Night One of CEDIA 2019 ended fairly late for me after hitting a trifecta of parties that included a Sony Diamond Dealer event, a ProSource member event, and the Control4 dealer party. For the record, the best drinks (ie: bourbon) were at the ProSource event.
Day Two began with the Wisdom Audio demo. I need to thank the folks at Seymour Screen Excellence for being my Sherpa and getting me to the event which was not on the showfloor, but in a sound room down in the bowels of the convention center. I knew that the Wisdom demo was going to be one of the marquee demos of the show, and like getting a ride on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train at Disney World, you better get there early or you’re gonna be in for a long line.
The demo did not disappoint, as the 13.6.8-channel Wisdom Audio speaker system, powered by 20,000 watts of total power and Trinnov processing, with a massive (22-foot wide-ish) Seymour Screen Excellence screen being fed by a Barco Loki projector and Kaleidescape 4K HDR video. The system had fantastic dialogue clarity along with flutter-your-pants bass levels, live audio dynamics and terrific pinpoint Dolby Atmos localization. It was truly what having a cinema at home is all about and a great way to start off the day!
Next up was a meeting with the folks at Hunter Douglas to check out their shade line. Shades are increasingly becoming a larger part of our business, and now Hunter shades easily integrate with the preferred automation systems of the custom channel. The prices are very attractive, and there are tons of cool and unique styles and fabrics to choose from.
After that, I took a tour through the Control4 booth to check out the new and very powerful CA-10 controller. This is filled with redundancies (power supplies, network, fans, solid state drives) to ensure it always remains up on the largest projects. I also had a chat with Charlie Kindel, Snap AV’s chief product and technology officer, about ways I thought Control4 and Snap can continue to help our channel.
Next up was the Sonos booth to check out the company’s three new products launched at the show: the Move, ONE SL and Port. The Move is the company’s first fully portable speaker, offering up to 10 hours of operation on battery and has an IP56 rating, meaning it can stand up to most outdoor weather. It’s also the first product from Sonos to offer Bluetooth streaming, so you can enjoy music even when nowhere near your Wi-Fi. The Port is the replacement to the Connect, and it now has a 12-volt trigger to power on amplifiers and uses field terminatable digital coax (instead of Toslink optical) which is a nice nod to the custom channel.
The Samsung booth was just a skip away and I had to check out their video offerings after looking at Sony and LG on Day One. I think the Frame is such a cool product, and they’ve made it better for this year with a QLED based panel that offers more color and better HDR. There is also a new in-wall rated cable for the One Connect box, so feel free to install it without feeling like you’re breaking any codes. The Wall Luxury is one of Samsung’s most awesome products, and it never fails to impress. The model at CEDIA Expo was 146-inch in 4K resolution, and the picture is just stunning. Also, it is way less expensive than the Sony 219-inch panel at only $400,000. Better get your orders in now!
On my way to the Tech Starter event at the CEDIA Smart Stage, I stopped into JL Audio to check out the latest subwoofer offerings, and they have a new ICS-108 architectural subwoofer system that comes with an outboard amplifier and an enclosure designed for in-ceiling installs. In typical JS fashion, it did not disappoint, and delivered room filling bass that seemed to come from everywhere. The company is also bringing the Fathom f110.v2 back to market after a hiatus of over five years due to the demand for a smaller form factor.
A quick stop by the DTS booth netted me a couple of the latest versions of the DTS Ultra-HD demo disc and a new IMAX Enhanced demo disc. You should definitely swing by and pick up copies for yourself as these make great demo material.
Speaking of DTS, located just down the way was the Trinnov booth where they were demonstrating DTS:X Pro update recently released for their Altitude processor. Currently every other processor on the market is limited to an 11-channel DTS:X presentation, but Trinnov has been licensed to perform the full 30.2 DTS channels, and I’d been really looking forward to taking a listen. Like Wisdom, Trinnov is another demo that draws a big crowd, and there was a lengthy line in place when I arrived. Fortunately, I had a friend at the booth—and a press badge—and I was able to VIP in the side door and grab a seat.
The system was an 11.4.6 array of Triad speakers in a Home Theater Environments designed room and it sounded awesome. The bass was incredibly tight and solid with lots of slam and impact. And there was plenty of slam to go around with the demo scene they showed from John Wick 3.
I swung through the Onkyo booth to check out the new Integra AVRs and pre-pro and new amplifier that (smartly) boasts a full 11 channels on board.
Then, I headed over to Klipsch where I checked out the company’s new outdoor soundbar while sipping on a local brew, a Great Divide Brewing Titan IPA.
My final stop of the day was to see GoldenEar Technologies’ new Bookshelf Reference X (BRX). These will sit atop the GoldenEar bookshelf line and feature voicing designed to match the company’s flagship Triton Reference. I was amazed by how low the small speakers were able to play, producing bass notes from the pipe organ in one demo that you could feel in your chest. Sure, you’d want to pair them with a sub for movie watching, but for 2-channel listening they more than hold their own. Of course, since it shares the reference high-velocity folded ribbon tweeter, highs were detailed and airy, with cymbal strikes that decayed beautifully into nothing, and delivered textural detail to guitar plucks. Like all GoldenEar products, these punch way about their weight and deliver fantastic sound for the price.
Two days down and one to go, and still a ton of great stuff to see!
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