Dynaudio Shows Killer Wireless Powered Speaker
Dynaudio's Xeo 6 provided some of the best sound we've heard at CEDIA 2014. The smallish powered three-way tower, triamplified with 50 watts per driver, has a wireless hub built into it that transmits lossless audio up to 53 meters. It handled well recorded vocals in a highly naturalistic manner. But it really showed its true colors with "Uranus" from Holst's The Planets, delivering vivid orchestral textures in a way only a truly great speaker can. It sells for $4300/pair. Dynaudio's Platinum tower ($17,500/pair) was operating in the nearby Wolf Cinema booth and also sounded great.
Def Tech Shows Play-Fi and Atmos Gear
Definitive Technology's Dolby Atmos demo sounded excellent, with the A60 elevation speaker ($499/pair) plugged into the top of the BP8060ST powered tower ($1998/pair). The height effects were good, the midrange was well dialed in, and the powered tower's bass was awesome. Why, then, are we running a picture of The Borg? It's actually part of Def Tech's new line of products built on the DTS Play-Fi wireless platform. You're looking at the W7 powered speaker ($399). It joins the W8 powered speaker ($699), the rack-mountable W Adapt ($399), the W Amp ($499), and the W Studio soundbar ($1299). The beauty of Play-Fi is that it's not limited, Apple-style, to a single manufacturer. There will be more Play-Fi products from the likes of Polk, McIntosh, Paradigm, and MartinLogan. Oh, and Def Tech plans to provide 24-7 tech support for its Play-Fi products. Play-Fi is going to be huge. Resistance is futile.
Mass Fidelity Gets to The Core
Amid the aisles and aisles of home automation systems and wholehouse audio/video equipment at CEDIA 2014 is a tiny booth manned by Canadian startup Mass Fidelity. The focal point is a battery-powered Bluetooth speaker that delivers surprisingly robust and spacious sound from a box that can sit in the palm of your hand. It’s called The Core and it is most definitely not your everyday Bluetooth speaker.
OmniMount Takes Your iPad for a Spin
is perhaps most well-known for making mounts and accessories designed for hanging large flat screen TVs on the wall and projectors on the ceiling, the company showed a new, slightly smaller mounting product in the booth at CEDIA. The new device, Stand for iPad, is an adjustable stand for iPads (with another version for iPad Air devices) that has three attachment and usage options: 1) as a desktop stand; 2) as an under-cabinet mount; and 3) as a wall-mount bracket. The new Stand for iPad folds flat for transporting or for hiding under cabinets when not in use as a convenient iPad holder above a countertop. The bracket uses a magnet built into the protective Case for iPad (included in the package) to securely hold it against the mount while allowing the iPad to rotate with minimal effort or be removed easily from the mount. The Stand for iPad will have an MSRP of $99.95 and is expected to be available in November.
DISH Wants More Integration
After pointing out that it was only two years ago when DISH
first introduced the Hopper whole-home HD DVR, Vivek Khemka, DISH senior vice president of product management, announced the expansion of DISH’s program to further the integration of the Hopper with a number of additional home automation systems. “We are allowing unprecedented access to the DISH API,” Kemka explained. With access to the API, third-party automation system programmers will be able to provide seamless control of the Hopper within the confines of the smart home’s controller rather than forcing the homeowner to use two remote controls or apps, often with two dramatically different user interfaces.
The list of new automation partners announced by DISH includes...
Paradigm Has Two New Stories to Tell
Paradigm introduced two new speaker lines, one for the home theatrically inclined, one for two-channel. The Millennia LP XL on-wall speaker ($699/each) handled the front channels with the LP 2 ($499/each) handling the surrounds. The whole system, but especially the dual Monitor SUB 10s, benefitted from Paradigm's homegrown ARC room correction in the MRX 710 receiver. The climactic scene of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit sounded as if it were playing through a much larger speaker system. Then we got an earful of the new Prestige line, which includes three towers and a monitor. The tower playing was the Prestige 85 F tower ($3999/pair and up depending on finish). This 2.5-way model's PPA tweeter uses a phase aligned lens that improves not only phase but output. While the k.d. lang and Boz Scaggs tracks sounded pretty upfront in the upper midrange, they also had a delicious lower midrange richness, underpinned by tight but extended bass. Both series are worth a demo if you have the chance. Incidentally, Paradigm continues to manufacture in North America, in Mississauga, Ontario.
GoldenEar Does Atmos
Dolby Atmos, a new object-oriented surround standard, was perhaps the biggest audio story at CEDIA, with speaker and receiver makers both unveiling Atmos enabled products. At GoldenEar Technology that was the HTR 7000 ceiling speaker ($500/each), which angles sound at the downward angle recommended by Dolby. There were four of them running along with GoldenEar's world-beating Triton One tower in front, SuperCenter XL, and smaller Triton Two in the rear, powered by a combination of Pass and NAD amps fed by an Integra pre-pro. One of the cool things about Atmos is that the ceiling speakers are fed with genuine spatial information specified by the mixer, as opposed to fake height channels derived from other channels. Combined with GoldenEar's signature folded ribbon tweeter, this made for strong height effects, which were especially striking in the Dolby demo material. A scene from Transformers: Age of Extinction showed off the system's dynamic prowess, including the folded ribbon tweeters' ability to remain coherent at high volumes.
The House of HEOS
is Denon’s answer to the question, “Who on the planet can come up with a wireless, streaming music system that’s even close to sounding as good and being as easy to use as the ever-popular Sonos system?” The much-anticipated system, officially called HEOS by Denon
, is being introduced at CEDIA EXPO 2014.
The HEOS system currently consists of...
Dolby Atmos Takes Center Stage
Left to right: AVS Forum’s Scott Wilkinson moderated a panel discussion with Greg Russell, re-recording mixer who worked on Transformers: Age of Extinction, Onkyo’s Paul Wasek, Jeff Cowan of Denon/Marantz, Pioneer’s Andrew Jones, Definitive Technology’s Joel Sietsema, and Dolby’s Brett Crockett.
At a pre-show press conference, Dolby rallied the AV/home entertainment industry around the new Dolby Atmos surround-sound platform, calling it the most significant advancement in home theater in 20 years.
Rachio Waters the Lawn with Wi-Fi
When it comes to gardening, some people have a green thumb. Others say they have a brown thumb. In my case, I happen to possess one of the few thumbs covered in sand and tumbleweeds. It’s not that I hate plants. (Although, it seems, plants evidently hate me…) I simply can’t remember to take care of them. It’s always weeks after plants at my home have turned to petrified wood when the thought finally pops into my head that I ought to give them some water. Lawn care is similarly problematic for me. Fortunately, Rachio is a new company that offers an alternative to brown lawns and dead gardens.
The Rachio Smart Irrigation Controller is a DIY sprinkler controller that...