News / Media

NADs New Integrated Amplifiers Are Made for Streaming

by Michael Riesenbeck on April 25, 2012 at 7:02 am

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For me, and countless other music lovers, I’m sure, it’s useless to resist the Dark Side known as streaming. I really want to hold a disc (and its packaging) in my hand while listening to an album, but those days are quickly coming to a close. The death knell of physical media is likely to be hastened by products such as the new integrated amplifiers from NAD. The C 375DAC and C 356DAC (really NAD’s C 375BEE and C 356BEE with MDC DACs factory installed) have been designed with streaming in mind.

Hook a Squeezebox or Sonos system up to one of these bad boys (or heck, just a plain old PC or Mac) and get ready to stream 24/96 HD music. Users will benefit from the lower levels of distortion and NAD’s PowerDrive Amplifier Technology, designed for high dynamic power and low impedance drive capability.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 08 May 2012 16:43:00 GMT

Electronic House 2012 Awards: Audio Passion Inspired Home Theater Design

Sweet sounds take center stage in this theater, thanks to Monitor Audio speakers, an Integra preamp and a powerful Crestron amp.

May 01, 2012 by Lisa Montgomery

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It’s obvious when entering this grand, custom-crafted theater, which part of its design took priority: the audio. A contact sensor on the door that leads into the 27-by-16-foot space triggers an array of small LED fixtures, showcasing a pair of high-grade Monitor Audio Platinum tower speakers. Most people would have chosen to let the huge reference speakers stay hidden behind the acoustical fabric that covers each of two speaker cavities built into custom cabinetry at the front of the room. But not this homeowner. “On a scale from 1 to 10, his passion for audio is a 20,” says Ryan Lipkovicius of Audio Impact, the San Diego–based custom electronics design and installation fi rm hired to build this theater.

Several small, energy-efficient LED lights were carefully positioned within each of the cabinet’s two speaker cavities. When the door to the room opens, they illuminate so the speakers can be seen through the acoustical fabric. Part of Monitor Audio’s Platinum line, the speakers are the company’s top performers and this theater’s crowning jewel.

It would take plenty of horsepower to drive these freestanding giants, plus the rest of the Monitor Audio 9.2-channel surround-sound system. Audio Impact chose an Integra DHC-80.2 preamp for its ability to work well with other A/V components and numerous audio decoding options, and a Crestron Procise Proamp-7X400 amplifier for its pure, raw output of power.

Another important part of the audio design was the engineering of a carefully constructed and acoustically treated shell. “Sam Cavitt of Paradise Theater in San Diego calculated all of the parameters, including the room dimensions, number of seats and size and position of the screen, and the software (from Kinetics Noise Control) figured where we needed to put acoustical materials, how to position the speakers, and where to put the seats so the audio reproduction was true and smooth,” says Lipkovicius. To further enhance the acoustical performance, Audio Impact and Paradise Theater instructed the contractors to “float” the room so none of its walls or ceiling would touch the walls of adjacent rooms or the floor of the room above it. Air conditioning vents, light fixtures and electrical outlets were treated with special isolation materials so that no sound would escape from the theater.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 07 May 2012 16:24:00 GMT

Audio Impact Wins Gold in Electronic House Home of the Year 2012

Audio Impact is proud to announce that it has won the 2012 Gold Best Theater from Electronic House.

The stage was set during the client discovery. When asked, “How would you describe your dream theater?” the client paused to reflect, then said “A special place. A room that draws us in, that brings us together as a family and where we can experience amazing sound and vision in comfort and serenity. A special room that creates an emotional bond as soon as we enter”. A tall order to be sure but attainable since the team was assembled early enough in the process to design and engineer excellence.

It starts with the room; the foundation of the performance theater environment. Room ratios and construction techniques were addressed to create an ideal scenario for quiet room construction and smooth acoustical performance. Subsystems were engineered, including mechanical, electrical and lighting to assure no unwanted sound entered or propagated through them. A detailed set of construction documents guided the project contractors through each step. The result was a theater “chassis” that would support the profound performance.

