CEDIA certainly made the most of the residential aspect of ISE, offering an extensive education programme of more than 30 training sessions over the four days, as well as giving members the chance to take CEDIA’s Electronic Systems Technician (ESC-T) and Designer (ESC-D) and Networking Specialist (ESC-N) Certification examinations.
Although it didn’t have a booth on the show floor, this didn’t stop Barco Residential from being a must-visit manufacturer at the show – its impressive home theatre area and VIP lounge with partners Genesis and Steinway Lyngdorf was constantly crammed with visitors. The home theatre area boasted Barco’s new Loki 4K laser projector, an in-wall sound system by Steinway Lyngdorf and a hand-crafted projection screen by DT Screens, complete with Ineva Design luxury home cinema seating.
Not stopping there, Barco’s ‘Ultimate Media Solution’ featuring a large custom-designed high-resolution rear-projection screen powered by a single ultra short throw 4K Loki certainly had attendees talking. Not only was it used to show a range of different sources that could be manipulated through an intuitive user interface for a variety of entertainment or even home office applications, but at times it also reverted to being one large digital canvas displaying original new media art, a new application Barco Residential is bringing to the market with partner, NIIO.
“This has been getting lots of attention, also from high end home builders, as well as the architecture and art markets,” Barco’s Tim Sinnaeve told CE Pro Europe. “This is why we created the dedicated New Media Art wall in the VIP lounge, featuring two dedicated new media art custom digital canvases using different display technologies including direct LED. As an industry, we are only scratching the surface with custom installations in high-end homes, which can go far beyond home theatre. New Media Art is one exciting example. For lack of a better comparison, it’s almost like creating the high end Kaleidescape of New Media Art with custom designed digital canvases freed from aspect ratio and size limitations. Barco Residential is uniquely positioned for this and there is an amazing potential for the industry here to get in front of these types of target clients, by making integrators more art-savvy. If we could do this on a larger scale, this could change the industry!”
With regards to the ‘Kaleidescape of New Media Art’ comment, Tim is referring to Barco’s partnership with NIIO, which provide a comprehensive cloud-based platform for artists, galleries, collection owners and curators to store, manage and securely distribute multi-format moving images and digital artworks,
Added to that, Barco Residential’s innovative short throw application, integrated in a custom-designed piece of furniture, a lot of integrators interested during ISE. Not forgetting that Barco Residential’s new Loki 4K CinemaScope projector took home a Top New Technology Award in the Residential Home Theatre / Multi-Room Audio / Video category.
ISE 2017 was Display Technologies’ first year at the exhibition, with its DT Screens Dynamic 2S motorised masking projection screen (paired with a Barco Orion Cinemscope with a 0.3 throw lens) acting as the brand’s statement product on the stand.
Assembled section by section directly on the wall prior to fitment of the image surface and front frame, a two-man team can easily handle even the largest screen sizes and fit them in to the tightest of spaces.
The screen is available with side-by-side, top and bottom, four way and with custom art work masking – demonstrated nicely at the show using Trainspotting artwork. Dynamic is available with all DT Screens exclusive image surfaces and can be specified in any size or aspect ratio up to 5.1m wide as standard, although Neil Davidson, owner of DT-Screens says that sizes up to 10m are available on request and that the screen is “competitive on price and dealer margin”.
Neil also revealed that DT Screens uses its own masking control system called Mask Position Logic, although they still integrate with other control systems.
“Display Technologies Ltd experienced an overwhelmingly positive response to their range of projector screens and projection mounting solutions at ISE,” said Neil. “We showed off a unique solution of a side masked cinemascope screen driven by a Barco Orion Cinemascope projector with ultra short throw lens. As if delivering a 2.4m wide cinemascope image from 50cm of depth was not amazing enough, the screen even featured a motorised art work panel to ensure it looked as good when in standby as when showing a movie.”
“We have been quietly building the business over the last year but we have already got distribution in nine countries with some incredible partners, and ISE is our real launch platform for the next stage of motorised stuff and projector mounting solutions,” said Neil.
