AV NIRVANA's Official CEDIA 2017 Show Report
(September 13, 2017) CEDIA 2017 is in the books and – once again – it was a fantastic home theater-centric event. This year’s host city was San Diego, which (in my humble opinion) offered an upgrade over last year’s Dallas venue. Because CEDIA is an organization that serves the world of custom installers and integrators, the show’s purpose is to market and demo products to installers and their businesses. That includes numerous seminars designed to help those in the trade understand modern technologies and improve installation practices, in addition to showcasing vendors that sell everything from work trucks and trade specific specialty tools to whole home integration systems and devices that can solve post-installation problems (think HDMI cabling and complex switching systems). That being said, CEDIA leaves plenty of meat on the bone for consumer- and enthusiast-grade electronics, ranging from speakers to amps and projectors to televisions, all of which are on display. If you’re a home theater or multi-channel enthusiast, CEDIA truly is the premier destination for experiencing what the industry has to offer.
This year’s massive show floor was loaded with elaborate open-air booths and displays paired with an allotment of private demo rooms. Because the floor is packed with tens of thousands of attendees and vendors cranking volume levels to ten, the environment isn’t exactly optimal for evaluation of sound systems. Several speaker manufacturers did manage to coax great sound from their dedicated (closed) listening rooms, but, for the most part, CEDIA makes for a rather poor audio environment – if you’re fan of experiencing two-channel performances, then the larger high-end audio shows (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, AXPONA, THE Show, Capital Audio Fest, etc.) should be on your target list.
Over the past week, AV NIRVANA has reported on quite a few products launched at CEDIA, including new projector announcements from Sony and JVC, Marantz’s new flagship-tier AV receivers, and several big speaker reveals from the likes of Monoprice and Leon. We’ll continue to publish more new product announcements in the coming weeks, but today’s article is meant to serve as a snap-shot show download, touching on some of my show favorites, notable products, and take-home messages about the state of the industry and the technologies enthusiasts embrace.
So, without further delay, let’s take a dive into CEDIA 2017.
The King of Cool
Picking a manufacturer to kick-off this year’s show report triggered quite a bit of internal debate, and Devialet drew the lucky card. To be truthful, the French company happened to be my last stop at CEDIA before tucking away my notepad and heading back to the Mid-Atlantic, so its demo booth was fresh on my mind (and for good reason).
Devialet is a high-end manufacturer that’s been on the scene for the last several years. In that time, the company has laid claim to over 100 patents and designed a stable of ultra-expensive ($7,700 to $35,000) pre-amp/amp products in addition to one of the coolest wireless speakers on the planet: Phantom.
Looking like a robot from a Sci-Fi flick, Phantom is a massively powerful standalone speaker that comes in three versions. The top-of-the-line Gold model ($2,990) carries an onboard amp with 4500 Watts peak capacity and a frequency response of 14 Hz to 27 kHz (+/- 2dB), while the entry level Phantom ($1,990) offers 750 Watts of power with equally impressive output capability (16 Hz to 25 kHz). The middle-range “Silver” version ($2,390) offers tweener performance (3,000 Watts, 14 Hz to 27 kHz).
The speaker’s rounded outer shell features hard composite materials, backside optical and Ethernet connections, and bottom-side attachment points for an optional stand. The uniqueness of this speaker is its 3-way driver array comprised of dual side-firing aluminum woofers and a front facing mid-range driver that surrounds a pupil-like domed tweeter.
Devialet's three Phantom wireless speaker models look similar, but offer varied performance
Internally, the speakers carry onboard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, and Spotify Connect. I was told they also have onboard compatibility with TIDAL, Deezer, and Apple Music.
During playback, the side firing woofers deliver rapid eye-catching excursion as they push-out insanely deep chest-pounding base. The speaker’s upper and midrange performance appeared to be equally capable, punctuated by a relatively crisp high end. It’s a package that oozes cool and represents a bold redefinition of speaker design.
Devialet’s demo space featured a slick nine-channel surround system comprised of Gold Phantom speakers (it was quite an audio show full of zing and depth). I did note that the speakers all felt extremely warm to the touch, but they were being driven to extraordinarily high levels of output.
