Essential Install July 2021

Page 1

JULY 2021






Complete the summer living experience with a little help from Habitech…






New Levels of Advanced Audio Integration We are pleased to announce the launch of two feature rich HDBaseT™ Matrix, the HMXL88ARC and HMXL66ARC. Using CSC technology, these powerful HDBaseT™ matrix support 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 resolutions over distances of 40m over a single CAT 6 cable. The new HMXL66ARC and HMXL88ARC come into their own with advanced audio features specifically designed for maximising the integration of all AV sources in the modern home. Enhanced audio routing is achieved through the integrated 26x8 audio matrix. This enables the audio both from displays (via ARC) and all other sources to be embedded and routed through the system at the users discretion. These ARC and audio routing features enable our installation partners the ability to create a truly AV experience throughout the home.


HMXL88ARC 8x8 HDBaseT™ CSC ARC Matrix


HMXL66ARC 6x6 HDBaseT™ CSC ARC Matrix

HDCP 2.2

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering distribution of video and audio over a single CAT cable J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification including HDR J 26x8 Audio Matrix independently controllable from the video

HDCP 2.2

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering distribution of video and audio over a single CAT cable J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification including HDR J 20x6 Audio Matrix independently controllable from the video


HEX70ARC-KIT HDBaseT™ ARC Extender Set - 70m (4K up to 40m), ARC, Bi-directional IR, Bi-directional PoC J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering uncompressed video and audio with zero latency J Extends HDMI 1080p up to a distance of 70m over a single CAT cable J Supports 4K UHD video up to 40m (3840 x 2160 @30Hz 4:4:4, 4096 x 2160 @24Hz 4:4:4, and 4K @60Hz 4:2:0)

4K HDR up to 40m


Custom Pro 8x8 HDBaseT™ CSC Matrix (4K 60Hz 4:4:4 up to 40m) Supports 4K HDR, IP Control, PoC, 2-Way IR, 4 x Simultaneous HDMI Outputs , Audio Breakout with Volume Control J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification over HDBaseT™ J Supports 4K resolutions including HDR (4K 60Hz 4:4:4) to a distance of 40m

J Smart Scale technology - automatic 4K to 1080p scaling Available Now - Custom Pro, 16 x HDMI 2.0 inputs, 16 x HDBaseT™ outputs

1080p up to 150m



100m HDBaseT™ Extender Set Supporting 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 (70m)

HDBaseT™ CSC Extender Set Supporting HDMI 2.0 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 up to 100m (1080p up to 150m)

J Advanced HDBaseT™ technology offering CSC scaling with zero latency J Supports 4K UHD video up to 70m (3840x2160 @60Hz 4:4:4 and @60Hz

J Advanced Colour Space Conversion (CSC) supports HDMI 2.0 18Gbps specification including HDR support

4:2:2 including HDR)



C44-KIT Contractor 4x4 HDBaseT™ Matrix Kit

J Includes 4 x HEX70B-RX HDBaseT™ Receivers


IP200UHD-RX/TX Multicast 4K UHD Video Receiver / Transmitter J Supports up to 4K HDR UHD video sources (3840 x 2160 @30Hz 4:4:4, 4096 x 2160 @24Hz 4:4:4 and 4K @60Hz 4:2:0) J Advanced signal management for independent routing of IR, RS-232, USB / KVM, audio and video

4 K





Become a Certified Blustream Installation Partner

Interactive Online Tutorials We have re-designed our regular interactive online tutorials, focused on providing convenient, bite sized insights into the latest Blustream solutions and the day to day challenges we all currently face in our rapidly evolving market. During these unprecedented times, we have increased both the content and frequency of the sessions we are hosting to bring you the most comprehensive range of interactive webinar content available in the UK.

Register now: J

Our UK Address: The Service Station,

Tel: +44 (0)115 824 7000

J Video over IP vs HDBaseT - which should you back?

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Current Tutorials Available

J Specifying a Custom Pro Matrix with 18Gbps support

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July 2021







Assisted living comes of age?

8K cables? No problem

A right royal news round-up

AONYX perfectly executes luxury cinema

Ultimate outdoor experiences

More top toys



Kaleidescape Upgrade Program


Time to register for the show

Our regular round-up



Pt 2 of our exclusive with L-Acoustics’ Christian Heil

A ground-breaking quoting platform for the AV and CI sectors


58 23 66 CONTENTS AND SOURCES 26 DO YOU NEED HI-RES AUDIO FOR MULTIROOM AUDIO? Wayne Hyde, Technical Manager at distributor Custom AV Distribution


David Meyer, Technical Research Consultant, CEDIA

16 36 HIGH-END GAMING AND SIMULATION: TIME TO GET SERIOUS! Tim Sinnaeve, MD High-End Residential at Barco




Paul Foulkes, KNX UK President

David Meyer, Technical Research Consultant, CEDIA


Paul Kasler, installer and Director at Aura Air Limited

33 IMMERSIVE AUDIO IN GAMING David Meyerowitz, technical sales manager of Trinnov Audio


Paul Doyle, Associate Expert Witness at Bush and Company and CEDIA Subject Market Expert

FOR Smart Home |

JULY 2021



pages 16–17




ASSISTED LIVING Many, many years ago now - in what seems another life, EI had a job working for Lambeth Council Social Services Department. The job was mostly a driving one, picking up various groups of people and taking them to different types of day centres, therapy sessions, hospital appointments and the occasional day out. The people using the service varied from older people to people with physical disabilities or learning issues and sometimes both. However, they all had one thing in common, a desire to live as normal a life as possible. Most were happy to receive the help the state and others provided, but in most cases, would have preferred to be able to perform the tasks they needed help with on their own. Now, this could range from really simple things like opening the curtains in the morning to more complex tasks - but the desire was always the same; respect and independence as far as possible. At the time (early 1990s) apart from physically intervening, there was little help available to people in these sorts of positions. Sure, things like improved wheelchair technology and a few handy gadgets were available, but nothing like the opportunities there are today to assist people in supporting themselves and delivering independence. This early experience coupled with the potential now on offer to support people with all sorts of challenges in their lives, means the assisted living subject is one close the magazine’s heart. Smart home technology has developed enormously in recent years, mostly focused (it has to be said) on making life easier for everyone, more control, more convenience, the ability to plan a life and communicate with those around us. Now the first thing to say about the assisted living opportunity is, just imagine how transformational even basic home automation is to someone with mobility issues. Yes it’s a cool piece of functionality for everyone to have their lights come on and blinds operate automatically

