Proving the you’re never too far away from home to be in control, the Z-Wave Alliance sponsored a Himalayan expedition where climber Mariusz Malkowski went to the top of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. When Malkowski reached the 29,609 foot summit, he Skype’d in live to the Expo show floor on a satellite phone. Malkowski said it was midnight his time with local temps at minus 40-degrees! Using his satellite phone, he was able to check the status of several Z-Wave devices, and after speaking to the assembled crowd for a moment, he then unlocked a Kwikset Z-Wave enabled door lock, and turned on Fibaro Z-Wave enabled lights and then adjusted his Remotec Z-Wave thermostat. Definite proof that you are never too far away from home for technology to keep you in touch!
While MartinLogan is definitely known for its large, electrostatic speaker panels, they also make some wonderful sounding in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. The Stealth Series uses a 60% larger version of the company’s Folded Motion XT tweeter than that found in the lower-end ElectroMotion series. The tweeter can also be easily rotated to insure that it is always correctly positioned – vertically – whether the speaker is being used horizontally or vertically. The Vanquish – being held in the photo – is the in-ceiling version and features a unique selector switch that allows the installer to optimize the speaker for either left, center, or right and front or rear use, ensuring that it will minimize interactions with the nearest wall.
You very rarely see a manufacturer directly comparing one of their products to another manufacturer’s model. This year, Sonance wanted to prove that its new Visual Performance series of loudspeakers are the real deal and that they aren’t afraid of direct comparisons to any competitor. To prove their mettle, Sonance built a wall in their high-performance audio room and directly compared the new VP66 speaker against similarly priced models from Bowers & Wilkins (CWM663) and Revel (W563).
In-wall or in-ceiling speakers require there to be a minimum depth to mount into, but if you have a narrow cavity you can be out-of-luck. Or worse, out-of-luck AND with a big hole in your wall or ceiling. Fortunately, Revel has just the speaker, the new low-profile version of its 2-series in-wall/in-ceiling speaker. Designed to fit in a depts. Of only 2.8-inches these speakers will fit where others won’t. Fortunately, you won’t be skimping on sound just because you are going shallow, and you can choose between a 6 ½-inch or 8-inch woofers. Both models feature high-quality drivers including aluminum cone woofers and 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeters. They include the popular micro-bezel design and use multiple neodymium magnets to securely hold the grills in place.
Monitor Audio has released the new Controlled Performance – CP – Trimless range of speakers with ten new models, delivering high performance across a range of budgets and sizes. The line-up includes eight two-way models in three performance levels and two three-way designs. All models in the line-up will features the company’s signature 1-inch Gold C-CAM dome tweeter, a Ceramic-Coated Aluminium/Magnesium material originally developed by the aerospace industry for use as blades in jet engines. In a speaker, it results in increased clarity and reduced distortion. The speakers also integrate fully-sealed back boxes, meaning they are not going to be affected by the unknown acoustics elements of an open wall or ceiling cavity and offer better acoustic isolation from adjoining rooms. The trimless bezels offer a much more discreet and clean design aesthetic.
Paradigm Simplifies In-Ceiling Installations
Everyone talks about how speakers sound, but if you’ve ever been on top of a ladder, balancing a speaker in one hand and a drill in the other, then you’ll also care about how they install. Paradigm has redesigned its CS series – v.3 – and has made some design improvements to make the speaker easier on the installer. The new CS speakers features a new Glass-Reinforced ABS Baffle (GRAB) that have high-strength ABC clamps replacing the polymer brackets on the previous series. To further easy install, the dog-ear mounting system is angled to better bite into drywall and the speaker has a deeper set-screw which helps to hold the drill steady. The new series also has a bezel-less design and features a magnetic grille. The new series also features more robust binding posts, and some new crossover components and other sound tweaks.
Control4 debuted several new additions to the audio/video distribution portion of the company’s well-regarded automation system. Principally was the new 8x8 HDMI matrix switch with built-in HDBaseT technology for sending uncompressed 1080p video and high-resolution, multi-channel audio up to 300-feet over a single Category rated cable. The system can also transmit Ethernet, IR and serial commands over a single cable, making it a perfect application for a retrofit. The new 8x8 matrix features 8 HDMI inputs, 8 stereo analog audio outputs, 8 HDBaseT RJ45 connections, 2 HDMI outputs for local connection, and 8 Ethernet inputs for each zone.
When you think Definitive Technology, you probably think large, monolithic tower speakers or giant cube subwoofers. While the company would be OK with that, they have branched beyond the large home speaker into the portable market. Definitive Technology launched its portable speaker line-up with the terrific sounding Sound Cylinder, and they expanded their offerings this year by introducing The Cube. The Cube is a 7.7-inch black, uh, cube using tri-polar technology to deliver big sound across a large listening area. The cube features five 1-1/4-inch mid-high frequency drivers, one 5-1/4-inch woofer and 80-watts of total power. It can run off AC power, but for hi-fi on-the-go, the built-in Lithium Ion battery can deliver up to 10 hours of listening. Users can connect a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack or beam music to The Cube wirelessly via Bluetooth aptX technology. Also handy is an integrated rubberized handle in the back of The Cube, meaning that you can easily take your music with you when you get assimilated.
Kaleidescape Brings Movies to Life With Cinema One
Kaleidescape demonstrated their latest product, the Cinema One, which brings the movie and music streaming performance of the company’s regarded Premier line to a far more affordable – sub $4,000 – price point. (Expect a full review of the Cinema One from Darryl Wilkinson.) Kaleidescape also had one of the sweetest booth giveaways at the Expo, drawing a card each day at 4 PM and giving the lucky winner a Cinema One! Also new from the company is the addition of cover art view to their awesome iPad control app. Now users can browse through their movie and music collections using the same cover art view that had previously only been available on the on-screen GUI. Want to shuffle the titles around? Simply give your Pad a shake.