This is one speaker I’d like to hear in a proper listening environment.
Short Throw Down
Epson's LS100 Laser Display
Three different manufacturers – Sony, Hisense, and Epson – hit CEDIA with short throw projectors in tow, two of which are new to the market. It just so happens that Epson’s model was one of my top picks of the show, which is slightly surprising because it was the least expensive model of its category (not to mention the only 1080p projector of the group).
Short throw projectors definitely fall into the “lifestyle” category, not to be confused with products that enthusiasts should consider installing in a dedicated theater environment. They’re designed to produce supremely large images (typically between 80” to 120”) on a wall or screen in rooms with generous amounts of ambient light, while eliminating the need to ceiling mount a projection unit (the entire projection system can sit roughly one foot away from a wall).
Sony’s $25,000 4K model (VPL-VZ1000ES) appeared to have plenty of sizzle, painting its paired Screen Innovators fixed-frame screen with dazzling colors and smooth flowing motion. Sony mated the unit with an available cabinet that discretely housed the projector in one tidy low-sitting package. All-in-all, it appeared to be a nice, albeit expensive, high-performance product.
The other 4K model, Hisense’s new 100L8D, was – frankly – a mess. By all accounts, this $10,000 model is Hisense’s attempt to dangle a fishing line in high-end market waters, and I left its booth wondering if the company was trying to run before it could walk.
On the plus side, the 100L8D features front firing 60 Watt Harmon Kardon speakers (built into the projector unit) and a matching 60 Watt wireless subwoofer module, an included 100” Finel Bionic screen, Smart TV and web browsing capabilities, and a laser light source rated to 20,000 hours of service time. The unit also features a true 4K imager with a native 60 Hz refresh rate and some form of unidentified HDR functionality. On the negative side, the 100L8D only operates in the Rec709 color space (which means the amazing color palate offered by Wide Color is completely absent). The resulting image looked washed-out, unrefined, and desperately in need of calibration. The booth representatives were a tad lite on their depth of product knowledge, so I was left to make my own assumptions about the 100L8D’s performance (or lack there of).
The LS100 delivered a beautiful image, even with bright ambient light
The true star of the short throw group was Epson’s LS100 Laser Display. Priced at $3,000, the LS100 offers absolutely stunning bang-for-the-buck. The heart of the LS100 is an ultra-bright laser (capable of delivering 4,000 lumens) paired with an LCD chip imager. The projector is only capable of 1080p resolution, but don’t let that scare you away. Its gorgeous image was loaded with rich colors and excellent black levels, even while operating in a (very) brightly lit room. Epson had the LS100 deployed in two settings at their demo space (high ambient light and moderately low ambient light) and performance was excellent in both, making it easy to recommend for use in a family room setting. The LS100 is due to begin shipping soon and can be found through retailers such as Amazon and Magnolia.
The frontend of GoldenEar's fantastic demo room
The CEDIA show floor, at times, can weigh heavily on your mind and body. The constant casino-like drone of sound, pounding music, flashing lights, and endless hours on the feet can wear a person down. As I navigated my way toward GoldenEar’s private sound room near the end of day one, I felt like I was crawling through a desert – sun high in the sky, t-shirt wrapped around my head, lips parched, and exhaustion setting in – until I opened GoldenEar’s door, revealing a sonic oasis that literally quenched my soul.
Every single CEDIA, GoldenEar puts serious effort into making its demo room a memorable space. Several years ago, the Triton One held court, and last year Sandy Gross and team delivered a stunning performance with an all in-ceiling Invisa Atmos experience. This year, the company’s recently released Triton Reference towers ($4,249/each) were on hand for two-channel demos, and three yet-to-be-released Invisa Signature Point Source In-Wall SuperSpeakers (L/C/R, $999/each) were used in conjunction with dual SuperSub X subs ($1,249/each), four in-ceiling Invisa HTR 7000s ($499/each), and two rear Invisa MPX speakers ($499/each) for 5.2.4 Atmos playback.
