CEDIA Expo 2013 is underway in Denver, Colorado. The SECRETS CEDIA Coverage Team has arrived and they are reporting now from the CAVE on Google+. Robert Kozel, Chris Eberle and Chris Heinonen will be reporting right here as well so be sure to visit us here or on the CAVE on Google+ over the next few days.
Robert Kozel, Senior Editor Reports
The summer has flown by and it’s once again time for CEDIA. This year’s show is back in Colorado at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. The convention center is known for it’s trademark blue bear which looks in the windows.
Today was a setup day for the exhibitors which means the show floor was not open, but there was a press preview event in the afternoon that was attended by some of the exhibitors. My first stop was at GoldenEar Technology. Here is Sandy Gross, the founder of GoldenEar Technology, with the new SuperCinema 3D Array XL. It retails for $1,499 and will be available in 2014. The center section of the array is similar to the SuperSat 60.
Here is the beautiful Steinway Lyngdorf S-15 speaker. It comes in a variety of custom colors and starts at $2,600. The S-15 is sold as part of a complete system in stereo or muti-channel configurations. Complete stereo systems start around $22k and includes all components.
Lyngdorf is relaunching their audio brand and is showing their new TDAI-2170 integrated stereo amplifier. It is a fully digital amplifier and includes RoomPerfect room correction. It has optional HDMI modules with support for ARC and CEC and offers an optional USB input for streaming audio. Retail price on the basic version is $3,990 and fully configured it retails for $4,990. The volume control is unique in that it does not attenuate the input signal but rather adjusts the power to the output stage. This allows the amplifier to process the full scale audio throughout the signal path.
GTL Sound Labs was showing off the AE963 in-wall speaker. A pair of these weigh 48 lbs.
For those lucky enough to have a private theater in their own residence, Prima Cinema offers a solution for watching current theatrical releases in the comfort of your own home. The server itself is $35k and a movie is $500 for a 24 hour rental. The movie content is downloaded to the server and the customer only pays if they watch the movie. It is only sold to private residential home theater customers with at least a 100″ screen and no more than 25 seats. That amounts to $20 per person for you and 24 of your friends to enjoy the latest movie. You get to make your own popcorn.
Autonomic is showcasing their MAS-8 Mirage Audio System. The system is a finalist in the best new product category at CEDIA 2013. The MAS-8 combines an MMS-5A, five source audio server, with an M-800, eight room digital amplifier, for a complete in-home media server solution. The system is also available with a four room amplifier for smaller installations.
This is the SSP 7 from StormAudio. It retails for $9,100 and supports 7+1 channels. It is a 3D audio and 3D video surround processor supporting Auro-3D three dimensional sound processing. The SSP 7 is capable of independently managing 4 subwoofers and is the smaller version of the 16 channel SSP 16-3D which retails for $13K. StormAudio is a French manufacturer based in the Loire Valley.
The CEDIA event also showcases many products designed for custom installation. One such product is the StealthStream 1 from a new company called TiO (Turn it On). The StealthStream 1 is an amplified in-wall audio zone player that can be installed in place of an existing in-wall volume control. The streaming player can receive power from an ethernet connection or by using a power adapter connected to the existing home-run speaker wires that were previously used to send an audio signal to the volume control. The speakers that had been connected to the volume control are then connected directly to the StealthStream 1. The device supports WiFi, Ethernet and optical inputs, and can be easily controlled from a tablet based application. TiO currently supports Android tablets but expects to support iDevices in the future.
The advent of the 4K Ultra televisions is also sparking innovation in the custom installation market. Kordz was showing their new NEO-S3 double-ended dongle pairs which allow a new or existing long-length passive HDMI cable to support 4K UltraHD. The product supports existing cable lengths of up to 65 feet / 20m and up to 98 feet / 30m with a Kordz NEOlink cable. The NEO-S3 is a finalist for best new product at the show. Since 4K is best appreciated on a large screen, Kordz is expecting the NEO-S3 to come in very handy for projector installations. A pair of the dongles retails for under $400.
The show floor opened this morning and my first stop was the Anthem and Paradigm booth. Anthem was showing the updated line of MRX receivers which are the MRX 710 which retails for $1,999, the MRX 510 which retails for $1,599 and the MRX 310 which retails for $1,199. All three feature a new version of Anthem Room Correction called ARC 1M which connects via Ethernet. The new room correction process is now significantly faster since a serial cable is no longer used and ARC 1M includes before and after comparison graphs. The software also shows the corrections that were made at each measurement position. All three models feature 4K upscaling and pass-through. All three models offer IP and serial control and will have Android and Apple control apps.
The MRX 710 and the MRX 510 are 7 channel receivers and include 7 HDMI inputs plus a front-panel input. Both are expected this November. Here is the MRX 710
and here is the MRX 510.
The MRX 310 is a 5 channel receiver with 7 HDMI inputs. It will be available in February of 2014. Here is the MRX 310.
Paradigm was showing the third generation of the CS series in-wall/in-ceiling speakers called the CS Series v.3. The speakers do not have a bezel and the grill is held in place with magnets. The speakers feature a Glass-Reinforced ABS Baffle (GRAB) and have ABS mounting clamps which provide strength and the right amount of flex during installation. The design is intended to make it easier for installers to mount the speakers. The speakers also have pocketed screw holes which help hold the drill in place simplifying installation.
Paradigm was showing the Soundtrack 2 System which includes a powered soundbar and wireless subwoofer that features Bluetooth and aptX streaming technologies. It now includes a larger remote which Paradigm says is easier to use and program. It retails for $899
Paradigm was also showing an updated Millenia CT called the CT v.2. The updated system includes a new input module which now decodes Dolby. It also supports Bluetooth with aptX and AVRCP and A2DP. It also includes an updated remote. The Millenia CT v.2 retails for $849 and is expected in Q1 of 2014.
Martin Logan was showing their new Motion SLM XL. The speaker can be used as a flat on-wall or on-shelf speaker. It is intended for use with 65+ inch televisions. It retails for $699.95 each.
Martin Logan was also showing the new Balanced Force 212 subwoofer. It features dual 12-inch aluminum cone woofers and two 850 watt amplifiers. It is available in a variety of finishes and starts at $3,995. The clear top is only used for the display model to show off the internals.
