For those of you unfamiliar with the name, the acronym CEDIA stands for Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association and the organization’s biggest annual show, called CEDIA Expo, enjoys a strong reputation as a go-to home theater event. But several years ago I noticed, as did others within The Absolute Sound team, an interesting phenomenon. For some reason, despite CEDIA’s “custom installation/home theater-centric” reputation, a striking number of manufacturers have chosen to announce serious (though not necessarily high-priced) 2-channel audio products at CEDIA Expo—a trend that certainly caught our attention.
In search of new or recently released 2-channel gems, I attended CEDIA Expo 2012, which was held in Indianapolis, IN from September 6-8, and will be preparing a multi-part show report.
This section of my report will cover new loudspeakers seen at CEDIA.
Note: To make things easier for online readers, I’m covering manufacturers in alphabetical order. As always, my apologies to any manufacturers whose worthy products I fail to mention here. Enjoy.
At CEDIA the German firm ADAM Audio GmbH rolled out a representative model from its new Tensor MkII loudspeaker family, which effectively replaces and sonically improves upon the original Tensor line. The featured model at the show was the Gamma floorstander, which—despite being a quite good-sized speaker—is actually the smallest model in the Tensor MkII lineup. The Gamma will sell for approximately $22,000/pair. The Gamma sports newly revised Heil-type tweeter and midrange drivers (signature elements found in most top-tier ADAM products), plus a pair of all new 10-inch lower midrange/bass driver sporting “honeycombed” composite driver diaphragms. The speaker offers a striking two-tone design where the outer shell of the rigid cabinet is finished in gloss black lacquer while the baffle plate is milled from a 25mm-thick slab of solid aluminum.
At a separate corner of the ADAM display area, I made a further discovery in the form of a completely self-powered surround sound system comprised of various models from ADAM’s popular new line of ARTist “prosumer grade” self-powered speakers. The 5.1-channel system on display was comprised of a pair of ADAM ARTist5 stand-mount monitors used as surrounds ($1200/pair), a pair of ARTist6 mini-floorstanders as LR main speakers ($2000/pair), an ARTist 6 Center as the center channel ($1100), and an ARTist SUB as the subwoofer ($800)—bringing the system price to $5100. Whether you choose to use the self-amplified ARTist speakers as the centerpiece of a minimalist desktop system or as elements in a larger in-room system, the have the freedom to go directly from control components to the speakers, with no need for outboard amplifiers of any kind.
To learn more about the ARTist5 and ARTist SUB, check out the Playback review written by my colleague Steven Stone (click here to read the review).
Last year Cambridge rolled out its tiny but mighty Minx sat/sub system (click here to ready my The Perfect Vision review of the original Minx system), but for CEDIA 2012 the firm revealed a redesign of the Minx satellites that yields substantial—and quite audible—improvements on the inside while leaving the oh-so-cute exterior of the speakers virtually unchanged. As before, both Minx satellites use BMR-type (balanced mode radiator) drivers, but where the drivers have been revised to provide more radiating area and 50% more throw—differences said to give the Minx satellites purer and more open-sound mids and much broader dynamic envelopes. One fairly major change is that the two-driver satellite, which previously used dual BMR drivers, now uses just one improved BMR driver plus one conventional driver. In a brief demo session, I noted that the Minx revisions have, as advertised, made a good system better for a sound that is at once more open and more relaxed.
To denote the changes made, the Minx satellites get new nomenclature with the smaller, cube shaped model becoming the Min 11 ($95/each) and the larger two-driver model becoming the Min 21 ($180/each)—prices slightly higher than for the original Minx satellites. 2.1-channel Minx sat/sub systems range from $569 - $929, while 5.1-channel Minx packages ranges form $849 - $1849.