CEDIA 2014 …… It’s a WRAP…….some very amazing new technologies profiled……DolbyAtmos…..more 4k…..
The SECRETS Team on the ground reporting on the many new products and technologies: Senior Editors: Robert Kozel, Chris Eberle and Kris Deering.
The SECRETS Team reports are in the CAVE…….and it’s a wrap…..Final Thoughts from Robert, Chris and David…
Robert Kozel, Senior Editor
After spending two very busy days on the show floor, CEDIA 2014 looked to be another huge success. Despite a number of companies not coming to CEDIA this year, the show floor was consistently crowded and the booths were very busy. The good thing about CEDIA is that despite the crowd, it is not as overwhelming as CES and there is time to really talk to the manufacturers and enjoy the product demos.
The hot topic of the show was the debut of Dolby Atmos. It was impossible to walk the show floor and not find someone talking about or offering a demo of Dolby Atmos. It has been many years since an audio technology has been so disruptive to the industry. Dolby Atmos has given the industry a reason to upgrade everything from receivers and processors to speaker systems, and of course a new reason to reach out to existing customers in search of upgrades. The custom installers are equally happy because they now have more products to demo, update and install.
The demos of Dolby Atmos did a great job of showcasing how immersive the format can be for watching movies. The same demo material was used by everyone since there is currently just one demo disc available from Dolby. The height channels can be implemented with ceiling mounted speakers like a movie theater, or the height audio can be reflected off the ceiling using Dolby Atmos speaker modules. The debate over the best approach will be a source of discussion for months or years to come.
I listened to eight of the Dolby Atmos demos at the show and my favorite Dolby Atmos demo was still the first demo I listened to from GoldenEar Technology. I appreciated that GoldenEar Technology had chosen to use ceiling mounted speakers like a commercial theater. The soundstage was wonderfully immersive with excellent detail and terrific bass response. To think Dolby Atmos could sound so good in a convention floor demo room makes me look forward to hearing Dolby Atmos in my own home. The challenge for the industry is to not only get the consumer to hear Dolby Atmos for themselves, but to show that a Dolby Atmos home theater can sound great with existing 5.1 and 7.1 content and with music. This is essential so that the average consumer doesn’t think that Dolby Atmos is limited only to some new movie titles coming out on Blu-ray.
The introduction of a new surround format like Dolby Atmos would be incomplete without a competing format just down the hall. In the case of CEDIA 2014, that competing format is Auro-3D. While some may argue that this format isn’t a competitor yet, it is another multi-dimensional surround format that is already making its way into theaters and into the high-end home theater processors from Auro Technologies. The Auro-3D demo material was excellent and even more approachable than the Dolby Atmos demos in that the content was more real world. For example, one of the Auro-3D demo clips was of classical music playing in a cathedral. It was as close to being there as I could possibly imagine. The take away is that multi-dimensional surround formats with height channels are coming to our theaters and into our homes.
As if all the excitement about Dolby Atmos wasn’t enough, LG was showing off their gorgeous OLED televisions. The incredible contrast, black levels, and form factors of the LG sets stole the show from a video perspective. The 65” LG 4K set was announced at $10K which is higher than it’s rumored price of $6,999K just a few months ago, but we are moving in the right direction. With plasma sets becoming a thing of the past, the OLED television will be eagerly appreciated by anyone looking for outstanding video quality. The prices can’t fall fast enough and hopefully the competition will get on board as well.
The show was also filled with numerous solutions for wireless home audio. The HEOS by Denon products were new to the show, offering a competing solution for wireless entertainment. It was great to see that the Wireless Speaker & Audio (WiSA) Association was continuing to make progress on a standard wireless high-resolution audio format which was being demonstrated on a Bang & Olufsen speaker system. The industry really needs to come to an agreement on wireless standards and interoperability across all the competing brands.
As for audio and home theater, it was great to see so many new products introduced at the show. New receivers and processors were introduced from almost every major company, and firmware updates were announced for a few select products to enable Dolby Atmos. Companies like Paradigm, KEF, and JL Audio announced major updates to their speaker and subwoofer lines. The biggest disappointment was the Audyssey room correction system being dropped from major players like Onkyo and Integra.
In closing, CEDIA 2014 was a great show with much promise for the industry. It will be very interesting to watch how Dolby Atmos takes hold in the consumer marketplace. Thanks for reading our coverage of CEDIA 2014.