Offering attendees a mixture of residential and commercial projector launches at ISE was Digital Projection, which had five new projectors on show. The one attendees were most interested in, however, was the E-Vision Laser 4K-UHD projector, a single chip DLP model aimed at ‘more affordable’ home cinemas, complete with a 7,500 lumens option with 4K resolution.
Dynamic Black technology gives a contrast ratio of 6,000:1 or 20,000:1 on the High Contrast Model, while the also new E-Vision Laser 10K adds greater brightness to the range, boasting 10,500 lumens at 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) resolution. Both new E-Vision projectors are lamp- and therefore maintenance free and come with a warranty of up to 20,000 hours.
“We expect the E-Vision Laser 4K-UHD projector to sell the most out of the five new models,” Mark Wadsworth, international marketing manager at Digital Projection told CE Pro Europe. “Installers have been coming to check out the new line of projectors with projects in mind, which is great. We also expect to sell loads of the E-Vision Laser 10K; this has been the busiest corner of our booth.”
For big, high-end homes, also new for ISE was the INSIGHT Dual Laser, a 3D-capable model offering both sequential and dual pipe formats. Dual flash processing and dark time insertion are included for projecting in 3D and the system can be synchronised for active glasses. Meanwhile, the new HIGHlite 4K-UHD is a 3-chip DLP system with 12,500 lumen brightness and a native 2000:1 contrast ratio.
Optoma showcased its new range of home projectors, which include the 4K UHD resolution-capable UHD60 and the GT1080Darbee with DARBEE Visual Presence technology. Targeted at movie fans, the UHD60 projector is said to deliver strong colour depth, clear detail and striking contrast. Ideal for gamers, the GT1080Darbee short throw projector is the successor to the GT1080e, offering 1080p resolution, Rec. 709 colour, dual HDMI ports, 3,000 lumens of brightness and a 25,000:1 contrast ratio. The Optoma GT1080Darbee features an Enhanced Gaming Mode with a 16ms response time while the integrated DARBEE Visual Presence image enhancement technology is designed to bring high levels of depth and realism.
Having just announced Pulse Cinemas as its exclusive UK distributor, StormAudio had a lot to talk about at ISE this year. Receiving the most attention on the booth (aside from the 20-speaker StormAudio cinema demo room which had a longer queue than the Next Christmas sale throughout the duration of the show), was the new 16-channel integrated immersive audio processor. Named the I.ISP 3D.16.12, this is the company’s first combination integrated amplifier / AV processor, boasting built-in compatibility with Auro-3D, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, as well as UHD 4K video.
The unit outputs 12-channels at a reported 200W each and is expandable to 16-channels by way of optional external amplifiers or powered subwoofers. Shipping now for €13.990 (approximately £12,000), StormAudio senior vice president Yves Trélohan told CE Pro Europe that the company had already shipped 40 units in seven days.
“We’re now in a position that we don’t need to chase for distributors, they are chasing us,” said Yves, who revealed that the company plans to pick up a German distributor very soon. “Our main target is to sign distributors at the show; we aim to have secured 30 by the end of February, which we are on track for. We predict that the USA will make up one third of our business in one year’s time.”
The Trinnov Audio team were in bullish mood promoting the capabilities of its immersive AV. The company’s Altitude32 has already created lots of fans in the home cinema sector with over 500 projects completed, able to deliver 32 discretely rendered channels of Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS:X. A new software update, however, will take things up another notch with 48 channels now possible via an optional upgrade. The additional 16 output channels can be used to support up to four-way active speakers, or more subwoofers, or larger arrays of surround channels. Trinnov also expects to be the first company to provide discrete rendering of all 34 channels provided for in the Dolby Atmos specification. If 48 was not enough, the company says it will be able to deliver 64 in the future via a software and hardware addition.
The second half of this year also sees the introduction of the Altitude16, a more affordable version of the company’s abilities. The Altitude 16 gets all the clever stuff from inside the other models, scaled back in size and channels to hit a new price point.
ISE 2017 was an important event for AudioControl, with the company showcasing a number of new updates to its product line-up. The brand was also using the event to represent its push towards commercial installations, with solutions for bars, restaurants and hotels all on show.
