CEDIA 2023 was by any barometer of measure, the most exciting Expo yet in AVPro's expanding history. Fervent thank yous are extended to all who took the time to explore the AudioControl Pro, AVPro Edge, and Murideo booths, which contributed to making this the most successful CEDIA to date for our family of brands.
Our principal engineering team made the trek from various locations around the globe to join us in Denver, who along with personnel from Sioux Falls plus the Tampa and Seattle coastal area offices, were also unaccustomed to the thinner atmosphere that greeted our arrival. Unvexed, however, and receiving a lift from the urban vibrancy surrounding the Colorado Convention Center, all booths were soon quickly up and running, enabling a bit of pre-Expo time for mingling with industry friends.
When the show floor doors swung open at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, it was as if word leaked that gold had been found in a local mountain sluice. The AudioControl Pro booth was immediately inundated with integrators, eager to preview the potent array of robust home theater and audio distribution products. Throughout its ongoing 45-year history, the brand has famously refused to concede its reputation for build quality, longevity, and foremost, audio fidelity, in exchange for a fleeting flirtation with mass-market appeal.
CEDIA residential integrators were keen on being assured that AudioControl’s design parameters and benchmark five-year warranty would be retained.
Also fairly asked was the tough question of just what AudioControl becoming an AVPro name brand means to the company’s future, especially within the shadow of a similar, recent transaction. The integration community can assuredly rest soundly, as AudioControl was coveted by and will remain a highly prized member of the AVPro family.
As is traditionally done at AVPro Edge, intrinsic and valued customer input often finds its way directly into product evolution. Of the many suggestions levied to the AC team in their booth, Dante Audio was frequently mentioned. As the installation category dubbed “resi-mercial” continues its meteoric ascent, AudioControl Pro is intently focused on becoming the driving force for this crossover suite of technologies in the marketplace, with multifaceted products such as the CM series of power amplifiers. Competing brands with similar power on offer lack the innovative and sought-after input/output flexibility of the CM series.
What nabbed the CEDIA spotlight for AudioControl Pro was the announcement of the CXR-5 and Bijou 3 mini-chassis, surround processor-amplifiers. This beguiling duo finds the CXR-5 delivering 65-watts X 5 channels, with the Bijou 3 boasting typical generous AudioControl power for the onboard L/C/R channels at 100 watts each. Both have single-ended outputs for additional channel configurations.
Chassis size and footprint compactness for these two class-establishing trendsetters are enabled by the adaptation of cool-running, Gallium Nitride (GaN) Class-D amplification topology. Intended as a replacement for silicon-based Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors (MOSFETs), GaNFETs switching speeds are at significantly higher frequencies which reduce Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) by factors as great as 10%. This faster switching ability accounts for less “dead time” (the period when the transistor is at an idle state of the waveform) to lower distortion overall, but principally distortion derived from the harmonic interaction between frequencies. GaN-based amplification features improved frequency extension for wider bandwidth, a result of lowering the noise floor. These new amplifier designs offer greater dynamic capabilities with improved efficiency while requiring less thermal dissipation than MOSFET designs dictate.
And while amplifier design refinements permit a space-saving form factor, the CXR-5 and the Bijou 3 are feature-laden, just like their full-sized siblings.
AVPro Edge featured MXnet 10G actively on display, our premium version of the MXnet Ecosystem based on SDVoE, the revolutionary software-defined video over internet technology that has transformed the definition of matrixed audio and video systems. MXnet has become the fastest-growing product segment in AVPro Edge history, with MXnet 10G factoring prominently in residential and commercial project portfolios where image fidelity is paramount to the end-user, while ease of deployment and system stability are key for the integrator. Demonstrated were two of the features MXnet 10G does flawlessly well: MultiView and tiling. Greater bandwidth plus ample headroom equals pristine imaging, particularly when displaying text, something AV-o-IP struggles with when in a 1G format, using various high-compression algorithms.