Chris Eberle, Senior Editor
With my primary focus on video and surround sound, CEDIA 2014 had plenty to interest me. My first taste of the show floor was LG’s press breakfast where it announced its new line of OLED HDTVs. As you saw from my posts and pics, the image is quite compelling. It was truly the first time I saw a display that competed with my Elite Kuro which I’ve been watching almost every day since 2009. Yes, they had 4K as well; most notably an ultra-wide 105-inch beauty selling for an astounding $100,000. But honestly, even its splendor couldn’t match the OLEDs.
The future of OLED depends on two things, which are for all intents and purposes one thing – manufacturing yields and price. If you remember the first LCD desktop computer monitors from the early nineties, they were 13 inches and sold for around $2500. Relegated to the category of executive status symbols, they were out of reach for the rest of us. Why so expensive? Poor manufacturing yields meant that only about one in 10 panels came off the line with no dead pixels. Having to throw away so much product kept prices in the stratosphere back then.
The history of HDTV tech has a similar timeline. In 2005 when I bought my first hi-def set, LCD televisions were available but they were quite expensive. I remember when I started my ISF calibration business in 2006; most gigs were rear-projection CRT and DLP TVs. Only my wealthiest clients had LCD panels. And only serious videophiles had plasmas.
Today OLED is pretty much a one-man show. Sony has officially given up and Samsung is barely making an effort. Right now, the cheapest OLED is LG’s 55-inch 1080p set selling for $3500 at Best Buy. That’s a big drop from last year’s prices but it’s still too high. Just look at the history of expensive televisions. Every single one has ended in failure. Examples? HP’s DLP set that came with a free ISF calibration ($3500 for a 58-inch screen), Pioneer’s Elite plasmas ($4500 for a 50-inch), Sharp Elite LCD ($6000 for a 60-inch). There is little likelihood that LG will be able to sustain sales of a 55-inch HDTV for $3500 no matter how great it is. In my opinion, the price needs to drop below $2000 for OLED to really cement its footing in the marketplace.
Of course 4K was still being shown in prominence – in flat panels only. The only new 4K projector at the show was Sony’s short-throw model. At $50,000 and only available to NYC residents (I’m not making that up), it’s not likely to have an impact. I did hear about the VPL-VW300ES projector announced last week in Europe so hopefully we’ll be seeing that one in the US soon. Early pricing is 6900 Euros which is less than $9000 at current exchange rates.
4K panels were on display at both Sony’s and LG’s booths. The prices are dropping steadily on them and I predict that soon, we’ll be buying 4K HDTVs whether we want to or not. It reminds me of 3D in a way. First it came only on premium models; now it’s on everything and the price premium is negligible.
Sony made progress by showing the next generation of its 4K server that will work with any display, not just theirs. And rumors about 4K Blu-ray were flying about new product in about a year. Also to Sony’s credit was their latest up-scaling solution. Since every 4K TV will be up-converting 1080p for the foreseeable future, video processing is key and right now Sony’s is the best. Their 1080-to-4K demo was almost indistinguishable from native 4K content.
Before I move on to Dolby Atmos, I have to talk about my favorite thing at the show – Epson’s new laser projector. I got a bunch of info on the LS-series before the Expo but seeing the demo was truly icing on the cake. Epson has been nipping at JVC’s heels for years in contrast performance but it never could quite equal the D-ILA models’ black levels. Its new laser light engine and reflective LCD imaging chips easily puts it in JVC’s league. The demo I saw was bright and saturated and just dripping with deep blacks and superb contrast. The image texture was also greatly improved over the many 3LCD models I’ve seen and reviewed. The pixel gap is now so small; it can’t be seen until you are practically touching the screen with your nose.
The laser, as it turns out, is actually a laser-phosphor. It’s like a bulb except there’s no filament or arc inside. Instead, the laser excites a phosphor coating to produce a particular color of light. In Epson’s case, two lasers are used, one for the red and green primaries and one for the blue. Benefits are substantial. Like LED, the engine life is around 30,000 hours so no more bulb replacements. Additionally there is no gradual dimming as with a UHP lamp. The intensity and color temperature remain stable until the end.
Unfortunately Epson didn’t include native 4K resolution but they are implementing an algorithm similar to JVC’s e-shift to create the illusion of 4K in the LS10000. And it will accept 4K signals at up to 60 Hz. The CEDIA demo included an up-converted clip from Need For Speed. It looked decent enough but it wouldn’t be enough to make me buy it just for that feature. No, that laser is what will sell them and knowing Epson; they are going to sell a lot.
