CEDIA 2013

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 27, 2013  |  0 comments
Companies hoping to sell you their high-priced home theater recliners were, as usual, all over the place at CEDIA, but none of them could match the little number at the lower left for sheer Victorian chic.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 30, 2013  |  0 comments
Focal has a whole new line of loudspeakers slotting in just below the company's Electra range. The Aria series' signature feature is the use of cones consisting of a layer of flax sandwiched between layers of fiberglass. The result is said to produce a diaphragm that's stiff, light, and less time consuming to produce than the layered cones used in Focal's more pricey designs. There are currently five models in the range, shown here with the flagship 948 ($5000/pair) in front. The Aria CC 900 center is not shown, but somewhat disappointingly it's a conventional two-way woofer-tweeter-woofer design and not a 3-way with a centered, vertically-arrayed midrange and tweeter.
Brent Butterworth  |  Sep 26, 2013  |  0 comments

Maybe this wireless speaker thing is finally going to take off. Today at the CEDIA Expo, Focal demoed the $2,799/pair Easya tower speaker, which has amps and a wireless receiver built in. The system comes with a transmitter and a remote control, so all you need to do is connect your sources and you've got a whole system.

Fred Manteghian  |  Sep 27, 2013  |  0 comments
M&K’s X12 is a solid piece of form following function. I love the back panel, that’s why you’re seeing it too. You’ll see left/mono and right channel inputs, in both RCA and XLR form, as well unfiltered, pass through outputs. Low pass with the amp can be turned off, set to 80 Hz, or specified by a continuously variable dial that stretches from 50 Hz to 125 Hz. M&K is huge on THX and this X12 is no exception, with a THX reference switch that bypasses the level control.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 27, 2013  |  0 comments
Mounting a flat screen HDTV over the fireplace is a favorite trick of decorators everywhere. It's also a terrible idea, unless you don't mind a sore neck from looking up. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Future Automation isn't the first company to offer a mounting bracket that moves the TV out then down to a more comfortable position, but such devices are still not common. And this one isn't cheap. At about $3000, $4000 for a model that also swivels, it costs more than many HDTVs! And you obviously shouldn't use it in the down position with a fire in the fireplace!

Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 26, 2013  |  0 comments
GoldenEar Technology's SuperCinema 3D Array XL soundbar (top) features three of the company's signature folded ribbon tweeters, and really, that is so cool, we could just stop right there. But there are also eight 4.5-inch woofers in an enclosure with a depth of just 2.7 inches. GoldenEar's 3D Array processing cancels out crosstalk between the left and right channels, spreading the soundstage beyond the bar. Designed to go with TVs of 70 inches and up, the bar will sell for $1499 when it ships in spring 2014.
Kris Deering  |  Sep 28, 2013  |  0 comments
Harmon delivered one of the best demonstrations on the floor with their latest JBL Synthesis setup. Their room delivered the most natural voices of all the rooms and lacked the brightness I noticed at most of the demos. Their turnkey solution uses pro audio like speakers and subs that are tailored and EQ’ed to the room.
Fred Manteghian  |  Sep 27, 2013  |  1 comments
How much bandwidth is enough for the upcoming HDMI 2.0 standard? Well, if all you want to do is watch what you’re watching today, your current cable will work. Even if you want to watch 4K material, the standard developing HDMI Forum says you don't have to get new cable provided your cable meets the latest HDMI 1.4 spec. Step in Noel Lee of Monster Cable who is worried about future requirements for 8K and beyond. Monster announced their new cable will be capable of 31.5 Gbps, well over the 18 Gbps the HDMI forum says is required for 60 fps, 4K material. Nothing available yet, just the promise, but I’d believe the head Monster. Or else!
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 25, 2013  |  0 comments
Custom installations aren’t all about audio and video hardware, and the field in recent years has expanded into peripheral areas such as custom window blinds of various sorts—from decorative to blackout. The Hunter-Douglas Pirouettes shown here, available in manual and powered versions (battery or hard-wired), appear to be of the former variety, though when closed (they’re shown open here) they’ll dim (but not darken) the room.
John Sciacca  |  Sep 26, 2013  |  0 comments
Many people have turned to the iPad as the controller of choice for their home's automation system. Using systems from the likes of Control4, Crestron, Savant, or URC, you can turn even the humblest iPad into a powerful automation controller capable of adjusting lights, HVAC, alarm, TV and about anything else you can think of. But where to you put the iPad when you're not using it? Do you just plop it on a sofa cushion or leave it on a counter somewhere until the next time you need it, and then hope the battery isn't dead?
Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 27, 2013  |  0 comments
If your 4K or 3D video needs to travel long distances, the Integra DTR-60.5 receiver has a big plus that's rare in receivers. A back-panel HTBaseT jack lets you use cheap Cat 5e or Cat6 ethernet cable to bridge distances up to 325 feet. And if you hate fumbling with wi-fi adapters, this receiver has it built in. Integra wants audiophiles who are investing in high-res downloads to know that it supports DSD, FLAC, WAV, and ALAC with no downconversion. Room correction is the highest-quality version of Audyssey, MultEQ XT32. The receiver also has both THX Select2 and ISF certification for high-quality audio and video. Rated power is 135 watts times two and presumably a lower number into multichannel loads. Price $2300, shipping now.
Fred Manteghian  |  Sep 27, 2013  |  0 comments
The Integra DHC-60.5 is a more affordable preamp/processor than their existing DHC 80.3. At $2,000, it is a full $1,000 less. But it doesn’t seem to yield anything up in features. Fewer ISF calibration settings than big brother – but hey, ISF settings! While the 80.5 offers two in-room HDMI outputs to the DHC-60.5’s single HDMI output, the 60.5 has an HDNet (HDMI over Ethernet) output big brother lacks. With that, you can run video to another room or use Ethernet cable if your house is so wired, instead of HDMI. Best feature for me are the Bluetooth antenna on the back so now your phone is your media player. Got it!
Barb Gonzalez  |  Sep 26, 2013  |  0 comments
Tony Fadell was the keynote speaker at this year's CEDIA Expo. Here are a few tidbits of great advice from the iPod creator.
Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 28, 2013  |  0 comments
Walking into the GoldenEar Technology demo room at CEDIA 2013 was like stepping into an intimate jazz club. The mellifluous voice of Jane Monheit accompanied by guitarist extraordinaire John Pizzarelli filled the room. I immediately thought, Wow, those new tower speakers sound damn good. Little did I know until the demo ended that I was actually listening to Invisa HTR 7000 speakers—mounted in the ceiling. As GoldenEar founder Sandy Gross explained, “That’s the idea.” A mind blowing experience.
Brent Butterworth  |  Sep 28, 2013  |  0 comments

I've spent a lot of time over the last two decades talking with the guys at Harman International, and I've never heard them so excited about a speaker as they are about the JBL M2, a new high-end professional recording monitor. At CEDIA Expo, JBL announced that it'll be selling the M2 for home systems, too, although in a substantially different and more elite package.