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Wider Sweet Spot: Solving 50 Audio Integration Problems

In an Omni hotel suite during CEDIA, Grimani provided a lengthy explanation of the design process and what makes his speakers unique.

At CEDIA 2014, renowned home theater acoustical engineer Anthony Grimani (THX and PMI Engineering) launched a new loudspeaker brand, called Grimani Systems, with his business partner and designer Manny LaCarrubba and silent partner David Steel. When Grimani presented his initial designs on the trade show floor in Denver that year, he showed scale models of what the home theater speakers would look like when they were built. At this past year’s CEDIA in Dallas, Grimani arrived with fully operational, full-size production units of his CinemaOne Audio Ensemble, and gave a series of demos that convinced many people that this company had found a way to improve the way home theater speakers are designed and built.

The CinemaOne Audio Ensemble is the brainchild of Grimani and LaCarraubba, but the speakers were made possible by a financial investment of Steel, who is an entrepreneur, longtime audiophile, and one of Grimani’s clients. The speakers have been designed to deliver exceptional sound quality and coverage thanks to LaCarrubba’s development of the Conic Section Array (CSA) waveguide, the loudspeaker’s driving technology. The CSA waveguide ensures that everyone in the room experiences the same superior sound, delivering virtually unlimited power and extraordinary musicality in one integrated architecture.

The CinemaOne Audio Ensemble consists of a multichannel digital audio controller and 13 loudspeakers that are named variously, as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. The CinemaOne is suitable for rooms up to 25,000 cubic feet.

Audio guru Anthony Grimani and his chief engineer Manny LaCarrubba recently launched Grimani Systems and the company’s first two products, the CinemaOne and CinemaTwo Audio Ensembles, are now shipping.

In an Omni hotel suite during CEDIA, Grimani provided a lengthy explanation of the design process and what makes his speakers unique. A wider sweet spot was a clearly discernable trait of the speakers, but so was the precise nature of their digital design, offering massive amounts of headroom and virtually no chance of failure. Grimani Systems’ design allows a digital audio signal to be fed directly into the loudspeaker, where it meets an electronic crossover in the digital domain. There’s a built-in EQ and three power amplifiers inside the speaker, as well. Compare this with traditional sound systems over the last 50 years that require a back-end of power amplifiers with wires that lead to speakers that contain a combination of woofers, midranges, and tweeters, plus a passive crossover circuit. According to Grimani, his digital speaker systems were designed to solve 50 audio issues that have plagued traditional speakers.

During his CEDIA demo, Grimani demonstrated his “50 solutions” by asking a visitor to pick any number out of 50. He would then walk over to his chart, state the problem at that number, and explain how his company’s design solves it. For instance, number 39 on the list says that speakers are commonly connected out of polarity somewhere within the system, which robs them of performance. The solution? The CinemaOne and CinemaTwo Audio Ensembles, Grimani noted, are not sensitive to polarity errors because they are all digital and network-connected.

Grimani provided anecdote after anecdote from his real-world, in-the-field experience of working with temperamental loudspeakers, and how those frustrating situations influenced his new designs. For instance, he said, he’d never seen one system where everything works perfectly when it’s time to turn it on. “It could be that the speaker is blown out of the box, incorrectly placed or hooked up, rattling, and so on,” he said. “Before you can turn it on and be impressed, you have to fix or repair something. It would be like buying a nice car and having to go through six recalls before you can drive it. It’s inappropriate.”

So Grimani and LaCarrubba set out to make a system that not only sounds fantastic, but is also easy to install and reliable, ensuring a healthy profit margin for dealers.

“When I talk about retaining profit margin, just think about when a system is hooked up incorrectly or is broken. It’s the integrator that gets squeezed by having to keep sending techs and installers to the site,” he said. “With technology and systems in their current state, the integrator typically absorbs this cost.”