For while the outlook was not good, doom-and-gloom ruled and no one could see the light at the end of the tunnel. That was back around 2009. Here in 2015 optimism is the operative word. Industry stalwarts such as Jeremy Burkhardt of Origin Acoustics, as well as benchmark manufacturers such as Sonos and home theater innovators such as Dolby Laboratories, are ushering in a new era of home entertainment that brings with it a level of optimism that hasn't been seen in several years.
At the 2015 CEDIA Expo, the level of optimism was obvious. Even the Eeyore-esque assembly of editors, bloggers and analysts (myself included) at Press Day could not dampen what looks to be the best CEDIA Expo in a long time.
Focusing on some of the highlights, Burkhardt pointed out his company's launch has been a “great adventure.” He points out the company was well received by the custom install industry. He also notes that he is proud of how well the company is doing after many people had said statements such as, “nobody needs another in-wall speaker company.”
Expanding upon the company's initial product launch, Burkhardt says Origin is promoting its toolless and “more bass, less space” design and engineering concepts. The company has introduced several new in-wall subwoofers and companion outboard DSP amplifiers. Burkhardt explains the company is abandoning standard construction methods that include the use of MDF cabinets to use aluminum. According to Burkhardt, aluminum provides the company up to 40 percent more cabinet volume than traditional MDF.
Another design innovation Origin is bringing to market is the mounting technique of its two new construction in-wall sub models. Available in a choice of either a 10-inch or 12-inch woofer, the new construction models employ a suspension system that is designed to minimize the transfer of vibrations through standard mounting brackets into wall studs. Burkhardt adds that when combined with Origin's new 500-watt DSP amp, the 12-inch model is capable of playing down to 24Hz.
“We are excited about the subwoofers,” he says. “This [the 12-inch model] allows dealers to put two subs in the home theater one in each room.”
Over in the whole-house audio category, wireless category leader Sonos is not resting on its past accomplishments. A few weeks ago the company introduced its new Play:5 active loudspeaker that incorporates new drivers, amplification, crossover networks and a new industrial design. Headlining its software tweaks, the company has added its TruePlay auto room equalization technology.
Demonstrating the technology, Sonos asks dealers to watch a quick video that shows how simple the EQ is. Taking approximately 55 seconds, TruePlay uses the microphone in users' iOS devices to measure room interactions. Once completed, TruePlay cleans up common sound issues such as muddy bass and smeared top end.
Summing up the technology, Sonos states it underscores its pursuit of “pure musical truth.” The tenets of its musical truth include full-frequency clarity, stereo imaging and well defined bass performance.
In the home theater category, dealers should check out the Sound Organisation's booth. The Dallas-based importer/distributor represents the Arcam, DALI and Rega lines of products, and in a demonstration in its Dallas office the company showed Arcam's new 850 A/V receiver. This flagship receiver incorporates the company's proprietary Class-G amplification that supplies a seemingly endless supply of current to bolster those home theater peak dynamics, and state-of-the-art technologies such as Dolby Atmos and Dirac Live room equalization.
Arcam states the new 850 receiver delivers 100-watts of power per channel, all channels driven. It adds the receiver carries an MSRP of $6,000.