04 JULY 2021

at different times of the day, but imagine the impact if you simply could not physically perform those tasks at all. Right around the home, the ability to perform tasks such as answering the front door to receive deliveries or communicate effectively with family and care givers over video link, are life changing for many, many people, either living in their own homes or other supported dwellings. Also worth remembering is the impact that high-quality AV systems can have for people who may have limited ability to leave their dwelling, or have other challenges that make visiting a commercial cinema not possible. Also, the therapeutic impact of movies or music for people suffering with disabilities or illness can be huge as well. So we already do loads, that with a few tweaks, could be implemented as an assisted living system, but of course an innovative industry like ours can go further. It has long been recognised that therapy involving certain types of light, as well as immersive audio experiences combined with light, can have huge beneficial impacts for people with all sorts of disabilities, illnesses and life challenges. This is an area that is likely to see lots of development in the next few years - so keep an eye out for what happens there too. From a commercial point of view, this should be seen as a big opportunity, as I said earlier, most people facing life challenges, just want to the same opportunities as everyone else and if our sector can provide those opportunities the financial rewards will come. Check out the case study we created about Together For Cinema on the EI website.

The scope for assisted living systems is only just beginning to be realised

Complete the summer living experience with a little help from Habitech…






Daniel Sait,


Beatrice Lee,


Ian Kitchener,


Claire Talty,


David Kitchener,


Mark Weller,


Essential Install magazine, Suite 14, 6-8 Revenge Road, Lordswood, Chatham, Kent ME5 8UD T: +44 (0)1634 673163 F: +44 (0)1634 673173

SOCIALS /INSTALL_MAG /ESSENTIALINSTALL Whilst we make every effort that everything printed in Essential Install magazine is factually correct, we cannot be held responsible if factual errors occur. All articles are copyright and remain the property of Essential Install magazine.


BRING SPATIAL AUDIO HOME As major streaming services race to promote spatial audio and ultra HD audio, L-Acoustics Creations offers immersive sound spaces and high-performance sound systems ideally suited to these exciting formats. AV professionals know that content is only as impactful as the technology used to play it. Designed by L-Acoustics, the world leader in premium professional audio, Island Prestige provides an unrivaled 360° spatialized experience. With a visionary plug-andplay acoustic design, Island Prestige immerses the listener in HD music, movies, or gaming in luxurious comfort and style. Visit to learn more or book an appointment in London, Paris, Los Angeles, Moscow, or Hong Kong.


The ultimate home cinema experience Engineered to deliver movie soundtracks with all the clarity, dynamics and power of a commercial cinema, the Series MX range of speaker systems take up minimal space behind the screen while faithfully delivering movie soundtracks straight through the picture and into your seat.

Hear The Krix Experience at Innovation House in Bracknell. Book a demo now.

Book now to hear Krix at our Home Cinema event on 13th and 14th July


NEWS ESSENTIAL PEOPLE BenQ UK welcomes Ben Whitaker as Education Technology Consultant. Ben Whitaker joins BenQ as an Education Technology Consultant. He will be working with educators and decision makers to share BenQ’s latest collaboration hardware and software solutions for the classroom, feeding their user experience requirements back to into the future development of BenQ products. PPDS, the exclusive global provider of Philips professional TV and digital signage products has announced the promotion of Jeroen Verhaeghe to the global role of International Business Manager for hospitality. Jeroen first joined the company in 1998 and during his career Jeroen has held a number of important strategic and product management positions – most recently as International Product Manager for Professional TVs (2014-2021).

Ben Whitaker

UK technical solutions distributor, Visualization, has announced it has hired seasoned senior sales figure James Belso to spearhead its end user and consultant activity. Strictly operating under Visualization’s ‘trade only’ ethos, James will be charged in developing Visualization’s business and grow its partner network. Having worked for Christie Digital Systems for over a decade –James has recently been focusing on the Consultant community and key end users. Visualization also recently appointed James Hull as technical sales support engineer, also coming from Christie, bringing over 15 years of experience in video processing, as well as LED displays and projection.


Jeroen Verhaeghe

James Belso

DIRAC ACCELERATES GLOBAL GROWTH Dirac, the audio expert company, has announced the completion of new direct share issue raising $17.73-million USD (150 MSEK) from TIN Fonder and DIG Investment. Beginning a new era in its global quest to enable superior sound experiences across all content and devices, Swedish sound pioneer Dirac has announced the completion of a direct share equity issue that raised $17.73-million USD (150 MSEK) from new investor TIN Fonder and current investor DIG Investment. According to Dirac CEO Peter Friedrichsen, the new equity raise values the company at just under $142.2-million USD (1.200 MSEK) and positions Dirac to fully leverage and lead what it believes will be the next great era in audio driven by software rather than hardware alone. “Since the dawn of reproduced sound, advancements in audio performance have historically been driven by hardware innovation,” said Peter. “This paradigm began to shift when companies like Dirac first introduced technologies that demonstrated the ability of software to achieve new, higher levels


of performance. Today, we believe that the future of sound is in the hands of software and, with this investment, we fully intend to make Dirac the driving force in audio industry innovation across all platforms, devices, and environments.” Over the past 12-months, the company has experienced marked success across all of its core channels – home audio, pro audio, automotive, headphone, mobile and streaming – striking key OEM deals with brands such as Onkyo, Pioneer, Philips, Hyundai, Volvo, Polestar, BYD, Klipsch, and ASUS, among others. It has also developed new sales channels, working directly with semiconductor and middleware companies – like NXP, Analog Devices (ADI), and CRI Middleware – to integrate Dirac audio directly into chipsets and platforms. Dirac customers, in addition to the industry atlarge, are realising the many benefits of upgrading hardware performance through today’s most cuttingedge digital audio software, argues the company.





Costs are saved, products are released faster, tunings are made more efficient and sound profiles can be personalised thanks to Dirac



JULY 2021 07

Remarkable Sound Discreetly Lyngdorfs patented technologies deliver extraordinary sound from compact speakers.