Martin Logan was also showing this stereo speaker. It supports AirPlay and Bluetooth and will offer 100W (140W peak) total system power. It will be available in gloss black and walnut. Price is yet to be determined but it will ship in early 2014.
GoldenEar Technology was demonstrating their new Invisa HTR 7000 in-ceiling speakers. This was the first time that I can recall listening to a demo in one of the temporary listening rooms where the speakers were actually mounted in the ceiling. The Invisa HTR 7000 sounded great and they created a large soundstage. They can be an ideal solution for someone wanting great sound while discretely hiding the speakers away in the ceiling. They can also be used for side and rear surround channels.
Here is Sandy Gross, founder of GoldenEar Technology, with the new Invisa HTR 7000.
Earthquake was showing off prototypes of their new monitors. Pricing and availability are yet to b determined.
The Earthquake product line was on display.
PSB Speakers was showing their new SubSeries 100 compact powered subwoofer. It offers 50W continuous power and 100W peak. It retails for $249 and is a perfect fit with the Alpha PS1 powered 2-way desktop speaker system which retails for $299.
NAD was showing off their first headphone offerings. The VISO HP20 are in-ear headphones which retail for $169. The VISO HP50 are over-ear headphones which retail for $299.
Over in the NAD booth there was also a display for wireless audio products from BlueSound. I asked for details and was told that BlueSound is an entirely new brand that will be launching sometime in October. Product details will be announced at the brand launch.
At first glance these looked like they belonged at a monster truck show, but they are really Sonance subwoofers that are designed to be installed into your backyard landscape. The small fixtures that look like spot lights are small satellite speakers.
The show was consistently busy throughout the day with a steady crowd everywhere I went. The Crestron booth was once again the largest at the show.
CEDIA is a great place to see custom products including these incredible speakers from California Audio Technology. This is the Sequoia which weighs 758 pounds and costs $158K per speaker.
If you can’t have two of the Sequoia speakers in your room, you can opt for an in-wall version. The three speakers on the left side of this picture are the in-wall equivalent of the Sequoia and are $42K per channel. The three huge speakers on the right are subwoofers which retail for $18K each.
California Audio Technology was also showing their power amplifiers. The amp on the left is the 300.8 SE which provides 300W x 8 channels and retails for $14,800. The amp on the right is the 1200.2 FDXPR which provides 1200W x 2 channels in a fully balanced design providing extreme power reserve. It also uses optical clip limiting circuitry. It retails for $29,500.
Krell had the Evolution 707 3D on display. It comes in an 8.4 channel configuration which features 2 center channels and 4 subwoofer outputs. It supports HDMI 1.3 and provides 3D passthrough. It retails for $31,500.
Focal was showing how their innovative Flax sandwich driver is constructed. The informational display states that “Flax combines the three key factors required of the core of a sandwich material for loudspeakers: it has low density, a high tensile (Young’s) modulus of elasticity of up to 60GPa, and excellent internal damping.” The layer of flax is sandwiched between two layers of very thin glass.
Here are the Flax sandwich drivers in the Focal Aria 900 speakers.
That’s all for today. Much more to come.
Chris Eberle, Senior Editor Reports
Well it is Wednesday and after a van ride with many stops, I finally arrived at the Colorado Convention Center for the Press Preview. I had a bit of time to speak with SI Screens, Epson, and Darbee. I’ll be covering their booths tomorrow and Friday but they had a few things to show me. SI is debuting curved screens at this year’s show along with a white material that is closer to reference quality than their Black Diamond surface; and it’s available in the Zero Edge model. If you recall my review of the Zero Edge from a couple of years ago, you know that it’s an extremely cool format that makes your projection screen look like a giant high-end TV. It looks almost as good with no image showing! I’ll grab some snaps at their booth tomorrow.
Darbee is delving into security and medical applications this year with their image enhancement technology. In consumer video, they still offer the Darblet at around $319, and a model that eschews 3D for around $279. More on that in Friday’s coverage.
Finally, I spoke a bit with Epson to learn about their new models. They showed four at the preview, including a high-output model that pumps out a searing 6000 lumens. I’ve included the photos of the four new projectors below.
Chris Eberle Report #2
JVC Press Conference
Thursday morning began with JVC’s annual press breakfast. After a lovely meal, Karl Bearnarth, Senior Marketing VP and Gary Klasmeier, Product Engineer introduced the new line of 4K capable projectors. The question on everyone’s mind was, are these true 4K displays? Unfortunately, the answer is no. JVC is still using e-shift3 technology to simulate 4K. The big news is that they are now offering displays that ACCEPT 4K signals. And they’ll do it at up to 60p which is another breakthrough. Their demos, sourced from Red-ray players, looked stunning. Other enhancements include all-new imaging devices that reduce the pixel gap from .5 microns to .3. Not only does this increase clarity, it bumps up light output by 10 percent. And with a new grid polarizer part, light scatter between pixels is reduced for better intra-scene contrast.
The new models are split into two lines, Reference Series and Procision. The Reference Series is topped with the RS6710 shown above at $12,499. For that princely sum you get a 5-year warranty, along with a spare lamp, 3D emitter and two pairs of glasses.
Moving down the price ladder, we have the RS67 at $11,999. All you’re giving up there is the longer warranty and spare lamp. As you go lower in price, you lose features like the glasses/emitter.
The sweet spot is the RS4910 at $5,199. Also added to the colorspace options are Adobe RGB, for photographers, and x.v.Color. Contrast is also increased with a new iris control algorithm. And you can control your new projector from your iPhone or tablet with two-way communication.
Epson Home Cinema Projectors – The Value And Performance Leader
My first stop on the show floor was at Epson’s large booth. Not only are their projectors prominently displayed, they have demo theaters nicely equipped with surround audio and an excellent viewing environment. Starting next month, they’re introducing three new models in their Pro Cinema line and an entirely new line of Ultra-Bright models aimed at multi-use rooms that have some ambient light.
First up is the Pro Cinema G6900WU.