The engineering continues in the design of the system. The engine that provides the horsepower for our clients envisioned experiences. Monitor Platinum PL 300 reference towers and PL 350 center are perfectly matched with 6 of the newly developed Platinum In Wall PLIW for side and rear surrounds while 2 PLW-15 Subwoofers provide the prodigious bass. These superb components are precisely matched with the rooms acoustical environment resulting in accurate sound reproduction whatever the source. Powered and processed by the Integra THX Ultra 2 DHC-80 with Audyssey and Crestron PROAMP-7X400 amplifier there is no shortage of power and enveloping quality sound. The visual elements of the theater features the Runco LS-10 1080p projector driving a 135” 1.78:1 micro-perforated Stewart Filmscreen. The LS-10 complemented with Runco’s video processing provides plenty of visual excitement which is accurately rendered on the Stewart screen surface.

All the theater, house-wide audio and Crestron control systems are housed in 2 Middle Atlantic ERK racks concealed in ventilated cabinets in the rear of the room. The equipment rack cabinets and Projector compartment are constantly monitored by Crestron temperature C2N-RTHS sensors and turn on ultra quit exhaust fans if needed. The System features Crestron ADMS Intermedia Delivery System that brings movies from a Sony 400 Disk Blu-ray changer, Netflix, Hulu, The homes computers, Youtube to life at the touch of one button. There is a HD Cable box along with an Apple TV. The entire Theater Audio/Video, Lighting and HVAC is easily controlled via an in-wall removable TPS-6x wireless touchscreen remote. There are quick assess to lighting scenes and even a virtual keyboard for the ADMS.

Finally comes the blend of performance and aesthetics. The theaters acoustical components, which were specified as a result of an acoustical modeling process were integrated with the interior design artfully. The screen wall features display columns where the beautiful Platinum towers are nestled in an ideal acoustical surrounding and illuminated by concealed lighting. Behind the perforated screen sits, not only the PL350 center but custom engineered baffles to provide both expansive sound stage and accurate imaging. The whole assembly housed in a furniture grade cabinet design. Walls and ceilings feature concealed Kinetics acoustical devices behind a stretch fabric system which is complemented by pilasters, housing the surround speakers and gorgeous millwork trim throughout.

The impact upon entry is stunning, the serenity of the space is enchanting but when the system is fired up the experience is astonishing. Whether seated in the first row or the third get ready to “suspend your disbelief” for the home theater ride of your life.

Posted by chantal Fri, 04 May 2012 16:13:00 GMT

Antelope Audio Introduces Rubicon, the Worlds First Atomic AD-DA Preamp

by Dennis Burger on April 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

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You’re probably thinking what I was thinking when I saw the subject line of that press release: “What the heck is an atomic preamp?” No, it doesn’t replace vacuum tubes with little nuclear reactors. (Although, seriously, how long before someone does?) The “atomic” designation comes from the fact that the Rubicon integrates Antelope Audio’s renowned 10M Rubidium atomic clock, which promises to be “100,000 times more stable than a traditional crystal oscillator.” Combine that with the company’s 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking technology, and the preamp boasts unprecedented levels of jitter management.

What does it actually do, though? As the rest of its name implies, Rubicon isn’t merely a Digital-to-Analog converter; it’s actually an Analog-to-Digital/Digital-to-Analog converter. Plug your turntable into the JFET phono preamp, and it samples your vinyl digitally, applying all of the same of the same digitally clockery that was used in the recording of the score for Avatar. Incoming audio from a PC or Network Attached Storage (yep, it’s a streamer, too, complete with DLNA capabilities) skips the Analog-to-Digital stage and heads straight for the 384 kHz DAC (the same technology used in the company’s flagship Zodiac Gold DAC).

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Posted by chantal Thu, 03 May 2012 16:13:00 GMT

Panasonic Births Its Newest Giant Plasma, 145-Inches Diagonal, 8k resolution

by Jeff Kleist on April 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm

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Panasonic likes to truck their immense plasma screens around the country in semi trucks, but in this case, they may just need a bigger boat. The monster 145 inch self-illuminating flat-panel delivers IMAX levels of resolution to your local…. side of your house.

