Road to CEDIA: JBL Synthesis and Revel are Front and Center

You can’t miss Harman’s booth on the CEDIA EXPO exhibit floor in Denver later this month. Literally, because it will be located right inside the entrance doors to the hall, and right in the middle of the booth will be the company’s legendary JBL Synthesis theater demo.
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You can’t miss Harman’s booth on the CEDIA EXPO exhibit floor in Denver later this month. Literally, because it will be located right inside the entrance doors to the hall, and right in the middle of the booth will be the company’s legendary JBL Synthesis theater demo.

“This year they’ve consolidated everything down to a single footprint,” noted Jim Garrett, director of marketing and product management for Harman International’s Luxury Audio & Loudspeakers division. “[The booth] going to be a tight fit, but our focus is on that big Synthesis theater and as is usually the case, it’s going to be one of our big, over-the-top systems.”

The booth will feature products from both JBL Synthesis and Revel, but the theater will feature the SDP-45, the processor that not so secretly is being OEM’d from Bryston. That processor was in the JBL Synthesis theater last year, but it was a very early sample and now its in production and Harman will be shipping units soon.

“That’s a big deal for us, because it gets us back up to date with a modern processor,” Garrett said.

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The Revel Performa3 Series M105 bookshelf speaker.

As for Revel, Harman will showcase its recently launched mid-level Performa3 Series, which is the brand’s mid-range product line in the traditional component loudspeakers category. These speakers start at the $1,500 for the M105 bookshelf and run up to $5,000 a pair for the F208.

Adding to the Performa3 Series at the show are new subwoofers, the B110 and B112, that were announced in July, but will available for order at CEDIA.

“These subs were shown at CES and last year at CEDIA, but they’re real now,” Garrett said. “I’m building a display with the raw drivers shown in Plexiglass because I think people are going to be impressed with the caliber of transducers in these subs.

The subs feature Harman’s Low-Frequency Optimization (LSO) EQ, that enables an integrator to EQ the subs separately or a system’s main speakers.

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Harman's Revel Rhythm2 18-inch powered subwoofer.

Harman will also display the Revel Rhythm2, a $10,000 18-inch powered subwoofer that completes the Ultima2 Series for complete surround systems that began shipping at the end of last month.

Measuring 24.6 inches high by 27.9 inches wide by 28 inches deep, the Revel Rhythm2 employs an 18-inch aluminum cast-frame front-firing woofer with a 4-inch diameter by 1.75-inch long Xmax voice coil, and a high-power neodymium-magnet motor system with a symmetrical magnetic field configuration that reduces distortion and dynamic compression to a minimum. The Rhythm2’s 2,000-watt amplifier (RMS; 4,000 watts peak) provides power to drive the woofer to maximum levels without strain and deliver authoritative bass down to below 20 Hz. The Rhythm2 features a sophisticated multi-band DSP-based protection algorithm that allows up to twice its massive amplifier power to reach the transducer, when compared to traditional self-protection circuits. This provides unprecedented dynamic capability-- regardless of whether the signal is dynamic or continuous in nature.

Additionally, two more architectural models will be joining the Revel Architectural Series, making it a complete line, Garrett said.

“Six months ago we launched what was called the 2 Series, as our entry-level price points for Revel,” he explained. “That got us down to an entry-level price point of $350/pair for a 6-inch, in-ceiling model and we’re adding two new models to the 2 Series, making a total of seven.”

The new additions are shallow-mount versions of the 6-inch and 8-inch in-ceilings. Called the C263 LP and C283 LP, these models are mainly intended for the international market where it’s more difficult to find enough room to install a standard in-ceiling speaker. The speaker offers the same aluminum tweeter and aluminum woofer as a standard 2-Series speaker, but with no attenuators or waveguide modules to fatten up the depth of the structure.

At a final depth of about four and half inches, these slimmer models are a $50 premium over the standard models, at $225 for the 6-inch model and is each and $275 for the 8-inch speaker.

Also on display at the Harman booth will be a few products from outside the Luxury Audio & Loudspeakers division. These will include the Studio 2 component loudspeaker, which replaces the existing Studio 1. Also, a new $999 Harman Kardon soundbar, called Sabre SB 35 and Sabre SB 26, will be on display.

“It’s super thin, at only an inch deep, and offers HDMI connectivity and a wireless subwoofer that only three inches deep, so it can hang on a wall or tuck under a sofa,” Garrett said.

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