This projector puts a claimed 6000 lumens and has interchangeable lenses. It also has a lens shift lock to guard against image shift due to vibration. It has a split-screen feature that allows viewing of two sources at once, and includes a ceiling mount, cable cover, and spare lamp in the package. Also in this line are the G6550WU at 5200 lumens, and the 4855WU at 4000 lumens. They are priced at $7,499, $5,999, and $3,799 respectively.
There are also some new value-priced offerings.
The 5030UB is an update from last year’s 5020UB. It’s pretty much the same hardware but a firmware upgrade and tweaks to the auto iris bump up the contrast to a claimed 600,000 to 1. Also added is frame interpolation for both 2D and 3D. The 5020 only had that feature in 2D. The 6030UB is functionally the same projector with the addition of a black case, a spare bulb, and a ceiling mount. Both the 5030 and 6030 are THX certified for both 2D and 3D as well. If that isn’t enough, you get two pairs of glasses too! The 5030UB starts at $2,599. For an extra $300, you can get the 5030UBe which adds the wireless HDMI feature.
Offering great value is the Pro Cinema 4030. For a mere $2,499, you get a claimed 120,000 to 1 contrast ratio, 2000 lumens of brightness; plus two pairs of glasses, a spare lamp, ceiling mount, and cable cover.
Epson continues to be the value leader in the sub-$5,000 projector market. Look for reviews in the next few months as these projectors become available.
I always enjoy seeing Bob Dolatowski at NextGen each year at the Expo. He inevitably has some neat new gadget to show me and this year was no different. He’s been working on a simple, low-cost universal remote for a while now and it’s finally available for purchase.
This remote will control up to four devices and works via RF with NextGen’s Remote Extender line of products. It also functions as a traditional IR unit. Programming is simple and intuitive, and it can easily learn commands from your OEM remotes. I was able to play with the sample and it seems quite rugged and well-made. Considering the price of even a basic Logitech Harmony, NextGen’s wand offers terrific value at only $69.
Planar – New 4K Offerings For The High End
As owners of the Runco brand, I was hoping to see some 4K projectors from my favorite high-end projector maker. Instead, I got a look at some truly stunning 4K monitors and amazing video wall products.
Planar’s Marketing VP, Jennifer Davis, started me off with a prototype computer monitor. 32-inch screens are just starting to appear from Sharp and Asus, but Planar is going one better with a 39-inch display. Another thing that sets this panel apart is its layer bonding technology. The outermost layer is actually bonded with the LCD panel instead of sitting apart like typical screens. Eliminating the air gap does wonders for the screen’s clarity and sharpness. This monitor looked truly breathtaking with both video and computer content.
This Clarity matrix video wall looked amazing with its six 60-inch screens mounted together. The bezels were 1/16th of an inch making the panel gaps a mere 1/8th inch. It looked amazing. Planar sells this as a complete system with mounting, trim, and a separate rack that houses all the power supply and video processing components. That takes all the heat away from the panel themselves. And only a low-voltage line needs to be run to the video wall itself.
These architectural tiles come in 21-inch square, plus 46 and 55-inch rectangle sizes. The system is called Mosaic. The tiles can be arranged any way you wish. Then a sophisticated software program processes the layout so all the video connects properly. It was quite mesmerizing to watch!
I saved the best for last. This is the 84-inch UHD monitor. It also uses Planar’s bonding technology for the highest possible clarity. The only other 84-inch panel on the market is Sony’s and it doesn’t look as good. I found it hard to tear myself away from the images being shown. It starts at $22,000. While that may seem high, you won’t think so once you’ve seen it in action. If that weren’t enough, it’s also a full touch screen! It was fun watching people write their names on it.
Sony – Leading The Way to 4K? TVs & Projectors
Sony is all-in with 4K. Not only do they have the only native 4K projector on the market, they have introduced two TVs that break price barriers with one model selling for $5000. They can also deliver native 4K content with their media server (picture below) and are the first vendor I’ve seen supporting HDMI 2.0.
This is the XBR-65X900A. It’s a top-of-the-line TV with HDMI 2.0 so it can accept 4K native content from Sony’s media server. It’s hard to see in the photo but the side-mounted speakers are very sleek with exposed drives in black. And they sound pretty good too!
This is the newest addition to Sony’s 4K projector line, the VPL-VW600ES. At $15,000, it represents a significant price drop from last year’s VPS-VW1000ES which sold for $25,000. Speaking of that projector, it’s now sold as the VPL-VW1100ES for an eye-popping $28,000. And they haven’t left early-adopters out in the cold. If you own a VPL-VW1000ES, you can upgrade it to an 1100 for $2,000.
This little saucer-shaped device is Sony’s 4K media server, the FMP-X1. It sells as an add-on with any Sony 4K product for $1000. Sony is busily remastering many of their films in 4K and when they’re available, you’ll be able to download them to this device. Like the latest Sony 4K displays, it is HDMI 2.0 compatible.
Sony hasn’t abandoned good ol’ 1080P just yet. This is the KDL-55W900A and it looked superb with the demo material running on it. It has a nice thin bezel as you can see along with a high degree of clarity. The screen does pick up a fair amount of reflections but the tradeoff is a very bright and sharp picture.
Finally, here’s something for the successful hedge fund manager who has everything.
This is the SRX-T615 4K projector. You would most likely find this in a commercial cinema. You can see from the man standing in the left side of the frame how truly massive this projector is. The lens is at least six inches across! With multiple UHP lamps, this tank-sized prototype can put out a searing 15,000 lumens.
Tomorrow, I’ll have more coverage of Darbee, Digital Projection, Kaleidescape, and a few others. Stay tuned!
Chris Heinonen, Senior Editor Reports
CEDIA always starts the same: An early morning breakfast from JVC where we get to see their new projectors. There was a full-page ad in the CEDIA preview paper from JVC that talks about 4K so I expected them to join Sony in the 4K home projector game. They did announce new projectors today but they are only adding a new version of eShift to them and 4K inputs.
Curious with the inputs is that they are HDMI 1.4 since they don’t accept 4k60 at 4:4:4 colorspaces, but they also said it will accept 4k60 at the 4:2:0 colorspace. This is strange since HDMI 2.0 supports 4:2:0 but not HDMI 1.4, so I’ll try to find this out. Even if they aren’t native 4K, JVC always makes stunning projectors and it sounds like they might have a new iris that could lead to even better contrast ratios. We will try to
One interesting thing was that JVC was using a RedRay player for native 4K content. Having not seen one in the wild before I was happy to see one in person.