A new drive system eliminates the flicker plasma generates at high resolutions, and is definitely not designed for home use. At 16X the resolution of 1080p, you simply cannot comfortably sit close enough to the thing to see the advantage over 4K (and 4K requires you to have at least an 85″ set to see any gains over 1080p at average sitting distances), and the primary applications are going to be large public displays, and not private use.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 02 May 2012 16:13:00 GMT

Sennheiser Introduces a New Digital Headphone Amplifier

by Chris Schaaf on April 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

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Sennheiser, whose roots lie in the professional audio world, has announced the HDVD 800 digital headphone amplifier. Despite the puzzling model number, which evokes thoughts of red laser vs. blue laser, this looks like a pretty sweet piece of gear. The Germans like their products to be well-built and look good, and it looks like this offering fits both bills. It’s encased in aluminum, with a slick glass panel embedded on top so you can admire the inner workings. There’s a big knob for volume and a small rotary switch to select your input (both made of anodized aluminum). The rotary source knob is a nice throwback to amps and preamps of days gone by.

Digital sources connect to the HDVD 800 via optical or coaxial S/PDIF or USB, as well as AES/EBU. The latter piece is huge for the professional market, as any digital mixing console worth its faders has AES/EBU outputs. For the home crowd, the USB 2.0 audio standard allows 24-bit/192KHz audio. (USB support is driver-free on Mac OS X 10.5 or later; drivers are supplied for Windows XP and up.) Analog sources can connect via balanced XLR or standard RCA cables. Digital-to-analog conversion is handled by a high-quality Burr-Brown DAC. The headphone output jack is exactly as it should be on a professional device: 1/4″/6.3mm — not the 1/8″/3.5mm found on seemingly everything else in the world. A rotary gain switch on the rear allows you to adapt the amplifier output to the audio input voltage, ensuring that the full dynamic range can be utilized.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 01 May 2012 16:14:00 GMT

Runco Projector Highlights Basement Theater

Published Apr 12, 2012 By HD Living

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The husband and wife came to CSA Audio Design in Upper Montclair, N.J., wanting to convert a basement-level exercise room into a high-performance home theater that could host family movie nights when the grandchildren visit.

For the husband, a retired engineer for whom technology was a career, performance of the system was paramount. He wanted floor-standing speakers and a fixed-screen, home theater experience.

“He had a vision that he wanted his theater to look good and sound good; his wife wanted a pretty little theater,” says Ralph Fonte, CSA Audio Design’s owner. “They both did a lot of compromising back and forth.” Neither wanted to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the project.

CSA Audio Design helped guide the couple’s decision making, with Fonte demonstrating speaker options so the husband could decide what he liked best.

The in-store demonstration highlight was the Runco CineWide high-definition front projector, which displays movies in the ultra-wide CinemaScope 2.35:1 aspect ratio. “It was the first time he saw one live, and he loved it,” says Fonte.

CSA Audio Design worked closely with the couple’s builder, who had never worked on a dedicated home theater room before, introducing him to the audio/video technology and also the Starlight fiber optic ceiling and the acoustic panels used in CSA Audio Design’s theater room.

Converting the low-ceilinged, 20- by 16-foot room into an eight-seat theater was a challenge that required moving a door and installing an 8-inch riser base to support a straight row of Salamander Designs theater seats at the rear of the theater. A second row of seats curved at the theater’s front.

The couple focused on the heart and soul of the theater—the audio, the video and the acoustics of the room.

CSA Audio Design paired a Runco VX-2000d 1080p DLP projector, installed with Runco’s add-on CineWide (Whitney) lens, with a 140-inch, 2.35:1 aspect ratio video screen from Vutec. The theater’s audio was delivered via an Integra DTR 8.8 receiver, compact floor-standing front speakers (Dali Mentor 5s for the right and left channels, Dali Mentor Vokal for center channel), plus Dali Icon Phantom in-wall speakers for rear channels. JL Audio’s Fathom f112 subwoofer drove the base.

The system components were installed in a hallway closet outside the theater. CSA Audio Design programmed Universal Remote Control model MX-980 to provide one-touch control of the system.

