Profiles of 2012 Resi Awards Winners for Best Industrial Designs
During CEDIA EXPO last month, Residential Systems presented 20 EXPO exhibitors with Resi Awards for their exceptional industrial designs. In its ninth year, the Resis are the only awards focused solely on the aesthetics and ergonomics of products being sold by custom integrators.
“This awards program is unique in its focus on the creativity and artistry from manufacturers exhibiting on the show floor,” Residential Systems editorial director Jeremy Glowacki said during the ceremony. “Our goal is honor those who focus not only on engineering, but also functionality and how a product more elegantly solves a problem.”
Check out this special section with profiles on all 20 winners.
Connectivity Product (Wireless)
Wasp LINK-Mount 2.1 System
WASP’s David Tschirpke and David Nudelman receive their Resi Award from Residential Systems’ Phil HoltbergWASP Audio Technologies’ founder and CEO David Tschirpke is a passionate audiophile and custom integrator with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He felt that there had to be a better solution using wireless audio products to solve everyday installation problems. Rather than hiring a design firm, Tschirpke used his degree in design engineering and created the LINK-Mount family of products.
The Resi Award-winning LINK-Mount 2.1 System is a wireless speaker mounting system that includes a 2.1 uncompressed wireless tri-band transmitter and two amplified LINK-Mount wireless speaker brackets. Each LINK-Mount includes a built-in wireless receiver plus 50 watts RMS audiophile class-D amplifiers. LINKMount universal brackets are designed for retrofit installation, fit into a standard single-gang opening, and blend into the décor. The LINK-Mount 2.1 System also includes a universal in-wall wireless subwoofer plate for use as a discreet wireless subwoofer channel.
The product’s design eliminates unsightly wires and requires no brick-like receiver boxes. LINKMount brackets also are installer-friendly, fit into a standard single-gang opening, and can be installed in less than an hour.
Interior designers like LINK-Mount for its simple, elegant design that blends into any décor (you can even change the cover plates.) It was designed primarily for a retrofit installation, which allows everyone to have music where and when they want.
The bracket is designed so that you have the option of using the ball and socket and/or universal flat speaker bracket. The product’s design does not limit the user’s personal choice of speakers and electronics.
An 8-channel selector, located on each LINKMount, means an integrator always has the right bracket. All LINK-Mount brackets are also designed to use with future WASP products. A power on/pairing LED light indicator provides a quick visual indicator of the system’s status.
Niles CM Ceiling Mount Architectural Loudspeakers
Griffin PR’s Kate Harrington accepted the Resi from Residential Systems’ Phil Holtberg on Niles’ behalf.The CM Ceiling Mount Architectural Loudspeakers, which were designed in-house by a team that was headed by Mike Strange, director of product management, deliver Niles’ high-performance sound quality, while blending discreetly into any environment thanks to the paintable, low profile, magnetically attached grilles.
“No detail was overlooked while designing the Niles CM Loudspeaker Line,” said Mark Weisenberg, director of the Core Brands audio segment. “What is most notable across the CM loudspeaker line is the high cosmetic, designer appeal that offers custom installers an ultra lowprofile speaker solution for any installation. All elements of installation–from interior design, to installer labor, and environmental factors–have been accounted for in this product’s design.”
The new loudspeaker’s thin-bezel and ultralow profile provides a crisp, clean finish, and the magnetically attached grilles greatly reduce installation time. The series includes round grilles, standard, but square grilles are also available. The grilles can be painted to coordinate with any surrounding décor for added installation flexibility. The grilles also are rust-resistant, eliminating service calls for loudspeakers installed in moistureprone areas such as saunas, bathrooms, and even outdoors under eaves.
Niles’ patent-pending spring-loaded mounting clamps compensate for a number of environmental conditions that would cause the mounting surface for the new CM series to expand or contract, such as high heat and humidity. The mounting clamps help to prevent material compression and stripping of screws by providing tactile feedback during the installation process to indicate when the installer should stop drilling.
All speakers in the line feature the same premium components found in Niles’ DS Directed Soundfield series, including copper caps, high-level crossovers, and Kapton voice coil formers. Additionally, the loudspeakers have been voiced specifically to handle dynamic content from Blu-ray discs as well as compressed music from sources such as iPods, Pandora, and Rhapsody to ensure the best in audiophile performance from virtually any source.
Niles’ CM Architectural Loudspeakers are organized into groupings that enable installers to specify the right loudspeaker for every application. The CM line provides installers with an assortment of application-specific loudspeakers that fit into the same-sized cutout for projects of any scale and any budget. Installers can specify and install systems using any combination of Niles’ new CM and DS loudspeakers thanks to the similarities in size and performance found in each series.
Fusion Research Encore MkII
The MkII Movie Server is based upon Encore’s all-new EPIC Platform; it digitally stores a customer’s DVD and Blu-ray collection as well as their home movies. It features a brushed-black anodized faceplate with an integrated slot loading Blu-ray drive and built-in IR. The MkII is 2U high and standard rack width, so it can serve as a standalone piece or combined into a rack installation. As important as the aesthetics is the low-energy board that runs this powerful server; it requires only 18W of power to run.