Experience the extraordinary at Gecko on 01635 268114.


PERFORMANCE FACTS BETA DEBUTS IN THE CEDIA DESIGNER CEDIA has launched a beta version of Performance Facts in its home cinema and media room design software, The CEDIA Designer (TCD). Product selection in entertainment space design has historically been determined by subjective measures like brand preference and budget, says the organisation. Performance Facts has been designed as a breakthrough that allows product selection to be based on performance objectives by presenting quantifiable data from manufacturers to entertainment space designers and decisionmakers. The first phase of the initiative will include product categories such as speakers, amplifiers and processors. “The introduction of Performance Facts in The CEDIA Designer marks a new era of media room and home cinema space design,” said Guy Singleton, creator of The CEDIA Designer. “We see Performance Facts as a way for quality manufacturers to elevate their brands in front of the critical audience of integrators. Brands that can demonstrate — with proven data — the calibre of their products can wear their designation as Performance Facts compliant as a badge of honour.” Performance Facts is in its beta stage currently, but plans call for the feature to roll out permanently in TCD once more brands share their objective data and come aboard. CEDIA is encouraging existing

TCD brands interested in serving as Performance Facts pioneers to contact and coordinate information sharing for consideration of inclusion in the feature. “Performance facts is a game-changer for TCD and also the industry as it will raise the bar on quality and transparency for technical, performance-based room design,” said CEDIA Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, Ian Bryant. “The initiative is years in the making and has come together through cooperation of a consortium of industry professionals who have come together to make it happen. If you’re a manufacturer that possesses these data points, we encourage you to supply them and help your brand stand out.”



The CEDIA Designer


CEDIA members receive complimentary access to the Media Room level of TCD and preferred pricing on additional levels of the software

THEORY AUDIO DESIGN APPOINTS CUSTOM AV DISTRIBUTION AS UK DISTRIBUTOR Custom AV Distribution (CAVD) has announced that they will now represent Theory Audio Design (Theory) in the UK. The California-based manufacturer produces high-powered integrated audio systems that are receiving strong reviews worldwide. Based around streamlined soundbars, multi-use loudspeakers, subwoofers and soon to be announced architectural products – all powered by compact amplified loudspeaker controllers, Theory achieves a level of performance beyond the systems’ discreet footprint, says the distributor. The solution is a strong match for delivering an immersive multi-channel experience in a media room, especially those with a large format TV display or video wall and where space is at a premium. The current Theory product line includes three soundbars designed to complement 65in, 75in and 85in TV screens. All models are armed with carbon fibre woofers and compression HF drivers and can deliver up to an impressive 124dB. These specifications are designed to meet any high SPL targets in a typical residential space. Other products include a multi-use surface-mount loudspeaker, 12in and 15in in-room subwoofers, and, the secret sauce of every Theory system, the ALC-1809 Amplified Loudspeaker Controller. In the second half of 2021, Theory will introduce an entire line of architectural loudspeakers and subwoofers made for residential and commercial surround sound and distributed audio applications.


Jamie Pullen of CAVD said, “We cannot wait to show our integrators what this sound system can do. When I saw and heard Theory at the CEDIA Expo it was the most exciting product I had experienced in a long time, and still is.” “We introduced Theory in 2020 on a simple promise: to deliver the best performance available in every product category we enter. Early market and reviewer feedback confirms that we are delivering




on that promise, and we are thrilled to partner with CAVD to further our success within the UK,” commented Paul Hales, President and Product Designer for Theory Audio Design and sister brand, Pro Audio Technology (PRO).





Theory Audio Design is now available from CAVD

JULY 2021 09



Inspire Audio Visual has acquired Smart Systems Group to expand its footprint in the Northwest

Inspire Audio Visual LTD has announced the acquisition of Smart Systems Group LTD in Cheshire. The move (completed on July 1) will affirm a permanent presence in the Cheshire market for Inspire Audio Visual. Inspire company director, Ben Davies, said, “We have been working in the Northwest for the past

five years and have always utilised a network of contractors to help manage and maintain projects. This partnership allows for a dedicated team based in the heart of a market we wish to explore further. “Alan and the team bring a wealth of skills along on the 1st, with a portfolio of long-standing clients ready to join the Inspire family.” Alan Sherlock, Smart Systems Group, added, “We have been looking to expand now for a number of years. While working with Inspire on some of their projects we have built up a relationship that we wished to consolidate. Establishing the heritage of the Inspire brand over in Cheshire is exciting for us along with the addition of their support system, this will undoubtedly benefit both our legacy and upcoming clients.” Inspire will welcome Alan as the new Technical Director with the responsibility of the logistical management of projects moving forward. Inspire is also looking at demonstration facilities in the Northwest to complement the existing showrooms in West Yorkshire and Surrey.




Inspire Audio Visual

LILIN UK LAUNCH NEW PARTNER PROGRAM LILIN has announced the launch a new Premier Partner Program on the July 1, 2021, as a way of showing the company’s appreciation to its loyal customers for their support. “The Premier Partner Program is our way of giving something back,” said Steve Liddiard, CEO LILIN UK. “2020 was a difficult year for us all and as the industry is beginning to recover now, we wanted to be able to offer our customers some additional benefits to say ‘thank-you’.”

Members of the Premier Partner Program are eligible for increased product warranties and extended advance replacement periods, along with additional project specification support and advance notice of new products with beta-testing opportunities. For more information on the Premier Partner Program, contact Jasmine Godfrey at or 01908 443 660. LILIN






Steve Liddiard LILIN UK CEO is promoting a new Premier Partner Program, get in touch for more details



JULY 2021 11


SNAPAV REBRANDS AS SNAP ONE SnapAV, supplier of AV, surveillance, control, networking and remote management solutions, has announced that it has become Snap One. CEO John Heyman said the new name reflects the company’s goal to be the best provider of solutions, services, and platforms for custom installation integrators whose businesses have grown well beyond AV products. Perhaps even more significantly the company will also launch later this year a unified portal for all its brands so integrators can purchase from the entire brand line up no matter their location. “The name ‘SnapAV’ no longer fully represents who we are or our aspirations for the future,” John added. “We kept the name ‘Snap’ because of our ongoing mission to make our partners’ lives easier. Snap One builds upon this legacy and reinforces our aspiration to be the integrator’s most valued and most trusted partner. We want to be the one place with the broadest portfolio of best-in-class products; the one shopping experience that can be done online or in-store; and the one partner that professionals can depend on when installing and supporting the amazing experiences that their customers desire.” The company has a base of walk in stores in the US for integrators, however the Snap One tells EI there are currently no plans to replicate that in the UK. The new name also represents a unified company that includes legacy SnapAV and Control4 organisations following the merger in 2019. “Together, now as Snap One, the company can serve

