Custom Installapalooza 2013
This year’s Custom Installapalooza, officially known as CEDIA EXPO 2013, starts Wednesday, September 25th and runs through Saturday, September 28th at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. (Thankfully for the Expo, the nearest of the devastating flooding that parts of Colorado have endured recently was more than 20 miles from Denver. While that’s good news for the CEDIA Expo and attendees, a lot of Coloradoans were affected. CEDIA suggests that if you’d like to help support those folks, please visit HelpColoradoNow.com.) Wednesday should be a rather leisurely day with a few scattered press conferences, a CEDIA Media Preview Event (kind of like speed dating for PR people and journalists), and quite a few continuing education courses for dealers and installers. The real fun begins on Thursday when the Expo floor opens up and thousands of technical questions start being asked…and answered.
Almost all of the Sound & Vision crew will be on hand, blogging like madmen (and a madwoman) from amidst the Expo floor—and, who knows, probably during a dinner or two if John Sciacca stays true to form. I’ll be there, too, just in case John needs someone to bail him out of jail. (It’s more likely to be the other way around.)
Seriously, I’m looking forward to CEDIA and not for just the collegiality. While I don’t expect to come across anything earth-shattering or paradigm-shifting (well, I’ll probably see some of the Paradigm Shift gear in the Paradigm booth, but that’s different), I know there’ll be a few things, at least, that will cause some buzz.
As a matter of fact, here are a few things I think have the potential to be buzz-worthy later this week:
GoldenEar Technology: Sandy Gross has promised that he and his team (well, it’ll mostly be his team doing the heavy work) are going to put together and demonstrate a working five-channel in-ceiling theater system using three of GoldenEar’s Invisa Home Theater Reference (HTR) 7000 in-ceiling speakers along with two of the company’s Invisa MultiPolar MPX in-wall/-ceiling speakers. There’s also going to be two GoldenEar ForceField 5 Ultra-High-Powered Subwoofers in the system, although the subs won’t be mounted in the ceiling. In-ceiling speakers aren’t easy to demonstrate and have them sound worth a rat’s butt in the cardboard-walled, office-cubical-style sound rooms at CEDIA. It’s a truly daunting task, and it’ll be interesting to see how well GoldenEar is able to pull it off. GoldenEar is also promising to show off the company’s two new Triton-worthy center channel speakers: the SuperCenter X (SCX) and SuperCenter XL (SCXL).
Cleerline will be displaying the LightSpeaker and AudioRock speaker systems. The LightSpeaker combines an LED light with a “high-quality” loudspeaker that installs like a light bulb. It’s supposed to make “multi-room audio accessible to anyone, anywhere.” Others have tried similar approaches in the past, so we’ll have to see whether or not the LightSpeaker can truly distinguish itself among all the other multi-room options available today. The two-zone capable AudioRock speaker system should be interesting because it’s a wireless outdoor rock-like speaker with built-in rechargeable batteries.
Opalum of Scandinavia is bringing a new BREEZE digital speaker system to CEDIA which is supposed to be designed along the lines of the current FLOW.4810 and FLOW.1010 speakers, except the new model will have user-changeable grilles available in a variety of colors. What I’m really waiting to get a chance to hear, however, is the revisions Opalum has made to the FLOW.1010, as well as the redesigned HUB II. Opalum tells me that the FLOW.1010 has been re-voiced to be louder and have more bass. I thought that the original FLOW.1010 speakers and HUB digital processor/amplifier was an awesome two-channel speaker package, but it had some quirky setup issues that made it not quite ready for use in a full 5.1-channel system. Will the redesign of the HUB II fully address those concerns?
Revolv is a company based not far away from the Expo (in Boulder, Colorado). They’re planning on taking the wraps off the Revolv Smart Home Solution, which uses something called a “Revolv Hub” as a gateway between your iPhone (Android support is supposed to be on the way) and various off-the-shelf home-automation devices, such as motion sensors, wall switches, thermostats, wall outlets, and door locks, from quite a few well-known companies. And it’s supposed to be very affordable.
VoicePod will be unleashing the company’s new VoicePod Mobile App, which brings Siri-like natural language recognition voice-control to Control4 home automation systems. (Spoiler alert: I’ve played around with a preview demo version of the VoicePod Mobile App, and it’s pretty awesome.)
A number of companies have decided to be coy about secret projects they’ll be breaking open at CEDIA. Sometimes, this is a ploy to generate a sense of excitement. At other times, the secrecy is justified because the product might not actually be ready to show to the press by the time of the Expo. It’s hard to know which is which ahead of time, but here’s a list of companies that are strongly hinting about having very special announcements to make at CEDIA:
And, after a 14-year hiatus, NEAR outdoor speakers are coming back to CEDIA. To be sure, there will be quite a few other surprises, too. So check back early and often. And if you’re in Denver, make sure you stop by Sound & Vision’s booth and say hey.