CEDIA 2017 Show Report Day 3 Coverage
Checked in to see custom installer PRO Audio Technology based out of Lake Forest California. They were showing a wide array of their speaker and amplifier products that are all designed and manufactured in the USA, using European pro audio drivers. The DSP/amplifier options they have looked to be highly configurable through their PC based control software. Outputs could be individually assigned and bridged with several bands of parametric EQ applied to each. Speaker installations could be as simple or as elaborate as your heart desires, or pocketbook can manage, and by skimming through their lines, it seems that they have a solution for almost any situation. They were running an effective surround demo with the best part being clips from a live Santana concert on Blu-Ray. Really impressive sounding.
Dropped into the Samsung booth to get a look of some of the gorgeous displays that they had on hand. Technically, not much has changed since I saw them last at CES but what was different here was the push on features targeted to the custom install market. Something that did grab my attention was the news of Samsung displays now having integrated color calibration support with CalMAN calibration sensors and software. The goal was to create a more integrated and streamlined color calibration experience for the installer that provides accurate results in minutes. A number of installers who stopped by the booth seem particularly interested in this.
Samsung Art Frame displays. Turn your Samsung display into a simulated framed work of art when you are entertaining company. Can you tell which of these are real framed art pieces and which are digital displays? Hmmmmm….
Here is a little video of Sony’s beautiful looking OLED display with integrated subwoofer in its easel stand.
Jumping off Chris Eberle’s earlier post on Sony projectors, here are some additional pictures of what was on display along with a collection of Sony’s ES line of AVRs.
A bevy of shiny Denon and Marantz AVRs, processors and amps at the Sound United booth.
Dirac has been a wee bit busy lately. Their room calibration system has been steadily showing up in more HT products at both the consumer level, and in the custom install area and that’s not even touching on what they do separately in the automotive business. Their mainstay Dirac LIVE software has a reputation for being advanced, effective and customizable but it’s not exactly the most intuitive system to use for someone who isn’t a committed enthusiast. Dirac knows this and has been hard at work on a complete UI revamp of Dirac LIVE to make it a bit more user friendly. The updated UI rollout is expected to take place by Q1 of 2018 and part of this initiative is the development of a new mobile app called Dirac MOBILE. Niklas Thorin of Dirac demonstrated a working beta of the app for me, installed on an Android tablet. Once launched, the UI and interface seemed very clean and easy to navigate. The app recognized the measurement microphone (we were using a MiniDSP mic connected to the tablet via an external Bluetooth interface) and compatible speakers for calibration. It then allowed for adjustment of speaker volume and microphone gain to arrive at an ideal level for measurement. The app then initiates the sweep tones for measurement and records the mic’s results. In the current beta, the app looked like it could record up to nine different measurement points.
Once the measurement was done and displayed on the screen, I could plot the target response that I was after using tap-and-hold to create points, then drag-and-drop them at a specific frequency on the target curve and finally raise or lower the point’s level by touch. After the target curve is created the app calculates the correction curve, saves it and then uploads it to the target device. The app will allow a number of different target curves to be saved so you can experiment different corrections fairly easily. While the graphics are not yet final, it all looks very slick, modern and easy to understand. The app will be free to download and, at least initially, will only work on stereo sources and only with AVR/processors that have a dedicated mic that plugs into it. The eventual goal is to have Dirac MOBILE be able to calibrate a full surround set up. It may sound kind of odd that the app won’t do a full surround calibration right out of the box, but it’s clear when listening to Niklas explain the history of Dirac LIVE’s evolution, they’ve known that they’ve needed this for a while. Dirac’s continued success depends not only on its performance, but to it being accessible to a wider audience that can easily experience its virtues. So, as is their way, Dirac is being very methodical. They want each stage of the mobile app and the overall re-skin to work as well as possible. From what I’ve seen here, this could be very big for them.
KEF had a good-sized presence at CEDIA bringing, what looked like, an example of every speaker model that the make. Uni-Q drivers were everywhere! In terms of what was actually hooked up and playing, KEF had a set of their Reference 1 monitors and a set of LS50 Wireless speakers, presented in what looked like IKEA showroom displays. Only in this case, the sound actually worked! A noisy show floor like this is no place to judge a speaker in, but for what it’s worth each speaker acquitted itself well with what it was playing. Enough so that it would make me come back a couple of times and listen again. The LS50 Wireless were streaming high resolution audio (24/192) over a wireless connection using Roon and I wouldn’t have known that they were wireless unless someone told me. Big, full sound coming from both models that belied their physical size.
There really hasn’t been anything new from LG on the OLED front since CES so here is just a quick video and some photos showing most of their main models.
At their stand, M & K Sound were displaying a working theater in-the-open comprised of their new S300 Monitors across the front, a pair of S300T Tripole surround speakers and a pair of MP-950 on wall loudspeakers for the height channels. Rounding the package out was a pair of M&K’s X12 subwoofers. Even out on the open show floor, the system was loud, clean and the bass hit like a sledgehammer. Just after it started, the Dolby ATMOS John Wick clip was attracting a bit of a crowd around me. During the climactic fight scene in a rainstorm, one of the other attendees turned to me with a big grin on his face and said “Man, someone hand me a towel. I’m all wet!” When used in an actual room, I find it hard to believe that anyone could actually be displeased with this system.