The main focus for ISE 2017 was the addition of DTS:X and DTS Neural Surround for its Concert AVR-7 and AVR-9 home theatre receivers. With the addition of DTS:X, these receivers now almost have the full suite of 3D audio platforms (Auro-3D being the exception).
While that was the main launch for ISE 2017, the Director series was becoming increasingly prevalent in the commercial markets. Recently the series found a home inside a restaurant where the different seating areas were acoustically different.
The Director M4800 combines a 100W/8-Ohms, 200W/4-Ohms of output into an 8×4 stereo matrix. It features on-board DSP, including graphic and parametric equalisation by zone, network monitoring/programming plus the addition of zone and global volume control with individual channel/zone grouping via standard TCIP and zone audio presets—all in a 1U chassis.
The M4800 also allows for the ability to bridge channels, giving integrators configuration flexibility for system setup. No other multi-zone amplifier offers this combination of functionality and performance. While the Director M4800 is still squarely aimed at residential, with a light commercial appeal, AudioControl says that it is heading in the direction of heavy commercial.
Meanwhile on the Fortress Seating booth, the cinema seating company’s Newland Sectional, Dakota and Sierra models, as well as the new Smart Chair Technology made their International debut. Fortress Smart Chair technology is IP-addressable, allowing it to seamlessly integrate and interact with control and automation systems.
Easily integrated into any model in the line, Fortress Smart Chair technology employs human occupancy sensors that detect when someone enters or exits the chair, automatically performing functions like adjusting to preset seating positions, overhead and pathway lighting, activating or pausing a Blu-ray players, adjusting shades, or any other function that can typically be programmed. Fortress Smart Chair technology will also detect human contact in mechanism pinch points, stopping the motor to reduce risk of injury while also preventing damage to the chair.
“Because Dakota and Sierra have headrests that go up and down, they are great for theatres and other rooms that have sightline challenges,” said Gabi Wolper, Vice President of Fortress Seating. “So many people have rooms doing dual purpose these days, this feature helps meet that need.”
There were a plethora of new additions to Legrand’s Nuvo line-up at ISE 2017, although the big news was the launch of a brand new soundbar.
The Nuvo P500 is the first sound bar and subwoofer combo to grace the line-up. That’s not to say it won’t be immediately familiar to avid Nuvo fans, with the 2.1 audio system offering all of the functionality one would expect from the multi-room audio company. That includes the ability to wirelessly stream music from services such as Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio, as well as remotely control the player from a range of home automation systems – including Crestron, Control4 and URC.
It wasn’t just the first soundbar that debuted at ISE 2017 from Nuvo. The company also showcased its first tabletop speaker, in the form of the Legrand P400. This speaker features built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet and Line Input, and can once again be controlled from the popular home automation systems.
Loudspeakers / Audio
SpeakerCraft was proud to announce that its two new AIM Series 2 in-wall left-centre-right (LCR) speakers, the AIM LCR5 FIVE Series 2 and the AIM LCR5 TWO Series 2, are now shipping worldwide.
“Both speakers can be paired with SpeakerCraft’s Dolby Atmos enabled in-wall height speaker – the ATX100 – to create one cohesive 360-degree audio system under a single grille,” said Mike Jordan, Core Brands VP of Product Development.
In fact, the ATX100 is the first available in-wall height speaker to carry the ‘Dolby Atmos Enabled’ moniker and was named Loudspeaker of the Year at the 2017 Consumer Technology Association’s Mark of Excellence Award Ceremony at this year’s CES.
The AIM LCR5 FIVE Series 2 and AIM LCR5 TWO Series 2 have MSRPs of US $879 (approximately £706) and US $749 (approximately £600), respectively.
Speakercraft was also demonstrating what it was calling ‘the world’s first Dolby Atmos enabled in-wall height speaker’ – the AIM Series 2 ATX100, on its stand, although CE Pro Europe was told that it will also work with Auro-3D and DTS:X.
The ATS500 System pairs the ATX100 height speaker with the new Kevlar-woofers based AIM LCR5 FIVE Series 2 behind a single, low profile, magnetic attached grille. The ATS200 System combines the ATX100 height speaker with the glass-fiber woofers based AIM LCR5 TWO Series 2, also behind a single grille.