At 1500 lumens, light output is lower than the 3LCD models. But remember that the JVC X500R is rated at 1300 lumens so this new Epson promises to be brighter than its principal competition. Needless to say I’m going to beg for a review sample until they send it to me.
Chris Eberle Dolby Atmos
The other thing I saw everywhere at CEDIA was Dolby Atmos. Robert Kozel managed to attend most of the 15 Atmos demos so I’ll leave it to him for the nitty gritty details. I saw presentations at Yamaha, Pioneer, and Dolby. The two main categories were theaters using Atmos-enabled speakers with up-firing drivers or traditional towers with in-ceiling speakers.
I’d have to say my favorite was the up-firing configuration. Surround sound for me is all about perceiving size in the soundstage and the best way to do that in a small room is with wide dispersion and a diffuse sound-field. When the speakers were in the ceiling I could instantly tell where the sound was coming from. The reflected sound demos were far more convincing thanks to the larger and more diffuse sound-stage.
Ultimately though, the carefully-prepared demo material was more impressive than the movie clips. Watching scenes from Oblivion was cool but it really didn’t sound much better than a traditional 5.1 system properly set up. It’s a lot like HD and 4K demo material. When you shoot with a static camera at slow-moving or stationary objects, the perceived resolution is high. When you watch a movie with its fast-pans and objects zipping every which way, it’s not as sharp. Sound is no different. Creating the illusion of rain overhead isn’t that hard but translating that technology into a truly revolutionary theater experience is.
At this point, the prospect of buying a new processor, more amplifiers, and more speakers just to realize a small improvement in my surround quality just doesn’t compute. And who knows if Dolby Atmos will even become the new de facto standard? DTS is working on their version of course and there was a demo of Auros at the show that I heard was amazing. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to that one but you can read about it in Robert Kozel’s and Kris Deering’s coverage in the CAVE.
Chris Eberle Final Thoughts
My overall impression of the Expo was that attendance seemed light. I was able to move about the floor more easily than in the past. I was glad to see LG return after a long absence. HDTVs have barely been represented since Samsung and Toshiba stopped exhibiting. I sincerely hope OLED will catch on and that 4K content will catch up. I wouldn’t bet money on OLED just yet but I’m quite confident 4K will replace 1080p in displays soon. Increases in resolution are inevitable and it won’t take long for the costs to come down.
While many exhibitors touted Dolby Atmos as the next great thing, I’m not convinced. There just isn’t that much left to do in audio except perhaps bring the high-end technologies like Class D amplification and dedicated surround processors down to a more mass-market price point. Since receivers dominate the landscape, that seems unlikely at present.
For now, I’m going to keep my eye on OLED and laser projection, and to a lesser extent, 4K. I hope you’ve enjoyed Secrets’ coverage of CEDIA Expo 2014. We’ll be going to Dallas in 2015 and we hope you’ll join us then!
PS If you want to know what I most wanted to bring home with me, it was the Aston Martin Rapide S with its killer B&O sound system!
David Rich Final Thoughts
Pick your system, music, or movie
Atmos is only for movie effects and it was demoed in almost every sound room. At the same time, high-resolution music is seen an important enhancement for music, but no one is talking multichannel. From Sony’s press conference, I learned the reissue of DSD SACDs in multichannel by download was a non-starter; instead, the company was providing stereo-only reissues.
Papers at Audio Engineering Society (AES) conferences have examined the efficacy of height channel for immersive music reproduction and a few music recordings with height channel have been released. Dolby has the option to use speakers firing up at the ceiling to simulate height instead of putting them in the ceiling. The tactic appeared to lack promise for music given the need to equalize the speaker to enhance discrete height localization. At the Dolby demo only film effects were demonstrated.
Consumers must confront the choice of buying two excellent speakers or enhancing immersive effects with a package of 7 – 11 good speakers. The same issue applies to the purchase of an AVR with OK DACs, volume control stage, and power amp, or a two-channel system with true 20-bit resolution to the speaker terminals. These two-channel systems were demonstrated at couple CEDIA sound rooms without video.
The keynote address was disappointing. Sony admitted it is in a slump, but tried to parallel its misfortunes with that of CEDIA’s. Nothing could be further from the truth. CEDIA installers saw income flows change as the housing market collapsed and are seeing a resurrection in sales as the economy recovers. On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal reports Sony is deeper in the hole. The keynote address had little visionary impact, and basically morphed into a press conference.
