CEDIA 2017 Show Report Day 2 Coverage
Bang & Olufsen speaker
GoldenEar Demo with their new Invisa Series in wall speakers
Besides showing off some new hot new automotive style color finishes for their Persona line of speakers, Paradigm was also displaying their custom install chops with the “Decor” line of fully configurable wafer on-wall speakers.
A client can ask for Decor speakers that are precisely built to flush mount and match the exact length and height of almost any given video display available.
The speakers are then manufactured and finished at Paradigm’s factory in Toronto. Due to the modular nature of the Decor line, Paradigm says that they can manufacture and deliver orders to installers extremely quickly.
Bang & Olufsen had a few genuine surprises at CEDIA. One of which was the unveiling off the new Beolab 50 active beam-forming loudspeaker. Borrowing a number of technologies introduced in B&O’s statement Beolab 90 speaker released a couple of years ago, the new speaker is smaller but no less innovative.
Each unit houses three 4-inch midrange drivers, three 10-inch bass drivers and a 3/4-inch tweeter mounted in an adjustable acoustic lens that retracts in and out of the top. The acoustic lens adjusts the dispersion of the tweeter from tight (for audiophile sweet-spot listening) to wide (to fill a room with sound).
Seven dedicated Ice-Power amplifiers provide 2100 watts of power that is controlled by on-board DSP. It has a range of digital and analog inputs so all you need is these speakers, a power plug and a source. They are priced at $40,000.00 for the pair.
The other notable surprise from B&O was the introduction of their Beosound Shape line and how you could use it to custom design a decor-friendly wall-of-sound. The basis of the concept starts with a (roughly) 13 x 13-inch hexagonal tile.
Each tile can be configured as either a two-way speaker, a power amplifier with built-in DSP or as an acoustic damper. Each tile can be covered in a variety of colored fabric to coordinate with a given room. And you can configure any combination of the 3 tile types to cover as big or as small a space as you wish, thus creating s wall of sound that looks like stylish geometric art.
B&O’s display wall had an arrangement of about 30-odd tiles and, even on a loud show floor, a solid stereo image was created and it could generate more than enough volume to get everyone’s attention!
Here is a video of the Beolab 50 tweeter rising from the top of the speaker and the acoustic lens adjusting it’s width.
Almost forgot to mention that SAE was premiering a new 8-channel power amp called the SAE 3800. Massive and looking very overbuilt, it puts out 300 watts per channel into 8 Ohms with the power going to 450 watts into 4 Ohms.
Calling it a beast would be an understatement.
California Audio Technology had a small but hard to miss display right as we entered the main doors each morning at CEDIA. It featured their rather imposing Sequoia floorstanding towers which were being powered by very serious looking power amps from a name that I have not heard in a long time, SAE. Apparently the original founder of SAE, Morris Kessler of ATI acclaim licensed the brand name to CAT. They, in turn, asked Kessler to build an amplifier to their particular specifications and the SAE-2HP-D dual mono power amp is what you see before you. Beyond the cool looking digital take on the classic big VU meters, the 2HP-D is a fully balanced, Class A/B design that puts out 600 watts into 8 Ohms and 1200 watts into both 4 and 2 Ohm loads. The price for this “little fella” is about $20,000.00. Arc welder is an optional extra….
Monitor Audio had a significant custom install presence at their display. But what really caught my eye is the beautiful and distinctive looking home components by UK manufacturer Roksan that Monitor Audio shares US distribution with. The Caspian, K3 and blak series components, along with the pretty looking Radius 7 turntable, look like they would be an elegant addition to any 2 channel audiophile’s home.
