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Crestron Makes Noise In Audio

Denver — Crestron launched its first landscape speaker series and its first in-wall surround processor with built-in amplification during the CEDIA Expo.

The company also signed up D&M as the first CE partner for its Crestron Connected program, which will streamline the integration of select Denon and Marantz AVRs and preamp processors with Crestron control systems and offer new convenience features for consumers.

The company’s first landscape speaker series, called Air Landscape, is due in the spring and consists of an underground subwoofer and two spotlight-like satellite speakers that are staked into the ground. The products can be set to operate at 70 volts or 8 ohms.

The satellites are two-way coaxial models, one with 6-inch woofer and one with 4-inch woofer. They’re rated at 75 watts and 50 watts, respectively, into 8 ohms.

The underground sub consists of two 8-inch drivers with 200-watt output. The drivers fire into a tube that vents above ground.

Landscape-speaker prices haven’t been set.

The in-wall 7.1 surround processor/amplifier, which can also be installed in a closet, is designed for local installation in a secondary room and connects to one of Crestron’s A/V matrix switchers to receive audio and video from a central source. The HD-XSPA processor, due at the end of the first quarter at a suggested $3,600, is two-rack-units-tall and incorporates 8×140-watt amp, ability to drive a passive in-wall subwoofer, Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master decoding, four HDMI inputs for local sources, and ability to down-mix 7.1 to stereo for playback in, for example, a bedroom’s bathroom.

The device is the company’s first in-wall local processor with built-in amplifier to provide a more compact solution. The company recently shipped a 7.1 one-rack-tall processor without amplification at a suggested $2,500.

In announcing its new partnership with D&M, Crestron said three networked Denon components and four networked Marantz AVRs will get online firmware upgrades later this year to embed IP-based Crestron Connected intelligence, which is already embedded in commercial audio and video products.

The agreement enables D&M to take Crestron’s SDK and embed Crestron Connected firmware in the A/V components, making it unnecessary for dealers to download a software module, install it, and set it up in a process that could take some installers up to two hours depending on an installer’s expertise, Crestron said. Dealers, for example, no longer have to set baud rates for the audio components’ RS-232 ports.

Crestron Connected devices are controlled by Crestron systems as if the products were made by Crestron, the company said.

Besides saving time for installers, Crestron Connected products deliver quicker feedback to Crestron control panels, Crestron said.

D&M product manager Paul Belanger also said the development will expand control capabilities from such basics as input switching, volume and power to enable control of the D&M products’ streaming services and multizone capabilities. “This was never an easy or intuitive thing [for installers] to do before,” he said.

D&M components will now also be controllable from Crestron apps for mobile devices, he added.

In the future, Crestron Connected CE devices could be enabled to integrate with other Crestron systems in a room, the company noted.

The Crestron Connected program also makes it unnecessary for the company to write new software modules for new CE products, reducing the lag time between a product’s debut and its ability to integrate with Creston.

In other home-control developments, Crestron said it plans to make 4K upgrades available for its A/V matrix switchers in January, but HDMI 2.0 upgrades with HDCP 2.2 copy protection for commercial 4K movies won’t be available until chips for those technologies become available in mid-2014.