Stylish Designs - ResidentialSystems.com

Stylish Designs

Residential Systems’ eighth-annual Resi Awards at CEDIA EXPO 2011 once again recognized the channel’s most innovative new product designs at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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Profiles of 2011 Resi Awards Winners for

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Best Industrial Designs

Residential Systems’ eighth-annual Resi Awards at CEDIA EXPO 2011 once again recognized the channel’s most innovative new product designs at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. This year’s recipients demonstrated excellence in industrial design in 21 categories. While the categories focus on varied elements of custom installation products, there were some common themes that represent more general industry trends, including stylish aesthetics, wireless features or hidden wires, flush mounting, portability, remote management, energy management, more affordability, and dealer input in design.

Here are the profiles of the winners and descriptions of each exceptional design.

Connectivity Product (Wired)

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Best Industrial Designs

Wi3’s WiPNET

For IPTV, smart TV, or other devices that require fast and secure wired internet connections, the WiPNET in-wall product delivers that connection over existing coax cables to TV locations across a home. The in-wall sleeve and cartridge design is combined with MoCA technology, with which Wi3 cartridges are interchangeable. One main feature of the WiPNET is the ability to take into account the technical aspect of various connection and cable types with various minimum bend radius specs. Multiple connections run flush against walls for connections that remain free of damaging, stressful impacts. Setup involves connecting the household router to any WiPNET port, and then the entire system will be up and running.

Mount

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Best Industrial Designs

OmniMount’s PLAY40

OmniMount’s newest flat-panel wall mount was engineered to fit flat panels up to approximately 55 inches and 40 pounds. The PLAY40 by OmniMount is built with constant force technology from Ergotron and has a full 20 inches of continuous vertical lift and adjustability. A gravity pivot feature allows the consumer to tilt the display up to 15 degrees without knobs and levers to lock the display into place. Constructed from polished aluminum and sheet metal, the PLAY40 offers high strength and sturdiness when viewing and interacting with the display. In addition, the product is equipped with integrated cable management that routes wires for a clean appearance.

Custom Installation Accessory

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Best Industrial Designs

Atlona’s KIT-PROHD3

Atlona’s KIT-PROHD3 directly addresses the issue of system diagnosis by providing professional troubleshooting tools and techniques to help integrators diagnose 99 percent of all system digital connectivity issues. The kit consists of the AT-DIS7_PROHD, a seven-inch HD testing monitor, which tests all digital formats, including DVI, HDMI, VGA, component, and RGB-HV video sources. The other main component of the kit is the AT-HD800 signal generator, which helps diagnose specific resolution, video timing, EDID, and color space issues in a DVI or HDMI video system. The final component is the AT-HDSynch, an HDMI EDID emulator for fixing any EDID, hot plug, or sync issue.

AV Component

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Best Industrial Designs

Linear’s DMC1 iPlay iPod Dock, MP3, and CD Player

Designed specifically to enhance Linear’s intercom offerings beyond their AM/ FM audio capability, the DMC1 iPlay iPod Dock, MP3, and CD Player is a digital entertainment accessory that shares digital music and other audio content throughout a home. The iPlay is a plugand- play accessory to Linear’s DMC series of whole-house intercom systems. Fully licensed by Apple, the iPlay is compatible with any iPod or iPhone. A 3.5 millimeter input and power only USB A port supports the other smart phones, MP3 players, and computers. A CD player component also allows users more audio-playing flexibility. Linear’s design team is experienced in personal emergency systems, wireless security systems, and wholehouse digital intercom/audio systems.

Remote Control

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Best Industrial Designs

ELAN’s HR2 Remote

ELAN spent nearly a year developing the HR2 remote’s shape and button layout aiming for simplicity and a clear 2.4-inch touch display of the g! system icon controls. The HR2 multimedia-plus home control remote features the ELAN g! engine and hybrid use of backlit buttons.

The remote enables quick-touch access to a home’s media, climate, lighting, and security systems. The HR2 is ready for use upon pick up due to a noiseless accelerometer and instant-on electronics features.

The thin, eight-ounce remote’s ergonomic design is one of its most important features. The bottom and back of the device are sculpted so depth goes from one inch in the palm to a half-inch midway for balanced gripping.