The systems have MSRPs of US$1,329 (approximately £1,068) and US$1,199 (£960), respectively, and like the ATX100, the above systems are now available to order in Europe.
“Our goal is to give dealers multiple options to ‘wow’ their customers with Dolby Atmos enabled solutions,” Mike said. “The height speaker can even be added to existing in-wall systems, enabling dealers to easily upgrade to object-based surround audio.”
Moving away from the home audio market, Speakercraft had one more trick up its sleeve: announcing a major update to its multi-room audio software that adds streaming audio services (including Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora and other popular Internet radio services), a new streamlined user interface, and a dynamic zone grouping feature.
Launched in 2015 as a six-source, six-zone system, the new services onboard the MRA664 unlock a seventh source in the chassis that drives the multi-room ecosystem’s six zones of audio, expandable to 12 with a second chassis.
“The new features introduced in this software update truly make the platform more user-friendly than ever,” said Core Brands software product manager, Tom McKeon. “And, as a free software update, it enables any existing SpeakerCraft MRA-664 system to easily upgrade to include them.”
Bowers & Wilkins had gone to great lengths to set up a demo for its new speaker ranges with its ‘Diamond Cinema.’ Showcasing two new ranges in the integrated CI800 Series Diamond loudspeakers and DB Series subs, the cinema did not disappoint with a very assured performance from 15 discrete channels, complemented with two high-power DB1D subwoofers from the new DB Series.
The in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeakers feature all the key transducer technologies developed for the company’s 800 Series Diamond, including Diamond dome tweeters, continuum midrange drivers and aerofoil bass cones. Every new model fits into the back boxes and apertures of the outgoing CI800 Series, so not just new cinemas can benefit, but legacy projects too. Full details are available direct from the maker, with end of March pencilled in for the launch of the subs and a little later for the rest.
JBL also enjoyed a busy booth at ISE 2017, helped out by its dedicated home theatre, with many attendees showing interest in the manufacturer’s brand new SCL-2 in-wall loudspeaker, which JBL is calling its ‘most powerful in-wall model ever’. If needed, the SCL-2 can also be installed in a traditional application behind acoustic fabric or woven/perforated video screens without installing the grilles.
“The SCL-2 is designed to take advantage of our professional grade loudspeaker technologies, materials and manufacturing processes to bring JBL’s authentic cinema sound quality to the home theatre experience,” said Jim Garrett, director of marketing and product management, Harman.
Available in Spring 2017 for US$6,000 (approximately £4,830), the SCL-2 is designed with a 2.5-way, triple 8-inch (200mm) driver configuration for low-frequency extension, while a D2415K dual voice coil, dual 1.5-inch (38mm) annular ring diaphragm Teonex compression driver with HDI geometry horn works in conjunction with cast-frame, 8-inch (200mm) Advanced Aluminium Matrix cone woofers with low distortion motor structures.
Leon Speakers used ISE to announce its UX series, representing what Leon is calling its ‘thinnest, best-sounding speakers yet’. Each speaker features all-new components, capable of delivering the sound quality of Leon’s LX series predecessor within the ultra-thin design characteristics of the brand’s UT series. The new series includes three models across each of Leon’s front soundstage product lines and is up to 30% thinner than the previous LX models, starting at just 2″ deep.
Shipping now and available with a full array of sonically matched in-wall and on-wall surround speakers, the UX lineup intend to provide an immersive audio experience for living spaces and smaller dedicated home theatres.
The UX line includes three new models: the 33UX is the shallowest at 2″ deep including a 3″ driver; the 44UX is just one-quarter inch deeper and utilises a 4″ woofer; and the 55UX at 2.75″ deep, featuring a 5″ woofer for higher performance and better bass extension. Crucially, these speakers are custom built to match the exact dimensions (height or width) of any TV.
The Leon booth also featured a custom-crafted Edge Media Frame in Zebrawood encasing a Sony TV, complete with a Leon Horizon Hz44UX soundbar. The system showcased a custom in-wall option for Profile Sidemount Speakers, which are typically custom-built to exactly match the height and finish of any TV.
