CEDIA Expo 2019 just wrapped up last week, and while there was nothing revolutionary introduced at the show, here are the top 5 evolutionary products I found to be the most interesting.
Sony Crystal LED
Code-named Cledis and showcased as a prototype at CES 2018, Sony is finally releasing its technology under the name Crystal LED. It uses micro-LED modules, each 16" x 18" in size at 360 x 360 resolutions, with three tiny sized LEDs for each pixel. The technology works like OLED, allowing for a higher 1,000 nit brightness, 10-bits greyscale, a very wide colour gamut (140 percent of sRGB), and "spectacular" 3D capability, as Sony describes.
By putting together those modules, you can create screens with different sizes and resolutions. Sony will offer it any way you want, but some sample configurations include 1080p with 18 modules at 8 feet x 4 feet, 4K size at 16 feet wide (72 modules) costing about US$720,000, 8K at 32 feet x 18 feet (288 modules) at nearly US$3 million, and 16K and 63 feet x 18 feet (576 modules) at about US$5,600,000... calibration not included.
LG CineBeam 4K(e) LED Projector
At the other end of the spectrum, LG showcased its first LED-based 4K(e) projector. With a compact design, the HU70LA LG CineBeam LED Projector provides an impressive home theatre experience with picture size up to 140" (measured diagonally), and brightness of 1,500 ANSI lumens that covers approximately 92% of the DCI-P3 colour space.
The projector employs a four-channel LED light source to generate red, green, and blue, with the additional fourth LED boosting image brightness and contrast and generating more vivid colours with more nuanced tonality (compared to conventional LED projectors) by adjusting green levels. The "(e)" denotes 4K-enhanced technology which uses a wobulation process to create 4K-like image from a non-4K imaging chip. The HU70LA will retail for US$1,799 and will be available soon.
Martin Logan Masterpiece CI
In the audio department, Martin Logan demonstrated its new Masterpiece CI Series in-wall speakers. The 9.4.4 speaker demonstration used a pair of Statement 40XW (shown at right), five Monument 7XW, two Tribute 5XW, and four Sistine 4XC in-ceiling speakers augmented by a quartet of the company's Dynamo 1600X subwoofers.
The flagship Statement 40XW uses 40 drivers total in a line-source configuration. Features include Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters, carbon fibre multi-section cone drivers, "Vojtko" crossover networks loaded with audiophile-grade components, and an exceptionally dense phenolic resin polymer baffle. The same drivers and custom crossover network can be found throughout the full Masterpiece CI Series speaker lineup.
The company expects the Masterpiece CI Series to be available in early 2020.
As you might already know, DTS:X is an immersive audio format developed for cinemas and home theatres which enables object-based sound mixing and playback, including the ability to position effects overhead. While the commercial theatre implementation of the tech can support up to 64 uniquely rendered channels, the consumer version has been limited to 11.1 channels (also known as a 7.1.4 configuration).
With the new DTS:X Pro update, that number will now be greatly expanded upon, offering support for up to 30.2 discrete speaker outputs, of which the most common "basic" implementation will be the 7.2.6 configuration.
Dirac Bass Management
Subwoofer calibration is not an easy task, especially if you want to do more than a single-subwoofer configuration. To help with the optimization, the Dirac Live Bass Management Module leverages the mathematical models and processing algorithms to produce the simplest, fastest, and most effective method for single and multi-subwoofer system optimization. The solution helps save time by offering the world's first predictive results analysis, letting users see a visual representation of the predicted bass performance without having to run repeated audible tests. Prior to this, professional (read: expensive and tedious) acoustic modelling needed to be used in order to do predictive result analysis.
What's more, Dirac Live Bass Management ensures that subwoofers deliver a specific range of frequencies that produce a smoother, tighter bass experience, while creating optimal sound reproduction for each specific room. Traditionally, this required repeated time-consuming audio tests and location adjustments for one or multiple subwoofers. With various adjustable settings, including crossover frequency, phase shift and subwoofer volume, the process could, historically, be overwhelming for users.
An example of where the two technologies above will be available is in the AudioControl Concert Series Receivers.
For the 2019-2020 lineup, AudioControl released a new Concert Series of immersive AV receivers comprised of three models: the Concert XR-8, Concert XR-6 and Concert XR-4. All three models use Dirac room correction (with Tier 3 support of Dirac Live Bass Management Module can be added) and all of the popular surround formats that bring every cinematic experience to life. The Concert XR-6 and Concert XR-8 also add AURO 3D and DTS:X Pro. Users will have six channels of user-configurable outputs, ideal for high-pass channels, additional subwoofers or height channels- whatever the room requires to optimize the home theatre experience.
The Concert Series AVRs feature an industrial design typical of AudioControl as well as 16-channels of output, integrated web-based configuration, intuitive app-based control, Google Cast, Airplay 2, aptX Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi streaming connectivity.