Savant Smart Control Phone
The Savant Control Phone is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based phone with an integrated 4th generation iPod touch combined with backlit buttons including essential and common telephony navigation keys. The Savant Smart Control Phone interface is an optimized theme version of the Savant TrueControl App. The underlying design quality that makes this product visually appealing is its simplicity. The simplicity of the design even allows the most technically challenged user to navigate and control a Savant System, and of course place telephone calls. With a stylish and contoured industrial design, it is easily installed using a single Cat-5 cable and network powered.
URC DMS-AV Networked Home Theater Processor
The DMS-AV is a home theater processor that has all of the features of a standalone AV processor but is designed to be part of a URC Total Control whole-house control system. The front of the DMS-AV is designed specifically for custom installation environments. The end user doesn’t have much to “fiddle with” on the front of the unit, except for a volume knob. The back of the unit has all of the necessary connections that a custom installer would expect, along with a LAN Ethernet port that makes of all of the home theater/whole-house control integration magic happen.
Connectivity Product (Wired)
Access Networks The Foundation Network
The Foundation Network from Access Networks represents the most advanced entry-level, enterprise-grade networking solution in the CE market. With a host of advanced routing and switching features combined with a centrally managed, self-healing wireless solution, the package offers the integrator a path to provide his client with a robust, reliable networking solution. The Foundation can be mounted in a rack and up and running in less than a half an hour. When a network is doing its job, it is invisible to the end user but critical to the operation of the home’s electronic systems.
Controller (Remote Control)
Pro Control Pro24.z
The Pro24.z touchscreen controller features a high-resolution 2.4-inch LCD display, a programmable five-way joystick, and programmable backlit hard buttons for intuitive operation. For integrators, Pro Control’s wizard-based PC programming software enables the simple creation of intuitive control completely customizable to each client. Available only to registered dealers, the software sports efficient features like “auto program,” which dramatically reduces programming time and increases profitability.
Docking Music System
NAD VISO 1
The NAD VISO 1 is compact and easy to enjoy right out of the box. Its innovative precision “ring” design allows the user to dock and operate their iPod in a completely natural way, without compromising Apple’s ergonomics. Integrated Bluetooth aptX wireless high fidelity reception allows any Bluetoothenabled device to seamlessly integrate with the NAD VISO 1.
PSB M4U 2
PSB has combined its extensive acoustics and transducer technology with an ergonomic design to create what they believe is the world’s best sounding and most comfortable headphone. Designed by David Farrage of DF-ID, the M4U 2 headphones are lightweight and ready to fold up and pack in their travel case. The cable can be connected on either side of the headphones, so there are no wires to cross no matter where the headphone jack is situated. Two-way adjustable ear pads are gyro-suspended for optimal ergonomics and comfort.
Integrated Product Systems
Control4 HC-250 Controller
The HC-250 offers the ultimate single-room control solution that, for the first time in an entry-level home controller, has the power and flexibility to extend automation beyond media entertainment devices. With a next-generation 1GHz processor, the HC-250 allows users to whip through large media libraries and enjoy a selected movie, song, or playlist in seconds, activate lighting before their finger leaves the touchscreen, respond to a security alert, or adjust the air conditioning all through the same on-screen interface. With a sleek design and compact form-factor, the HC-250 fits easily behind a TV, on a shelf, or in a rack.
Crestron V-Panel 24-inch V24R-C
Crestron’s Joyce Essig received the Resi Award from Residential Systems’ Phil Holtberg.Inside of a 24-inch edge-to-edge glass design, Crestron’s V24R-C blends full touch screen navigation, high-performance graphics and HD video with DigitalMedia 8G+ connectivity and a high-definition widescreen display. It combines separate touchscreens, TV displays, and computer monitors into one display. All audio/video signals are transmitted over a single Cat-5e wire from the digital graphics engine back at the main rack.
Ease of use for the consumer is multifaceted. Powered by Core 3 UI, users can interact with flash-based GUI effects and gestures navigation to swipe, scroll, drag, and drop, while browsing through music and movie libraries, TV/radio stations, and control apps. Kinetic effects provide an interactive experience when using custom knobs, sliders, and gauges to adjust/monitor any system in the home. On-screen keyboard and mouse enable complete control of embedded web browser and PC applications. A built-in USB port allows connection of a physical keyboard and mouse, providing the simplicity of traditional computer operation.
S-PVA display technology delivers a high-definition viewing experience in multiple full-motion windows with rich colors and superb black depth and contrast. Ultrawide 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles produce consistent high picture quality without the need to be directly in front of the screen.
A first in touchpanel design, the DGE-2 graphics engine (and related source wiring) is hidden up to 330 foot away back at the main. Through the onboard DigitalMedia input, all signals are transmitted over a single Cat-5e cable from the rack to the display. The singlewire connectivity, together with V24-C’s thin design, produces clean installations in any room.
Meridian M6 Digital Active Loudspeaker
Developed through Meridian’s inspired approach to contemporary design, with all the features that make Meridian DSP Loudspeakers unique, the M6 delivers the performance of a conventional loudspeaker that is eight times the physical volume. All the necessary electronics are neatly hidden in its circular base.