“Blending style with function was a key consideration throughout the HR2’s entire development,” said Joe Lautner, ELAN’s manager of business development and project management. “The remote has a great feel in the hand and is incredibly responsive. We set out to deliver a remote that both men and women would want to see on their tabletop and want to use. The HR2 meets both of these goals by marrying our expertise in control with a modern, elegant design.”

The touchscreen provides a bright, icon-based interface to access all home subsystems. It functions similarly to other ELAN g! interfaces, so users can transition comfortably to using the HR2. A stylish charging base is included to keep the HR2 in an upright position, making it convenient for grab-and-go use.

The HR2 is also compatible with all ELAN g! system controllers. It combines the speed, response, and graphics of a touchscreen with the simplicity and affordability that remote controls offer. The ELAN g! engine can be programmed in around 45 minutes and supports all drivers running on other g! interfaces. The remote powers off automatically when not in use, and the touchscreen and button backlight turn on as soon as it’s picked up. The HR2 communicates via infrared and 802.11g while providing metadata feedback from supported devices.

“It is an honor to be awarded the Resi Award for best remote this year, and it shows that we succeeded in our mission to make the HR2 the industry’s most attractive and functional remote,” Lautner said. “The HR2 is our flagship control product, bridging the gap between audio, video, and whole-home control. We worked hard to understand what homeowners and dealers needed from a remote, and the HR2 is the culmination of that research.”

Connectivity Product (Wireless)

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Best Industrial Designs

Pakedge’s WAP-C3G

The high-power, wireless access point Pakedge WAP-C3G can be discreetly installed in ceilings or walls. The WAP-C3G uses a high-power radio to provide range when using touchpanels, laptops, and other devices. The access point requires a seven-inch cutout and engages two mounting ears for installation that’s easier than that of an in-ceiling speaker. A one-touch latch that releases the cover enables maintenance access.

In designing the WAP-C3G, Pakedge took a dealer-centric approach. The designers were highly experienced with the custom installation channel and its unique needs. “The factor that played the biggest and most influential role in the design and development phase of the WAP-C3G was input from our dealers,” said Olivia Dumanovsky, Pakedge marketing associate. “Their feedback, opinions, and needs drive our team to create and offer the best solutions possible. A product made for the dealers will be loved by the dealers; we strive to help them network responsibly.”

By combining an in-ceiling location with a unique antenna array design, the WAP-C3G provides great Wi-Fi range and coverage. For more advanced networking, the wireless access point is capable of tagging SSIDs to different VLANS, which is important for facilitating data flow and priority.

On receiving the Resi award for best connectivity product in the wireless category, Dumanovsky commented, “We are very excited about receiving this honor. We pride ourselves in the ability to create and provide new designs for the custom installation channel. We are never satisfied with status quo, but rather continue to move with the needs of the industry, so receiving this honor continues to motivate us to produce exceptional products.”

In-Wall Speakers

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Best Industrial Designs

Kevro’s Monitor Audio Soundframe

The Monitor Audio Soundframe is a slim-profile on-wall or flush-mounted in-wall picture frame style speaker. The Soundframe both complements slim video displays and also adds its own element of stylish room design with a selection of distinctive frames and customizable grille cloths.

With only 3.5 inches of depth, the Soundframe speaker is unobtrusive, whether mounted on a wall or flush into standard cavity wall construction and is simple to install either way. A connecting cable runs in the wall cavity from the back and is connected to the front, five-way binding posts. The results look seamless and wire-free. A high-gloss, lacquer frame further contributes to the aesthetically pleasing design. A range of printed grille cloth designs and other custom designs are available.

But the Soundframe isn’t just about a great-looking speaker; its technical features produce HiFi sound quality to go along with its fashionable appearance. An 18-degree pivoting inverted dual-concentric (IDC) driver and Monitor Audio’s ceramic-coated, aluminum magnesium (C-CAM) drivers’ rigid surface technology are all paired with Monitor’s gold-dome tweeter.

According to Sheldon Ginn, VP sales and marketing for Kevro, “I think what makes SoundFrame special is a collection of things, including its discreet, yet stylish, appearance, Monitor Audio’s proprietary driver technology, the MDF back boxes that provide a controlled performance every time, and the selection of grille options, which allow clients to use their own choice of images for a true custom product.”

