[Community of A/V Enthusiasts]
CEDIA 2011 has come to a close and I wanted to share some final thoughts on the show. While this CEDIA may not have been as busy as everyone hoped, there was a consistent crowd and energy every day of the show. There were lots of dealers talking with manufacturers and there were plenty of new products to generate buzz for the industry. We saw the return of the Elite brand of displays thanks to a partnership between Sharp and Pioneer. The Elite LCD’s are stunning and they will hopefully be big sellers despite their higher price tags. The 3D technology that still seemed so new at CES 2011 continues to mature with numerous options, better quality and lower prices in both projector and display products. Projector technology continues to push the envelope with amazing high-end products from Runco like the D-113d at over $200K and more obtainable solutions like the Epson Pro Cinema 61000 which boasts incredible quality at under $5K.
We saw the first CEDIA demonstrations of 4K products from JVC and Sony. While there is no consumer content for 4K at this time, the industry will undoubtedly find a way to make it happen whether we are ready for it or not. I’m sure we will see much more on 4K at CES 2012 in January. On the audio side of things, the presentation on QuantumLogic Surround Sound from Harmon was impressive and certainly is an innovation that will undoubtedly make its way into other products over time. Home networking and control products were everywhere and technology like HDBaseT promises to give us multimedia connectivity throughout our homes.
The Secrets team looks forward to bringing you reviews on many of the products that we saw at the show. It is hard to believe that CES 2012 is just four months away. That’s it for my coverage of CEDIA 2011.
Day 3: Saturday, 9/10/11
Today was the last day of the show and I was really happy to see that the crowds remained steady throughout the entire day. CEDIA is also about custom installation and there was no lack of products requiring custom installation. Here was just one of the many displays of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. These were from Monitor Audio.
There were tons of sound bars on display to accompany the numerous flat panel displays.
One of the most intriguing sound bars was from Atlantic Technology. They were demonstrating their new H-PAS PowerBar 235. It utilizes their H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) technology and produced some amazing bass response in their demo. It was hard to believe that a sound bar could produce that much bass without a subwoofer. Should you need more bass, the PowerBar 235 supports an optional subwoofer.
Custom installation products were also aimed at the outdoor living spaces and there were plenty of options for outdoor display panels.
Here is Krell’s Modulari Ion loudspeaker which is designed to bring audiophile grade sound to flat panel installations. The product won a CEPro 2011 Best technology award. The speaker is developed in collaboration with Leon Speakers.
There was no way to escape HDBaseT technology at the show. HDBaseT allows for the transmission of high definition video over standard Cat 5e/6 cabling infrastructures. This is great news for the custom installer crowd and also for the countless companies offering products using the technology,
One company making innovative products for HDBaseT technology is Transformative Engineering. They make a comprehensive line of products for the custom installer that allow for the extension of HDMI over Cat 5e/6 cabling. Their products included HDMI matrix switchers and HDMI extenders. I really liked the fact that their HDMI extender required power only at the transmitting side which simplifies installation and reduces the need for power adapters all over the home.
I got a chance to see the demonstration of the Epson Pro Cinema 61000 projector. This was by far the most beautiful projector at the show. Detail and black levels were simply stunning. At under $5K which includes the projector, mount and an extra bulb, Epson will be selling these like candy to the custom installation market.
I managed to make an appointment to hear the demonstration of QuantumLogic at the Harmon truck. The creator of the QuantumLogic Surround Sound (QLS) algorithms, Dr. Gil Soulodre, was on hand to guide us through the presentation. He explained that QLS is able to deconstruct an audio input signal into multiple audio streams called “spatial slices” and then process those slices using what he calls an “Aesthetic Engine” to create an “accurate acoustic reconstruction” in a three dimensional space. His first demonstration was done with a Frank Sinatra song. Using his test software, Dr. Soulodre was able to isolate Sinatra’s vocals from the band, and then proceeded to isolate the instruments in the band and even remove the reverberation from the instruments. He was then able to combine all those elements with QLS to create an entirely new acoustic soundstage. The results were simply spectacular! He explained that the deconstruction of the audio stream was completely lossless and that QLS can reassemble the spatial slices into the original material. The magic was the way that QLS could take that information and enhance the experience. Utilizing five height speakers mounted overhead, the QLS system produced one fantastic demo after another. The final demo was the scene of Morpheus being rescued in the Matrix. It never sounded so good and we all hated to leave the demo. We will undoubtedly hear much more on QLS and those lucky enough to afford the new Lexicon processor are in for something absolutely amazing.
