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Audio Suppliers Bring Take-With Solutions To Expo

9/05/2012 08:00:00 PM Eastern

INDIANAPOLIS — Audio suppliers are coming to the CEDIA Expo with products that appeal to the growing ranks of consumers who are renting single-family homes or adding entertainment options to the homes they own.

For home renters, the products are “take-with” solutions that include component home-theater systems, soundbars, wireless multi-room-audio systems, dedicated TV amplifiers and wireless AirPlay speakers that renters can take with them when they leave. Some of these renters purchase from installing dealers and A/V specialists because of the need for setup and maintenance, suppliers said. Consumers also come to installers and A/V specialists because they are looking for equipment that’s a step up from what’s usually found in big-box stores, suppliers added.

For both renters and retrofit installs for people upgrading their homes, wireless multi-room-audio systems from SpeakerCraft and Proficient are possible solutions. Other solutions for renters include the first active soundbars from Artison, Current Audio and Paradigm as well as new active soundbars from Yamaha and Boston Acoustics and a TVsound- enhancing 2.1-speaker system from Onkyo.

The first AirPlay speakers from Paradigm, NAD, Denon and Marantz also appeal to renters, as do TV-dedicated amps from Audio Design Associates.

Traditional audio components also appeal to the take-with customer, and installers will find plenty of new components, including new universal Blu-ray players from Denon, Marantz, Yamaha and Pioneer, many with dual HDMI outputs. Dealers will also find highend two-channel components, more A/V receivers and preamp processors with 4K by 2K video passthrough/ up-scaling, and A/V receivers and at least one preamp processor with Apple AirPlay. Attendees will also find ADA’s first integrated amp/preamp/surround processor and Denon’s first A/V receiver with 11.2-channel implementation of dts Neo:X post processing.

Here’s what select suppliers are showing:

Acurus: The latest amplifier from Acurus is the $3,999 7x200-watt THX Ultra2-certified A2007 with built-in Ethernet control, web-based diagnostics and discrete class AB circuitry. It’s designed for home theater rooms exceeding 3,000 cubic feet. Additional details were unavailable.

The A2007, which joins the THX Ultra-certified $2,500 A2002 and $3,499 A2005 amps, will be followed next year by the brand’s launch of preamps and processors.

The brand, owned by Indianapolis-based Indy Audio Labs, also markets two Aragon-brand amplifiers, which shipped in August. They are the $3,999 dual- monoblock two-channel 8008 and $3,999 Iridium differential monoblock (single-channel) amp.

Audio Design Associates is launching its first integrated amp/preamp/surround processor, or what the company calls an A/V receiver without the AM/FM tuner. The company is also showing the Ramp-HP Room Amp, which is a higher power version of the $799-suggested Ramp-PM Room Amp. Both models are small enough to fit behind a TV to connect to soundbars or stereo speakers to improve the sound quality of flat TVs.

The Ramp-PM is a 2x30-watt amp that’s 8 inches by 8 inches by 2 inches in size. It comes with analog audio inputs, but because many TVs no longer offer analog audio outputs, the Ramp-PM also features digital inputs and decoding of Dolby Digital, dts and PCM soundtracks.

An optional $199 Ramp-IR add-on box learns the IR codes of TV or set-top box remotes, which can then be used to control such amp functions as volume, mute and input selection.

Denon is unveiling multiple new products, including a $2,499-suggested A/V networked receiver with 11.1-channel dts Neo:X post-processing surround, 4K by 2K passthrough and up-scaling, and embedded fourport Ethernet hub.

Also new: a universal Blu-ray player with dual HDMI outputs, AirPlay-equipped docking speakers, and networked music systems.

JBL Synthesis updated its Adaptive Room Correction and Optimization System (ARCOS) software to improve and speed up calibration of high-end Synthesis multichannel-audio systems.

The ARCOS software is supplied with all the hardware, measurement microphones, and accessories needed to calibrate a JBL Synthesis multichannel audio system.

Improvements include 10 times faster automatic calculation of 20-band parametric EQ setting per channel, reducing calculation time from more than a minute to about six seconds.

Marantz is adding a two-channel amp and twochannel SACD player in the high-end Reference series are joining the brand’s first preamp/processor with 4K by 2K video passthrough and up-scaling. The brand’s first two 3D Blu-ray players are also on display, both with universal DVD-Audio/SACD playback and one with dual HDMI outputs.

