CEDIA 2014

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Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
OSD Audio, known for its high-performance in-wall speakers, announced that it will offer an as-yet-unnamed wireless audio system by the end of the year. The system is based on DTS’s PlayFi platform and supports multisource playback of uncompressed audio in a multiroom setting.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Panamax is introducing three new Power360 series surge protectors at CEDIA today. The wall-mounted DOCK includes six surge-protected outlets along with two USB ports. The USB ports share a 2 amp capacity, allowing it to charge two smartphones simultaneously or a single tablet. A unique groove - Panamax calls it a “Technology Cradle” - along the top of the DOCK is designed to provide a convenient niche in which to place your smart device while it is charging.

The next of the three models is...

Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 11, 2014  |  0 comments
Paradigm introduced two new speaker lines, one for the home theatrically inclined, one for two-channel. The Millennia LP XL on-wall speaker ($699/each) handled the front channels with the LP 2 ($499/each) handling the surrounds. The whole system, but especially the dual Monitor SUB 10s, benefitted from Paradigm's homegrown ARC room correction in the MRX 710 receiver. The climactic scene of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit sounded as if it were playing through a much larger speaker system. Then we got an earful of the new Prestige line, which includes three towers and a monitor. The tower playing was the Prestige 85 F tower ($3999/pair and up depending on finish). This 2.5-way model's PPA tweeter uses a phase aligned lens that improves not only phase but output. While the k.d. lang and Boz Scaggs tracks sounded pretty upfront in the upper midrange, they also had a delicious lower midrange richness, underpinned by tight but extended bass. Both series are worth a demo if you have the chance. Incidentally, Paradigm continues to manufacture in North America, in Mississauga, Ontario.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 13, 2014  |  0 comments
Parasound's new ZoneMaster 1250 12-channel amplifier couldn't have arrived at a better time. Of course the name suggests a custom installation with multiple zones, but it could be used to satisfy the demands of Atmos as well, supporting a multitude of ceiling and surround speakers in a variety of configurations. Any pair of channels can also be bridged. Without bridging, the power is rated at 50W per channel into 8 ohms, all channels driven. A bridged pair of channels is rated at 120W into 8 ohms and 200W into 4 ohms. I can conceive of a user bridging three pairs for the front channels and using the other six unbridged for a 5.2.4 Atmos setup.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Wisdom Audio teamed up for its demo with Datasat (preamp-processor), Barco (projector) Seymour Screen Excellence, and HTE (Home Theater Environments), and likely others to whom I apologize for leaving out here due to my rapidly scribbled notes. The wide-ranging selection of program material was particularly noteworthy. 2K from Blu-ray, and no Atmos in sight, but it was excellent nonetheless (though the videophile in me whispers that the gamma was a bit too high, making for rather dark and contrasty images!). HTE deserves special mention for the most stylish room at the show, which should be evident from the picture above. But HTE is from Italy, so that's not surprising!
Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Indy Audio Labs is putting the finishing touches on the long-awaited Acurus Act 4 AV preamp-processor, which is slated to launch in February 2015 for $6,000, according to Rick Santiago, CEO of Indy Audio Labs.

Now in beta, the 11.3-channel pre-pro will be equipped with Dolby Atmos processing. “We think Dolby has come out with a great platform to take surround to the next level,” Santiago said. “It’s been tested in professional cinemas so to be able to get it in the home is really exciting.

“The Act 4 is a great centerpiece for a high-performance Atmos home theater,” he continued. “It’s got all the I/O connectivity you need, including the latest HDMI and connectivity with your network, balanced outputs, a phono premp, icon-driven menus, and a beautiful 7-inch touch-panel display that translates to mobile devices very simply so you can control the processor from anywhere in your home.”

Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 11, 2014  |  0 comments
Of the many cool things on display at the MSE booth, Phase Technology's little P3-35 amp ($330) was among the coolest. Feed its Toslink input with a two-channel Dolby Digital signal and it will convert it to three amp channels, just the thing for Phase Tech's Teatro passive three-channel soundbar, cropped out of the picture. Use the analog input and it converts to two channels of Dolby Pro Logic. Power output is 35 watts times three or 50 times two. It's also got Bluetooth and learns TV remote volume commands. Phase Tech also showed its refreshed CI in-wall and in-ceiling lines, which include the CI7.3 X, a three-way eight-inch in-ceiling speaker for $375/each. The PC60 is a 30th-anniversary celebration of a classic monitor with new crossover and drivers including the flat-diaphragm woofer. Then there's the Rockustics X1-PowerRock ($700), the first horn-loaded rock speaker.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 11, 2014  |  0 comments
You're looking at a cutaway of the coaxial driver array that makes Pioneer Elite's Dolby Atmos enabled speakers special, in the hand of designer Andrew Jones. It has a one-inch textile tweeter nestling amid a four-inch aluminum woofer. With two of Jones' very substantial looking crossovers, this coaxial array lives on both the top and front of the Elite monitor and tower speakers, shooting Atmos height channels out of the top, and everything else out of the front in the usual manner. Models include the SP-EBS73 monitor ($749/pair), SP-EFS73 tower ($699/each), SP-EC73 center ($399), and SW-E10 sub ($599). Pioneer's Atmos demo, using the company's Class D powered SC-89 receiver ($3000), was the best Atmos demo we heard on the first day of the show, with not just strong height effects but an overall tonal balance that made even the most aggressive movie soundtracks a treat. Can't wait to review these. Pioneer also showed its $349 SP-SB02 Speaker Base, with pairs of front-firing tweeters and midbass drivers and bottom-firing bass drivers.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Pioneer announced the BDP-88FD Blu-ray player, at $2000. Not only is it a universal player, but offers advanced audio and video circuitry--the most advanced Blu-ray player yet from the company. It can also play back DSD, though multichannel DSD is limited to its HDMI outputs, as the analog outs are 2-channel only. It will be available by the end of this year.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Here are further details on Pioneer's flagship Blu-ray player. There will also be a BDP-85FD at $1000. It looks almost identical, and offers the same video performance, but has more conventional audio circuitry.
Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 13, 2014  |  0 comments
Sales of Blu-ray players are holding their own and may even see a bump as Dolby Atmos discs begin to make their way into the market next month. With that in mind, Pioneer’s introduction of the new Elite BDP-88FD Blu-ray player—conceived as the ultimate reference player—couldn’t be better timed.
John Sciacca  |  Sep 15, 2014  |  0 comments
Looming just outside the PRO Audio Technology booth are speakers that literally dwarf my 6-foot 4-inch self. These speakers weigh upwards of 300 pounds, feature massive horns and woofers and are driven by 10,000 watts of amplification to deliver organ pulverizing SPLs in even the largest rooms. So when I went into the PRO Audio demo, I certainly expected to be blown away by big sound. What I didn’t expect was what I saw when the demo was over and the company revealed what was actually playing!

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 13, 2014  |  0 comments
Motorized window treatments (shades, curtains, and other window coverings) are always super cool to watch as they magically open or close in front of a window. For some reason, I’m never able to resist pushing the button on the remote that makes a shade go up and down or a curtain open and close. It’s just so cool - and can keep your house very cool, too. QMotion Shades new motorized drapery rod is one of the coolest of all the motorized window treatment mechanisms at CEDIA to watch. QMotion says the company’s new mechanized device is “the industry’s first - and only - trackless motorized drapery rod.” The new wireless drapery rod requires no external motors or wires and is extremely quiet when in operation. Rods come in two sizes: 1.5-inches (diameter) that uses C-cell batteries; and 2-inches in diameter that uses D-cell batteries. QMotion estimates that users can expect battery life to be one to two years on average, depending on the size of the rod and how often the mechanism is used each day.

In addition to pointing out that the new product is...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 11, 2014  |  0 comments
When it comes to gardening, some people have a green thumb. Others say they have a brown thumb. In my case, I happen to possess one of the few thumbs covered in sand and tumbleweeds. It’s not that I hate plants. (Although, it seems, plants evidently hate me…) I simply can’t remember to take care of them. It’s always weeks after plants at my home have turned to petrified wood when the thought finally pops into my head that I ought to give them some water. Lawn care is similarly problematic for me. Fortunately, Rachio is a new company that offers an alternative to brown lawns and dead gardens.

The Rachio Smart Irrigation Controller is a DIY sprinkler controller that...

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 11, 2014  |  First Published: Sep 12, 2014  |  1 comments
Make it disappear is a common refrain in the aisles and corridors of CEDIA Expo 2014. Montreal-based Revolution Acoustics is doing just that with an “invisible audio” system that uses a patented multifunction transducer less than 3 inches in diameter to produce sound. Attach the SSP6 Multiducer to the inside or outside of a wall and it energizes the entire surface to create what the company calls “whole-room sweet spots.”