After lunch, Sumit Chawla and I waited in line for at least 50 minutes for a demonstration of Sony’s new VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector. Once we finally got into the room, we were tormented by a seemingly endless marketing presentation highlighting Sony and their products. We finally got to see the demo and all I could think of was that I wasted a lot of time for a few minutes of content. The 4K clip of the new Sony Spider Man movie looked great, but I did notice some ringing on the edge of one of the actor’s faces. I felt that the Yosemite National Park footage was the most impressive content in the Sony demonstration. I really thought the 4K demo that we saw on Thursday morning with JVC was more compelling. The VPL-VM1000ES will retail at $25K.
I visited Velodyne for an update on their products. They were introducing their new line of EQ-Max subwoofers. The EQ-Max series offers remote control setup, an automatic room-EQ function and of course deep bass. The EQ-Max makes use of a Class D amplifier and a built-in Velodyne Digital Signal Processor.
The EQ-Max 8 on the left is $479 and the EQ-Max 10 on the right is $579.
The EQ-Max 12 on the left is $699 and the EQ-Max 15 on the right is $999.
The reference Digital Drive PLUS series subwoofers were on display. These all make use of Velodyne’s digital accelerometer technology which tracks the movement of the driver against the input signal and makes corrections as required.
For those who crave the most bass, the DD-15+ and DD-18+ will certainly meet your needs - just remember to bring a friend or two to help with moving this guys.
Here’s a look at the Velodyne Impact series subwoofers.
Here are the internals of the Velodyne Impact-10. The tube is a down-firing port.
Here are the internals of the Velodyne Impact-Mini subwoofer. That’s a passive bass radiator at the bottom of the subwoofer.
For those who don’t want a subwoofer in their room but still want great bass, Velodyne has a solution in the SC series subwoofers. These can be installed in the wall, ceiling or floor. They make use of external amplifiers. The demo was pretty convincing especially since we were in a fairly open space on the convention hall floor.
The last demo of the day was from Runco. They were demonstrating some incredible projectors including the Runco D-113d projector which starts at $200K and was $230K as shown in the demo. This projector produced beautiful 3D and 2D images using technology from Panavision and was shockingly bright. They played a clip from the 1968 classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the whites in the scene were almost blinding at first. The whites almost looked like they were clipped but they were not. This photo gives a small taste of just how much light output this projector can generate.
After a very long few days, it was time to relax and have some fun with great friends,
That’s it for day three. I will post some final thoughts on the show tomorrow.
Day 2: Friday, 9/9/11
Today started off with a visit to Bryston. They were showing their new SP3 preamp/processor. The SP3 supports HDMI, but it does not provide any video processing - just video switching. This was definitely a trend that I was noticing with the high-end processor companies.
The small unit on the top is a prototype of an upcoming headphone amplifier from Bryston. It sounded great, but it is not ready for production just yet. When it's ready, it will also go into a standard sized Bryston component chassis.
This large and lonely Harmon truck was parked at the back of the show floor and was offering a demo of the new QuantumLogic Surround 3D processing which will be offered in the new Lexicon MP-20 processor. The demo could only accommodate 7 people at a time and I was never able to hit the timing just right. I will try again tomorrow.
Screen manufacturers were everywhere on the show floor. These dnp SuperNova screens offered high contrast images in rooms with high ambient light. Even with all the show-floor lights the images were very watchable.
I visited Pioneer for an update on their products. The Elite display brand is alive and well again thanks to a partnership with Pioneer and Sharp. These are the PRO-X5FD displays which use an intelligent variable contrast technology to create amazing blacks. The display on the left is actually on, but it is just displaying a black image. The picture quality was stunning. The PRO-X5FD comes in a 60" and 70" model.
Pioneer was also demonstrating a wide array of AirPlay compatible devices. AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream content from an iDevice to any AirPlay compatible device - in this case a Pioneer home theater receiver.