12 JULY 2021

as the industry’s central source for everything needed to succeed, today and in the future,” John explained. “The name Snap One emphasises our desire to be the one-stop-source for the solutions that integrators need – including control – whether it’s with our own solutions or third-party products.” Later this year, Snap One will unveil one unified portal so integrators can research, quote, and purchase any products from a single location. The company will also have one streamlined loyalty program. The announcement of a new company name comes on the heels of several major corporate developments, including the acquisition of networking provider Access Networks and a significant investment in remote support solutions provider Parasol. Snap One’s product platform includes over 4,300 proprietary SKUs in entertainment, connectivity and infrastructure, along with two software platforms (OvrC and Control4 OS3) that provide interoperability with thousands of third-party products from hundreds of vendors. Snap One SnapAV is now Snap One, the company also plans to launch a global a unified sales portal for all its brands










Cover the Ground with Sound For every all-weather application and project challenge, you’ll love the answer from Sonance Consistently voted No.1 outdoor speaker supplier In-Wall • On-Wall • In-Ground • On-Ground


201 9

EI LIVE! 2021

TIME TO REGISTER FOR EI LIVE! 2021 The time has come to sign up for this very special edition of EI Live! The show’s team are looking forward to welcoming the whole industry back to the Farnborough Exhibition Centre for a much needed chance for networking, in person interaction and of course a chance for installers to get fully up to speed on everything that is happening across the industry.

The first place to start when planning your trip to

As we all know the show was postponed

EI Live! 2020, (lead sponsor this year is OneAV)

from October 2020 for obvious reasons, and

- which takes place at the Farnborough Exhibition

the show team has been working closely with

Centre September 29-30, is the website located

the venue to ensure all current government

at You can register from there

guidelines are met in order for us to get the

and plan your entire trip; looking at who is

show back in September. Rest assured, all

exhibiting and who is speaking in the Technical

COVID related procedures or recommendations

Theatre. You can even book your accommodation

existing at the time of the event will be fully in

from there if you’re planning on staying over.

place across both the show and venue. With

14 JULY 2021

events such as the online EI Live! Interactive Week, (provided free of charge to the industry), the show has tried to stay in full contact with the industry, as well as providing useful events such as the Interactive Week, keeping potential visitors and exhibitors fully informed with updates as soon as we have received them. The event is delighted to have maintained the trust of the industry and is keen to underline that it is a genuine team effort between the industry and the show to ensure the event can take place this year. Remember, we always say that this is YOUR show and this has never been more true than this year, and the input from the industry has been vital in getting to this point. Now marking its tenth year in the market, EI Live! will of course be showcasing home and building automation, entertainment and AV systems - but will also be welcoming exhibitors with offerings from related fields too. The heartbeat of any show is the showfloor and we are delighted to announce that this year the show is totally sold out, so there will be huge



EI LIVE! 2021

EI Live! returns the fantastic Farnborough Exhibition Centre.

opportunity for installers to catch up with all of

This venue provides the show with the

their suppliers and of course meet some new

attractions of a London venue without the

Exhibitor Line Up For EI Live!

ones too! The Technical Theatre will be back

hustle and bustle and transport challenges of

Aico / Home Link, Aldous systems, Alltrade, Amina Technologies, Anatech, Antiference, Aquavision, Artcoustic, Avoke Ltd, AWE Europe Ltd, Bespoke Telecoms Ltd, Blustream Ltd, CAI, CAVD, CEDIA, Cinema Build Systems, Connected Distribution, Coordinated Limited, CYP, Designflow, Display technologies, ELAN, Element One Screens, Epson, Exertis One, EZVIZ Ltd, Faradite, FS Cables, Future Automation, Gallo Acoustics, Great Bristis Audio Co, Grenton Smart Home, Habitech, Hayden Furniture, HDAnywhere, Hidden Wires, Hisense, IMP, Indigo Distribution, Into AV Distribution, Intrinsic Group, Invision, Karma AV, Kordz/ Blustream, L-Acoustic, Lektropacks, Lithe Audio, Luxaflex, Meridian Audio, Modus Vivendi / Wall Smart, Monitor Audio Ltd, My KNX store, Netvio, OneAV, Penn Elcom, PictureFrame TV, PMC, Pulse Cinema, Rako Controls, Redline Scotland, Retrotouch, RGB Communications, Sanus, Savant, Sensible Heat, Sinemas, Snap AV/ Control 4, Sonic Syndicate/Outsourced AV, TDI, Tindall Security, TV Shield.

for 2021, presenting many industry experts providing valuable insight into a whole range of subjects to help expand your business and make operations more successful. Details on this vital area of the show will be revealed very soon so keep your eyes on these pages and on those of the official show website.

selection of great hotels from high-end luxury to sensible budget choices. The community of local hotels have new StaySafe procedures in place to provide additional protection for event attendees as part of a response to COVID-19. All the information you need is on the website. So its time to sign up, get along to eiliveshow.

THE VENUE With one EI Live! already under its belt, The Farnborough Exhibition Centre is a wonderful and well-suited space to showcase 21st century technology. Contemporary in design, the venue has been created to reflect pioneering, innovation and sophistication – all very fitting for EI Live! The building is no slouch when it comes to tech, with cutting edge connectivity, meaning exhibitors are not held back in presenting their products and services in any way they desire. Hall 1 where EI Live! is held, if needed can connect 50,000 devices simultaneously, stream over 600 films in HD simultaneously, download the entire Beatles discography (1,450 songs) on iTunes in 3 seconds or download the original Super Mario Brothers 65,625 times in a second.

the capital, the venue is surrounded by a large


com, learn more and get registered for this long awaited return of live events in the AV and smart building sector.