The IDC driver provides directional sound, so the speakers can be placed discreetly away from a flat-panel display, and the decorative style is designed to give the impression of wall art. The C-CAM material was originally designed for aerospace industry components, which must be both extremely durable and lightweight. The Soundframe’s C-CAM drivers integrate this extreme rigidity and lightweight quality in its loudspeaker cones to provide high overall efficiency. More conventional speaker cones are subject to twisting or flexing, resulting in audio distortion. The C-CAM cones resist bending stress more, enabling higher fidelity of the entire operating range.

On winning the Resi Award, Ginn said, “We are both flattered and honored to receive recognition from Residential Systems, knowing that many other renowned brands were contending for this award. Monitor Audio continues to produce high-performance, high-value products, which are both sonically superb and aesthetically pleasing, [and] therefore meet the needs of discerning clients.”

On-wall Speakers

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Best Industrial Designs

GoldenEar’s SuperSat 50

The SuperSat 50 is a slim, 27-inch long, 2.5-inch deep music and home theater speaker available in both a vertical version (SuperSat 50) and horizontal, center-channel-optimized version (SuperSat 50C). The cabinet is constructed from piano-gloss-black-finished aerospace-grade aluminum and contains two 4.5-inch cast basket bass/midrange drivers surrounding the GoldenEar high-velocity folded ribbon (HVFR) tweeter. Two planar low-frequency radiators complete the driver complement. The HVFR˙ tweeter diaphragm, a high-temperature film powered by a high-power rare-earth neodymium magnet, propagates sound waves and moves the air by squeezing it with its accordion-like diaphragm, rather than pushing it as conventional drivers do. The result is better impedance matching to the air in the room with greater control, more extended response, low distortion, and improved dynamic range.

Video Product

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Best Industrial Designs

SIM2’s CRYSTAL 35

The CRYSTAL 35’s elegant video projector enclosure, complete with glass accents is bright enough to light up a big screen and discreet enough to be displayed in a living room. Flexibility of placement of this projector is easier with a lens throw ratio of 1.62 to 2.43:1 and vertical lens shift adjustment. DLP technology combined with DynamicBlack contrastenhancing technology delivers crisp, clear images without motion-blur. The electronics used in this system control the UHP lamp by both one bright pulse and one dark pulse. The dark pulse enhances contrast, while the bright pulse improves brightness.

Integrated Product Family

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Best Industrial Designs

Crestron’s PMC3-XP Prodigy Expander

Prodigy PMC3-XP is a high-powered, yet affordable, IP-based home control system. Real-time multi-tasking runs 10 independent control programs simultaneously. For distributed architecture systems, PMC3- XP offers the flexibility to connect multiple control processors on the same home network. Using the included Prodigy PLX3 or PTX3 handheld remote, a graphic-rich on-screen display expands home control to the TV, from where a GUI guides homeowners through pushbutton control of the integrated home systems. The PMC3-XP delivers a substantial increase in processing power and speed with more memory (two gigabytes onboard, expandable to one terabyte), networking and IP control, and a modular programming architecture. The built-in wireless gateway enables control signals to be sent hundreds of feet through floors and walls without the need for extra boxes and wiring.

Lighting Control Interface

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Lutron’s Dynamic Keypad for HomeWorks QS

The Dynamic Keypad for the Lutron HomeWorks QS system is a capacitive touch interface that controls lights, shades, and AV. It replaces multiple keypads, offering a cleaner wall design, and can control up to 180 zones. The keypad is easy to install and program and features colorful, intuitive icons. Keypad programming is done by the installer in the HomeWorks QS software and is similar to programming one of the system’s other keypads. The Dynamic Keypad is available in both wired and wireless models. Button labeling (engraving) is instantly available to the homeowner. Additionally, the dynamic keypad provides control of scenes, rooms and individual lights, even if dimmers, switches, and keypads are not located within that immediate area.

Power Management Product

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Panamax’s M4320-PRO

The M4320-PRO combines BlueBOLT power and energy management with pro-level linear noise filtration. With BlueBOLT, installers can power-cycle individual outlets or outlet banks from any web-enabled device. The BlueBOLT platform also calculates the energy used by connected devices and reports it, historically and in real time, in kilowatt-hours, as well as dollars.

To automate equipment functionality, the 1-RU M4320-PRO includes a standard RS-232 port for remote control of all eight individual rear-panel outlets. The unit offers four isolated linear filtered outlet banks at 20-amp total capacity while two dedicated front-panel reboot buttons allow power cycling for individual outlets.

