CEDIA 2014

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  2 comments
Two years in the making in close association with Dolby Labs, Triad's approach to a Dolby Atmos enabled speaker is to build four two-inch ScanSpeak drivers into the top for the height channels. The Inroom Bronze LR-H is based on the InRoom Bronze LCR, with the front driver array consisting of a one-inch fabric dome tweeter and dual 5.5-inch woofers. We've heard the prototype in Dolby's New York offices and it produces impressive height effects. Atmos capability raises the basic model price from $600 to $1000/pair.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
The NC 900C 2K, 3-chip DLP shown here is offered by Digital Projection in cooperation with NEC, at around $50,000. It offers the D-Cinema color space, and is said to be one of the smallest pro-cinema certified projectors. The NC 900C is also the projector used for the JBL Atmos demo, which shows that it can hold its own in a high-end home theater setting. Finally, it doesn't use a Xenon lamp, making lamp replacement less expensive.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  1 comments
When I saw these pendant speakers from TruAudio (just to the left of center in the photo, in black and white), the first thing I thought of was the midrange enclosure in B&W's 800 and 802 Diamond loudspeakers.

But the second thing I though of was using them as discrete overhead speakers for Dolby Atmos. I have no idea how they sound, nor do I believe that this is their designed purpose, but they are not only more attractive than the usual in-ceiling speakers, but could suspended at almost any length from a high ceiling at a more appropriate height for the Atmos format than an in-ceiling speaker might provide.

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 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Harman Kardon offered a sneak peek of its forthcoming Wi-Fi-based Omni system, which comprises the stylish Omni 10 ($200) and Omni 20 ($300) wireless speakers plus Adapt ($130), a module for adding wireless capability to an existing home stereo system.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Florida-based NextGen is introducing a new Universal Learning Radio Frequency Remote Control that’s a standard 4-in-1 device IR remote control with a built-in RF transmitter. The package includes one of the company’s RF Receivers, which can be used with the handheld remote to relay commands through closed cabinet doors, walls, floors, and ceilings and has a range of up to 100 feet. The system has automatic RF addressing, so there’s no need to pair remotes to the receivers. The package also includes a three-eye IR emitter cord.

The Universal Learning RF Remote Control is expected to be available in November with an MSRP of $99.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Audiophiles fondly remember the company Audio Alchemy, which produced a number of well-received, sensibly-priced D/A converters back in the 1990s. They may have been before their time. Today, such separate converters are all over the place, but now include USB connections for the increasingly popular digital downloads, particularly of the high resolution audio variety.

Peter Madnick, who currently heads up design for the extremely pricey electronics from Constellation, has re-acquired the rights to the Audio Alchemy name. While not being shown at a booth (at least not one I've yet seen) I ran into Peter as he was prowling the show floor with a sample of his first new Audio Alchemy product, the DDP-1. It's a D/A converter with optical, coaxial, USB (asynchronous), and analog inputs. With its volume control, it can also function as a 2-channel preamp and a headphone amplifier. While its $1895 ticket is a bit pricier than the Audio Alchemy products of the past, it should be highly competitive in today's D/A market when it ships in December.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
One question about Dolby Atmos that we haven't seen raised before: What effect would it have on auto setup and room correction systems in receivers and pre-pros? D+M's Atmos demo provided the answer: Audyssey has updated its technology to handle Atmos related concerns. The D+M demo used vaguely specified products including a Marantz pre-pro, Marantz multichannel amp, and Snell speakers. It used the same Dolby Labs clip disc as every other Atmos demo at CEDIA, but because it wasn't abusively loud, we enjoyed it more than most of the others.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  2 comments
Nakymatone has a unique approach to invisible in-wall sound with two stealthy speakers called the Echt and the Mooi. Both speakers measure 23” x 9.75” x 3.5” (H x W x D) but are designed to be fit behind drywall using a 16 5/8” x 9.75” (H x W) hole. The speakers utilize a special removable handle that allows installers to slide the speaker into the hole and then pull it flush up against the drywall before fastening it in place an applying a 1/16” plaster skim to blend it in with the surface of the wall. The acoustic panel consists of an aluminum honeycomb core with doped paper skin. Both models have a sealed, acoustically tuned aluminum enclosure; while the higher-end Echt’s enclosure is also anodized for higher performance sound quality.

According to Nakymatone, the frequency response of the Mooi is...

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.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
KEF's famous coaxial Uni-Q driver array is what distinguishes its R60 Dolby Atmos enabled speaker ($1200/pair) from the competition. With a one-inch aluminum tweeter nestling amid a 5.25-inch aluminum woofer, it's the same version of Uni-Q used on the R100. KEF also showed three new tower speakers and a monitor: Blade Two ($24,000/pair), Reference 5 ($18,000/pair), Reference 3 ($13,000/pair), and Reference One ($7500/pair).
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
For VERY high end home theaters, Digital Projection offers the Insight 4K projector. It has the professional 4K resolution of 4096 x 2160, and is available with either LED or laser illumination. In the latter form, it's specified for an output of 12,000 Lumens, a laser lifetime of 20,000 hours, and a color gamut beyond Rec. 709. Yours for $120,000.

With LED illumination the output drops to a still considerable 3000 Lumens, the claimed LED lifetime increases to 60,000 hours, and the price rises to $150,000. In LED form it's also claimed to be the first projector capable of the Rec.2020 color gamut. In a darkened room demonstration, however, the LED version had heavily oversaturated colors, suggesting not that there was anything wrong with the projector, but rather that the playback gamut didn't match the gamut of the source material--a guarantee of inaccurate color. The laser version was being demonstrated in the open area of the booth, and its color looked excellent.

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.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Video Processor maker DVDO is to be commended for spending all of its press conference discussing Ultra HD in general, instead of flacking its own products. Shown here is a summary of what is at present the "roadmap" to full Ultra HD. As you can see, there's much work to be done (and not universal agreement on everything, particularly Rec.2020 as the color gamut of choice). While we'll see more and more Ultra HD material in the coming 18 months or so, initially its major benefit will be 4K resolution. The color enhancements we ultimately hope to see will take longer.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  2 comments
I've only caught two Dolby Atmos demos so far, but the JBL Synthesis demo was by far the most impressive--and may be the most impressive at the show. I'll reserve judgment on that, but with 12 discrete height speakers(JBL SCS 8s), 16 surround speakers (also JBL SCS8s, just a few of them shown here--no way to get all of them into a group photo!), 8 subwoofers, JBL M2 front speakers, a Dolby pro Atmos processor, banks of JBL Synthesis amps, and a 17-foot wide screen (projector unspecified--I'll update this when I find out), this $200,000 system is ready for your lottery winnings.

The picture (only 2K no less, from a DPI NC 900C projector, about $50,000) was spectacular (though with blacks more typical of theatrical presentations rather than the superior blacks available from some even modest home theater models). And the sound was as good as any movie sound I've yet heard, either home or theatrical (the latter including even the best theaters in Los Angeles). It could go plenty loud, but with the exception of an extended racing car sequence it was never edgy or grating. If you're fortunate enough to be at the show while reading this, it's a don't miss demo.