Pioneer was introducing two new Elite media players. The NP-M30 supports DLNA and playback of 24 bit/192 kHz FLAC files. It has a small LCD display which also shows cover art.
The high-end NP-M50 media player uses 32 bit DACs and upscales content to 32 bit.
Pioneer was showcasing the complete line of Elite receivers.
Here is the flagship SC-57 receiver and the SC-55. Both receivers utilize third generation Class D amplification technology and offer 1260 watts, support for 9.1 channels and network support. The SC-57 is THX Ultra 2 Plus certified. The SC-55 is THX Select 2 Plus certified.
Some additional detail on Pioneer's third generation Class-D technology.
Here's a look at the third generation Class D internals compared to the previous version.
I also spent some time at the Yamaha booth getting an update on their latest products. Yamaha was highlighting network support which is standard across the entire line of Aventage receivers.
The flagship receiver is the Yamaha RX-A3010 at $1999.95.
Yamaha was demonstrating their iPad application for the RX-A3010. It allows for control of up to four zones and will automatically adjust the amplification in the main zone to power the second and third zone speakers. So if you are listening to a 7.1 movie in your living room and zone 2 is turned on, the receiver will automatically convert the living room to a 5.1 speaker configuration and power zone 2 with the available amplifiers.
Yamaha was also showing their updated software for the configuration of the Aventage receivers. These web-based tools allow for the quick configuration of the receiver and allow you to save the settings. This is a dream for custom installers who can quickly configure and support client installations.
Yamaha has made a line of pianos for many years which also come with music servers. The servers allow for the selection of music which is then played on the piano. Yamaha is taking this to a whole new level with the ability to stream a live performance from a pianist directly to the piano. I'll post a video so you can see this in action. As the pianist in the video plays his piano, so do the keys play on the Yamaha piano. This was very cool. The application is in beta now and will be available soon.
GoldenEar Technology was showing their new Aon series bookshelf speakers. These speakers use the same technology found in the Triton Two towers and sounded fantastic. GoldenEar certainly has another winner on their hands.
So how do you get someone's attention at a convention - cover your booth walls in white fur of course! This booth was for iRoom and the panels on the wall are iPads. Each iPad is resting in a custom enclosure which opens and closes to allow for removal of the iPad. The custom enclosure also serves as a docking station for the iPad. This is a really cool way to use the iPad as a custom room controller and still have easy access to the device when you need it.
For the ultimate patio and outdoor party experience, Stewart and Runco were showing this amazing patio display.
Two new internet music services were popping up on the list of supported features on the Onkyo and Integra products - Spotify and AUPEO!
There were lots of companies showcasing everything necessary for custom installation. This was a nice display of custom wall plates with a connection for everything.
Another very creative booth. The beautiful pirate was at lunch.
It was hard to find a break in the steady stream of activity at the iRule booth just to take a picture. iRule provides a custom control solution which utilizes Apple iPhone and iPad devices as the controllers. iRule makes the software which is targeted at the custom installation market and the enthusiast. I am looking forward to playing with iRule especially since their latest update provides two-way communication with the devices under control.
I visited the Integra booth. Here is the DHC 80.3 flagship processor.
Here is the DTR 80.3 flagship receiver.
Integra was also demonstrating their ability to output a 4K resolution image. While the implementation is still in beta and they were hiding the name of the display manufacturer, you can just imagine how the industry is going to start jumping on this technology. The Integra processors and receivers are coming with the ability to output a 4K resolution today even though the displays aren't available yet. Talk about planning ahead.
This picture doesn't do the display justice, but this was easily one of the most beautiful plasmas at the show. It is a Runco V-63HD display and it is only 1.7" thick.
My last stop of the day was at THX. They were showing THX certified displays. Yoda never looked so good.
That's it for today. Tomorrow is the last day of the show.
Day 1: Thursday, 9/8/11
This was my first time at a CEDIA show and after surviving CES 2011, I hoped this show would be a lot easier to cover. The day began with a breakfast presentation by JVC highlighting their new D-ILA projector lineup. The highlight of the presentation was the introduction of two 4K projectors which utilize a pixel-shifting technique to upsample 1080p video to a 4K resolution. The demonstration material was simply stunning and while the price points were still up there at $12K for the high end model and $8K for the next model down, these projectors will certainly be gracing many a home theater in the near future. The price wars will begin as Sony was showing off their 4K display offering as well.