The Panamax engineering team, alongside industrial design firm Studio RED, collaborated on the M4320-PRO. Their design was based on feedback from Panamax’s customer base and more than 35 years of experience in designing power management solutions.

“We started off by making sure the utility of the design was rock solid and that all elements the user would interact with-from the interface buttons and indicators to the placement of the outlets and connectors-were ideally situated for an installation environment,” said John Benz, director of marketing. “Then we moved to several distinctive aesthetic design concepts but quickly gravitated toward a very high-tech look, as the feature set of this product is defined as, perhaps, the most advanced power management solution ever designed.”

The M4320-PRO unit features a sleek design with volt/amp meter, outlet status indicator, and warning LEDs on the front panel. The M4320-PRO takes up only 1 RU and offers a 19-inch PRO rack width.

“From all of the design concepts, we unified the more advanced aesthetics such as the signature ‘guitar pick’ shape for the voltmeter/ammeter, the ‘liquid metal’ finish that gives the front panel a smoother feel, and all of the rounded elements that provide a surprisingly organic look for a rack-mount product,” Benz said. “The finished product looks absolutely awesome in a system rack, and is a piece that often gets commented on for its elegant design once installed.”

Because of the unit’s compatibility with BlueBOLT energy management, custom installers and integrators can power-cycle the individual M4320-PRO outlets or outlet banks remotely from anywhere. In addition, auto-reboot outlets can be designed to automatically power-cycle when an internet connection is lost.

BlueBOLT provides installers and dealers with an energy management platform that helps clients be more energy efficient and can save them money on their utility bills. The BlueBOLT platform calculates the energy used by connected devices and reports it, historically and in real time, in kilowatt-hours, as well as dollars. Users can also set energy budgets for their equipment and receive alerts when their usage is near or exceeding an allotted budget.

BlueBOLT allows dealers to control how much, if any, interaction end users have with the product’s online interface. There are no static IP addresses to obtain, no port numbers to remember, and no new ISP accounts to configure. Unlike traditional IP systems that require a dedicated IT professional or programmer to set up and install, BlueBOLT is plug-and-play to operate.

“It’s a tremendous honor to win the Resi Award for the M4320-PRO. We take a lot of pride in our industrial design process,” Benz said. “Often our products are placed at the top of a system rack so they really need to have cool aesthetics to help complement the look of a high-end, sophisticated system, without compromising on ease of use for the installer. Many think a rack-mount unit design is limited to a black box with lights on it, but we made several design choices to ensure the product would have a unique and fresh look.”

Speaker Family

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Polk’s LSi M 7.1 Home Theater Speakers

Polk Audio’s LSiM series is a highperformance home audio speaker series that represents the company’s most advanced engineering to date. Encompassing floorstanding, bookshelf, center, and surround models, the LSiM series is designed for a dedicated, no-compromise, 7.1-channel experience that complements a traditional multiroom audio installation. The series is characterized by open, transparent, and three-dimensional sound, with accurate tonal and temporal response at all frequencies, extended dynamics, uniformly wide dispersion, and deep, tight, integrated bass. The LSiM series complements a broad range of past, present, and future hardware and software. It has been designed with narrowprofile enclosures with sleek, rear-sloping curvature and features transducer technology that combines the latest in composite materials and computer-assisted geometry to create drivers with low distortions and artifacts.

Special Product

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TRUFIG’s HVAC Series

The TRUFIG HVAC Solution provides a new aesthetic for typical HVAC grilles and diffusers to be installed flush mount to the wall, ceiling, or baseboard without unsightly protrusions that can cause shadows on the surrounding surface. Four different styles of the TRUFIG HVAC Grille Fascias for supply or return are available: slotted, T pattern, square pattern, and cross style. Each grille pattern is also available in four different sizes. Mounting platforms are available for typical wall/ ceiling installations such as drywall and plaster, as well as solid surface applications such as marble, granite or wood.

Special Speaker

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Cambridge Audio’s Minx

Cambridge Audio’s Minx speaker achieves high levels of power and refinement from surprisingly small speakers. Measuring three inches by three inches, Min10 microsatellite loudspeakers are available in high-gloss white or black acoustically damped scratch-resistant polymer and banded with aluminum trim and flush mounting grills. A stealth binding post that accepts spades, bare wire, and banana connectors completes the rear side. The X200 subwoofer measures an eight-inch square and comes with a wireless dongle for flexible placement. Min10 and Min20 drivers are full-range hybrid BMR drivers, combining traditional pistonic cone modulation at lower frequencies with bending wave technology at higher frequencies. Additionally, the X-Series subwoofers employ active DSP that monitors cone modulations and employs real-time gain and dampening corrections.