“There is a great energy at this year’s ISE,” Noah Kaplan, president, Leon Speakers told CE Pro Europe. “We met with people from all over the world that we are actively collaborating with on custom projects and new product designs. Our Edge Media frame made of solid Zebra wood got a great response this year. The Edge is a simple thin frame that is built to house any display and our Horizon Ultra Thin soundbar. We want to create products that are truly bespoke and let people add character to their installations while hiding all the wires and brackets as well.”
James Loudspeaker has for years dedicated its craft to customising speakers for customers around the globe, and it’s that expertise that had led to the creation of some of its more unique products.
At ISE 2017, James Loudspeaker showcased a new modular indoor and outdoor home cinema. The free-standing aluminium structure was one of the more unique set-ups being shown at this year’s show, and not only was it impressive from a ease-of-set-up point of view, but it is also technically capable. That’s because it supports all of the 3D audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS:X.
Outside of aluminium home cinemas, James Loudspeaker also debuted a more conventional speaker at the show. The 52QW wedge series speaker is a specialised boundary application speaker system for integration into a 90° corner, such as two walls or a wall and a ceiling. Like the modular home cinema, this speaker also supports Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D and DTS:X.
As well as a new Mariner range of seven all-weather speakers in three sizes and on two audio performance levels sporting improved aesthetics, IP ratings and installation simplicity, Sonance introduced a range of 70V/100V/8 ohm selectable Pendant speakers. Attractive in design, the idea is to expand the different types of projects where this style of speaker is appropriate.
Sizes include 4in, 6.5in, 8in two-way (pivoting tweeter) configurations together with 8in woofer models, all created to deliver low distortion, wide dispersion and reliability. The designs come with hanging hardware kits that include two 15in stainless steel suspension cables with snap hook and two Gripple hangers to secure the speakers with peace of mind. A front-mounted tap selector makes it simpler to adjust the speaker post installation and an integrated top cover hides the hanging hardware and wiring connector, when viewed from above.
With a strong association with the Sonance brand, iPort showed off its little xPRESS Wi-Fi keypad for Sonos. The unit is designed to work from the box after simple network setup to control key music functions like play/pause, track forward, volume control and to toggle favourites. The product has been conceived to deliver an inexpensive way to enhance the Sonos experience, but can also assign xPRESS functionality to the hard buttons on iPort’s ‘Surface Mount with Buttons’ iPad mount. Both brands are available in the UK from Habitech.
Meanwhile, Monitor Audio introduced the IV140, a speaker the manufacturer says has been created to deliver ‘best in class’ audio performance in concealed in-wall and in-ceiling applications. At 95mm deep, (83.5mm fitting depth), the IV140 will fit into all conventional 4in stud bays within walls, leaving enough room for cabling, or within ceilings. Once skimmed with plaster, the speaker can be finished with paint, light wallpaper or fabric.
The speaker offers a large low-frequency exciter for punchy, high power bass along with two high frequency exciters, which are bonded to a flat, soft polymer membrane surface to produce sound vibration. The two-way exciter design also features an integrated crossover in the same way as a conventional high-performance speaker to generate a wider frequency range. A hybrid back box design for the IV140 is in place to isolate sound and ensure consistent performance. The design limits low frequency below 75Hz which can be a major asset, especially when the used in home cinemas with an additional subwoofer. For projects where more low frequency extension is required, the rear cover can be removed to create an open back speaker.
Another hidden speaker option was available with the launch of the Amina Edge series. The new offering, initially made up of the Edge5 and Edge7, has been created to build on the company’s already solid rep in this sector. The new design delivers efficiency of 93dB, 1W/1m on the top product of the Edge7, meaning little power is needed to drive the speakers. The speakers also feature a new tapered perimeter, meaning the products can be used when a dry-wall/drylining construction approach is being used or the more conventional plasterboard technique.
What is also new is that the install process no longer includes needing to cover the surface of the speaker with plaster. Amina also used a new panel made from a high-performance glass-filled core making it stiff, light and damped – all the qualities needed to offer high-performance sound. The new speakers use the same back-box as before and once installed both models can be covered by paint, fabric or lightweight wallpaper.