On the floor, Sony ES AVRs lacked Atmos or the ability to stream high-resolution audio. Highlighted was functionality that enabled the AVRs to sit in an equipment rack without manual intervention. Shown below is a new Sony ES AVR with a cover plate attached magnetically to hide the controls on an equipment rack. This appeared to be a significant feature to them.
I am the least qualified to discuss video, but the quality of the panels in the Sony booth paled in contrast to the ones in the adjacent LG booth. The best LG sets were pricy, but incorporated advanced technology.
Large companies that pick CEDIA over CES
D+M (Denon + Marantz), Pioneer, Yamaha and the Onkyo / Integra group have adopted CEDIA as a platform for new-product introduction. That became even more important for Pioneer since the spin-off of the home electronics unit from the automotive division this September. At CES, Pioneer shows in the automotive hall. Yamaha does not show at all at CES, which is why the new stereo integrates amplifiers were introduced at this show. The most interesting Yamaha product was a stereo integrated amplifier with an integral high-resolution streaming DAC. A peek at the service manual will reveal the quality of the parts in the signal path.
D+M has typically been off site at CES and Integra is not to be found at all. Onkyo’s parent Gibson tends to put the emphasis on life style products in the main CES LVCC hall.
CEDIA was replete with new pre/pros from companies large and small, although profit margins must be thin on these low-volume products requiring yearly refreshes. Indeed, Yamaha and Marantz were not showing Atmos versions of the Pre/Pros. Even the large companies cannot refresh these every year. Onkyo/Integra did not refresh last year, so they had an Atmos Pre/Pro this year.
Without service manuals, I do not know what was removed from the electronics in any of these products to provide space for Atmos. The entire Onkyo / Integra line has traded Audyssey for a proprietary room correction. From the brief discussion of the new room EQ on the Onkyo website and users manuals, the room correction appears to use fewer DSP cycles. Perhaps, this is a tactic to lower the DSP processing requirements for the room correction, thereby permitting 11.1 channels of Atmos processing.
Since the advent of its room EQ, Trinnov has emphasized 3D space. The system’s objective was to make all the speakers appear aligned in a horizontal plane. You may recall how it took a center channel below the screen and made it appear to be lifted and align with the left and right channels. It could also change the apparent radiation in the vertical plane for a speaker that was not symmetrical with the TV.
In 3D, the chances of the increased number of speakers all going in an ideal spot are remote. Furthermore, the ideal spots are different for Auro and Atmos. With additional codecs (DTS) emerging with unknown speaker placements, the ability to virtually move the speaker’s position in the 360 degree sphere rises in importance.
Until this year, Trinnov sold just room correction and optimization systems. You had to connect it between the Pre/Pro and power amp, then accept an ADC conversion at its input and a redundant DAC conversion at its output. No longer … the Pre/Pro function resides in the box.
Trinnov digital signal processing has always been software based, not embedded within a dedicated DSP chips. With the new Pre/Pro, the codecs are also software based, enabling upgrades without a hardware change. The units are also expandable from 8 to 32 channels with additional DAC output cards designed to interface to PCs. The downside centers on the volume functions, which are executed digitally within the digital signal processing computations performed by the PC. The PC DAC output cards do not have analog volume controls after the DAC since no method to address them has been defined for a PC.
At the Atmos press conference questions from the floor queried Dolby on its strategy for identifying each speaker’s position via the AVR or Pre/Pro. With 11+ of them, wiring problems (e.g., connecting the wrong speaker input to the wrong output, or polarity errors) are guaranteed. A single microphone is insufficient. One needs four spaced capsules, a Trinnov exclusive shown below.
Some of you will recall the availability of Trinnov in a sub-$2000 Sherwood AVR. Cost savings were achieved with a dedicated DSP chip processing. Trinnov appears to have abandoned that project, concentrating its efforts instead on the expensive PC-based system. The mic shown above is from a photo Robert Kozel took in the Sherwood review not what comes with the five figure product although it looks like it belongs with it.
Advanced algorithms developed by Trinnov are needed to decode the data from the 4 mics and find the 3D placement of the speaker to 1cm. This technology is in the new product but worked well in the Sherwood. A $2000 AVR with Atmos and Trinnov would have stolen the show but it is a road Trinnov has chosen to pass by.