Best Touchpanel

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Control4’s InfinityEdge

Control4 InfinityEdge˙ in-wall touchscreens provide affordable home control in a five-inch or seven-inch design and enables room-to-room communication with an optional intercom feature. Four buttons can be customized to automatically adjust lighting, thermostat, shades, or AV equipment. Both models feature wired and wireless connections and multiple power options, so they can be added to a home without complex rewiring and additional construction costs. The Wi-Fi enabled InfinityEdge’s design allows electricians to pre-wire in new construction. The touchscreen is available for less than half the cost of most dedicated control touchpanels and comparable in price to iPhone and iPad mobile touchscreen solutions.

Projection Screen

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Stewart’s Silver 5D

Stewart Filmscreen’s Silver 5D is a flexible front-projection screen material optimized for both high-definition 2D video and 3D applications.

Stewart Filmscreen designed its Silver 5D for those integrators and customers who want to view both 2D and 3D content, but do not want to deal with the hassle or bulky equipment required to have two separate screens. The screen simplifies home theater and is unlike any other 2D/3D solution on the market. This common single screen home theater setup saves space and gives a real cinematic experience at home.

“3D content and solutions are one of the top researched and discussed topics among videophiles and trade partners,” said Grant Stewart, president, Stewart Filmscreen. “Both Residential and Commercial end users want their new products to be future proof, so being able to utilize a single screen fabric for both 3D and 2D is a huge benefit.”

It is formulated as a polarization-preserving surface for passive, linear, or circular polarized stereoscopic reproduction. Silver 5D performs in ratio of extinction, furnishing what the company says are ghost-free stereoscopic images. It also has sufficient viewing cone and uniformity to provide excellent performance as a high-contrast screen for conventional digital 2D projection. The screen’s 3D half-gain angle exceeds any other silver 3D screen, according to Stewart.

The Silver 5D can be micro-perforated, so speakers can be placed behind the screen without negative effects on sound quality. The screen also has added flexibility of being rolled and retracted. Integrators and installers can also benefit from this retractable screen, as they are not locked down or restricted by fixed-frame designs and can integrate this screen into any interior environment.

“That we are able to both MicroPerf as well as offer it in an electric roller screen opens the application of the Silver 5D to a much larger market than you would traditionally find for 3D screen material,” Stewart said.

The Silver 5D material has been designed to be compatible with Stewart’s CineCurve, Directors Choice masking systems, and all other premium Stewart fixed-mounting systems. Stewart rolled out the Silver 5D screen late last year, with its fixed-frame unit making its first public appearance at the ISE Show this past February in Amsterdam. The screen, which was also showcased in a 3D technology exhibit in New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image is available in seamless sizes up to 40 x 90 feet.

“Receiving this great honor shows that Stewart Filmscreen remains focused on providing innovative solutions that are top of mind with dealers, consultants and custom installers,” Stewart said. “Stewart Filmscreen has a rich history of bringing award winning products to market, and I am thrilled to be able to continue that legacy with Silver 5D.”

Power Amplifier

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Lexicon’s DD-8 Multi-room Power Amplifier

The Lexicon DD-8 is a multi-room audio power amplifier that delivers more power in less space. Utilizing Harman’s patented DriveCore technology, the DD-8 features eight channels of 125 watts each, all in a chassis only one rack space high and weighing less than 10 pounds.

A full complement of inputs, outputs, and control allow easy configuration to suit a various installations. While the DD-8 frees up more space in any rack, it also adds a touch of elegance with its classic Lexicon aluminum front panel and blue LED lighting.

While taking cues from existing Lexicon products, the DD-8 gives a glimpse into the future of the brand and provides a visual representation of the advanced technology within the product. The front panel is unusually small for a 1000-watt amplifier, and the front panel footprint leaves little space for controls, displays, and other necessary features, yet the DD-8 provides everything necessary while still maintaining an elegant appearance.