JULY 2021 15



Together, Samsung and Sonance will help you to deliver the quality of discreet high performance your clients will love

A lockdown-inspired surge in the value of garden spaces offers new opportunities for your skills, and we have the tools to help, says product manager Giovanni Scatola. According to a recent ONS survey, the pandemic has changed our relationship with the great outdoors forever. Locked out of airless trains and airconditioned offices, millions of new homeworkers have discovered the ‘wellness’ of wide-open spaces, with 76% of them nipping outside for a jog or a little Tai chi compared with 52% of those still hogtied to HQ. Last year a survey by Natural England confirmed the trend, reporting that 46% of respondents wanted to spend more time alfresco, and a whopping 90% agreeing that green spaces are good for mental health and wellbeing. No surprise then that

nearly half of the two thousand people surveyed recently by garden tool maker Stihl said that their garden had become more important to them during lockdown. And there’s plenty to suggest that this new love affair with green space is here to stay.


When 17% of businesses are advocating homeworking as a permanent feature, according to a Business Insights and Conditions Survey from late last year, the UK economy is unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic shape. And the change could be baked-in by Bank of England predictions of the strongest economic growth since 1941. Wherever you look, new market

dynamics are targeting the home as the pivot for a profound shift in the work/life balance. Factor in the fastest growth in house prices for seven years and enormous pent-up consumer demand fuelled by furlough cash, business loans and unrequited foreign holiday spending, and it’s clear where all the new post-Covid energy is pointing. In today’s home-centred reality, greater love for outdoor living galvanised by a rejuvenated spending splurge is recasting garden spaces as multifaceted playgrounds of social wellbeing. This means that the opportunities for your outdoor AV skills have never looked quite so rosy.


Amid rocketing demand for expensive mancaves, garden offices, outdoor kitchens and gazebos, we’ll be ready to supply the AV that completes the new living landscape. Maximise your outdoor video design with Samsung’s ‘The Terrace’ TVs, which offer the latest Samsung 4K QLED smart technology for exceptional clarity and brightness, turning everyday viewing into an epic entertainment experience, even on the sunniest of days. Available from Habitech in 55, 65 and 75-in sizes, The Terrace partners beautifully with the other brand leader in our outdoor line-up. Sonance gives you unrivalled all-weather performance for every project - bar none. No other brand will meet your design objectives as perfectly with the widest and most accomplished range of discreet audio options in its 40-year history. Samsung’s ‘The Terrace’ TVs will turn everyday viewing into an epic entertainment experience, even on the sunniest of days

16 JULY 2021






For consistent audio coverage in any residential space, the pioneering Sonance sat-sub format delivers peerless install practicality, versatility and sound quality directed inward towards the listening area rather than over neighbouring gardens. What’s more, Sonance’s superior audio resolution means that detail and dynamics are reproduced at lower volume levels for a noticeable quality premium. Latest product additions include a sat-sub range dubbed the Patio Series, and the Omni6T: an all-weather omni-directional speaker. Add these innovations to the choice of Sonance Landscape Series (SLS) for high quality audio on the largest estates down; Sonance Garden Series (SGS), scalable to 16.2 for all but the biggest projects; the impregnable Extreme 810G-certified in-walls, Mariner Series on-walls and the timeless Rocks range, and it’s selfevident that whatever the challenge, you’ll love the answer from the world’s original and most successful CI speaker brand.


For an audiophile-quality sound field with minimal hot spots and dead zones in any landscape at extremely high sound pressure levels, choose the Sonance Landscape Series (SLS). A single 4-inch 2-way satellite and a high power 6-inch 2-way satellite combine with 12inch in-ground and on-ground subwoofers and a high power 15-inch in-ground subwoofer in beautifully scalable 70V or 8ohm deployments.

Replacing the trailblazing SonArray system, the Patio Series boosts the brand’s much copied sat/sub form factor with a system of four staked 3.5-inch satellite speakers and one 8-inch inground subwoofer finished in a robust textured brown finish. Designed for convenient modular system expansion, the Patio system can be doubled-up to eight sats and two subs when using a Sonance SR 2-125 DSP amplifier. Perfect versatility and quality for smaller spaces.

Patio Series: brings award-winning Sonance quality to smaller projects.

Extreme VPXT6R in-wall


The Mariner line combines better sound with more installation options than ever before. Featuring completely redesigned acoustic systems, an exclusive Fastmount® bracket system and innovative front-mounted terminals, the seven models across three sizes and three performance levels use tough IP66-rated paintable sealed polypropylene enclosures in black or white, as well as aluminium grilles to boost their class-leading all-weather resistance.


The Omni-6T is an omni-directional 70V/100V/8 ohm full-range speaker designed to deliver 360-degree coverage in applications such as resort gardens, hotel pool areas, theme parks and outdoor shopping malls. It uses four 32mm wide-band drivers mounted above a single 165mm high excursion woofer in a textured brown enclosure built to withstand the extremes of temperature and moisture, and capable of burial up to 203mm (8”) deep, leaving just 152mm (6”) above the surface.

Mariner 64 on-wall


The natural rock-like design of the super-durable Sonance Rock satellites will disappear into almost any outdoor landscape for the perfect blend of sound and surroundings. Choose from 6-inch and 8-inch satellites in brown and granite finishes and a 10-inch sub in brown.

ULTIMATE OUTDOOR SLS: high quality SPLs for the largest estates down. 70V/8ohm


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INCREDIBLE KALEIDESCAPE UPGRADE PROGRAM! Under a complete revamp of the company’s trade-up program (formerly restricted to the Premiere line) Kaleidescape and Pulse Cinemas have revealed details of a new upgrade program which covers its entire line of products.

Driven by a commitment and desire to support all Kaleidescape’s customers, the new Kaleidescape Upgrade Program offers dealers and end users the opportunity to upgrade any working products to a new unit from the range with discounts of up to 25%. The whole program is from one easy-to-use system, controlled and administered via Kaleidescape’s dealer extranet site ( php). The process is straightforward, meaning tasks such as executing each upgrade, creating quotes and setting up logistics for getting the old stock and new stock to the right place, is all handled from within the site.