The demo was run by The Sound Developments distributor, although it is unclear if Trinnov will designate them as US representative. The demonstration used the Procella Audio bi-amped speakers with active crossovers in front of the amp. This is a common configuration for speakers designed for high SPLs and for professional audio speakers. While these speakers have rarely gained traction in room installations where the customer selects the product, despite the numerous advantages of active crossover to sound quality, no roadblocks exist for adopting them in situations where the technology is opaque to the homeowner, buried in the wall and equipment rack.
Procella speakers are designed for very high SPLs. I had a special demo with the level dropped 20dB for 5 minutes. This demo was significantly better than the Dolby demo (the only other one I went to run at sensible levels). Speakers in The Sound Developments demo were not optimally placed (it is impossible to do so in the small rooms at CEDIA) but Trinnov appeared to make the height channel object movement sound continuous. I had a lukewarm response to the Atmos soundtrack, despite the state of the art presentation. Until the availability of multichannel music, this setup is strictly for high-end home movie theaters. For those that want these sound effects and can afford the asking price this setup is a must audition.
Classe Sigma SSP
This was the only other Pre/Pro at the show that interested me. At $5000, the Classe Sigma SSP is not cheap, but the analog parts quality is similar to the $9,500 Delta SSP-800. The SSP-800 has been a Home Theater Hi Fi benchmark.
It has state-of-the-art performance owing to the quality of its balanced volume controls, high- performance external ASRCs for reduced jitter, top quality operational amplifiers and advanced power supplies. The top of the line TI PCM1792 DAC in the SSP 800 has been replaced in Sigma SSP to the Wolfson 8741, which is still used one per channel (mono left and right). The ADC is the same in both units.
I am not sure what functions have been abandoned by the Delta SSP 800 to allow for the big price reduction. The Sigma SSP adds in high-resolution USB streaming. No Classed products use automatic room correction. That is a decision I do not agree with.
This photo is from Classe, who opted to present only closed-case units at CEDIA. The HDMI board covers the audio section as does cabling interconnecting PC boards. The separate HDMI board should make updates possible. With the new HDCP 2.2 copy protection upgrades are changes in HDMI chips only no software downloads. More on this is the 2nd half of my 2014 CEDIA report on the training classes.
Harman has no Pre/Pros with Atmos, so they brought the genuine article from Dolby. The input comes off a server only found in movie theaters. The demo, which I did not attend, had 32 channels exiting the unit. The object of the demo was to show of the JBL Synthesis ARCOS room correction system for all 32 channels as well 8 subwoofers being signal processed for the smoothest bass over all seats.
Harman’s Infinity speakers were of greater interest to me. The Infinity line has been at a standstill until recently with old entry level offerings the only thing in the line. The highlight of the Infinity line of the past was one level up at around $800 – $1000 for a floor standing speaker. Since 2002, Infinity speakers at this price point, when they were available, have been what I have been recommending to musicians and music lovers not into this hobby.
After an absence of many years prototypes of Harman’s latest design were shown at CES and they are now shipping at the same price they did 10 years ago. They are called the Reference series and that appears to be the goal. A photo at the Harman “Science of Loudspeaker and Rooms” class presentation (to be discussed along with other CEDIA training classes in another article) showed the new $1000 Infinity speaker in a double-blind comparison near top of the line products from B&W and Martin Logan. The statistical results for the test were not presented.
The photo shows the top of the production $1000 three-way speaker. Not shown are the two 6.5 inch woofers at the bottom of the cabinet. The flat midrange is new to Harman designs at any price and are said to reduce the tweeter diffraction effects. The tweeter waveguide is a new. The Infinity Reference speakers retain the CMMD aluminum / aluminum oxide composite cone material developed from an R&D project for the 2005 products. Less clear is if the crossovers are still all 4th order as in the 2005 designs.
The High Performance Sound Rooms
At Denver CEDIA, the high performance sound rooms were clustered in a remote location. These are larger rooms with solid walls compared to the temporary rooms of portable material on the convention floor. The picture below captures a small segment of the large walk.
Traffic was slow in the high performance sound rooms last year and fewer companies were using them this year. At least the Denver sound rooms were closer than the rooms at CEDIA Atlanta. In CEDIA’s home town of Indianapolis, hotels connect directly to the convention center. The sound rooms, distributed among three adjacent hotels, were easy to access from the main convention floor and many more companies populated them. Still, any of the three CEDIA venues were preferable to being sardined into two floors of the Venetian at CES. The old Alexis Park (off the Las Vegas strip) with fifteen bungalow structures with about 14 demos in each was two orders better than any of this.