Sony had a press conference right after Sony so everyone had to run across the street to make it there in time. Waiting for it to start I checked out their new line of high-resolution audio players. There is a USB DAC and a pair of playback devices offering storage for your media as well. With more and more DSD content appearing for download now, this might be a nice unit to try out.
Sony also had three new projectors to show. They have a new high-end 4K units, the VPL-VW1100ES for $28,000, but also a new $15,000 model in the VPL-VX600ES. It still isn’t cheap but it’s 40% less than before and way ahead of the competition. There is also an update to the VPL-HW50ES, my favorite projector last year, called the VPL-HW55ES. It has a longer lamp that lasts for 5,000 hours now and can produce 1,700 lumens. It is $4,000 and I’m hoping to get a chance to see how it stacks up to the prior model.
Oppo has an update to their BDP-103 Blu-ray player called the BDP-103D that adds Darbee processing to the unit. With its HDMI inputs it can also apply Darbee processing to your other components as well. Pricing is still not set but they expect it to ship in October.
Definitive Technology had a wide variety of new products to show off. With an integrated battery so you can easily take it outside and Bluetooth built in, it’s a little speaker you can throw just about anywhere.
Screen Innovations has a new technology called Black Diamond Rear Pro Film. Here it is attached to a piece of glass hanging from the ceiling. Despite the lights and everything else in the convention center we see a bright, colorful image that makes for a stunning sight. Not something for your home but that I’d expect to see at the mall or other places for really fancy signage.
SI was also showing off their new Pure rigid screens. With a new technology you can see that texture is virtually absent. It is only in the rigid screens now but they’re working on it for conventional screen surfaces as well.
JL Audio has a new, more affordable line of subs now, the E-sub. Available in 12″ ($1,900) and 10″ ($1,500) models they should be shipping now. If the performance is close to that of their prior subs they should be fantastic.
B&W has a new high-end speaker in their CM line, the CM10. The most notable feature is the top-mounted tweeter that is also seen on their 800-series models. These are just starting to ship now and should be arriving at dealers shortly.
Rotel has a lot of new stereo models to show but also this home theater amplifier. They have been doing more Class D models recently but the 585 is a 5 channel, 200 WPC Class A/B amplifier. With dual transformers it weighs a ton and is a serious piece of metal.
Display Development was showing The Great Gatsby on their 4K projector. Really a Christie projector modified for the home it costs around $200,000 and takes a ton of space but puts out a huge image. Bright, colorful, and larger than most movie theaters I go to, it looked just fantastic. They also had a very interesting projector you can mount inside the wall, with only a mirror seen that reflects the image out of the wall and onto the screen. One of the craziest things I’ve seen in a long time.
There is still a ton to see and cover on the show floor, and ongoing updates being posted over at our Google+ page as well. Even posted my first video on Google+: check out my video clip of the Screen Innovations booth.
Robert Kozel – CEDIA 2013 Wrap-up
Here’s a better look at the SSP 7 and the SSP 16-3D processors from Storm Audio.
The SSP 16-3D is on the bottom and supports 16 channels of output.
Here’s a better look at the SSP 7 and the SSP 16-3D processors from Storm Audio.
Devialet was showing their stereo integrated amplifier line-up. The Devialet 110 (2×110 watts) retails for $6,495 and the Devialet 170 (2×170 watts) retails for $9,495. The Devialet 500 (2×500 watts) retails for $29,995.
The Devialet 240 (2×240 watts) retails for $17,495. It was shown with a small controller for volume, phase inversion and source selection.
Monitor Audio was showing the Airstream A100 wireless integrated amplifier. It makes use of a Class A/B amplifier and provides 50 watts per channel. It retails for $500.
Here’s the Airstream WS100 wireless multimedia system from Monitor Audio. The cube speakers include built-in amps and a wireless receiver. A small USB transmitter is used to send music from your computer to the WS100 system.
ATI was showing their AT6000 multi-channel amplifier. This amplifier is designed by Morris Kessler and is part of the ATI signature series. The AT6000 is a fully balanced design which makes use of only a single input stage with dual-differential output stages. It uses current feedback for increased amplifier speed and makes use of Thermaltrak output transistors for real-time bias optimization. It retails for $3,995 for a two-channel version and up to $7,995 for a seven-channel model.
Theta Digital was showing the Casablanca IV preamp/processor. The latest version of the Casablanca includes Dirac Live 96K digital room correction and a Theta proprietary technology called Jitter Jail II.
The upgrade in functionality from the Casablanca III to the model IV is made possible by the PR-3 post processing card. Theta Digital continues its upgrade tradition and offers existing Casablanca III owners the option to upgrade to the Casablanca IV for $3,995. New units of the Casablanca IV start at $16,245.
Theta Digital was also showing their new Prometheus digital amplifier. It is Theta Digital’s first Class-D amplifier and provides 250/500/1000 watts @0.01% THD into 8/4/2 ohms. It will be priced at $6K and will be available by the end of the year.
Cambridge Audio was showing the new Azur 851W Class-XD power amplifier and the Azur 851E pre-amplifier. The 851W retails for $2,799 and the 851E retails for $1,999.
Cambridge Audio was also showing the new Azur 851D upsampling DAC / digital preamp. It retails for $1,649.
Here are the new Aero 6 speakers from Cambridge Audio. A pair retails for $1,099.
Cambridge Audio was also showing the Minx Xi digital music system. It plays music from your home network and supports streaming music services, internet radio and playback of high resolution audio up to 24-bit/96 kHz. It retails for $999 and sounded great in their demo.
While 4K televisions may not be in everyone’s home yet, Onkyo refreshed their entire receiver line-up to include HDMI 4K video pass-through.
DVDO was showing the latest version of their Air3 wireless 60GHz HD adapter. In their demo, the 1080P HDMI video from the gaming system is being wirelessly transmitted across the show floor to a receiver by each of the televisions. This eliminates cables running across the floor of the game room. The system supports HDMI video and MHL-enabled sources such as smart phones.
DVDO was also showing matrix switching of 4K Ultra HD video with their Matrix6 matrix video switcher.