18 JULY 2021

Simon Gibbs, Technical Sales Support Manager for the brand here at Pulse Cinemas, says, “We are really excited about this new initiative. It is a fantastic sales tool for dealers to revisit every single one of their existing Kaleidescape customers and talk about an upgrade. The program is valid for every product in the range subject to a few terms and conditions and allows dealers to support and engage with every customer and every product. Comprehensive and powerful, just like the Kaleidescape system itself.” Much of the impetus for this new approach has come from the new management team, which took over the day-to-day running of the brand last year. Tayloe Stansbury was appointed as new chief executive officer and Norma Garcia-Muro joined as vice president of marketing. Tayloe’s CV includes time as interim CEO of Watermark Insights, as chief technology officer of Intuit, and as executive vice president of product and operations at Ariba. Norma has an impressive record as an entertainment industry innovator in the motion picture, home entertainment and premium cinema technology sectors. Norma was also an integral part of the launch of Dolby Cinema worldwide, and premium cinema experience at THX. Other posts Norma has held include

head of international marketing at Lucasfilm, and as director at Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment. This new team has delivered fresh ideas and an expanded ambition to deliver new ways to support Kaleidescape dealers and customers as well as create enhanced interaction between the two groups using the company’s extensive product line-up and internal logistical muscle. It is also important to note here that before joining the manufacturer, Tayloe was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable Kaleidescape customer, so he understands the desire of loyal customers to feel supported and cared for no matter what type of investment they have made. Pulse Cinemas agrees that Kaleidescape is a very special product, so underlines that any promotional support or upgrade programs should be special too, and that is the spirit within which the new trade up program has been created. Simon Schino, our Sales Manager for the brand, enthuses, “As the Kaleidescape range has evolved over the years with fresh introductions such as embracing 4K playback, significantly increasing storage sizes and introducing its own online store, there are many opportunities to upgrade customers to functionality they simply don’t have at the moment, offering a genuine upgrade in performance, with significant




discounts and a fuss-free execution. We always want to make existing Kaleidescape customers feel special, and this program does exactly that, rewarding their investment with a special service not available to anyone else. For dealers, the program delivers a fantastic sales opportunity right across the board, a genuine reason to revisit all your Kaleidescape customers and offer them something special.”


To access the Upgrade Program, all dealers need to do is access the Kaleidescape extranet site (ask us about login details if you don’t already have them) the whole program can

then be understood and executed from the dedicated space created for the program. Go and check it out for yourself, and if you want any support or help looking for what you need, just give the Pulse team a shout. From here dealers can see exactly what products are in the program and what products they can be traded up for. The system can also be used to work out quotes to send to clients (email templates are already there for you to use), and it also deals with the logistics needed to make the program work. The extranet can also be used to browse your Kaleidescape systems that are live currently and see what possible upgrades might be appropriate for each customer and system. To be eligible, products must be in good cosmetic condition and of course be working, these products will be fed back into the remanufacture program and become part of the stock that can be accessed when the customer wants to upgrade to a remanufactured system, but of course customers can upgrade to new products as well. Return packaging is provided free of charge for every customer. Kaleidescape is also running a service where clients upgrading from one digital storage product to another can have all of

their existing content transferred onto their new or remanufactured product. There is a small charge for this, but it is already proving to be a very welcome and popular part of the service. Customers with large physical disc libraries can also be supported with new machines with larger storage or those who just want to refresh with a newer version. The program also sees the return of the M300 player, but exclusively for the marine market as it is a strong option for this sector due to its super reliability and compact form factor. As stated previously, all the options are already loaded to the extranet site, but some highlights include the ability to upgrade any player and many of the storage products to the very latest Strato C player or Terra 48TB/Terra 24TB server products. Other options include upgrading a Cinema One (first or second gen), Alto or Strato to new Strato S 12TB or Strato S 6TB variants. The ability to upgrade between the whole Premiere line of products that was already in place of course remains. Have a look at the site and review all of the options. Simon Gibbs, concludes, “We are here to support all of our dealers with this new program, but I am confident that once dealers look around inside the space set up for the program inside the extranet, it will become their best friend here. The Kaleidescape team have done an excellent job setting it up, and the whole system and program is live right now and ready to start delivering sales and creating loads of very happy Kaleidescape customers.” Pulse Cinemas



JULY 2021 19


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CONTINUED SUPPORT In the next of our monthly rounds ups, EI brings the industry up to speed with what is happening with the Together For Cinema (TFC) initiative created to support and supply cinema and AV experiences for a whole range of organisations. Intuitive Homes got involved in creating the Derian House project

This month the sponsorships have kept coming in with many new companies wanting to show their support. James Johnson-Flint, CEO Cambridge Audio, comments, “Having known Ian for some time (Ian Morrish, Founder of TFC), it was great to see him put his kind and helpful spirit into getting the initiative off the ground and I’m delighted to have supported it over the years and to be sponsoring the project in a more formal way now. “The best thing about the scheme is how it brings our industry together, which just doesn’t happen enough. Collectively, we’re all able to achieve something amazing, creating these valuable spaces that otherwise wouldn’t exist, bringing ongoing joy to so many.” Harriet Marsh, Marketing and Business Development, Future Automation says, “As a manufacturer we have previously been involved with TFC, supplying product when required. We are proud to now be able to become an official sponsor and support Ian and the board grow the profile and awareness. “This scheme allows the AV industry to collaborate and utilise its skills, expertise, and resources to do something good for others. For TFC to succeed will require the whole industry to get behind the initiative, in whatever capacity. Do not underestimate how powerful your


connections and networks are. No amount of help is too small, and as an industry we have a philanthropic responsibility to give back and be proud of how we can make a difference.” Installers have also been keen to show their support. Stephen Nevison, director at Intuitive Homes, explains, “I first heard about TFC almost 10 years ago in a trade publication article. It was a write-up about one of the installations and I remember thinking what a fantastic cause and I would love to get involved once I wasn’t so busy. “A couple of years went by and I came to the realisation I would probably never be at a point where things were ‘quiet enough’! I reached out to Ian and said let me know if any opportunities to help come up in the North West and in 2018 we were lucky to get to work on the Derian House project.” Stephen adds, “I think there are so many great aspects to this scheme but the most obvious is being able to provide these facilities to children and their families and making it possible for them to enjoy the cinema experience we all love so much. Of all the projects we have worked on over the years, supporting TFC has without a doubt been the most rewarding. “In the past if you thought TFC was a great scheme and wanted to help, you were limited in how you could go about that. If you were unable