GoldenEar's 2017 demo material consisted of a series of well-known Atmos demo scenes (including Star Wars Battlefront and Mad Max: Fury Road) and select stereo music up-mixed via Dolby Surround, issuing a sound full of perfectly tuned fine details and a smoothness that wasn’t afraid to pop with a moment of high frequency crispness when necessary. The entire demo room was filled with a sense of room-widening spaciousness, which wasn’t surprising based on my experience with other GoldenEar designs.
Up close and personal: GoldenEar's new Signature Point Source in-wall speaker
The Signature Point Source speakers performed flawlessly, with notably high marks for dialog and breadth of sound. Using these speakers, it’s possible to create a completely discrete family room system that’s capable of bringing many dedicated theater rooms to their knees. Yes, they (and the other Invisa speakers) are that good.
Near the end of the demo, Sandy Gross switched over to his company’s new standard bearer (Triton Reference), which created a massive two-channel soundstage layered with complexities and life. AV NIRVANA is scheduled to review the Triton Reference later this fall – so stay tuned for a full evaluation!
Dirac (one of the hottest technologies in stereo and multi-channel playback) had booth representation on the show floor and hosted a seminar to discuss its technology. During the seminar, Jakob Ågren (Product Manager, Dirac) drove home a rather interesting take-home message: “The right way, if you want perfect sound, is to work with your room first.” Ågren says he encourages an initial approach of passive room treatments for mid- to high-frequencies and active/electronic methods for frequencies below 500 Hz. This isn't to say that active methods shouldn't be applied to frequencies above 500Hz, because they might be an effective supplement to passive treatments placed in a room.
Ågren also stated: “the longer soundwaves of low frequencies are easier to electronically correct.”
Easier, you say?
That begs the question: why do some room correction suites appear to do little if anything in the low frequency range? Ågren says low frequency correction is only “easier” from an algorithm perspective. It’s simple for software to identify and correct large flowing low frequency waves. The application of a low frequency filter, however, requires a tremendous amount of processing power.
That notion of processing power extended to a conversation I had with a Marantz product development specialist. I directly asked him a question so many of you have pondered: Is Marantz going to make a switch to Dirac?
The short-term answer is “no.”
During our conversation, he told me that processing power is already taxed by complex digital signal processing and decoding of immersive sound. In order to keep costs in-check, room correction is forced to share a piece of the processor’s pie. He noted that Marantz is extremely pleased with the performance of Audyssey (not to mention the technology’s user-friendly app); he believes that roughly 50-percent of Marantz buyers execute and use Audyssey when first integrating a Marantz AVR into their system (largely due to new first-time software installation requirements that are difficult for typical consumers to defeat).
So, if you’re holding out “hope” that Marantz (and, likely, Denon) has plans to roll-out a Dirac enabled product, time to realign your expectations with a slightly more realistic grounding.
One note about Dirac: the company says it’s working on several new features that might be unveiled during 2018, including multiple subwoofer correction, Atmos system correction, and a new interface for OS X and PC systems. According to Ågren, current processors have the capability to run these improvements, so there’s a chance they could appear as firmware updates for legacy gear.
United in Sound
The meticulously designed innards of Marantz's new SR8012 AVR
Earlier this year, Sound United (formerly Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, and Polk BOOM) finalized its acquisition of the D+M Group (Denon, HEOS by Denon, Marantz, and Boston Acoustics), making itself the largest electronics supplier of AV receivers and loudspeakers in North America. The company is a massive machine that oozes confidence and pride, which is immediately evident when talking with executives and PR reps (not to mention the fact that Sound United’s notably expansive show floor presence was beautifully designed).
Last week, we highlighted three new CEDIA-launched Marantz AV models (SR7012, $2,199; SR8012, $2,999; AV7704, $2,199), all of which are designed to deliver high-end performance. The SR7012 (a direct replacement of last year’s SR7011) was no surprise. The true 11.2 channel SR8012, however, was a real shocker, and its native 7.2.4 capabilities should play well to buyers looking for a standalone receiver. Denon also joined the release parade with its 11.2-channel AVR-X6400H ($2,199) and 9.2-channel AVR-X440H ($1,599) receivers. We’ll have more details about these AVRs later this week.
