When it comes to audio system design, the importance of room acoustics is overlooked all too often. You can put thousands of dollars worth of speakers and electronics in a room with bad acoustics and it’s going to sound like…well, crap. “It’s not about creating an acoustically perfect environment, it’s about getting the right amount of acoustic treatment in the room,” said Primacoustic’s James Wright in an impromptu interview at CEDIA 2013. “You want to get the right amount of absorption into the space, which means treating 20-25 percent of the room.”
Prominent among the Hall of Fame exhibit at CEDIA 2013 is Audio Design Associate’s (ADA) towering System 56, an expandable multi-zone AV system introduced before CEDIA even existed. Multisource/multizone capability and features such as electronic volume control and turn-on volume presets were cutting edge back 1977.
It was impossible to miss the neon burst of color as I walked past the Able Planet booth at CEDIA 2013. Choose between a variety of brilliant colors with NC180 headphones ($70) or opt for the True Fidelity BT400B compact, foldable Bluetooth headphones, featuring an on-ear microphone and controls ($90), or the True Fidelity IR310TM wireless headphones, featuring a 60-foot range and 40-hour battery life ($110).
Knoll Systems used CEDIA 2013 to introduce the Q450 digital multiroom amplifier that accommodates four sources and uses fully balanced input plates to combat noise and interference for music sources in distant rooms. The 4 x 50-watt amp comes in two versions: one with simple keypad control and one based on RS232 that can be controlled by iOS and Android smart devices and whole-home controllers. A four-zone kit with in-wall keypads will be available in October for $1,200.
You never know what you’ll find nestled among the home automation and audio/video products that dominate CEDIA Expo 2013. Salt Lake City-based Xandem is demonstrating the Tomographic Motion Detection (TMD), which it describes as a market-ready technology for a variety of applications, including home automation and security.
If the bright red leather and distinctive stitching reminds you of an exotic car, it’s no accident. First Impressions Theme Theaters, the Miami-based architectural design firm specializing in home theater, custom built the $3,500 theater seat for the owner of one of the most stunning cars on the planet, the Ferrari 458 Italia. Note the carbon-fiber cup holders. Oh, and around back there’s even a tool pouch.
If you’re going to rock out in the backyard, don’t skimp on speakers. Among the dozens of products on display in the expansive Dana Innovations booth at CEDIA 2013, the one that caught my eye was the “SonArray by Sonance.” For $2,499, you get eight outdoor satellite speakers plus an in-ground subwoofer (that bronze mushroom top in the photo). With stealthily strategic placement in your landscaping, Sonance says you can serenade a 2,000 square foot area. The sound? Way better than you would expect.
Walk into MartinLogan’s demo room at CEDIA 2013 and you walk into the past—specifically, the ‘60s, maybe early ‘70s. All-too-familiar glowing psychedelic posters line blacklight-lit walls accented by lava lamps and glowing tubes. Music blaring. It could be 1967, if not for the lack of a particular aroma and the 7.4-channel sound system. It was quad on steroids: Seven ElectroMotion ESL hybrid electrostats powered by five PrimaLuna DiaLogue tube amplifiers and four BalancedForce subwoofers, each with its own 850-watt amp, anchoring the corners of the room. The demo I walked in on wasn’t music of the ‘60s or ‘70s but a 5.1-channel mix of the Dire Staits ’80s anthem, “Money For Nothing.” The slow build and swell that introduces Mark Knopfler’s electronically processed guitar was like you’ve never heard before…If only I had more time to stick around and maybe listen to a little Pink Floyd.
Orlando, FL based Automated Technology Control Partners introduced the TiO StealthStream 1 (AZSS1) digital audio zone player at CEDIA 2013. At 1.9 x 2.73 x 3.9 inches, the company calls the small black box (with a stubby antenna protruding from it) the smallest such player on the market and says it provides a simple, cost-effective multi-room music solution—one that is controlled and configured through the TiO Home Android App.
Salamander Designs, the Connecticut-based maker of fine entertainment furniture and accessories, introduced hand-crafted center and LCR speaker options for its Synergy and Chameleon AV cabinet lines at CEDIA 2013. Featuring high-quality Peerless woofers and cloth-dome tweeters, the speakers are built to order by Michigan-based Leon Speakers and integrated into the cabinets on mounting brackets that permit the angle of the speaker to be adjusted for optimal sound dispersion.