Fine Sounds commandeered two large high performance sound rooms to present all the brands they control (McIntosh, Wadia, Sonus Faber and Sumiko distribution). It was worth the walk to see the rooms. Below is a six-figure setup with new Audio Research tube electronics and the Sonus Faber $70000/pair Lilium speakers.
CEDIA was these product’s U.S. debuts. Fine Sounds did not want to wait for CES. The stereo sound was the best at the show, but with the ubiquitous Atmos, here was the only place I auditioned music. I was told some other music demos, mostly two channels, were extant, but in smaller sound rooms on the edge of the CEDIA floor. I did not hear any of them.
JL subwoofers used Magico speakers in a prefab sound room floor built in the middle of the show floor, but I saw no signs indicating the Magico’s were being deployed. Even if I found that room I do not think they would have let me use my music files of string quartets.
I cannot say if the Sonus Faber room had the best sound at the show; it was only the best music reproduction I heard over three days. Perhaps some of those demoing Atmos all the time had systems that could make realistic multichannel music with the heights turned off but they were too busy showing crowds how close they could simulate the feeling of being outside in the rain.
Above is a photo of an underground subwoofer for outdoor use. It is called a Rockustics SubSub. Only the very top is above ground. This requires a significant amount of digging to install the large underground section. The underground section is a band pass structure with the back of the woofer sealed and the front venting into a pipe which emerges above ground. The venting pipe is protected from water penetrating the tube and the tube is blocked to prevent animals from calling it home.
This is strictly for homes far from other houses unless the folks down the road are very understanding or always invited to the parties.
What you are looking at is a ceiling absorber turned upside down so it could be mounted on a desk. Each unit can be turned to tune the room. The panels are composed of recyclable, variable density polyester. It is a single material that eschews outer fabric. In most absorbers, product under the fabric is rock wool or compressed fiberglass board, materials not designed to be inside the house. A small chance exists that fibers of the material could escape the outer fabric and represent an irritant. Snow Sound address that but the panels are thin, raising concerns about the low absorbency coefficient below 500Hz misbalancing the sound of the room.
miniDSP nanoAVR DL with 8 channels of Dirac room correction
At the show a compact Mini DSP box with HDMI inputs and one output was shown. I did not get a photo but it tells you very little. The block diagram below shows the internals of the little product.
Inside the box an HDMI RX chip produces eight channels of audio data from the HDMI stream. The data is sent to a single Analog Devices DSP that does eight channels of Dirac room correction. After correction, the analog audio data returns to the HDMI TX chip and is added back to the HDMI video stream.
The coefficients for the DSP are set by the full PC-based Dirac room correction system. I am reviewing the two-channel version. The PC connects to the nanoAVR by USB. The nanoAVR DL sells for $550 with the Dirac PC tools.
The Mini DSP box must have PCM on the HDMI input. It will not decode Dolby or DTS, meaning a Blu Ray player is required ahead of the box to convert to PCM audio data streams. This is a standard feature on most Blu Ray players. The Oppo Blu Ray also provides multichannel PCM over HDMI for high-resolution multichannel downloadable files.
Inputs from cable boxes and video streaming sources must be set to provide HDMI PCM outputs but I do not see how to do this with my cable box. I am not sure what streaming boxes allow. Two HDMI inputs are switched inside the Mini DSP box.
Note miniDSP can easily change the HDMI transceiver so the unit will pass HDMI 2.0 4K with the latest copy protection if the correct chip is in place. Only the audio is being changed in the HDMI link.
The internals, specifically the DSP chip, are the most exciting element here. Within an AVR or Pre/Pro, the mini DSP chip with Dirac can be connected in front of an 8-channel IC DAC. The input mini DSP chip with Dirac is the output of the DSPs already on the AVR with the codecs (possibly including ATMOS) and bass management. Given the retail price of $550 of the nanoAVR DL it is clear the mini DSP with Dirac could be implemented in an AVR and still sold at a competitive price including the Dirac software.
Manufacturers lacking automatic room-correction can now provide a good room correction system with only a small amount of engineering. It can only operate at 48 kHz. Dirac in the Theta and DataSat products is 96 kHz and supports more channels. Customized bass-management systems are also being marketed by Theta and DataSat.