Boulder Amplifiers had their products on display. This is the massive Boulder 3060 stereo power amplifier.
Here are the Boulder 1021 disc player and the Boulder 2008 phono preamplifier.
JL Audio was showing the E-sub E112 subwoofer. It has a 12-inch driver and a 1500 watt amplifier. It retails for $1,900. It is also available in a 10-inch model.
Integra introduced the DHC-60.5 preamp processor. It has Audyssey XT32 room correction, 8 HDMI inputs, 4K upscaling and 4K pass-through, and an HDBaseT port for multimedia distribution. It retails for $2,000.
The Integra DTR-60.5 has the same feature set as the DHC-60.5 and offers 135 watts/channel. The DTR-60.5 is a THX Select2 Plus certified receiver.
To demonstrate the HDBaseT distribution capabilities on the DTR- and DHC-60.5, Integra showed two movies playing simultaneously while connected to a DTR-60.5. Zone 1 played an Indiana Jones movie while content from Zone 2 was transmitted across the show floor along a 100 meter shielded Cat6 cable. The cable was wrapped in white LEDs just so you wouldn’t miss it.
Across the Integra booth in Zone 2, Terminator was playing. Very cool! Integra was also showing that their implementation was standards compliant by showcasing a wide variety of HDBaseT adapters from multiple companies.
Here’s a look inside the new DTR-60.5.
Bryston was showcasing their speaker line at the show.
Scandinavian company Opalum was showing their Flow.4810, Breeze.1010 and Flow.1010 speakers.
Definitive Technology was showing the completely redesigned Mythos STL speakers.
The Sony XBR-84X900 4K Ultra HDTV was simply stunning.
Yamaha introduced the YAS-152BL soundbar. It retails for $349.95 and is designed for 55″ and larger televisions. The YAS-152BL is the soundbar on the top shelf in this photo.
The YAS-152BL has two built-in subwoofers which are visible underneath the soundbar.
Yamaha also introduced the YSP-1400BL digital sound projector. The YSP-1400BL is on the bottom shelf in this photo.
This powered 5.1 channel soundbar has 8 drivers and dual built-in subwoofers located in the left and right base. It is priced at $449.95.
Yamaha was also introducing the new Aventage CX-A5000 preamp processor. It retails for $2,999.95 and includes YPAO R.S.C room correction which offers multipoint and angle measurement.
To go along with the new processor, Yamaha introduced the MX-A5000BL 11-channel power amp. It retails for $2,999.95 and provides 150W x 11 channels.
Yamaha was showing some gorgeous two channel gear. Here is the A-S3000BL integrated amplifier. It retails for $7,999.95 and is available now. The speaker binding posts are really heavy duty.
Here is the Yamaha CD-S3000BL SACD player. It retails for $6,999.95 and is available now.
Over in the high end audio rooms, Wisdom was demonstrating their technology and the benefits of line source speakers. Line source speakers disperse sound more effectively in large spaces. It was easily the best demo that I heard at the show – amazing audio with both music and movies with incredible bass. Here’s what Wisdom was using in their very large demo room.
The McIntosh MT5 turntable was shipping.
Here is the new McIntosh MA8000 integrated amplifier. The tone control has been expanded to eight bands and it has a built-in 32/192 kHz DAC to support its five digital inputs – one of which is USB.
This is the new McIntosh MCD550 SACD/CD player.
Here’s a better look at the Lyngdorf TDAI 2170 integrated amplifier and the CD-2 CD player.
That huge blue bear kept looking in the window.
Sony was showing the HAP-Z1ES Hi-res HDD music player. It retails for $1,999 and supports all Hi-res music formats. It also has a DSD re-mastering engine and a 1 TB internal hard drive.
Sony introduced the HAP-S1 500GB Hi-res HDD music player. It has a 2-channel Class AB amplifier providing 40W x 2 and supports all high resolution audio formats including DSD up to 24-bit/192 kHz. It also has an Android and iOS control app.
Sony also introduced the UDA-1 USB DAC system. It has a 2-channel Class AB amplifier providing 23W x 2 and supports all high resolution audio formats including DSD up to 24-bit/192 kHz.
The biggest news on the audio front from Sony is that they have partnered with Warner and Universal to bring to the market a re-mastered collection of music in the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) format. This is awesome news for high-resolution music lovers.
KEF was showing off the V720W digital soundbar system. It comes with a wireless subwoofer. Retail price is $999.99. The V720W is the soundbar at the top of the photo and the sub is on the bottom right. The other two soundbars in the photo are the HTF8003 ($899.99) and the HTF7003 ($549.99).
This is the KEF Blade speaker. A pair retails for $30K.
TruAudio was showing their take on the perfect subwoofer for your backyard sound system. It is called the SubTerrain. The yellow color is also very appropriate.
White was a popular color from some of the speaker companies. Here it is on the Reference Jubilee speaker to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Canton. Only 100 numbered pairs are available.
B&O PLAY, a division of Bang and Olufsen, was showing off their personal audio products.
The B&O H3 in-ear headphones retail for $249.
The BEOLIT 12 wireless and portable music system retails for $799 and has a battery so you can take the system on the road.
The B&O FORM 2 headphones retail for $119.
The B&O A8 sound system retails for $1,149.
The CS1.7 speakers from THIEL were being demonstrated with Dan D’Agostino amplifiers.
Premium soundbars were everywhere at the show. Here is the Horizon OTO from Leon Speaker. The cabinet is less than 2″ deep and it is custom crafted in five days to match any TV.
Here’s another amazing speaker from Leon Speaker.
Rotel was introducing the RMB-1585. It is a Class AB amp that delivers 200W x 5 channels. It retails for $2,999.
The CM10 from B&W is the new flagship speaker in the CM line. It has a top-mounted tweeter like the 800-series models.
As I was leaving the show floor, I couldn’t miss the gorgeous LCD video wall system at the Planar booth.
The Planar 4K display was simply amazing and rivaled the images at the Sony booth.