The backside of the SR8012 carries 11 speaker terminals and loads of connectivity options
Another big Sound United announcement is out-of-the-box activated Auro-3D decoding for select new AV Receivers and Pre/Pros. I, for one, am thrilled about the prospects of Auro-3D gaining further traction in the US market. Not surprisingly, Auro’s founder (Wilfried Van Baelen) is also excited. We spoke extensively about Auro's benefits and future plans. AV NIRVANA will explore Auro-3D further with a joint SVS/Marantz product review in the coming months.
On the speaker front, Polk Audio added two new subwoofers to its Home Theater Series of Subwoofers. The new HTS10 ($349) and HTS12 ($449) are due to ship in October. And Definitive Technology announced three new bookshelf offerings due to ship in October: Demand 7 ($499), Demand 9 ($749), and Demand 11 ($999). We’ll have more information on these speakers soon.
Last year, SurgeX was acquired by AMETEK, but the company’s mission of providing "professional grade surge elimination and power conditioning” remains intact. This year, SurgeX released several large-format UPS products (which bridge the gap between a power failure and the initiation of a back-up generator), in addition to a new 30-Amp version of its handy enVision diagnostic tool that measures and records real-time power conditions in a system.
And while that kind of gear is interesting, the company’s most applicable enthusiast product remains its Standalone line of surge protectors and power conditioners (SA-1810, SA-15, SA-20, and SA-20 AR). Unlike most surge protectors built around sacrificial metal oxide varistors, SurgeX’s technology provides non-sacrificial protection for surges up to 6,000 volts. What’s key is the product line’s ability to thwart surges without causing ground contamination or common mode disturbances (neither of which are good for audio/video system performance). SurgeX’s gear isn’t cheap (the entry level SA-15 costs roughly $399), but it’s designed to deliver industry-leading protection from spikes and surges while offering EMI/RFI filtering. This kind of product is definitely worth considering if you own gear worth thousands of dollars.
Seymour-Screen’s True Excellence
A look at Seymour-Screen Excellence's awesome demo room image
Quite a few audio and video companies joined forces to showoff unique projector-based home theater systems at CEDIA 2017, and none of them compared to the Seymour-Screen Excellence/Wolf Cinema/Audio Excellence demo room.
The smooth surface of Seymour-Screen's new Enlightor-Neo AT screen
Seymour-Screen Excellence hit the CEDIA show floor with its new Enlighted-Neo woven acoustically transparent (AT) screen. Enlightor-Neo now stands as the company’s top-of-the-line AT product, claiming to reduce sound coming from behind the screen by a mere 1.5 dB (which is 0.5 dB better than its previous flagship product), while offering a gain of 0.9. Attendees were allowed to get up close and personal with Enlightor-Neo, and I was thoroughly impressed with the screen’s finely-woven, smooth, and stretchy surface.
Wolf Cinema's awesome TXF-5000 projector
Seymour-Screen Excellence’s fully-light controlled demo room featured Wolf Cinema’s TXF-5000 projector (which is an enhanced version of JVC’s stellar flagship DLA-RS4500 laser projector) and a full 7.2.4 Atmos system comprised of Audio Excellence speakers. According to one demo-room associate, the entire system carried a retail value exceeding $100K, and its performance most certainly matched any expectations that kind of dollar amount may suggest. The room’s video image was absolutely delightful, with natural colors and phenomenal black levels, and the audio (to my ears) offered deliciously rich detail, superb clarity, and razor-sharp definition. Simply stunning, all the way around!
Epson’s Laser Show
Part of Epson's 2017 projector lineup, including the LS10500 (far right)
Speaking of projectors, JVC, Sony, and Epson all came to CEDIA with interesting new models. As previously reported, JVC’s biggest news is an improvement to its vaunted e-shift technology (now called e-shift5), while Sony released its first sub-$5K true 4K model. It just so happens that 2017 marks the second year of Epson’s experiment with its own pixel shifting tech, and while the company had its new-ish Home Cinema 4000 on display at its booth, it chose to run its 2016 laser model (LS10500) in a light controlled demo space.
