One observer feels that while they offer little that is new in the way of basic technology, the Taiwan components to "promise value for the money." As an example, there's a Samsung SS-3500 receiver priced at $340. It includes two meters and LED indicators, and it can handle two tape decks at once. Its power rating is 45 watts per channel, at 0.05 percent distortion, from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
A stereo system that obeys your spoken commands (ignoring orders from anyone else) is Toshiba's Micro-15 series used together with their RC-V15 "acoustic remote control." This system stores a "memory" of your voice and then carries out various functions when it "hears" you tell it to do so. The compact units in the system fit into a mini-rack.
The newest noise-reduction system appears to be embodied in a device from Sanyo called the Super-D. Sanyo claims it combines the best aspects of both Dolby and dbx to produce an overall reduction in noise of 40 db. As for Dolby, they are still pushing their "HX" circuit, introduced last year. fThe rival Telefunken "High Com" system, also unwrapped last year, is used in at least two new cassette decks from Nakamichi. The firm of dbx is going ahead with its system for cutting records that boast greater dynamic range and lower surface noise than ever, and they also have introduced an encode/decode device (the model 224 Type II) for use with three-head tape recorders.
Infinity Systems, known up to now for its speakers, has announced its HCA amplifier. Priced at $4,000 it uses vacuum tubes at the input, and transistors at the output, which is rated for 150 watts per channel. Other fairly exotic units are found in Kenwood's "Audio Purist" series; in a few highpriced separates from Lux that use the "Duo-Beta" double-feedback technique; in a digitally synthesized separate turner from Optonica, which also has a microprocessor-controlled turntable (the model RP-9705, $950) that can program up to 10 selections.
These high-cost items notwithstanding, most new products are priced far more within realistic budget levels. Several firms are offering cassette decks for $300 or less, including some that claim to be capable of handling metal tape. The lowest-priced video cassette deck so far is the Sanyo TVC 9100A, a single-speed model priced at $695. At the same time, there are other VCR's that offer such features as variable slow-motion, single-frame advance, freeze-frame, etc., that do not cost much more than the $1,000 average of the earlier VCR decks. FEEDBACK
Q. On your recommendation some time back I ordered a Lenco record-cleaning kit. It has been satisfactory but is now worn out. I tried to reorder the kit from Uher of America Inc. in California, but my order was returned as undeliverable. Any help on Lenco?
A. Lenco products are now handled in the United States by Benjamin Electro Products, 180 Miller Place, Hicksville, N.Y. 11801. The current price of the Lenco kit is $24.95. A possible local source is Stereo Equipment Sales, 7-6730 Santa Barbara Court, Baltimore, Md. 21227. If. S.E.S. is out ot them, order directly from Benjamin.