to donate equipment or expertise (due to location or time constraints) then there wasn’t much you could do to contribute. Now with the sponsorship options anyone can be a part of this amazing initiative and as someone who has seen and heard the feedback from the families first-hand, I can’t recommend it enough.” Gareth Lloyd, Group Marketing & Communications Manager at the Saville Group, relates another install company’s experience, “Our Group Technical Director Colin Etchells has known Ian for a number of years and saw his recent posts about the initiative on LinkedIn. As a result, Colin contacted Ian and after a couple of discussions, both agreed there were a number of areas where Saville Group and its operating brands Visavvi and Sparq could help and support the cause. “Colins remembers the industry’s Vision Charity in the late 80’s/early 90’s and felt it was about time that the industry came together to give something back to the community. There is a significant quantity of AV kit that gets replaced and recycled every year and the opportunity for some of this to be donated to help support this cause is very appealing. However, working together as a wider group with other industry professionals, means the impact and reach can be much greater. “Children’s Hospices make an unbelievably valuable contribution to the community despite minimal state funding and it is fantastic that the scheme is able to provide the support to create these cinema rooms, something that for many hospices would be totally out of reach. Gareth concludes, “We need the industry to rally together and get behind and support this scheme through sponsorship, kit provision and practical hands-on technical support. Working as a group across the industry we could make a huge positive impact, and after the year we have all had, it’s the very least we can do for those less fortunate than ourselves.” If you feel there is anything you can add to TFC, either in helping with the work or with a Sponsorship, please get over to the website and do what you can. Together For Cinema

JULY 2021 23

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DO YOU NEED HI-RES AUDIO FOR MULTIROOM AUDIO? Wayne Hyde, Technical Manager at distributor Custom AV Distribution, asks the question. At Custom AV Distribution showroom, I regularly stream online music from TIDAL, via our ‘made for CI’ music streamers from LODE. The combination makes for a high-quality source to demonstrate many of our product ranges and to aid audio calibration. The playlists we create aren’t necessarily HD, Master or MQA content; they’re tracks that just sound good. The songs sound good because of the musicians, the engineering, and the production techniques that were skilfully applied at the beginning in the studio. And this is whether the piece was to be released on cassette, vinyl or streamed. It’s always been that way; the cream rises to the top regardless of the carrier being hi-res or not. That’s not to say that low-res music streaming is just as good as hi-res; there’s a point where the resolution becomes good enough and should be thoroughly enjoyable throughout the home. Internet radio stations that stream at 32 or 64kbps, to me, are noticeably poor. The content would have to be pretty special to stay tuned in to that! From 256kbps and up that’s where it becomes a good enough carrier to get the message across. An analogy could be a comparison to video resolution; there’s a point where a very high resolution is arguably offering a minimal contribution to the experience. On the hardware front, what makes a great music streamer sound fantastic? Should it be able to playback hi-res, should that be 24-bit/96kHz or DSD128? Well, the thing is, the fundamental design of the hardware should be good in the first place. Quality audio products require careful selection of internal power supplies, plus the correct application of the DAC chip is important, whether they are from Wolfson or Burr-Brown

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for example. And then as an installer, it pays to know how to connect the streamer to your multiroom system for the most musical results. Will the digital output or the analogue output be best? Remember, if you opt for the digital output then you’ll bypass the DAC circuitry that you’ve just paid for! In all areas of audio, from studio to band equipment, from broadcast to residential, over the years there have been certain pieces of classic audio equipment that prevail. And this is rarely because of an add-on or impressive logo-related features. In custom installation, our task is to fill that residence with multiroom music, bring it alive so that as much content as possible sounds good. Sounding good can mean different things to different people. For those wanting to tune in to spatial imaging, envelopment and soaring dynamics then you can’t beat a dedicated twochannel music room. The other sounding good, achievable for multiroom is the one that’s centred around singing out loud in the shower, shaking your booty when exercising and drumming with cooking utensils when hanging in the kitchen. With the right combination of audio products, a synergy is achieved that brings the soul and song out of any format for the whole family

with). This of course isn’t for multiroom but to be played through a multi-channel audio system, with you at that all important centre seat position. When streamed, Dolby Atmos lacks the clarity that you’ll hear from most discs, but on the other hand, the streamed sound benefits from audio compression, which can make songs sound fatter and warmer and cause less strain on an entry level sound system. If you thought the variation in two channel music between bassy and bright sounding songs was wide, then wait until you hear the difference between all the ways Dolby Atmos has been mixed. Therefore, the streamed version could be considered better, plus it is easier to access too of course. Streamed tracks to try in Dolby Atmos; Elton John - Rocket Man, Sheryl Cole – All I Wanna Do, Guns n’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle. Discs to try in Dolby Atmos; The Beatles – Abbey Road, Steven Wilson – The Future Bites.

to enjoy.

WHAT’S DOLBY ATMOS LIKE WHEN STREAMED? Now this is something else, something I’m finding more exciting than hi-res when it comes to streaming. Spotify and TIDAL now have a great selection of tracks mixed in Dolby Atmos (many hi-res tracks were not created as hi-res to begin




TAMING TOO MUCH CHOICE David Meyer, Technical Research Consultant, CEDIA, examines the complex landscape of today’s content sources. Over the last several years, the quality of AV systems has improved markedly, aided significantly by superb display technologies, HDR video, and immersive audio. But what’s changed even more than the systems themselves is the content we play on them, and more specifically, where it comes from and the extraordinary vastness of choice. How do users find the content they want, and how can integrators help to curate content for their clients? And how does the way we access content impact video distribution systems? Streaming media has proven the single most disruptive change to content delivery into the home. It’s also overwhelming, with the sheer scale of content creating a paradox of choice. YouTube alone can make your head spin, with around 2,000 years’ worth of content uploaded every day (I’m not kidding!) but that’s not why we design and install AV systems. Integrators design systems to optimise content with high technical quality, even if that only comprises a modest portion of the users’ viewing time. Make the best look its best. The good news is that such content is in abundance, from a number of sources, and the choices therein can be quite personal, or determined by geographic availability: • Terrestrial broadcast — ubiquitous and habitual. And importantly, free for users to access.


