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Tech Showcase: Residential Systems Best in Market ’21 Winners

Program spotlights outstanding AV products and solutions brought to market over the past 12 months.

Best in Market '21

The Best in Market Awards program showcases the most innovative technology from around the AV marketplace in the last 12 months. The entries were submitted and paid for by the manufacturers, and the content was open to all producers of professional AV products and solutions regardless of their exhibitor/non-exhibitor status at this summer’s major trade shows.

The Residential Systems winners were chosen because the line between residential and professional technology continues to blur, and these products are stellar examples of how powerful home theater and automation products have become. Both L-Acoustics and PMC bring high-end commercial sound home, while Crestron’s groundbreaking Crestron Home control solution and long-awaited audio-over-IP platform take whole-house control to new levels. [Other brands participating in the Best of Market Awards are AV Technology, Sound & Video Contractor, Mix, Installation, and Tech & Learning — see the sidebar at the end of this story for their winning products.]

Here are the winning entries as they were presented by their nominating companies.

Crestron Home

Crestron Electronics, Inc. Crestron Home

Crestron Home is the world’s most powerful and responsive smart home platform that seamlessly manages all devices in the technology-driven homes of today. The beautiful user interface delivers a sophisticated, intuitive experience with elegant animation to give homeowners control over everything either remotely from their mobile device or at home using touch screens, voice command, remotes, and more.

Crestron Home is a solution that empowers integrators to set up a full best-in-class smart home, no matter what size, in just a few steps, right from a tablet or the web interface running on a laptop — all while leveraging premier Crestron hardware. The Crestron Home continues to get better and better with a steady stream of updates going live monthly, if not more frequently.

Crestron Home supports modern living, delivering speed and simplicity for commanding home entertainment devices, thermostats, shades, lighting, security, appliances, and more all from a single app. Every home is unique, designed to suit the homeowner’s aesthetic, desires, and routines. Crestron Home offers the ability to customize, create, and organize favorites and schedules, with no detail left untouched.

Crestron Home unites products under one smart home foundation. Instead of homeowners having to stress about how their devices work, they are now able to sit back and enjoy them. Crestron works with partners like Amazon Alexa, Delos,, Sonos, Yale, and more to deliver a connected, best-in-class smart home experience. Crestron Home also enhances the design, aesthetic, and lifestyle of the home. Whether homeowners are focused on security, want to elevate their entertainment experience, or are seeking an easier way to manage lighting and temperature control, Crestron Home is designed to suit all their needs.

Crestron DM NAX

Crestron Electronics, Inc. DM NAX 8-Zone Streaming Amplifier

The Crestron DM NAX 8-Zone Streaming Amplifier is a next generation Audio-overIP (AoIP) amplifier that puts Crestron multi-room audio distribution on the network. It provides eight amplified stereo zone (16-channel) outputs and four stereo line-level outputs mirror speaker zone outputs 1-4. A dedicated streaming service player for each of the eight zones enables complete freedom to stream different content in every zone.

DM NAX is built on the AES67 standards with additional ease of configuration via a web interface, SIMPL Windows, C#, and/or a RESTful API. It is compatible with DM NVX through the AES67 secondary audio stream and with third-party AES67 solutions and Dante via the compatibility mode enabled through Dante Controller. Full DSP capabilities are available on the line and speaker outputs.

The DM NAX is configurable to operate as a network AV encoder and decoder. The analog line level sources, digital S/PDIF sources, or media streams on one DM NAX can be sent to any other DM NAX or AES67 capable endpoint on the network. A library of chimes is built into the unit and chimes can be assigned to different zones to help identify them. Whenever a chime is triggered, the zone audio will duck or pause, so the chime can be clearly heard overactive media until the chime concludes. DSP capabilities such as bass and treble boost and cut, loudness, adjustable delay, speaker protection and limiting, tone profiles, a full 10-band EQ per output, and an option to have line output as a fixed or variable level with or without DSP applied are available. Zones can be permanently bussed together for simultaneous routing and control or grouped dynamically with other zones for a temporary collection of zones that playback the same media.


L-Acoustics Tahiti 2.1 by L-Acoustics Creations

Tahiti 2.1 sound system represents a selection of professional loudspeakers and amplified controllers assembled and calibrated for residential use with presets developed by L-Acoustics R&D.

Tahiti is built around Syva, a miniaturization of L-Acoustics WST (Wavefront Sculpture Technology) line source array technology deployed at the world’s top music venues and festivals, housed in an elegant vertical form factor.

Speakers are passive 2-way colinear source housing six precisely angled and aligned 5-inch low frequency drivers and 3 x 1.75 inch high frequency drivers. Laminar vents reduce turbulence while L-Fins control vertical directivity (26 degrees) keeping sound away from reflective floor or ceiling surfaces indoors. Very wide horizontal directivity (140 degrees) gives an impression of being immersed in free field sound and the L-Acoustics sonic signature, the benchmark frequency contour of live music, objectively supporting the product claim to “bring the concert home.”