PMC is a UK based speaker manufacturer primarily known for designing transmission-line loudspeakers for professional recording and mastering studios. Scores of Hollywood movies have been mixed and mastered on PMC speakers over the years. The company has both adapted some of their pro speaker models for use in home theaters along with creating some exclusively consumer based speakers as well. PMC had a most excellent sounding demo room that had their huge BB6 XBD-A pro loudspeakers for left and right, an equally imposing BB6-A pro center channel and the Wafer1 on wall speakers used for the side and rear surrounds and 4 overhead channels. No separate subwoofers were being used. The LFE frequencies from the surrounds was being routed into the front mains. While most other demo rooms were showing off Dolby ATMOS demos PMC was using Pro Tools music files from various Hollywood movie scores and playing them back in either 5 or 7 channel reproduction. It was some of the cleanest musical reproduction that I’ve ever heard at a demo, but with speakers of that caliber, it better be! Still, if nothing else, “old-school” 5 or 7 channel can sound really outstanding if done right.
Audio Control was celebrating their 40th anniversary and they had a big, splashy display with a number of their products both past and present. Most of the product here was expectedly geared to distributed audio/video through custom installers but a couple of things did catch my eye.
First, their new Rialto and Bijou series of compact zone amplifiers/DACs looked to be very flexible solutions to extend the usability and sound quality of something like a SONOS Connect or other networked audio source. Both the Bijou and Rialto models have 2 x 100 watt/ channel amplifiers that play into 8 Ohms and double their output into 4 Ohms.
Audio Control was also showing off their Maestro Series Home Theater Preamp/Processors and their Concert Series AVRs. Our own Jim Clements has done a full review on the Maestro M9 Processor which can be found on the Secrets website.
ELAC was also showing a working model of their upcoming Discovery Z3 Wireless speaker. It has two 4-inch woofers coupled to twin 4-inch passive radiators and a pair of 1-inch soft dome tweeters all crammed into something the size of a children’s shoe box.
It claims to have 140 watts of total power to push all those pistons and it supports Discovery, Spotify Connect, AirPlay, Bluetooth and Roon. It also comes with a snazzy setup/control app to run it all that will be available on both Android and iOS.
Paid a visit to ELAC’s display where they had the final production versions of the Andante speaker line on display along with representatives from the Uni-Fi speaker line as well. The Andante series consists of; the AF-61 tower speaker, the AS-61 bookshelf monitor and the AC-61 center channel speaker. Each one sport specially developed concentric drivers for the treble and midrange bands and internally mounted bass drivers whose output couple with passive radiators mounted on the speaker faces.
Part of the Andante line that I was unfamiliar with was the new ASW-121 powered subwoofer, presented here in a striking white finish. It features two opposed, aluminum sandwich, 12-inch drivers in a sealed enclosure powered by a 1200-watt BASH amplifier. It is Bluetooth enabled which allows setup, EQ and control via a smartphone app, in the same vein as ELAC’s S10EQ powered subwoofer that I recently reviewed. Price is TBD.
Martin Logan had a number of their Motion series home theater speakers and sound bar solutions out for display. All units, of course, feature the AMT style folded tweeter and the pricing seemed to hit a sweet spot for good sound at an attainable price. And on the other hand, Martin Logan also had a pair of the slightly less attainable, but always impressive, Neolith statement speakers demoing in the sound room. It’s the third time I’ve heard these speakers at a show and the only thing on me that was truly disappointed was my pocket book! Gorgeous to see and hear!
Always love the look of RBH speakers. These are from Their Signature SV line.
GoldenEar was showcasing their new Invisia Signature point source in-wall speaker in a full surround sound demo room that they had set up for CEDIA. The installation featured the new speakers set up across the front 3 channels. The surround channels were handled by the smaller Invisia MPX speakers and the height channels were overseen by four Invisia HTR 7000 in-ceiling speakers.
LFE was handled by two GoldenEar SuperSub X subwoofers. Sandy Gross was running the demo and began by playing select tracks of two-channel music (redbook CD) that were expanded using the Dolby Surround Upmixer to fill all the channels (5.2.4). I have to admit that, for music, GoldenEar’s room had some of the best sound that I had heard at the show. Sandy and his GoldenEar crew know how to set up a demo room and I have heard plenty of great ones that they have put together.