Our industry-leading, 8K video expertise, developed from our extensive Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) background, drew numerous inquisitive integrators into asking if this is the right time to implement 8K infrastructure and core devices into their projects. The response by AVPro engineers was an unequivocal “Yes!” The same chicken-and-egg scenario from 4K is replaying now. While there is no clear indication that content is soon on the horizon, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I have written previously that content acquisition in Hollywood, for years, has been at resolutions of 8K and higher. Black Magic Design makes a 12K camera, in prominent use, that sells for less than $5,000. Content is not the pressing issue, the ability to deliver it is. As higher bandwidth becomes more available combined with competitive pricing, and when the 8K compatibility barrier is broken, neither your company nor your clients will cherish being unprepared, and worse, infrastructure-impaired. AVPro Edge 8K devices coupled with fiber infrastructure should be timely additions to your bid, sales, and installation workflow. AVPro Edge 8K products comprise the full infrastructure necessary to prepare and propel your clients into an 8K future. AudioControl Pro 8K AVRs, Preamp-processors, and companion amplifiers paired with AVPro Edge 8K video distribution alongside an appropriate fiber-based network will rocket your clients into a new galaxy of home entertainment.
The debut of the AC-AEX-DEARC-KIT garnered a substantial share of booth attention. This versatile audio tool is designed to transport eARC/ARC signals from display-based apps, or ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV Dolby AC-4 tuner audio to AVRs remotely located (or discretely hidden, such as the new AudioControlPro CXR-5, nudge, nudge, wink, wink). eARC data conversion technology onboard the DEARC is also used for sending TOSLINK digital and analog audio signals to distribution equipment such as AudioControl Pro Architect and Architect P series multi-zone amplifiers.
Please note that the AC-AEX-DEARC-KIT does not transport a video signal, and while it has HDMI inputs and outputs, it does not have to be type-cast as a high-bitrate audio codec transfer system. With onboard bidirectional RS-232 and IR capabilities, the AC-AEX-DEARC-KIT can be handily used for legacy audio products such as analog tape machines and digital CD changers, with full remote control if the devices are compliant. Equipment restoration is a fully active hobby and collectors thrive on using machines that have undergone this process, or simply for machines that have survived the passage of time as their designs originally promised. It would not be uncommon to have multiple AC-AEX-DEARC-KITs in constant use with such clients.
With a spare Cat5e or better wire, discover how the AC-AEX-DEARC-KIT’s versatility can be used in any of your upcoming projects.
Murideo products were available to experience in hands-on fashion at CEDIA. All models have been updated to generate or analyze up to a 40Gbps HDMI 2.1b signal.
Our legendary Fox & Hound testing and certification kit, a residential and commercial technician go-to/must-have favorite worldwide, attracted the most attention as it was pointed out that the kit is not only for field techs. Sales personnel and project managers may also utilize the Fox & Hound during site surveys to verify existing cabling is capable of supporting proposed equipment upgrades.
We demonstrated scenarios for how the kit solves on-site problems that reduce or eliminate costly (and potentially embarrassing) additional truck rolls. With its comprehensive analysis of system EDID and HDCP information, the Fox & Hound enables rapid determination of signal roadblocks and points quickly to solid solutions. Hours-long, frustrating troubleshooting is condensed into minutes. Problems that are encountered remain transparent to the client – you and your company resemble the bespoke professionals that your clients have invested in.
The newest version of the 6 Series analyzer and generator were on display and functioning as part of our ISF video calibration demonstration. The hand-hewn feel of their new metal casings and the 6A analyzer's striking new, white, museum-quality appearance drew its fair share of technological lust-filled stares.
A pair of 8K Seven generators bookended the booth, flaunting their Dolby Laboratories, XPERI DTS/IMAX Enhanced, and Imaging Science Foundation-approved street cred. This reference signal generation tool likely sent signals through every other AVR and video display at CEDIA, when it was in its R&D and QC stage.
CEDIA allowed for a sneak-peak opportunity to get feedback on a thumb drive-sized generator and analyzer pair. Originally designed for in-house use as convenient, easily portable signal verification devices for use in our labs around the world, we were curious to learn what some of you thought. The duo can perform essential, basic pattern generation and analysis functions, however, they are not intended as micro form-factor versions of any existing Murideo product. As we always are pleased to do with your comments, they were conveyed to the proper engineering department. So, who knows? They just might become stocking stuffers for your favorite field tech.
Collectively, all of us at AVPro felt CEDIA 2023 was our most memorable yet. Tired as we all were by the end of Saturday, a fantastic team dinner had everyone clamoring about what we would be doing next year to make our part of the Expo even bigger and more exciting. It looked amazing on a napkin drawing… Join us again in Denver for Expo 2024 to see for yourself what the sketch turns into!