The LS10500 is notable because it offers a laser light source (1,500 lumens), liquid crystal on quartz panels, and e-shift 4K HDR performance for under $8,000. The projector also delivers motorized lens shift, whisper quiet operation (<20 dB), instant start up, the ability to display nearly 100% of the P3 color space, and a feature that resets the laser to baseline calibration settings every 100 hours. Epson says the LS10500 has gotten a 2017 refresh with updated video processing and HDR performance (handled via a new firmware).
Epson’s demo room LS10500 was calibrated by video expert Kevin Miller, who told me that he’s exceedingly impressed by the amount of detail and color saturation offered by the projector. In fact, he felt Epson’s e-shift technology matches (if not exceeds) detail capabilities maintained by that of JVC. Demos of the Fate of the Furious and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 showed a razor-sharp image that was vibrant and full of life; Epson has quite a product (and price point) on its hands.
Digital Projection's massive (and awesome) Insight 4K Laser projector
While the LS10500 is one of the industry’s more impressive bang-for-the-buck laser models, Digital Projection was present on the show floor with gear that carries a price tag loaded with opulence. Take, for example, the company’s $100,000 Insight 4K Laser projector. Weighing a massive 140-pounds and measuring slightly more than 3-feet long, the Insight is truly a sight to behold. And with an output capability of 12,000 lumens, the projector can fill a super sized-screen. The Insight 4K (and its much larger and more expensive brother, the Insight 4K Dual Laser) can project 4K HDR images, but both lack native onboard HDR processing (Digital Projection says you’ll need to add a Lumagen to the video chain to take care of that). In case you’re wondering: yes, these projectors produce world-class – drool worthy – video images.
Yamaha's elegant Disklavier Enspire piano (controlled by MusicCast and Amazon's Alexa)
Like it or not, the lifestyle component of the AV Receiver world is growing rapidly, and a decent segment of the buying public is less concerned with features such as electronic room control and more interested in the conveniences of streaming and integrated services such as Amazon’s Alexa. Sound United attacked CEDIA by touting the integration of Alexa in some Denon and Marantz receiver models, as did Yamaha, and Amazon also had its own singular presence on the show floor.
One of the more entertaining Alexa-driven demos took place at Yamaha’s elaborate home set, where the company had created a self-contained room with various audio zones, including one housing the company’s 7th generation solo Disklavier Enspire piano. The piano is MusicCast-enabled, allowing voice activation through Alexa to instantly playback one of 500 built-in songs.
With keys moving up and down, and gorgeous sound flowing through the room, the Disklavier delivered a dramatically pristine piano performance. As the demo progressed, a Yamaha representative used voice commands to instruct the system to add musical accompaniments played through additional floorstanding speakers (eventually streaming the entire performance to other speaker zones), which it seamlessly executed.
Costing between $23,799 and $121,999 (depending on which version of the piano suits your fancy), the Disklavier isn’t an inexpensive purchase. But, its integration with a whole home system (not to mention the power of Alexa) has the cool factor nailed. Buy one of these, and I can guarantee you'll friends will be impressed!
A THX Certification Demo Sample of the Monolith 12" THX Ultra Subwoofer
For a second straight year, Monoprice brought a train of new products and prototypes to CEDIA, and appears confident in the sustainability of its new Monolith line.
Monolith gear is designed to offer technologies and performance at a lower cost than more traditional mid- to high-end manufacturers, and Monoprice is leveraging sales through its massive inventory catalog to help keep Monolith products priced low (which, if you ask me, is a major score for enthusiasts looking for true bang for their bucks). Prior to CEDIA, we revealed the company’s plans to unleash three new THX Certified tunable subwoofers, and Monoprice had two of those models (Monolith 12”, $799; Monolith 15”, $1,299) on display; the 12” version was operating as part of a prototype system. Both subs were samples that had been at THX’s labs for testing, so they were a little rough around the edges.