The rear panel was more of a challenge at only one-third the size of competing designs, but again, the DD-8 delivers with an organized layout that provides easy legibility and connectivity. Yet the design didn’t sacrifice anything in pursuit of a small size. The rear-panel consists of a full-complement of features, including local and bus inputs, stereo/mono selection, channel output level controls, and system triggers.

The foundational DriveCore circuitry seamlessly integrates the amplifier drive stage into the power output stage, fusing everything into a chip the size of a dime. With five patents applying to the advanced feedback, modulation, and output stage technologies, DriveCore’s front-end drive circuits leverage the inherent efficiencies of Class D designs while delivering the audiophile performance of advanced AB designs.

The 90 percent efficiency of the DriveCore stage means everything stays cool, and no fan is required, so equipment racks stay quiet. The DD-8 was designed with future low power consumption ratings in mind and uses less power during normal operation than many traditional amplifiers do at idle. With more than twice the output power in a chassis one-third the size and less than one-fifth the weight of a traditional Class-A/B design, the DD-8 sets a new standard for multichannel amplifier technology.

“We are very pleased that the design of our Lexicon DD-8 was honored by Residential Systems,” said Jim Garrett, market manager for Harman Luxury Audio Group. “The relatively small front panel (only one rack space high) still maintains the iconic and elegant Lexicon look of the thick aluminum front panel and engraved logo. The small size belies the fact that the amplifier itself is one of the most powerful and efficient multiroom amplifiers available due in part to Harman’s patented DriveCore amplifier architecture and our adherence to Harman’s GreenEdge design philosophy.”

Subwoofer

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Paradigm’s Reference MilleniaSub

The MilleniaSub is a wireless-ready, dual-woofer Paradigm Reference subwoofer designed with flexible placement, high performance, and affordability. When installed horizontally, the unique design fits the subwoofer under a couch. It can also be mounted on the wall with the MilleniaSub wall bracket or upright in its cradle for a more discreet installation. Wall mounting is also possible due to the subwoofer’s slim profile and extruded aluminum cabinet that work to eliminate resonance.

“The compact, oval shape stands out as a completely revolutionary design in the world of subwoofers,” said Mark Aling, Paradigm director of marketing. “Its compact form allows it to be wall-mounted, stashed under a couch or just placed next to an AV set-up.”

A dual woofer bipolar design cancels vibration, so the MilleniaSub does not suffer the negative effects internal resonance or wall vibrations result in. The MilleniaSub features an onboard receiver that works with Paradigm’s new PT-2 wireless transmitter, which helps transfer audio data without interference, delays, or uneven playback.

Technical features of the MilleniaSub include a corrugated surround for greater excursion length. The surround design is made up of a one-inch diameter voice coil and a high-energy density rare earth-ring neodymium magnet. Two 14-inch by four-inch cones increase stiffness yet maintain the strengthto- weight ratio of the cone’s assembly. The sub practically eliminates cabinet resonances within its operating band using a slim profile and five-millimeter-thick extruded cabinet design.

The MilleniaSub is capable of implementing Paradigm’s Perfect Bass Kit (PBK) for correcting a room’s negative effects caused by furniture or other obstructions.

The woofer’s back-to-back bipolar design helps keep the form factor thing and cancels vibration as a monocoque cone design allows the outer skin of the cones to bear the motion stress. The dustcap’s design is braced through the center and stuck to the cone’s edge, so designers can move the primary breakup mode outside the woofer’s operating range.

“Earning an award for industrial design is especially rewarding because our Reference MilleniaSub is such a unique form factor, not seen before in a subwoofer,” Aling said. “Our in-house engineers considered every part of the internal and external design to create a sub that could provide as much installation flexibility as possible, without sacrificing performance. Subwoofer form and function embrace each other as never seen before. This Resi award proves our aesthetics and design can match the performance we know it’s capable of. We’re very proud.”

Floorstanding Speaker

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KEF’s Blade

The KEF Blade represents an evolution of KEF’s Concept Blade and offers the highest quality sound reproduction available using KEF’s single apparent source technology. The speaker is matched to a glass-reinforced composite cabinet, along with its striking design.

The Blade’s cabinet grows gradually from its base, expanding in the middle then tapering at the top, similar to a knife blade. The rigid, heavy cabinet is constructed from a polished glass reinforced composite. The parabolic shape increases the cabinet’s rigidity further. The drivers are fully decoupled, so sound is only generated from driver movement, not the cabinet. A single key line emanates from the base, around the drivers, and over the apex.