Tahiti 2.1 performs best stacked on its base indoors or outdoors (components IP rated 54 and 55) and is ideal for large residential gatherings with live musical or DJ entertainment. Playback devices connect seamlessly to Tahiti 2.1 to deliver preferred audio and audiovisual content benchmarking to prosound metrics: peak sound levels above 117 dB, exceptional headroom, full range frequency bandwidth at high SPL, up to 4000 watts power, up to 200 square meters coverage area with a sweet spot of 20 square meters.

For home cinema use, Tahiti loudspeakers can be suspended or stacked left and right of a screen, embedded in recessed areas on the wall, or hidden behind a sonically transparent surface.

Signal processing and power management is handled by L-Acoustics dedicated amplified controllers, ensuring seamless performance and avoiding conditions that could lead to speaker damage or blow-out.

Tahiti is available in dark grey or can be customized in a full range of RAL colors for clients wanting to color match to surroundings or make a bold design statement.

PMC ci series

PMC ci series

The ci series is a six strong range of slimline, high-performance on-wall and in-wall loudspeakers for use in high-end installations.

The ci30, ci45, ci65, and ci90slim are in-wall designs that can be customized for use on-wall with an optional mounting sleeve that fits around the cabinets to conceal the Qikfire in-wall mounting system, creating elegant on-wall models. The flagship ci140 and ci140sub are dedicated on-wall models.

They incorporate proprietary PMC technologies, such as Advanced Transmission Line (ATL) and Laminair, to provide the audio quality from the company’s award-winning audiophile and studio speakers for the CI customer. ATL speakers feature a folded line within the cabinet, lined with custom-designed acoustic foam, to absorb all but the lowest frequencies. These exit from a front-panel vent, extending the response and creating the impression of a far larger speaker. The vent features Laminair, based on the aerodynamics of Formula One, to reduce turbulence and drag in the airflow, increasing efficiency for faster, higher definition bass, accurate timing, and dynamics.

PMC worked closely with installers during the development of the ci series, making them “installer-friendly.” With a simple twist of a screwdriver the Qikfire mounting system mounts the loudspeaker securely and quickly and permits post installation micro adjustment. Equally, the optional OWK (on-wall kit) converts the ci30, ci45, ci65, and ci90slim speakers to on-wall models.

Perhaps most importantly as a commercial proposition for installers to their clients is the professional heritage of the ci series. No one knows the requirements for movie sound like PMC — the company has been building the speakers that make the movies for 30 years. The ci series went well beyond Dolby’s minimum requirements and created the reference for Dolby Atmos music mixing. Now home users can have exactly the same speaker system used during the production process installed in their home.

Best in Market Winners from Other Future Brands

Best in Market ’21: AV Technology

  • Bose Videobar VB1 All-in-One Conferencing Device
  • Clear-Com Agent-IC Mobile App
  • Crestron Electronics, Inc. Crestron 70 Series Touch Screens
  • Crestron Electronics, Inc. Crestron Flex Phones
  • kvm-tec electronic GmbH ScalableLine 4K
  • Mersive Solstice Conference
  • Navori Labs Aquaji
  • Roland VC-100UHD 4K Video Scaler
  • Ross Video Ross Ultrix Carbonite Mid-Size Hyper-Converged Production Platform
  • Shure Incorporated Microflex MXN5W-C Networked Loudspeaker

Best in Market ’21: Sound & Video Contractor

  • Audinate Dante AVIO Adapters
  • Bose Professional AMM Multipurpose Loudspeakers
  • Crestron Electronics, Inc. DM NVX 4K60 4:4:4 HDR Network AV Encoder/Decoder with Downmixing and Dante Audio
  • Datapath Limited Aetria
  • DVIGear, Inc. HyperLight DisplayPort / mDP 1.4 Active Optical Cables
  • Martin Audio TORUS
  • Renkus-Heinz, Inc. Iconyx Compact Series – ICC 24-3
  • Ross Video Ross Ultrix Carbonite Mid-Size Hyper-Converged Production Platform
  • Shure Incorporated Microflex Ecosystem

Best in Market ’21: Mix

  • Audinate Dante AVIO Adapters
  • DPA Microphones 4488 CORE Directional Microphone

Best in Market ’21: Installation

  • APEX CloudPower
  • Crestron Electronics, Inc. Crestron XiO Cloud
  • Logitech Rally Bar
  • Mersive Solstice Conference
  • Modulo Pi Modulo Kinetic
  • QSC Q-SYS Core Nano
  • Shure Incorporated Microflex Advance MXA710 Linear Array Microphone

Best in Market ’21: Tech & Learning

  • Crestron Electronics, Inc. Crestron Flex
  • Shure Incorporated MV5C Home Office Microphone