CEDIA 2013 – Wrap Up and Final Thoughts
After spending two very busy days on the show floor, CEDIA 2013 looked to be a huge success. The crowds were consistent throughout both days, and while the show floor may have been a bit smaller than in past years, the floor was well organized and didn’t have large unused sections of floor space like CEDIA 2012. Most booths were crowded and there seemed to be a lot of dealers and distributors discussing products with manufacturers. Perhaps it was just the return to Denver, but the crowd had a good energy and a general enthusiasm that made the show very enjoyable.
Connectivity and distributed audio and video continued to be a major theme at the show. While there were plenty of updated control devices from all the major players, the thing that impressed me the most was the inclusion of HDBaseT technology into consumer Audio Video Receivers. The Integra DHC-/DTR-60.5 and the Pioneer SC-79 include support for HDBaseT. This offers the consumer and the installer community an excellent way to distribute HDMI audio and video in homes and it finally allows us to say goodbye to analog video in a two-zone implementation. It was also great to see major manufacturers supporting the HDBaseT technology.
At CEDIA 2013, there was no way to escape the push toward 4K Ultra HD. Sony and Planar were showing gorgeous 4K Ultra HD displays. Sony showed their amazing 4K Ultra HD projector which can be had for $15K. DVDO was showing 4K Ultra HD matrix video switching. Integra, Onkyo and Anthem all had 4K Ultra HD video pass-through and 4K upscaling. Kordz was showing their NEO-S3 4K Ultra HD video transmission technology. While all of this made it look like 4K was coming along nicely, it still seems a long way off since there is still the problem of available native content. Sony has a solution with their 4K media server, but it still costs hundreds of dollars in addition to an expensive 4K television. Like it or not, the industry is moving to 4K and the messaging at CEDIA was certainly aimed at pushing 4K to the custom installers and their customers.
On the audio side of things, there were no new surround formats being introduced at the show. Theta Digital was finally launching Dirac Live 96K which offers some amazing room correction technology to those lucky enough to afford the Casablanca IV. I couldn’t help notice that the new Yamaha MX-A5000BL amplifier supports eleven channels. This allows you to power the presence channels that Yamaha supports assuming you can find room for all those speakers in your room. At least for now, there was no discussion of Dolby Atmos making its way into consumer AVRs just yet. I asked Onkyo and Integra about the popularity of the extra height and width channels and was told that while many people don’t use them, that it is becoming more common for custom installers to include height channels during a new theater installation. The height channels are processed by Dolby PLIIz which is included on all the latest AVRs.
The big news on the audio side of things was that Sony is partnering with Warner and Universal to offer high-resolution music in a variety of formats including Direct Stream Digital (DSD). The partnership opens up a huge catalog of music that can be offered as high-resolution downloads. This is good news for music lovers and it will hopefully introduce more consumers to the enjoyment of high-end audio. Sony also introduced several high resolution audio products aimed at helping the consumer enjoy all those great DSD downloads. Sony already has lots of potential customers for the DSD format since the latest Oppo Digital players already support DSD media-file playback.
Finally, it was great to see Yamaha offering separates again with the Aventage CX-A5000 processor and the MX-A5000BL amplifier. Despite the move toward digital media, Yamaha and McIntosh both introduced brand new SACD players at the show. Yamaha told me that those shiny silver discs are still very popular in Europe.
That’s it for my official show coverage for CEDIA 2013. Thanks for reading.
Chris Eberle – CEDIA 2013 Wrap-up
I was hoping to see 4K from Digital Projection this year but apparently, it was not to be. They are still using DLP in all their models from smallest to largest; and until Texas Instruments jumps on the 4K bandwagon, Digital Projection fans will have to be content with 1080P.
Two years ago, LED was the latest thing in front projection. With the promise of long life, low power consumption, and stable color, it seemed like the perfect replacement for the venerable UHP lamp. Unfortunately, it appears that only Digital Projection and Runco are selling LED despite the advantages.
Breaking the $10,000 price barrier for LED projectors is the M-Vision Cine 230HC at $6,995. I know most enthusiasts are now waiting for 4K to come down in price but LED is a technology that I am very fond of. It offers the highest contrast in DLP projection and a super-sharp, clean image that is hard to match with 3-panel displays like LCD and LCoS.
Moving up the price scale, we have the D-Vision series single-chip projectors. In addition to LED illumination, they offer 3D. Outputs range from 2900 to 7500 lumens. Also in this line is the Scope model which uses a special 2560 x 1080 chip to provide cinemascope images without black bars or an anamorphic lens. This is another technology I hope to see trickle down to the sub-$10k price point. D-Vision projectors start at $24,995. The Scope model is $32,995.
Highlite is one of Digital Projection’s 3-chip lines and ranges in brightness from 2000 to 9000 lumens. Pricing is from $23,995 to $37,995.
This is the top-of-the line Titan projector. These are true power houses, ideal for large spaces with outputs up to 20,000 lumens. Considering that fact, they are quite compact compared to the enormous Sony unit I saw yesterday. All models in this line are 3-chip DLP with 3D. One variant has an LED light engine but the rest are UHP powered. Pricing starts at $49,995 and peaks at $119,995 for the Reference model that puts out 10,000 lumens and weighs 249 pounds!
I watched demos of all the lines and even though they didn’t have the wow factor of Sony’s 4K theater, the images were razor-sharp and extremely bright with great depth and detail. With all the fervor over 4K, we shouldn’t forget the advantages of DLP – sharp pictures, smooth motion processing, and tremendous potential brightness.
I was so impressed with the demo I saw last year at the Darbee booth, I looked forward to seeing what was new this year. There wasn’t too much to report but I learned a few things. First, they’ve added a slightly cheaper Darblet, called the Cobalt, that eschews 3D and saves you about $40 on the price.
Second, and more significant, Oppo’s newest Blu-ray player, the BDP-103D, will include Darbee video processing. It’s hard to show you in pictures what this technology looks like. After last year’s demo, I bought one for my Anthem projector and now I can’t live without it. It seems a little pricey but once you’ve seen it in action, you won’t want to watch without it!
Darbee DVP is also available in Lumagen’s 20XX series video processors.
If you want a Darblet in a nicer box, you can buy this re-badged version from Salt. It’s functionally the same, but looks much more elegant.
Kaleidescape – Will Physical Media Ever Be A Thing Of The Past?