The floor opened at 9:00 AM and the crowd started to come in.
The crowds were steady throughout the day, but it was certainly not the crazy pace of CES. Things seemed much more relaxed and it was nice to have more time to talk with people without fighting the crowds. It was a typical trade show from a display perspective. SpeakerCraft had one of the most unique booths on the floor.
Here's the rear panel of the Power Plant 10.
The Power Plant 10 supports a configurable output panel based on regional requirements. Here's the back panel for the European version.
PS Audio was also showing the new PerfectWave Silent Server that accesses and converts network and USB media to WAV format on demand before sending it to the PerfectWave DAC/Bridge.
The Silent Server is controlled by an iApp and I was pleased to hear that support for Android will be coming down the road.
Here's a shot of the back of the Silent Server. It supports Wi-Fi, USB and wired Ethernet. It contains a one port hub should you need to connect another device. The small card is a prototype of a future adapter that will combine the functionality of the Silent Server with a bridge and allow direct connection to a DAC.
Here's the new MP-20 processor from Lexicon. It probably won't hit the streets until second quarter of 2012 and it is expected to be about $17K. The new processor will offer new QuantumLogic Surround 3D processing with support for five discrete height channels. The Lexicon representative explained that the processing power for one channel on the new MP-20 exceeded the processing power for all channels in the current MC-12 HD. I can't wait to see more on this next year.
Cambridge Audio was showing off three Blu-ray players. Here are the Azur 751BD, Azur 650 BD, and Azur 651 BD. The 751BD and 651BD are new models in the product line.
Here's the new Azur 551R receiver from Cambridge Audio.
Paradigm was showcasing lots of new speakers. Here's the super thin Milennia LP. The LP stands for low profile. The Milenia LP is part of the Paradigm Reference series speakers and is only 1-3/4" thick including the wall mount!
Here are the new Monitor Series 7 and Cinema Series speakers.
At long last, 3D support is available for the Anthem Statement D2v and AVM 50v!!
Here is Anthem's new M1 1-channel digital amplifier. The M1 will deliver 1 kilowatt into 8 ohms and 2 kilowatts into 4 ohms. The price is $3,499 per channel!
Here's a look at the inside of the M1. The copper heat-piping allows multiple M1's to be stacked without their feet to optimize rack space.
NAD was showcasing a lot of new products that will be coming out later this Fall. Here's a look at their Masters Digital Suite. The M50, M52 and M2 are all digital components and are at the top of the product line-up.
Here's the rear panel on the M50. Nothing but digital inputs.
The M51 is a new Direct Digital DAC priced at $2000 in the Masters Digital Suite.
Here's the rear panel on the M51.
NAD was showing the modular design of their Classic Series components.
This modular approach allows for customization of features based on user needs.
NAD was also showing a wireless USB DAC that requires no home networking expertise. It just plugs into the source computer and uses a proprietary RF protocol to make the connection to your stereo system.
NAD was also showing their new T187 A/V Preamplifier and their new T787 Surround Sound Receiver.
psb Speakers was showing a preview of their upcoming M4U 2 headphones. These headphones fit the ear really well and sounded terrific. They feature noise cancellation and also come with a built-in amplifier.
Since CEDIA is all about custom installation, there were also those unusual demos that didn't feature any electronics. Check out the ladder demonstration. I am sure that a lawyer was in the crowd somewhere looking to cash in on this opportunity for disaster.
These colorful beauties are from Tivoli Audio. They are AM/FM radios with an optional iPod/iPhone dock.
The Sherbourn brand is back and is offering equipment through dealer channels aimed at the custom installation market.
The Sherbourn PT-7020C4 preamp / processor features a built-in Control 4 processor.
Here is Rotel's new RSP-1572 preamp / processor.
Classe was showing their new CP-800 stereo preamp/processor which lists at $5K.
Earthquake was demonstrating their new XJ-300FR 300 watt stereo mono class "J" amplifier. The amp is both rack and wall mountable which will appeal to custom installers.
That's it for day one. The highlight was definitely the 4K resolution devices. Check back tomorrow for more coverage.