The couple opted not to invest in a movie or music management system, beyond the installation of a one-disc Blu-ray player and a cable box. Fonte explains that the retired engineer is waiting until easier computer-based on-demand music and movie downloading becomes available. “I definitely will be showing him VuDu,” says Fonte, referring to the on-demand movie service.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 30 Apr 2012 23:16:00 GMT

Control4 Releases New Controller HC250

Introducing the Control4 HC-250 Controller! This powerful controller offers exceptional value and performance plus instantaneous on-screen control. Whether you are installing a simple single-room system for your home or business, delivering a universal remote alternative with room to grow, or adding intuitive on-screen control for one TV or 20, the HC-250 Controller is the perfect solution.

The HC-250 delivers instantaneous control at an exceptional value. Its sleek design and small form-factor make it ideal for single-room control systems, universal remote replacements or as a way to deliver on-screen control to every television in larger residential or light commercial installations. A powerful 1GHz processor running the Control4® award-winning operating system delivers instantaneous, interactive control and makes the HC-250 a versatile and powerful player in any control system.

  • Next-generation core and ZigBee processors deliver a new level of speed and performance for instantaneous interactive on-screen control and access to lighting, security, music and video libraries.
  • Elegant, low-profile design features an integrated power supply for flexible, simple installation behind televisions or on a shelf.
  • Instantaneous, intuitive control from a touch screen, remote, or TV on-screen navigator.
  • Built-in PoE capability provides power and network connectivity over a single CAT5/CAT6 cable.
  • Certified HDMI with audio and video capability delivers reliable connectivity to today’s televisions and receivers.
  • Integrated Wireless-N and ZigBee simplify installation while delivering high-performance network connectivity.
  • 2 audio outputs – 1 analog and 1 HDMI – and 1 analog audio input.
  • USB port enables connection to external storage for easy access to music content.

Posted by chantal Fri, 20 Apr 2012 16:17:00 GMT

Crestron Brings Full Pandora Experience Home

Crestron Press Release April 16th, 2012

Enjoy Your Favorite Artists, Albums & Radio Stations Anywhere in the Home

Rockleigh, NJ, April 16, 2012 – Crestron announced today its Internet Radio Tuner Card now supports Pandora®. Now it’s easier than ever to enjoy all your favorite artists, albums or radio stations from anywhere in the home. Pandora is the leader in Internet radio, giving customers a robust medium for listening to music, news, and talk with access to thousands of online stations.

Everything you love about Pandora is now available throughout the home - thumbs up and thumbs down gestures and full meta-data feedback, including album art. No more sitting in front of the TV to control your favorite tunes or find out what song is playing. Simply download the latest firmware update from the Crestron website to enjoy Pandora anytime, anywhere in the home.

“Pandora is one of the most popular content providers customers ask to be integrated into their Crestron systems,” says Sean Goldstein, Crestron VP of Marketing. “Pandora offers a unique and personalized Internet radio experience to listeners, and we are delighted to support it. Other products offer Pandora built-in, but none offer the convenience and ease of use in updating and navigating that Crestron provides.”

Customers simply enter the name of any musical artist, song, or composer and Pandora instantly creates a “station” streaming related music for listening pleasure. They can save up to 99 stations and recall them on demand from a Crestron touch screen. Touch screen control lets users view the current song, artist, and album cover, and provides controls for creating or browsing stations and pausing, skipping, and bookmarking individual songs and artists.

“With the Crestron solution, you can hear a song on Pandora and glance at any touch screen or remote in the home to see what is playing,” explains Jason Oster, Crestron Technology Manager of Software Development Platforms. “You can add a station from your smart phone or tablet and it appears on the Crestron touch screen in real-time. Now you can do more with your Pandora anywhere you want.”

Posted by chantal Wed, 18 Apr 2012 16:21:00 GMT

Audio Impact Featured in Electronic House Magazine

Audio Impact is featured in the May/June 2012 Edition of Electronic House Magazine. Gold Winner of Best Home Theater 2012!

Posted by chantal Mon, 16 Apr 2012 22:19:00 GMT