Amina Edge7 is capable of handling 75W of continuous power, a peak power handling of 150W which combined with 93dB 1W/1m efficiency, is designed to provide a high-performance listening experience with zero visual intrusion. The Amina Edge5 is a simpler product and can handle 50W continuous power, 100W peak. This product has been created for higher volume installs or areas and is best suited to projects such as MDUs, commercial and lower cost residential properties.
Bang & Olufsen had much to tell the world and Brian Bjorn Hansen, head of system solutions, was more than happy to put CE Pro Europe in the picture. Visibly excited about the new stories the company has to tell, Brian explained the launch of the new range of speakers co-designed with Origin Acoustics and for the first time available from specialist distribution in the form of Invision UK.
Brian said: “This a big change for the brand, we have many of the popular functions from the Origin lines like twist and lock fitting, but of course we are Bang & Olufsen so we come at the integrated speaker from a different angle; most companies what them to disappear, although our speakers are integrated, we want people to see them.
“At first Jeremy Burkhardt, CEO of Origin said ‘You guys are crazy!’ But this the beauty of our company, we provide something different, something unique and reaction at the show has been really positive.”
Basically, the speakers mix Origin Acoustics sound and installation capabilities with a Bang & Olufsen twist offering some striking and sleek grille designs. The range consists of the Celestial in-ceiling range and the Palatial in-wall range.
Brian added: “When we first trailed the range, installers told us they needed a whole family, so that is what we have done now, a complete range of CI speakers with our unique approach to style.”
Also important to note here changes in the company’s distribution model, the new speakers are available from Invision, however the entire range of products is also now available without needing to be a B&O retailer.
The other big news form was increased integration with other platforms and products now the company has opened up its API.
Brian explained: “Last year we showed integration with Savant, Control4 and Crestron: now we are completely open – installers can write their own drivers for products, obviously other manufacturers will write for their systems too so the possibilities are unlimited for what we can potentially work with.”
The concept behind this is a simple BeoLink Gateway enabler that opens up the brand to more integration over a cloud-based system opening up a new level of integration for the brand and moving much more firmly into the CI market.
Meridian was concentrating on three new products: two new power amps, the 857 Reference Two-Channel and the 258 Eight-Channel Power Amplifiers, designed to add muscle and quality to any existing system. The 218 Zone Controller provides a choice of control options and can be used in a wide variety of applications.
All three products are competitively priced and can be integrated with other brands and products. Meridian says the new products had a fantastic reception from dealers, commenting on the compact size of the 218 Zone Controller and wide range of connectivity options. For example, the 218 can be mounted to the back of a TV with a VESA mount where it can be connected to the TV’s optical output and then run to a pair of digital active loudspeakers, such as a pair of Meridian DSP3200s, or a power amp and used to drive a set of passive loudspeakers.
Dealers were also impressed with the ability to integrate some of Meridian’s expertise and Hi-Res Audio performance into an existing system with the 258 and 857. The company also gave visitors the inside track on its updated complimentary Design and Specification Service, which includes Meridian’s own products and those of Barco, Cinema-ATS and DT Screens. The company is also excited about its new training programme headed up by Hugo Fitzjohn, technical education and sales support manager, covering a wide range of topics from home theatre design to two channel system set up and whole home Hi-Res Audio solution.
Also offering some interesting sounding audio capabilities, NAD and Bluesound were underlining their high-quality approach to multi-room audio. Greg Stidsen, director of technology and product planning at Lenbrook International, owner of both brands explained that the Bluesound concept began as an NAD project, but then became a brand in its own right offering installers multi-room audio with a Hi-Fi quality to the sound.
Greg explained: “We also wanted to make the system fully installer friendly so as well as being able to deliver high-quality music and MQA, we offer integration with the likes of Control4, Crestron, RTI and URC expected this spring with many more to come.”
Both Bluesound and NAD can connect to the company’s distribution backbone – the BluOS platform. The Control4 driver was recently updated with the release of version 2.6, adding auto on/off, mini driver support, keypad connections and event programming. It also improved the Spotify experience. The newest RTI driver features lots of two-way commands, including automatic detection of players, metadata retrieval and music player controls. The upcoming URC beta driver will feature numerous one-directional commands. Both brands are distributed by Anatech.
Part 2 of the epic show roundup will be posted next week, bringing you the latest control and automation news…