Too bad for the custom electronics industry there are only 24 hours in a day, or else Lenbrook engineers would have unveiled even more products at the recent CEDIA 2016 show. In quite an impressive feat, the company debuted 24 new products at the show … one for every hour of the day.
The products from Lenbrook brands NAD Electronics, PSB Speakers and Bluesound ranged from affordable new audio components to a new wireless operating system to new loudspeakers.
Greg Stidsen, director of technology and product planning, NAD Electronics, had the hefty task of running guests through the booth at CEDIA 2016 in Dallas. Fortunately, he had a microphone or he would have lost his voice, there was so much to show.
Here are some of the highlights of the product introductions.
NAD Hybrid DAC Amplifiers, BluOS Expansion
First, NAD Electronics announced three new Hybrid Digital DAC Amplifiers that cover a wide range of technologies, power and price points.
The three units are the C 338 ($649) a compact integrated amp that supports wireless networks and streaming audio using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; and the C 368 ($899) and C 388 ($1599 MSRP), which are dubbed by the company as Future Proof Hybrid Digital DAC Amplifiers.
All three models will be available in October and include theHybrid Digital Amplification, Modular Design Construction and BluOS Wireless Multi-room Audio. (See full details here.)
Meanwhile, Stidsen showed off the expansion of the BluOS operating system across the NAD product line. BluOS is a dedicated ‘music only’ operating system first developed by NAD’s sister company, Bluesound, and previous to this had made only limited appearances in select NAD Masters flagship products.
The broader adoption of BluOS into its range of amplifiers, players, receivers, and custom installation products marks a shift in the company’s strategy towards a broader level of consumer.
BluOS’s benefits include interoperability among enabled devices and connectivity to numerous cloud and network music sources. It fully supports High Resolution Audio, MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), as well as all popular lossless and lossy codecs.
For custom integrators and smart home customers, it also features integration with common control systems like Control4, Crestron and RTI, among others. BluOS-enabled devices can be controlled with a free app for Apple and Android devices, and for PC desktops.
“Essentially, NAD’s adoption of BluOS means that everyone from the casual music listener to the bona fide audiophile now has access to a wide array of products that addresses every use case in a connected home,” says Stidsen. “Best of all, because it’s the same operating system across all devices, it’s easy to set-up and configure for a consumer, while more advanced options are available for custom integrators.”
Stidsen gave the example of a typical North American household to illustrate the flexibility of BluOS: NAD Custom Installation in the living room that pipes music into the common areas using traditional speaker wire distribution; a Home Theater using a BluOS Enabled AV Receiver, a Bluesound PULSE Soundbar with the secondary TV; a few Bluesound Pulse MINIs for the bedrooms; and a reference sound system in the basement that could consist of either an existing amplifier, to which a Bluesound Node2 or Vault2 could be added, or one of NAD’s new Masters or Classic amplifiers that are BluOS-enabled.
3 New PSB Architectural Speakers
PSB Speakers introduced three new CustomSound in-ceiling speakers: the CS650 ($349 each) CS630 ($299 each) and CS610 ($249 each). The speakers all offer 6½-inch two-way design.
The CS650 is a two-way in-ceiling speaker system with 6½-inch woofer, carbon-filled polypropylene cone with injection-molded basket and high-power distortion canceling magnet technology.
The CS650 offers high sensitivity and low distortion at high playback levels. The 1-inch Titanium dome tweeter is the same driver used in the $8,000 Imagine T3, and features a neodymium magnet, Ferrofluid cooling, and for this application a Wave Guide which is rotatable and aimable for pinpoint imaging.
The CS630 is a single-point 6½-inch stereo/surround in-ceiling speaker system designed to handle both stereo channels in one speaker or for home theater surround sound duties. CS 630 utilizes a dual-voice coil woofer for Stereo or Bi-pole configurations. Two ¾-inch aluminum dome tweeters with wave guides are employed with rotatable tweeter adjustment.
All models feature 6½-inch woofers with carbon-filled polypropylene cones with rigid injection–molded baskets. All include both round and square frameless magnetic grilles. The CS models feature high-strength Delrin “dog legs” with gold-plated spring-loaded binding posts for secure, lasting signal connections.
Preconstruction brackets and backboxes are available. Outer and cutout dimensions are same for all three models. Final voicing is performed by Paul Barton at Canada’s National Research Council.
NAD Tiny Amp
NAD CI (Custom Installation) 720 Network Stereo Zone Amplifier features BluOS for streaming audio from local collections or cloud services like Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, and others.
More importantly, it also enables integration with several of the top control systems, including Control4, Crestron, and RTI. Unlike other network audio solutions, BluOS has a published API that allows a more complete and sustainable integration.
“NAD believes that there’s been a big gap in the available network streaming options for distributed multi-room audio, a core element in every Custom Integration project,” says Stidsen.
The CI 720 single stereo zone solution saves space by residing locally in the zone – behind a flat screen TV for example – where the analog and digital inputs can accommodate the local source in addition to the network stream. A thermostatically controlled forced-air cooling system assures long-term reliability even in enclosed rack installations.
To facilitate mounting the CI 720 in a rack, NAD will offer the RM 720 Rack Mount Accessory for CI 720. The unit offers 60W continuous and up to 165W Dynamic Power available. A subwoofer output is included. CI 720 also features both analog and digital inputs, which can support cable boxes, and other non-network sources and makes them available and selectable in every zone.
Additional features include USB input, Ethernet In/Out, standard network protocols and universal voltage (100-240).