CEDIA 2022 Preview: A Return to Normal

CEDIA 2022 will be the first show since 2019 to fully escape the grip of Covid, which caused the show to cancelled and replaced by an online gathering in 2020 and vastly scaled back at the last minute in 2021. Some 15,000 residential technology professionals will descend upon the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas next Wednesday to learn the latest tricks of the trade and explore new gear from more than 300 brands, nearly two-thirds of which specialize in audio/video and home theater. Here’s a sneak peek at what some of this year’s exhibitors are planning.

Lenbrook to Showcase New Gear from PSB, Bluesound & DALI

Lenbrook Americas, exclusive U.S. distributor for Danish speaker company DALI and parent company of Bluesound and the iconic audio brands NAD and PSB is planning to make a big splash at CEDIA 2022 with the unveiling of several new products.

PSB will preview its first BluOS-enabled streaming speaker system, the Alpha iQ, which it expects to ship in late November. The self-contained system will sell for $1,499 and comprises two bookshelf speakers, each of which mates a 4-inch woofer with a 0.75-inch aluminum-dome tweeter in a 9.7-inch-tall ported cabinet offered in matte black or white. The tweeter is placed below the woofer to provide greater flexibility in listener position — as PSB explains, “the blend between woofer and tweeter remains consistent whether one is sitting or standing.”

In addition to incorporating the app-based BluOS platform — which supports resolutions up to 24 bits/192kHz and provides access to 20 streaming services including Qoboz, Tidal, Spotify, and Amazon Music Ultra HD — the system packs 180 watts of class-D power, with 60 watts going to each woofer and 30 watts to each tweeter, and engages digital signal processing (DSP) to deliver “bass output that completely belies their diminutive size.”

The Alpha iQ speakers also support streaming via AirPlay 2 and aptX-enabled Bluetooth and include a DSP-based active crossover plus full MQA decoding. To simplify setup, the speakers communicate with one another via a low-latency wireless connection said to cover most rooms in an average-size home.

Connections on the main speaker include a moving-magnet RCA phono input, eARC-enabled HDMI, optical and USB digital, analog via a 3.5mm minijack, Ethernet, and a subwoofer output with DSP-enabled low- and high-pass filters. For more information on the Alpha iQ, visit psbspeakers.com.

Bluesound will offer a first look at a new compact streaming amplifier designed to fit in hard-to-reach spaces. Slated for release in early October, the new Powernode Edge ($649) is designed for rack or wall mounting and includes a unique bracket for the latter. The amp is rated to deliver 2 x 40 watts and supports multiroom high-resolution streaming up to 24 bits/192kHz via the BluOS platform, while offering Dolby Digital decoding and a generous selection of connections, including eARC-enabled HDMI, analog and optical digital inputs, and a subwoofer output.

Wi-Fi-based streaming via AirPlay 2 and aptX HD-enabled Bluetooth are also supported along with voice control through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, while a touch panel on the top edge of the unit provides quick access to volume, play/pause, and track skip controls. For more information on the Powernode Edge, visit bluesound.com.

DALI will showcase the latest additions to its Phantom series. The K-60 LP ($599) is a super low-profile in-wall/ceiling speaker designed for tight spaces. It manages to squeeze a tweeter and woofer in a frame that’s only 1.4 inches deep, making it ideal for shallow walls and ceilings. The M-675 ($2,999) is a slender in-wall “tower” speaker featuring a combo soft-dome/ribbon tweeter with three 7-inch drivers (two passive) above and below. The speaker is designed for multichannel surround applications and can be oriented vertically or horizontally to fill the role of a front, center, or surround speaker. Both models are expected to ship in early October.

Leon to Celebrate 25 Years with Art & Music

Leon Speakers, the Ann Arbor, MI-based speaker company known for its creative designs, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new Artist Edition of its Ente SoundTile, which replaces a boring speaker grille with stunning artwork. The speaker features a lion mandala created by digital artist Chris Saunders in triptych form to provide “reference-grade plug-and-play audio” across three 12 x 36-inch Ente tiles (vertical tiles not shown). The lion will make its debut alongside four other sound-inspired mandalas, all of which will be offered as signed prints on leonspeakers.com.

“The lion has long been emblematic of everything the Leon brand stands for: strength, adaptability, pride, and a fierce appetite to discover what’s next,” explained company founder and president Noah Kaplan. The new tiles can be oriented vertically or horizontally and used to display a variety of artwork in one-, two-, or three-channel setups. Pricing was not announced but Ente SoundTiles for Sonos Amp range in price from $2,500 to $10,500.

The company will also unveil the TcBar, the latest addition to its popular Tonecase line of speaker concealment products built to match specific soundbars. The new wall-mount cabinet are designed for soundbars from Sonos (Beam and Arc) and Bluesound (Pulse 2i and Pulse Soundbar+) and comes in two versions to accommodate screen sizes up to 98 inches (diagonal). Leon will also build custom versions of TcBar to house soundbars from other brands.

“Our vision is to mix design with technology, and we created the TcBar to resemble a custom piece of furniture that enhances the style of any room,” Kaplan said. A black fabric grille is standard but designer fabric options are available along with a choice of several furniture-grade hardwood cabinets and a custom paint matching option. For more information, visit leonspeakers.com.

SI to Introduce Designer Projection Screens

Screen Innovations will use CEDIA 2022 as the launchpad for the Solo 3, a motorized projection screen designed to blend seamlessly into the environment. The cassette housing the screen sports a clean, minimalist design with no visible end caps and is offered in powder-coated white or black with a custom paint option.

Slated to ship in early October, the system will be available in three cassette sizes that support screens up to 110, 160, or 200 inches (diagonal) with a choice of nine screen materials, including ambient-light rejecting options for use with ultra-short-throw projectors. The screens are AC-powered except for the smallest cassette, which is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery rated to last for up to 500 cycles on a single charge. All models include a handheld remote control. For more information, visit screeninnovations.com.