But there was that extra bit of synergy (or magic) between all the pieces in this room that just put the sound over the top for me. The upmixed music sounded clear, sweet and palpable, with some fantastic imaging and at a volume level that was not oppressively loud like some of the other demos at CEDIA. The Invisias, as a collective unit, sounded totally seamless. Don’t get me wrong, the movie demo tracks that Sandy played sounded more that excellent too. But the music? That quite literally got me. Well done!
Lots to see at Harman International display at CEDIA. First is the updated Revel Performa line with new Beryllium tweeters. These are the M106 and F208 respectively. Cynthia and I listened to a HT demo using the smaller Performa monitors for the mains, with a matching Revel center, surrounds and a pair of 10-inch subs placed behind the faux doors of a lower bookshelf cabinet.
They played cuts from the CREAM reunion concert at Royal Albert Hall on Blu-Ray. Let me say first, thank you Harman-guys for playing music that I actually like and regularly listen to! Second, it sounded really outstanding.
Ginger Baker’s drums sounded clear and impactful, Jack Bruce’s bass lines were deep but solid and easy to follow and Eric Clapton’s guitar sounded as clean as I’ve ever heard it. The ambience of the venue was nicely reproduced as well. Everything was powered by a nice, shiny stack of ARCAM gear.
Triad was also featuring some really novel ceiling speaker solutions at CEDIA. One type was a large-ish enclosure that housed either a two-way speaker or a subwoofer that would be mounted in the joists. This would then be covered over with drywall, save for a 4-inch diameter hole or square that serves as the sound outlet which is covered by an unobtrusive grille.
So what you essentially have is a large volume, ported speaker that is hidden in your ceiling and can put out an unexpected amount of volume and range out of what looks like only a 4-inch hole. The speaker internals are all designed to be removed and replaced easily by an installer removing the grill and reaching in through the hole. All the parts are made to be pulled out or put in through that opening alone without the need for cutting into the ceiling.
The other type looks more like a traditional in-ceiling speaker but has it’s tweeter mounted on the end of a short adjustable “goose-neck.” The tweeter housing also has a miniature laser diode mounted on the end of it. So when you attach a 9 Volt battery to the integrated battery slot, the laser lights up and allows an installer to precisely aim the tweeter to the desired location after the speakers have been installed. Brilliant!
Triad, a long-standing name in the custom install speaker market, was recently purchased by home automation company Control4. Fittingly, Triad just released a networked control amplifier and streaming node called the Triad One. It looks to be quite a flexible and powerful piece of kit as it features 2 x 100 watts per channel of stereo amplification.
Once hooked into your home’s wired or wireless network, the Triad One can stream up to 24bit 192kHz music from any network source it can find, be it NAS drive or commercial streaming service. It has both digital and analog inputs to allow those wired sources to be streamed anywhere you choose in your established home audio network. The little white wonder also includes a subwoofer output and a built-in 10 band parametric EQ. When used with a Control 4 system (needed), IR outputs on the Triad One allow it to control source components connected to it. MSRP is $700.00
B&W press event introducing the new 700 series loudspeakers. We were treated to a 2.1 channel music demo featuring the 705 S2 stand mounted monitors and an ASW10 subwoofer driven by Rotel electronics. The sound was truly exceptional!
All I will say is this: JBL Synthesis Processor + Trinnov Room Correction + 32 channels of custom JBL amplification and speakers + 200-inch screen = “Holy Mother of Goodness” and an empty wallet!
Here’s Cynthia taking a quick break in some very comfortable home theater seating. Onlookers were jealously waiting their turn but she wasn’t about to rush! 🙂
Mark Levinson was showing their final production version of the very pretty No.515 turntable and an updated version of the No.585 integrated amp. Responding to customer demand, the No.585 now sports a versatile and admirably adjustable MM/MC phono stage. A rather sumptuous looking combo if I ever saw one!