All three subs have officially received THX certification, with the 12” version getting approval to be marketed as a THX Ultra (not Select) sub. That means the labs of THX feel it’s suitable for rooms sized as large as 3,000 cubic feet.
An up close look at the Monolith 15" driver
I had an opportunity to touch and feel the subs. The 15” driver used in the Monolith 15” THX Ultra Sub is a massive specimen that looks to be of high quality. That sub’s plate amp also looked impressive, with smooth turning phase, crossover, and gain knobs, several other functional switches, and both balanced and unbalanced inputs.
The 15” THX Ultra’s cabinet was also attractive, complete with edgy lines. Several AV NIRVANA members have asked about the cabinet's surface: no, it’s not finished with a painted or wood veneer surface, but rather a high-grade vinyl, which should be durable enough if you’re simply unpacking and permanently placing the sub in a room (considering the weight of these subs, that’s a likely scenario). I also noted the sub’s feet which are – perhaps – slightly small for thick rugs, but should be fine for harder surfaces.
Sound-wise, it was practically impossible to get a feel for the Monolith 12” THX Ultra Subwoofer’s sound quality. I can report that I heard several pleasingly smooth moments as the sub helped to playback snappy sounding Jazz, but, in general, the show floor was too loud for a great assessment. Interestingly, the 12” sub was married to a new prototype Air Motion Cinema Tower Speaker (which could potentially hit the market at $900/pair). I’ve previously reviewed – and liked – a 5.0 system comprised of the Monolith Air Motion Cinema 5 Bookshelf and Center Channel speakers, so the possibility of a Tower option is intriguing!
Monoprice's prototype Monolith Air Motion Tower speaker
Other new Monolith products that look promising included a Planar Magnetic Over Ear Headphone (M565, $199), a Planar Magnetic In Ear Earphone (M300, $149.99), and a THX Headphone Amp and DAC ($399; $229 for a portable version).
AV NIRVANA is due to receive a pair of the M300 In Ear Planar Earphone for review
Of course, Monoprice is also known for its incredible budget offerings, and its new Amber In-Wall Speaker Series offers intriguing value. Not only do these speakers carry carbon-fiber drivers and ribbon tweeters, but are available in a variety of bookshelf ($159-$189), ceiling ($119-$149) and center channel ($139) designs. I wasn’t able to hear these speakers in action, but their build-quality looked great and they felt good in the hands (especially considering the price).
MantelMount's slick new MM850 motorized mount
MantelMount has been in the game for roughly two years, kicking-off its existence with an innovative “pull down” television mount. The idea being: you can mount your TV high on a wall, but still enjoy the ability to move it into a better position for optimal viewing angles.
MantelMount hit CEDIA with a slick new motorized drop-down solution (MM850, $1699) that automatically moves up/down and in/out, and has the ability to articulate side to side. This mount can be integrated with Amazon Alexa voice control when wired into home automation systems, but also carries remote activated presets (six when paired with home automation, two when used as a standalone unit).
The MM850 is super smooth and quiet while moving into position, and neatly tucks away into a wall cavity box when in a closed position (a non-cavity brick mount version is available). Another notable feature is an onboard heat sensor that automatically moves a television from a “down” position to its resting closed position when things get a little hot.
Emotiva's RMC-1 Pre/Pro is scheduled to be released early 2018
Last (but certainly not least) our friends at Emotiva had a strong showing at CEDIA, which is impressive because the company just finished hosting its own Emofest earlier this month. I had an opportunity to sit down with Walter Schofield (VP, Global Strategy) and Adam Sohmer (Public Relations) to discuss the company’s current product lines, future directions, and its new RMC-1 pre/pro.
