For some time now, Wisdom has been acknowledged as one of the world’s premier developers of ultra-high performance in-wall speaker system—and quite possibly as the best of them all. The only catch, really, is that Wisdom speaker systems have been very expensive and typically have required use of purpose-built Wisdom electronic crossovers, room EQ, and DSP systems, etc. But at CEDIA, Wisdom launched an all-new family of Insight in-wall speakers that could dramatically change the game, making it possible to configure very accomplished Wisdom in-wall systems at much lower prices than before.
At present, there are four Insight models in the line: three point-source speakers (the P2I at $1250/each, P4i at $1750/each, and P6i at $3000/each) and one line-source model (the L8i at $5000/each). Together, these are the first Wisdom models in recent memory to use passive, rather than active/DSP-controlled, crossover network—a design touch that makes Insight systems simpler to set up and to power, and markedly less expensive than Wisdom’s top-tier offerings. By design, the Insight models work beautifully when used in conjunction with the firm’s smaller SCS “Suitcase” subwoofer. I first saw the Insight models on static display in the main convention hall, and then later heard them in action in a separate Marriott sound room. While admittedly sacrificing some of the finer points of the large five and six-figure Wisdom systems, the Insights retained most of Wisdom’s core values in a sonic sense, delivering a well balanced, smoothly enveloping sound with a good measure of natural warmth.
Yamaha’s three biggest product rollouts for CEDIA involved a new flagship Aventage-series A/V receiver and two new Sound Projector-family soundbar systems.
The big new AVR is the 9.2-channel (9 x 150-watt) Aventage RX-A3020 ($219, which offers just about every feature known to the home theater world, plus a total of—count ‘em—23 DSP programs for sound processing, and Yamaha’s signature YPAO room EQ system with RSC (reflected sound control) and speaker angle measurement. But for integrators, one of the RX-A3020’s biggest draws is that it provides fully independent HDMI for Zone 2 operations, making the A3020 feel like on receiver for the main listening room and a completely different (and independent) receiver for Zone 2.
The two new sound projector-type soundbar systems are the very similar YSP-4300 ($1899), which sports 22 drivers, and the slightly smaller YSP-3300 ($1599), which features 16 drivers. Both units come with active, wireless subwoofers and provide sleek two-chassis solutions that claim to provide a true 7.1-channel surround sound experience. A Yamaha spokesperson explained that the YSP-4300 and -3300 both bring back a well-loved feature previous found in certain earlier-generation sound projector systems: namely, a “target” function that allows users to steer the optimal surround sound effect toward a specific listening position.