CEDIA Expo: Fueling the Hot Audio Market

Soundbars and Bluetooth catch fire

CEDIA Expo provided audio suppliers with a stage to showcase highly featured components that mesh easily within home control ecosystems. Loudspeaker introductions were attuned to making TVs sound better, as was the case last year. Many of those speakers now included Bluetooth and AirPlay to give consumers easier access to audio stored on their mobile devices. Here are highlights:

• D&M brands: Denon unveiled the Piccolo two-channel tabletop network streaming system ($499). It’s available in high-gloss white or black, and matches up with two optional speakers ($149/pair). The AVR-4520CI flagship A/V receiver ($2,499) and the DBT-3313UDCI universal disc player ($999.99) rounded out the offerings; also shown was the Music Maniac Artisan on-ear headphones ($1,999.99). Boston Acoustics presented the MC200 Air speaker system, which will be AirPlay-capable pending Apple certification ($399.99; October). The company’s first soundbar sans sub, TVee 10 ($199.99), also debuted. And from Marantz comes the AV7701 7.2-channel A/V preamp processor ($1,699.99) with AirPlay and 4K video support.
• Sony highlighted its partnership with Control4 with the introduction of its first consumer A/V receivers fully integrated with home automation technology. The STR-DA5800ES and STR-DA2800ES receivers integrate automation, and support and streamline custom installation projects.
• Leon Speakers featured the Boundary Series outdoor speakers. The Model 404 features two four-inch outdoor aluminum cone woofers for durability and one-inch aluminum/magnesium dome tweeters. Also spotlighted were the new Timbre Series bookshelf speakers.
• Sunfire focused on the Atmos subwoofer ($2,000). It uses dual 6.5-inch woofers capable of excursions of up to 1.8 inches.
• Proficient Audio took the wraps off its new MaxTV Bluetooth speaker system ($599). Dealers who buy three systems will receive support materials, including a “red button” demo device for A-B comparison of TV sound with and without the MaxTV.
• SpeakerCraft highlighted its SYNERGi wireless audio system, which includes a transmitter that can handle four sources and send audio to up to eight receivers. The basic system is priced at $680.
• Definitive Technology sported a redesigned sans serif logo. The first product to carry the new design is the SoloCinema XTR, the brand’s first active soundbar ($1,999).
• Pioneer added Pandora to its SC A/V receiver series. Also, the SC-67 and SC-68 boast 4K pass-through capability.
• GoldenEar Technology, celebrating its two-year anniversary, demonstrated its new $999.99 SuperCinema 3D Array soundbar. The company also displayed the Invisa architectural loudspeaker line, featuring a flangeless design for stealthy installations.
• Steren Electronics showed off its first loudspeakers, which are planned to ship in October under the Sequence by Steren moniker. The line will include in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, as well as indoor/outdoor models and subs. Also available will be VESA-compatible mounting hardware and an accessories selection that includes pre-installation speaker kits and volume controls.
• Atlantic Technology said it’s shipping the HPAS-technology-endowed PowerBar 235 self-powered soundbar.
• Audio Control offerings included the Maestro M4 HD preamp surround processor and the Concert AVR-4 HD home theater receiver, which features Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, plus audio output of 120 watts per channel into seven channels.
• Polk Audio played its new SurroundBar 5000, the first Bluetooth product in that category, and also demonstrated the reference model SurroundBar 9000 IHT.
• Paradigm rolled out the Aera AirPlay, its first AirPlay-compatible wireless speaker system ($599, October), as well as the H15 ($199.99) and H15NC (for noise-cancelling; $299.99) on-ear headphone. Both will ship late next month.
• Wisdom Audio is now shipping its in-wall Insight P2i and P4i; larger models P6i and P8i will follow by year end. The planar magnetic speakers, priced to reach a larger audience, use newly developed drivers and are designed with passive crossovers.
• KEF’s X300A powered digital desktop hi-fi powered speaker system represents a new product category for the company ($799.99). Each bookshelf-size die-cast aluminum speaker houses two Class AB audiophile-grade amplifiers, and each uses KEF’s Uni-Q driver array adapted from the company’s flagship Blade speaker.
• Yamaha’s newest flagship 11.2-channel A/V receiver, RX-A3020 ($2,199.95), is AirPlay-capable and features 4K pass-through. Available later in the year will be two soundbar/wireless sub systems, YSP4300 (includes an FM tuner and a USB port ($1,899.95) and 3300 ($1,599.95).
• Harman Luxury Audio emphasized the refreshed nine-model Revel Performa3 line of loudspeakers. Also on display was the Mark Levinson 40th-anniversary Reference No. 52 preamp ($30,000), due to ship in January.
• At the Lenbrook booth, PSB’s Paul Barton demonstrated the Alpha PS1 desktop audio powered speaker system ($300, October).
• Onkyo showed off its new Bluetooth-enabled RBX-500 iLunar compact music dock that incorporates a 3D sound-processing technology called wave field sythesis. The chassis houses six built-in speakers and a subwoofer.
• Integra introduced the DMI-40.4 dock; it enables AirPlay streaming capability from both new A/V receivers and legacy models. It also introduced the DTR-70.4 THX Ultra2 Plus 9.2-channel network A/V receiver. l

Editor in chief of Dealerscope
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