Emotiva’s BasX line has certainly energized the company’s quest to broaden its customer base, loaded with gorgeous looking models tagged with price-points that allow most anyone to jump into the world of separates and high-performance audio. This was my first hands-on experience with BasX gear, and I walked away with super-positive impressions. Build quality, aesthetics, and attention to detail are all in-line with what we’ve come to expect from Emotiva, and the breadth of the product offerings is impressive. The line features basics, such as a disc transport (CD-100, $299), to more complex processing units (MC-700 7.1 Home Theater Processor, $599), and bundled speaker packages. If you’re on a tight-ish budget but want a taste of something special, then look no further than BasX.
The star of Emotiva’s presence was undoubtedly its new RMC-1 AV processor ($4,999), which is currently due to begin shipping sometime during Q1 of 2018. The company is still in the process of working through certifications for various technologies it plans to offer on the RMC-1, but that didn’t stop Emotiva from using it in their demo room.
A look at the frontend of Emotiva's CEDIA demo room
One of the bigger tech inclusions on the RMC-1 is a Griffin Lite chipset capable of 27 to 28 megaflops of processing power (roughly 5-times more than processors included on competing gear). That allows the RMC-1 to manage a tight ship, including Dirac Live room correction on all 16 available channels. An RMC-1 pre-production unit was managing a 7.4.4-channel demo presentation (Airmotiv T2 Towers for L/R, $999/pair; Airmotiv C2 Center, $369; Airmotiv T1 Towers for surrounds and rears, $699/pair; dual Airmotiv 15 Subs, $899/each; dual Airmotiv 12 Subs, $699/each), however Dirac was not activated. That didn’t stop the demo experience from sounding great and proving that the stylish-looking RMC-1 is primed to send shockwaves through the industry when it becomes available next year. Simply put, the RMC-1 rivals performance factors offered by products costing two- to three-times as much, which is a major boon for the entire enthusiast world.
Hear that round of applause? That’s for Emotiva’s interest and willingness to deliver true high-end performance at an impressively low price point.
Emotiva is also following-up on its promise to bring modularity to its gear. The company’s vaunted XMC-1 will in fact receive HDMI 2.x and Dolby Atmos upgrade packages (soon), and I’m told that Emotiva is planning to offer upgrades to some of its future products (HDMI 2.1, anyone?) to help keep gear relevant and functional for longer periods of time.
Emotiva's X Series Amp can house soon-to-be-released stereo amp channels (far left/right)
There’s also the company’s wickedly cool “Build Your Own” X Series Modular Amplifier System ($999 - $1999), which can be configured to offer up to seven channels of amplification (200 Watts per channel). Next week, Emotiva is launching specialized stereo amp channels (that inhabit one of the amp's seven available slots). Yes, these deliver less power per channel, but allow owners to turn their seven-channel amp into a 14-channel amp (or some variation in between). This is great news for enthusiasts looking for standalone amp performance (particularly in Atmos arrangements), without sacrificing precious rack space.
LG's OLED TVs looked stunning at CEDIA 2017
So much to cover, so little time. So many other manufacturers (such as MartinLogan and Onkyo/Pioneer) had strong showings. And so many amazing technologies (such as Sony and LG OLEDs) were showing-off their tremendous capabilities. Before we wrap this up, I have two more pieces of news. First off, HDMI 2.1 was a ghost at the show. No one was talking 2.1 and no products carrying 2.1 were displayed. Perhaps CES 2018 will be that specification’s launching pad. Secondarily, Panasonic – despite my post TV Shootout predictions – did not arrive with its OLED televisions. According to a trusted industry insider, Panasonic will not bring its OLED TVs to the North American consumer market this year (and most likely not next year, either). The company may supply some units to U.S. commercial partners, but the expense of supporting distributors is leading the company to stay Europe-centric for the time being.
Thanks for reading this extended show report. If you have any comments, questions, or requests for clarifications, please feel free to comment below!
- Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior AdminStaff MemberThread Starter
- Jan 20, 2017
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AV Equipment List
- Yamaha RX-A3050
- Emotiva XPA-5
- OPPO UDP-203
- RTiA 5
- RTiA 5
- FXiA 4
- RTiA 3
- dual PSA XS30
- Behringer 1124p; 6 Aura Bass Shaker Pros
- JVC RS520
- LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, OPPO Sonica