“KEF Blade’s amazing and one-of-a-kind sound performance is complemented by the loudspeaker’s elegant cabinet design,” said Alec Chanin, president of KEF America. “The unique shape of the enclosure increases cabinet rigidity, and the drivers are fully decoupled, ensuring sound is only generated from the movement of the driver and not the cabinet.”

KEF Blade is available in a standard gloss white and gloss black colors, but it will eventually be available in a much wider array of colors.

The single apparent source technology ensures individual driver sections for bass, midrange, and treble of the multi-way loudspeaker work together to produce sound-fields that appear to come from the same place, which is critical at the crossover frequencies where sound output switches between drivers.

“KEF Blade represents a ground-breaking revolution in the way a loudspeaker is designed and how it performs,” Chanin said. “KEF’s unique Single Apparent Source technology delivers sound quality that puts listeners right in the recording studio by radiating the entire low-, mid-, and high-frequency range from a single point in space.”

Four nine-inch bass drivers are responsible for the Blade’s distortion-free, lowfrequency response. This is achieved by allowing the forces of each moving cone to cancel each other out by arranging them in opposed, symmetrical pairs; however, the force the bass drivers produce is so strong that large rear magnets had to be bonded directly to each other to experience the full benefit of the technology. The drivers are side firing, so the acoustic center coincides with the midrange driver and tweeter.

“From concept to reality, KEF Blade is the result of an extensive, fiveyear R&D project, backed by 50 years of KEF engineering and loudspeaker innovation,” Chanin said. “Every aspect of KEF Blade was meticulously designed to help deliver sound quality never before heard in a loudspeaker. Having KEF Blade honored by Residential Systems and the Resi Awards program for its truly advanced design only further validates KEF Blade as one of the most unique and superior loudspeakers ever produced.”

Rack

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Middle Atlantic Products’ Rackmounts for Portable Media Player Docks

Middle Atlantic Products offers several RSH Series options for rackmounting iPods and other portable media player docks. These aesthetic rackmounts are custom cut to precisely fit the face of each piece of equipment and now include options for a number of popular portable media docks, allowing a more uniform look for professionally installed rack systems.

These rackmounts take the concept of a traditional rackmount media holder one step further in terms of aesthetics by enabling the same functionality in a more high-end style. The custom-cut faces are specific to different dock brands and contribute to a neatly trimmed installation with a perfect fit and no gaps.

These new designs enable easy access to buttons, IR windows, LEDs, and other indicators. The large opening allows docks and players to be easily inserted and removed, while a four-space size accommodates most brands of iPod docks and other media players.

“These custom rackmounts can help maintain a rack cooling plan, but are primarily designed for aesthetics, and we think that the ability to provide a highly professional finish to an equipment rack really helped them stand out,” said Kevin Handerson, director of marketing communications, Middle Atlantic Products. “Media player manufacturers put much thought into the design of their portable media player docks, so it’s our obligation to make sure that our rackmounts also enable their product designs to shine through.”

RSH Series Custom Face Rackmounts, which include the rackmounting dock models, provide for professional installations of non-rackmount AV equipment by allowing virtually any component to be installed in a standard 19-inch enclosure without modification. This professional fit not only looks good, but also prevents unwanted, unintended airflow. There are accurate details on over 9,500 components in the measured unit database available on Middle Atlantic’s website to make ordering easier. The unit assembles easily in minutes and includes rear brackets to prevent the component from sliding back. It features fully ventilated shelf sides and bottom to promote cooling airflow and is available in a black textured or black brushed and anodized finish.

RSH rackmounts are available quickly for thousands of components, including many introduced just this year. Their design has evolved over the years to accommodate changing technologies, including addressing the thermal management requirements of today’s high-heat generating components. CEDIA members can even include these custom rackmounts in the drawings they produce using the company’s RackTools rack layout software program.

On winning the Resi Award, Handerson commented, “It means a great deal to us to receive this honor. We emphasize industrial design in all our products and feel like this acknowledges that we are continued in the right direction. It’s especially meaningful for us as these specific models are an extension of our full RSH Series custom rackmount offering, which was just inducted into CEDIA’s Product Hall of Fame. The RSH line has continually evolved for 28 years to accommodate changing technologies, and will continue to do so.”

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