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In-Room Speakers Get Smaller, Thinner, Wireless

Atlanta – Audio suppliers aren’t
forgetting their in-room roots here at the CEDIA Expo, where multiple companies
are launching in-room speakers and electronic components for two-channel and
home theater applications.

Many introductions are coming
with an updated appeal, including thin speakers to match thin TVs and wireless
speakers to eliminate messy speaker-cable runs. Other new speakers are smaller
than ever to appeal to the decor-conscious.

Thin speakers are on the way from
KEF and Artison. Phase Technology is showing wireless surround speakers and
wireless subwoofers as well as small satellites.

And Atlantic Technology is
demonstrating a bookshelf speaker that, at less than 16 inches tall, delivers
bass down to 39Hz at -3dB, reducing the need for a larger speaker to deliver
deep bass.

Here’s what dealers are finding:


The company is replacing its
three flat Portrait-series LCR speakers with new versions that are thinner,
lighter and easier to attach to a flat-panel TV.

Like before, the speakers feature
a patented Dual Mono design in which a left speaker and a right speak each
feature a toed-in center-channel driver to deliver focused sound without a
separate enclosure, said company founder Cary Christie. Also like before, they
feature a front-stage-widening tweeter that fires out at a 45-degree angle from
a curved panel toward the back of the cabinet.

Also like before, grilles are
custom-made within 24-48 hours by Artison to match the height of a particular
TV with screen size of 46 inches and up.

The updated $2,625/pair Masterpiece,
$1,825/pair Portrait, and $1,175/pair Sketch feature cabinets whose depth has
been reduced to 2.1 inches (with grille) from 4.2 inches for attachment to the
thinnest 8mm LED-LCD TVs. The speakers weigh 60 percent less than their

The speakers have also been
redesigned to make it easier to mount curved grilles on the speaker cabinets after
the cabinets have been attached to a TV.

To reduce cabinet depth, the
company turned to an inverted-magnet woofer in which the magnet structure sits
on the front inside of the cone.

At the top of the line, the
Masterpiece features two 5.5-inch long-throw Kevlar midrange/woofer drivers,
two curved-line arrays using 25mm aluminum full-range drivers, and a 25mm
silk-dome tweeter.

Atlantic Technology:

The company is demonstrating
a prototype bookshelf speaker incorporating Hybrid Pressure Acceleration
System (H-PAS) bass technology, which delivers targeted bass performance with
50 percent smaller cabinets, smaller drivers and lower costs, the company said.

 It will join an existing H-PAS floor-standing

The prototype AT-2 is only 8.75 inches wide by 15
5/8 inches high by 12.25 inches deep, yet with an interior acoustic volume of
less than 2/3 cubic foot, it delivers bass response down to 39Hz at -3dB, the
company said.

“H-PAS allows exceptionally deep bass response with
very low distortion relative to speaker size,” the company said. “The
H-PAS-enabled low frequency reproduction is notable for its power, clarity and
impact, with none of the often muddy, indistinct mid- and lower-bass anomalies that
characterize many other designs. 

The bookshelf speaker features  single 5 1/4-inch long-excursion woofer and
the same 1 1/8-inch Low Resonance Tweeter used in the AT-1. Its crossover
frequency of 2,100 Hz is much lower than most conventional two-way speakers to
deliver much wider horizontal midrange dispersion.

Atlantic Technology expects to begin production early in 2011 and plans
to license out the technology.

H-PAS was designed to break what
the company calls “the iron law of loudspeaker design,” which among
other things, states that among three major goals of speaker design — deep
bass extension, a compact enclosure and good efficiency — speaker designers
must choose two at the expense of the third.

H-PAS combines elements of bass
reflex, inverse horn and transmission-line speaker technologies to pressurize
and accelerate low frequencies, the company explained.


The brand’s thin T series speakers are promoted as among the
world’s thinnest with a depth of only 1.38 inches.


Two new two-channel components
are the $299-suggested C427 AM/FM tuner and $799 C356BEE integrated amp.

The integrated amp brings NAD’s Modular
Design Construction (MDC) expandability to NAD’s Classic series, enabling users
to add a modular phono-stage module and other planned upgrade modules. The amp
is rated at 2×80 watts into 4 ohms and features a front-panel 3.5mm mini-jack

RDS-equipped tuner features 30 total presets, nameable presets for non-AM and
non-RDS FM stations, RS-232 interface, and IR input.


wireless on-wall surround speaker, CineMicro 5.1 speaker package, and three
wireless subwoofers will make an appearance.

The wireless subs and surround
speaker are the brand’s first wireless speakers.

 The PC SUB WL series of wireless subwoofers
come in 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch models at $1,185, $1,538 and $1,775 each
respectively. They feature built-in a 2.4GHz frequency-hopping receiver that
gets audio in uncompressed digital format from a transmitters that plugs into
the subwoofer output of a sound system. The subs feature downward-firing active
driver and front-firing passive radiator in a curved cabinet.

They’re available.

The wireless on-wall surround speaker
at a suggested $1,530/pair is the two-way Teatro WL-SURR, a
switchable dipole/bipole model in black or white 4.5-inch-deep cabinet. The
cabinet incorporates 100-watt amp and active digital crossovers for
biamplification. The 2.4GHz frequency-hopping technology delivers audio in
uncompressed form with quality said to be “indistinguishable from a wired

The companion transmitter
features a left-surround and right-surround input as well as a subwoofer input
for use with the company’s wireless subs. Two transmitters can be used to drive
four surround speakers.

Also new is the CineMicro 5.1
package at $938, with extra satellites available at $163 each. The package
consists of four 6.5 by 5 by 4.5-inch satellites, a horizontal center channel
and an 8-inch long-throw subwoofer. The center channel and satellites are
wall-mountable, handle 100 watts each and have high-gloss-black piano finishes.

Phase will also unveil new 3-inch
speakers for bringing music to kitchen backsplashes, stairs, patio areas or the
home office. They are the $200 SPF-15 surface-mount speaker, $260 CI1.5
in-ceiling, and $260 CI15 in-wall, all with full-range 3-inch driver.

The SPF-15

surface-mount features a mounting system rotates 0 to 90 degrees
to lock into a wall plate that swivels 173 degrees in both directions. No tools
are needed to lock the speaker, which is available in black or white and is
paintable.  A 70-volt transformer option
is available.

The CI 1.5

round ceiling comes with shallow 3.75-inch backcan, fixed-wing
installation, and a paintable black or white grille. Components are weatherized
for durability in indoor or outdoor uses. A 70-100-volt transformer is included.

The CI 15

square in-wall speaker also offers rapid fixed-wing installation
and a square paintable grille in black or white.  An optional theft-resistant stainless grille
is available, and a 70-100-volt transformer is included.

They’ll join an updated CI-MM3-II

3-inch in-wall Spacia speaker, which fits
in a standard double-gang box or mud ring for quick installs kitchens, foyers,
bathrooms and hallways. A snap-on paintable grille is included.


The speaker brand is shipping
the new $899-suggested SubSeries 300 powered subwoofer, which represents the
brand’s first collaboration with sister brand NAD, which developed the sub’s
amp and power supply.

The Class D amp delivers 300
watts of continuous power with less than 0.08 percent THD and 850 watts of peak
dynamic power. The PSB’s proprietary smart bass technology delivers clean bass
even when the sub is overdriven, the company said. A 12-inch driver features
2-inch voice coil and 50-ounce magnet. It incorporates a 3-inch-diameter down-firing