One of the highlights at CEDIA Expo every year are the amazing home theater and audiophile demo rooms, and it looks like this year will be no different. One in particular that’s sure to stand out at CEDIA Expo 2023 in Denver (Sept. 7-9) is the 11.6.6-channel Dolby Atmos theater being staged by Seymour-Screen Excellence, StormAudio, Grimani Systems, and RowOne Seating.
The brands say it will be the first fully digital AES67 Audio-over-IP (AoIP) home theater at the show in Sound Room 10 of the Colorado Convention Center. To tell us more about what that means and how the room will be set up, I chatted with Anthony Grimani of Grimani Systems and Gary Blouse, VP of Sales for North America at StormAudio in this week’s episode of the CE Pro Podcast.
According to the companies’ announcement, the demo highlights the launch of StormAudio’s new ISP Evo 32-channel AoIP surround sound preamp/processor — the first all-digital immersive audio processor to reach the CEDIA channel — networked to a Grimani Systems 16,800-watts, 11.6.6 channel active loudspeaker system.
By creating a fully digital pathway from source-to processor-to the speaker system, this showcase sets a new benchmark in audio precision and clarity, the companies state. Grimani echoed that sentiment on the Podcast, noting that this topology is not only the future of home theater, but that the future is indeed already here.
“A lot of people have done a good demo at these shows – we’re doing it with Audio over IP, which means networked audio. All the audio is going through network switches, multiple channels – 16, 20 channels all getting through network switches and getting picked out,” Grimani explains. “Is that bleeding edge? No, that’s been around on the commercial and pro audio side for a while, so much so that there’s a plethora of products made for that.
“What I’d like people to walk out with is saying, ‘This is cool, this is new, I should hang my hat on this because it’s going to make my life easier, I’m going to get in and out of these projects faster, it’s going to get me this great audio/video performance which is what I want, without all the hassles has been in the past. So that’s the 21st century – the 21st century is one where everything happens fast, everything is automated, everything’s is quick, everything’s reliable – that’s what we’re demo’ing essentially, is great picture and sound with ease.”
Blouse reiterates the point, noting that the technology has almost sort of been waiting for the residential installation community to borrow it from the commercial world – which is something that commonly happens, most recently with video walls.
“It’s not something that we came up with last week or last month; this is proven technology that’s going to be part of the residential market,” he says.
“That’s really what I want people to walk away [from the demo] with – that this is as cutting edge as it gets, without being bleeding edge.”
The key to the design is that in utilizing only Ethernet cable, a network switch, and speaker cable for its audio connections, this not only highlights the simplicity and efficiency of the setup, but eliminates common industry issues like ground-loop hum while allowing for advanced features such as remote setup, calibration, and monitoring.
Video Prowess, Comfort Also Key to Sound Room 10 Demo
For Grimani, the room combines the best of both worlds, because not only does his Grimani Systems develop loudspeakers, but his PMI (Performance Media Industries) outfit has designed hundreds of systems over the years so he can speak to the benefits of a fully calibrated system that can deliver sweet music to more than just the sweet spot.
“The speaker company is a vendor of speakers. It’s a little bit different … we often come in at the end to do the calibration and commissioning, which is a thing that PMI Engineering has done – not on all projects but some. And on Grimani Systems we also offer design service; the design service being supplied by PMI Engineering and it goes like this: ‘Integrator, would you like to buy a bunch of really good speakers and have us design the room and produce a bunch of plans?”
In the CEDIA Expo Sound Room 10 demo, they’ll have some help on the video end too. Maximizing both audio and video performance for the demo is Seymour-Screen Excellence’s Enlightor-Neo 4K HDR immersive film screen surfaceandAdjustable Ratio Theater (ART) immersive 4-way masking system.
At 13.5 feet wide, this screen is designed to impart no coloration to the sound of the speakers behind it and is mated to a state-of-the-art Barco Residential Njord Cinemascope 5K 3-Chip DLP projector, madVR Envy Extreme video processor, and high-performance TLD+ short throw lens, making for an incredible collaboration of video products everyone should see, playing 4K high-res content from a Kaleidescape system.
Attendees of the roughly 15-minute demo will experience two luxurious and innovative seating designs from RowOne Seating, a 2023 CE Pro 100 Bullet Brand recipient in our annual Brand Analysis.
Following home cinema best practices with respect to audio and video design, the demo will feature the company’s patent-pending, low-back, zero-clearance power incliner, the Calveri, across the front row, and the contemporary Cortespower recliner and power headrest across the second row. These products represent the latest in seating design trends and allow for the best possible audio and video presentations by reducing the impact front-row seating can often have on the second row.
Additionally, throughout Expo, industry experts Chris Seymour, Evan Zerby (Seymour-Screen Excellence); Olivier Thumerel, Blouse, Matthew Trinklein (StormAudio); Grimani, Brett Bjorkquist (Grimani Systems), and Todd Girdis (RowOne) will be available to provide in-depth insights and engage with dealers, sales representatives, and any accompanying trades.
Hear much more from Grimani and Blouse about how the demo room design plans came together plus other aspects of the demo by listening to or downloading the entire conversation above. Find past episodes of the CE Pro Podcast by subscribing to the CE Pro YouTube channel or our Apple and Spotify podcast feeds.