Definitive Technology SoloCinema XTR
This ultra-slim, amplified soundbar, powerful, wireless subwoofer, and ergonomic remote offer an immersive 5.1 channel sound experience minus the clutter of component systems. The SoloCinema XTR has built-in processing for today’s high-definition digital sources, such as Dolby True HD and DTS-HD, and offers 5.1 channel sound with Definitive’s patented Spatial Array technology. Three HDMI inputs deliver uncompressed HD audio. All hardware for wall or table-top mounting is included.
Lutron Sivoia QS Battery- Powered Honeycomb Shades
The Sivoia QS honeycomb-style shade features Lutron’s Triathlon battery technology, which extends battery life to three years. Several variations of the shade are available, including models that work with Lutron’s RadioRA 2 and HomeWorks QS total home control systems, and Lutron’s GRAFIK Eye QS. A non-system option is also offered. Shades are offered in single-cell and double-cell light filtering and room-darkening models, making them ideal for any space.
Mount, Enclosure or Rack
LaunchPort provides a high-quality and reliable iPad charging and docking solution for automation and lighting controls systems utilizing iPad Apps. The LaunchPort system allows mounting of an iPad magnetically onto the wall or use a base station for desk or tabletop use. A system requires at least one sleeve hard case with inductive charging and BaseStation for tabletop mounting and charging location for the Sleeve.
Vutec Theater Art Systems Vertical Masking with SilverStar 2D/3D
Vutec’s Theater Art Systems Multi-Vu enables both casual viewing of a flat panel TV or a true home theater with an acoustically transparent projection screen. When the projection screen or flat panel TV is not in use, Giclée canvas artwork of you’re the client’s choice scrolls down within a custom frame, transforming a complete multi-use system into a work of art. When the artwork is retracted, the projection screen or flat panel TV is visible for viewing.
The Signature line models are designed to resist rain, humidity, salt corrosion, dust, and insects; and are equipped with internal cooling systems to withstand outside temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. All models have special anti-glare screens and are specially designed to deliver sharp, bright high-definition in the outdoor environment. Each includes a sealed wiring compartment to keep moisture out, powerful audio systems that deliver better sound than most indoor TVs, and a weatherproof remote.
The FLOW.1010 is an extremely thin on-wall sound system that uses an array of 10 drivers and a technology platform based on many years of research from Linköping University (Sweden). The technology is used to execute an extreme visual design without compromising the acoustic performance. One of the patented technologies allows transmitting a digital signal as well as power on a standard speaker cable.
AudioXperts EVA BLU
The EVA BLU delivers powerful performance from a compact size and is carefully designed to maximize the use of recyclable, renewable sources and biodegradable materials. EVA BLU is a stereo portable Bluetooth speaker that combines utility and style by providing the portability of a batteryoperated speaker, the power of a 30 watts system, and a unique woven wool cover and bamboo case all in one package to deliver a powerful and convenient audio experience.
Power Management Product
Panamax MR Family
Panamax’s MR Family of home theater power management solutions offer advanced protection from surges/spikes and help maximize equipment performance with Level 2 Noise Filtration (MR400) and Linear Noise Filtration (MR4300 and MR5100).
Panamax’s Marshall Currier (left) and John Benz with Residential Systems’ Phil HoltbergBrilliant decorative blue crescent lights accent the white digital voltmeter of the MR4300 and MR5100 and power status display on the front panels of all of the MR Family of products. On the MR4300, two downward-firing media lights illuminate any equipment cabinet or rack, providing users with well-lit access to their media player or system controllers in a theater, media, or living room. For those who prefer to re-create the mood of a dark theater experience, the decorative and media lights can be dimmed or turned off completely to eliminate distractions from the spectacle on screen.
Key industrial design concepts were created by Driven Innovation (Fremont, CA), a fullservice design development company specializing in industrial design, engineering, product design management, market research, graphic interface design, and prototype development. Driven Innovation has developed numerous market-leading design solutions for clients in the consumer, medical, biotechnology, and technology market areas.
In a traditionally unglamorous product category, the Panamax MR Family introduces a touch of class and elegance with a soft, yet sophisticated, industrial design. Rising out of a rich, textured background, high-gloss façades establish a premium and modern look and feel. While continuity is established with iconic branding elements across the family, the products were designed to stand alone and enhance the look of any system.
Panamax’s MR Family accounts for low-voltage surges with universal coaxial, telephone, and LAN (RJ-45) protection. These signal pathways often act as a backdoor for surges and spikes that often go unprotected due to inferior protection solutions. While these are rare occurrences, it is this attention to detail that has helped establish Panamax’s reputation for reliable power protection among professional installers for over 35 years.
In addition to system protection, the MR Family is engineered to provide maximum performance from connected equipment. Many AV and home theater systems are plagued by electrical noise from switching power supplies, large appliances, and the power grid itself, which degrades picture and sound quality. The products in the MR Family have advanced noise filtration (Level 2 and Linear Noise Filtration), allowing equipment to perform to its best.