I spent quite a bit of time with three reps from Kaleidescape talking about their new line of servers called Cinema1. The only real flaw with their products has been the high price of entry. Last year, a basic box would run you $14,000.
This is the Cinema1 player/server. It will store 600 DVDs or 100 Blu-rays. It stores music too. It retails for $3995. This is still a high-end product but they’re getting there! The real star of this and all the Kaleidescape servers is the killer user interface.
Once you select a movie, or CD, your content starts immediately. There is no waiting for boot-up, FBI warnings, previews, menus, ads, or anything else. You can bookmark scenes yourself or use the provided ones to literally surf your movie collection. It’s a whole different way to experience content in your theater. In the few minutes I played with it on the show floor, I quickly forgot about the price and could only think of how much I wanted one! Right now, I’m using six tall tower units to store my movie collection. I’ve got room for around 530 titles and am close to capacity. Imagine ripping all that to a PC-sized server, then accessing it from two different systems. I really should have chosen a better-paying profession than music!
In case you’re wondering, you still have to have the Blu-ray sitting in the Vault in order to play it on your player. These components are from the Premier line. The bottom box is the Vault and holds 320 discs of any type. Moving upwards are storage modules, and on the top of the rack are the actual players. For users interested in trying the Cinema1, Kaleidescape is offering a bundle with that and a Vault for $7990. This is still pretty pricey but they’re getting there!
DVDO – Video Processors And Advanced HDMI Switches
DVDO has always offered great value with its video processors and HDMI switchers. They didn’t have any new processors this year but they were showing some new switchers, a wireless HDMI solution, and the Mystery Box.
The Mystery Box is a prototype 4K scaler. It uses Silicon Image processing to scale incoming signals to 4K. It may well be an improvement over the scaling solutions used in first-gen 4K displays. The real news is if it ships, it will cost a mere $199. That’s pretty amazing considering it also offers 4K test patterns to help you calibrate that new 4K display!
This is DVDO’s new wireless HDMI extender. It has a range of 30 meters and doesn’t require line-of-sight like the version used in Epson projectors. It transmits in the 60 gHz, yes that’s giga-Hertz; so there’s not likely to be any interference from WiFi or other radio sources.
I couldn’t get a decent photo of the new Quick6 HDMI Control Center. This is not an ordinary switcher. It maintains the handshake on all connected sources so switching is instantaneous. You can also view any or all sources in an on-screen PIP preview. It supports 4K and 3D as well as MHL. MHL means you can hook up your smartphone or tablet and view its output on your TV or projector.
That’s it for today. Unfortunately, several major manufacturers of video products were absent at this year’s show; most notably Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Toshiba. I’m not all that surprised since their focus is more consumer rather than custom install. Plus, they usually ship their new models after CES in January. Still, I wish I’d had more to write about.
You may have picked up from my somewhat light coverage that there just wasn’t much to see video-wise at CEDIA this year. Though Sony is talking about 4K like it’s the second coming, and supporting vendors are adding it to their switching and networking products, it really isn’t a big deal just yet. It certainly looks impressive when you have an all-4K signal path and well-made content like Sony did. But upscaling Blu-rays isn’t quite impactful enough for me to say, “yeah, let’s drop $15,000 on a new projector.” 4K on a flat panel is even less impressive unless it’s at least 80 inches diagonal. The smaller sets from Sony didn’t look better enough to warrant their price tags. And that brings me to another discussion.
In looking at the history of TV technology and pricing, experience has shown that time and time again, anything priced over about $3,000 is a guaranteed failure. Remember how long it took plasmas to come down in price? The first widely available 50-inch plasmas were $10,000. With decent CRTs selling for under $1000, only the well-heeled cared enough to plunk down the price of a Honda Civic for a TV. It’s only when they dropped down below $3,000 that they became truly mass-market. And let’s not forget Pioneer. Their Kuro plasmas started at $5,000 for a 50-inch model. While they were totally worth it given their still-unbeaten picture quality, the mass market didn’t buy them and now Pioneer no longer makes TVs. The same phenomenon happened with 1080P. The first generation of displays would not accept 1080P, and they cost a fortune. This wasn’t a problem since there wasn’t any 1080P content available. Only after a format war, multiple versions of HDMI, and many price drops did 1080P become commonplace.
So how does this apply to 4K? Well, just like 3D, we’ll most likely have 4K eventually, whether we want it or not. The price will drop and there will be a new disc format and codec. And HDMI will catch up too. 3D was here at CEDIA this year, but only as window dressing. None of the 4K displays I saw would do 3D of any type; so perhaps 4K will go the same way. With prices being so high, there won’t be many adopters. Sure, high-end dealers will install plenty of Sony’s products but it won’t be enough to turn a profit for them. They’re barely treading water with their TV division as it is. Unless they can get the tech into their bread-and-butter lines quickly, 4K may never get legs. If they do, watch out. You’ll need to upgrade your receiver, your sources, and maybe even your cables. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks for following Secrets’ coverage of CEDIA 2013. As always, I welcome your comments.
Chris Heinonen – CEDIA 2013 Wrap-up
During the second day of CEDIA I got the same question from many different manufacturers: “What are you excited about at the show?” Unable to go see everything themselves they want to know what they should be excited about. This year when asked the question, I somewhat just shrugged my shoulders and was unable to come up with a good response.
Of course there are components I am excited about and want to evaluate but nothing that really made you stop in your tracks. Things were a bit cheaper, or a bit better, but there was no really affordable 4K projectors or OLED displays to be seen. No ideas that made me sit up and take notice as I had before. It wasn’t a bad show, but it was more of a transition show.
I did have some favorite items at the show, though I didn’t see everything. The updated Definitive Technology Mythos ST-L speaker sounds fantastic, as it has been completely overhauled. Aside from the general design and parts of the baffle, everything else has been redone on it. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it compares to the Mythos STS that has been my reference for a few years now.
Giving a listen to Magico speakers let me hear what people are talking about. It has incredible detail and the ability to bring across the smallest background sounds. Watching a clip from The Avengers tiny details, like the metallic sound of Iron Man’s mask on the concrete or flames flickering in the background, are astonishingly clear. I just wish they picked a movie track that used their 570 lb. QSub subwoofer more. Where is Tron: Legacy when you need it?
