Hailed by many as the most significant advance in audio since the advent of surround sound more than 20 years ago, the home theater version of Dolby Atmos surround is off and running with support from at least 20 brands—a roster that is sure to grow in the coming months. Let’s break it down:
Harman Kardon offered a sneak peek of its forthcoming Wi-Fi-based Omni system, which comprises the stylish Omni 10 ($200) and Omni 20 ($300) wireless speakers plus Adapt ($130), a module for adding wireless capability to an existing home stereo system.
Sonance has set out to change the way installers think about in-ceiling speakers with the new Discreet Opening System it introduced at CEDIA 2014. “We’re trying to get our dealers to think more about in-ceiling speaker systems for music instead of just pairs of speakers,” explained Jay Lazzaro, director of sales.
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.
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.
Indy Audio Labs is putting the finishing touches on the long-awaited Acurus Act 4 AV preamp-processor, which is slated to launch in February 2015 for $6,000, according to Rick Santiago, CEO of Indy Audio Labs.
Now in beta, the 11.3-channel pre-pro will be equipped with Dolby Atmos processing. “We think Dolby has come out with a great platform to take surround to the next level,” Santiago said. “It’s been tested in professional cinemas so to be able to get it in the home is really exciting.
“The Act 4 is a great centerpiece for a high-performance Atmos home theater,” he continued. “It’s got all the I/O connectivity you need, including the latest HDMI and connectivity with your network, balanced outputs, a phono premp, icon-driven menus, and a beautiful 7-inch touch-panel display that translates to mobile devices very simply so you can control the processor from anywhere in your home.”
Steinway Lyngdorf, the Danish company that teamed with Steinway & Sons in 2005 to design, develop, and manufacture fine audio gear, offered a sneak peek of the P200 “three-dimensional surround sound processor” it plans to start selling in early 2015 for $18,000. (No, that’s not a typo.)
Snowsound USA previewed a patented, variable density acoustic panel that eliminates echos and selectively absorbs low-, mid-, and high-frequency sounds to optimize room acoustics. Inspired by nature, the panels are intended to create a “more peaceful environment” by mimicking the sound absorbing properties of freshly fallen snow. (Everybody’s got an angle…)