The Reference amp is the $4,999 PM-11S3, which replaces a model and feature full-discrete design, 0.2-inch-thick aluminum top cover, and new current-feedback technology said to deliver wide range and fast and accurate signal handling.

The $3,999 Reference SA-11S3 SACD player features 192kHz/24-bit DAC, fully balanced differential audio circuit, asynchronous USB-B port to stream 192kHz/24-bit audio, and 0.2-inch-thick aluminum top cover.

Outside the Reference series, the $1,699 7.2-channel AV7707 preamp surround processor features 4K by 2K video passthrough and up-scaling, Internet radio, Apple AirPlay, and three HDMI outputs, two for the main zone and one for a second zone. It’s the first audio component under the Marantz brand, including A/V receivers, with 4K by 2K capability.

Two universal Blu-ray players are the $599 UD5007 and $1,099 UD7007, both capable of playing SACD and DVD-Audio discs and streaming online services such as YouTube, Netflix, Vudu and Hulu. The UD7007 features dual HDMI outputs, which separate audio from video over HDMI to improve sound quality.

The dual outputs can also be used to stream HDMI video directly to a 3D-capable TV while streaming audio over HDMI to an A/V receiver that lacks 3D passthrough capability. Dual HDMI outputs were previously in a $5,999 2D Blu-ray player.

Mark Levinson, a member of the Harman luxury group, is celebrating its 40th anniversary by unveiling the No52 Reference dual-monaural preamplifier, touted as the brand’s best-ever preamp. It’s targeted to retail for a suggested $30,000 when it ships in January.

The No52 is an all-analog, dual-monaural design with two-chassis configuration that separates analog audio circuitry from the control section, the company said. It provides three balanced XLR and four unbalanced RCA line-level inputs, a dedicated phono input selectable for MC or MM cartridges, two sets of XLR and RCA stereo preamplifier outputs, and an auxiliary pair of XLR and RCA outputs that can be configured for fixed- or variable-level output with independent source selection. The auxiliary outputs can function either as a third preamp out, a passthrough full-range subwoofer output ,or a record output.

Its unity gain SSP (surround sound processor) output lets users integrate audio sources into a home theater system while maintaining independent stereo operation for music sources. A USB port facilitates possible future software upgrades.

Onkyo is introducing its first 2.1-speaker TV-sound enhancement system, the company’s first iPod/iPhone-docking music system with built-in stereo Bluetooth, and two new mini systems, one of which is the company’s first with embedded stereo Bluetooth. One of the mini systems is the company’s first networked mini system.

Pioneer’s Elite series BDP-62FD universal 3D Blu-ray player, which replaces the BDP-52FD,adds dual-HDMI output capability and Qdeo video processor for high-quality video processing. The dual-HDMI outputs enables the streaming of audio and video over both outputs to run two displays. Users can stream audio and video directly to the flat TV but also route audio and video to an AVR that passes video through to a higher-performance video projector.

Users also have the option to use the dual HDMI outputs to separate the audio signal from the video signal to improve sound quality.

Sherbourn plans late first-quarter availability of the PT- 7030 7.1-channel preamp/processor and multiple new multichannel amps.

Amp details were unavailable, but the PT-7030 features four ARM processors and dual Cirrus 32-bit decoders to deliver high-quality picture and sound quality, six HDMI inputs switched by a fast HDMI switch, Faroudja DCDI video processing and up-conversion, and dual 3D HDMI outputs that can run simultaneously (one HDMI 1.4 with audio return channels, the other HDMI 1.3a).

Theta Digital, an ATI-owned brand, will show its first 3D Blu-ray player, the Compli.

Yamaha will add to its Aventage step-up series of A/V receivers, and the company is adding the BDA-1020 universal 3D Blu-ray player. It replaces a universal 3D model launched last year at $499.

It joins the previously announced $229 BD-S473 and $329 the Wi-Fi-enabled 3D BD-S673, both of which are designed to complement the RX-V 73 series of A/V receivers. Neither is a universal player.

Compared to its predecessor, the new universal player adds built-in Wi-Fi, build enhancements, 192kHz/32-bit DACs, gold-plated rear inputs, updated remote-control app for iOS and Android devices, and compatibility with the company’s new control app for Kindle Fire.

Features include DLNA-certified client to stream audio and video and DLNA-certified smartphones and tablets.