The display front is much quieter. Many of the vendors, including Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba, have pulled out from CEDIA and no longer show off their goods. Sony has a curved LED LCD and a couple 4K panels without the speakers, but nothing beyond that. LG also showed a pair of cheaper Ultra HD panels off site that might have more promise by being a rear array LED instead of the common edge lit LED. Aside from the Oppo BDP-103D there wasn’t a single Blu-ray player to be announced.
Next year for CES and CEDIA I imagine we will see more big deals. HDMI 2.0 will allow a true Ultra HD content system to come out. It also will allow Dolby to port their Atmos theater technology to the home if they desire, giving us dedicated height and ceiling channels instead of matrixed ones. We can also hope to see cheaper, and flatter, OLED displays and rear array 4K displays. I hold out hope for a 4K plasma but I don’t know if that will happen or not.
I also was far more exited at CEDIA this year by the home automation components then before. Since installing Control4 and starting to tie components together I’m wanting to expand my music all over the house. Browsing around at all the things I can do is exciting to think about.
Far more common at CEDIA is HDBaseT. When it was first announced people were wondering if this was a replacement for HDMI. Of course it hasn’t turned out to be one, but it has helped redefine content distribution. Seeing what companies like Wyrestorm can do with this lets you see the possibilities. You can run a single Cat6 cable to a room that carries everything on it. Then you hook that into a tiny box you hide in the wall to get HDMI, Ethernet, IR, and even an amplifier for hidden speakers. This depends on distribution systems, and often matrix switches, for all the content which makes it a custom install solution. For the custom installer running a single cable to a room and getting everything makes installations, and certainly retrofit ones, much easier to do.
Of course there is still more at CEDIA to cover, so onto the pictures!
Lumagen is showing their updated 2041 processor that can scale your HD content to Ultra HD resolutions. While HDMI is currently limited to 30p this isn’t an issue for film content at all and Star Trek: Into Darkness was looking very good. Star Trek seemed to be a common demo for people so I was happy to have already seen it and know what it looks like.
Martin Logan had the grooviest demo room by far. Black Lights, Bean Bag Chairs, and the 5.1 version of Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots made for a very different experience. No Diana Krall or typical audiophile cuts here, but a great sounding room.
Outside the room is their new Balanced Force 212 subwoofer. It has dual 12″ woofers that are opposed on the sides. This configuration helps to reduce cabinet vibrations and lower distortion. One unique feature is the ability to go to the Martin Logan website and download a response curve for the subwoofer to match ANY speaker Martin Logan has ever produced. Drop the file onto a USB Drive, stick it into the back of the subwoofer, and 10 seconds later it will blend perfectly with your speakers.
Yamaha has a pair of truly high-end stereo components on display. The A-S3000 integrated amplifier and CD-S3000 CD player are their reference two channel components as it still has a huge following in Europe and Asia. The front glass of the amplifier alone costs more than most integrated amplifiers you’ll find. The CD player uses the ESS Sabre 9018 DAC and features a fully balanced design all the way through. They aren’t cheap at $8,000 for the amplifier and $7,000 for the CD player, though.
Pioneer has had a huge following for their Andrew Jones speakers. Secrets did a review of them earlier this year and found them to be the budget system to beat. Now Pioneer has a soundbar from Andrew Jones for $400 that looks like a real champ. Music is where I typically find fault with soundbars as they are too thin in the soundstage but our demo of the Pioneer was not. A small wireless subwoofer helps with the bass and can be positioned around the room.
Just recently shipping is the Wadia Intuition. Packed in this incredibly attractive package is a 350 WPC stereo amplifier, ESS’s Sabre 9018 DAC and a nice selection of inputs. The included remote is a nice piece of aluminum and the whole package is something you want to show off in the living room instead of hide away in your media room. The small clip that I heard sounded fantastic on a pair of Sonus Faber speakers.
Sonus Faber also demonstrated their Venere loudspeakers using Star Trek: Into Darkness and those speakers do not disappoint. I’ve heard them before and once again came away impressed by the performance they offer for the price. Even in a huge, open room like this they didn’t strain or sound thin at all.
Tucked away behind the couch was the new REL Habitat subwoofer. Made to be placed behind the couch or mounted on the wall. With the included wireless transmitter it is easy to move around and place anywhere in the room, and can even lay flat to go under a table or couch if necessary. It has two 6.5″ active drivers and a 10″ passive radiator and comes in black or white.
DVDO was showing something called a “Mystery Box”. Basically a working prototype of a 4K scaler it will do HD to 4K conversions with no ringing, handle MHL sources, and provides 4K test patterns. Any release date or pricing are far off, but it will be nice to see a new processor from DVDO in the future.
Krell picked up an award for their Foundation processor, which is a new entry level price for them at $6,500. With ESS Sabre DACs and a custom RoomEQ system, it has a whole lot to offer on the spec sheet. From reading David Rich’s in-depth article on receiver and processor design I’ve learned there is a whole lot more to a processor than what is on the spec sheet, though. Krell’s president Bill McKiegan was happy to talk to me for close to an hour about everything that goes into the Foundation. I’m hopeful that Secrets will get a chance to listen to one soon and see if we can see what makes it so outstanding.
Triad was showing their new Bronze SlimSub, which is design to be placed in the room but is small enough to be hidden away. Slim, hidden subs seem to be a big target at the show this year.
Triad also had speakers that are in-wall but completely covered. They can be hidden behind any surface up to 2mm thick and consist of separate low and high frequency units. Of course they will never sound as good as visible speakers, but they allow you to put music into a location without anything being visible. Hearing music come from the wall with nothing visible was a very different experience.
Triad is still finishing up work on their new reference models. In my tour of the Triad factory you can see them producing a test sample of the large front version. The surround is new and features a compression horn driver and a single woofer. Hopefully around CES we will be able to finally hear these in action.
Finally Triad is showing their new Nano LCR. Made from aluminum and not MDF, it allows for a much thinner profile than previously possible, just around 1.6″ deep. It has 2″ woofers from Scan Speak and a custom 2″ tweeter as well. Available in two channel or 3 channel versions, it can come custom painted in any color you want. It is made to order, in almost any length you want, at Triad headquarters in Portland, OR.