• Cable/satellite — there’s also an element of habit here with some users, but it may also be required as part of a home connectivity package, or as the exclusive means to access some desired content, especially sports. • Spinning discs — this is still the source of the best quality picture and sound. UHD Blu-ray boasts an unrivalled 80-108Mb/s compressed stream for artifact-free video with HDR, and high-resolution immersive audio. Great for enthusiasts, but (unfortunately) may still not be compelling enough for those that just want the convenience of choosing a movie from a huge, scrollable menu, and not have to buy and store discs. • Media server — a local server such as network attached storage (NAS) can be great for a plethora of media files, including home videos, backups/rips of disc-based content for easier access, or other recorded content, managed via an app such as Plex. Alternatively, a proprietary hardware system like Kaleidescape can offer the quality of UHD Blu-ray but with the convenience of IP distribution and GUI operation. Brilliant for the high-end cinema. • IP streaming from the internet — this is gradually displacing all of the above for most users. Yes, quality varies but an increasing amount is fantastic. During a CEDIA/CTA working group call last year, Joel Silver of ISF said of some Netflix content, “it didn’t


offend my eyeballs.” To the rest of us, that means it’s great! Traditional broadcasters are also typically offering parallel IP services in recognition of the shifting trends. All a user needs to diversify their content is a decent internet connection (preferably 50Mb/s or higher downstream), a modestly priced streaming device or ‘smart’ TV, and a fistful of provider subscriptions to access a world of content. Whatever the case, the home’s occupants might need help with curation to help them find content. Minimising the number of source devices really helps with this, as does an intuitive control system. That brings us to the question of video distribution. For a household that’s transitioned to all IP, a distribution system probably won’t be needed at all. Instead, simply install one’s choice of media streaming device to each display, or using a TV’s onboard apps, but that largely depends on the internet connection and availability of the user’s most desired content. Otherwise, for the distribution of cable/satellite or disc-based content, the use of a matrix switch or AV-over-IP system is still extremely common and recommended. Either way, be user focused. Keep it simple. Their enjoyment is the measure of success.

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LET THE GAMES BEGIN! David Meyer, Technical Research Consultant, CEDIA, looks at the key points and opportunities presented by enhanced gaming experiences. It’s not an understatement to say that gaming is HUGE. It occupies an increasing amount of time allocation – or rather, where did that time go for countless millions of people around the world? Whether it be a gaming console or gaming PC, many are connected to AV systems to maximise the immersive experience. VR is also making great strides and gaining popularity, creating the need for room adaptability and clear space for mobility. Either way, it’s extremely relevant for technology integrators, and an important consideration in AV system design. When visiting prospective clients, keep an eye out for gaming consoles, or a Playstation or Xbox controller casually sitting on a coffee table. The question of gaming should be high on the list during client interviews. And if you thought gaming is mostly for kids and teens, the Entertainment Software Association in the U.S. found that adult women represent a greater portion of the video game-playing population than boys under 18¹! It’s fair to say, as always, don’t assume. Gaming generally represents the highest video performance demands of any media source. 4K gaming is maturing, and 8K gaming is emerging, both with ray tracing (in-scene light paths) and HDR. However, the frame/refresh rate is far more important to gamers than resolution, for fast action and response times. All other things being equal, 4K at 120fps runs at the same bandwidth as 8K at 30fps, so 4K— or even 1080p— is currently superior

30 JULY 2021

for gaming. Regardless of resolution, the complexity of scenes varies constantly, as does the corresponding time it takes for a graphics processing unit (GPU) to generate and output each frame on-the-fly. As such, the best systems support variable refresh rate (VRR). The devices and HDMI connectivity in an AV system need to be able to keep up. So, how do you, (the integrator), ensure that? When it comes to system design, three top considerations are latency, bandwidth and VRR.

LATENCY To a gamer, latency can mean the difference between virtual life and death! Latency comes in two forms: • The internet connection and online/server game play. For best performance, ALWAYS use a wired Ethernet connection to a gaming console or PC, as Wi-Fi typically exhibits 3-4 times the latency. • Lag from the gaming machine to the display. Avoid any HDMI connectivity that adds latency, such as AV-over-IP with compression. Also, a user selectable ‘game mode’ on many displays can minimise input processing and its corresponding delay. Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), new with HDMI 2.1, can automate switching to this mode, but all devices in the chain must be compatible to pass the signal.


The key to enabling very high frame rates, particularly in combination with UHD resolutions, is HDMI bandwidth. The more, the better. For maximum headroom, specify HDMI devices and cables from end-to-end that can ideally support 48Gbps, but 40Gbps is okay too. And don’t forget any little black box peripherals inbetween, as they too need to be compatible.


Variable refresh rate (VRR) is one of the new features of the HDMI 2.1 specification, allowing the frame/refresh rate to change dynamically from one frame to the next to match the GPU’s output, across a vast range such as 30-120Hz. Again, all devices and connectivity from source to sink must be able to support it. Of the abovementioned features, only ALLM could potentially be enabled with a manufacturer firmware update; the rest require compatible hardware. Education is key, so work with your supplier partners to establish needs and compatibility. And if you haven’t already, check out the HDMI self-paced online learning pathway available now on the CEDIA Academy.

¹Source: 2018 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data Essential Facts



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IMMERSIVE AUDIO IN GAMING Immersive audio is not just for TV and movies. Many other applications take advantage of using 3D or immersive audio formats to deliver content to end users. Here, David Meyerowitz, Technical Sales Manager of Trinnov Audio, looks at immersive audio within gaming. The gaming industry is estimated at $160 billion worldwide and set to increase to more than $250 billion by 2025. This presents a huge opportunity for integrators to add immersive gaming systems to their installation options, especially as leading gaming consoles, like Microsoft’s Xbox Series X/S, already support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. Although there is some debate whether Sony’s Playstation5 will get these features. Regardless, these mainstream consoles allow users to game and watch content from Blu-rays or streaming platforms in one box, making them a real content hub within the entertainment system. Also, they are currently the only form of content that takes advantage of the higher frame rates of up to 120hz that we see being introduced by the HDMI 2.1 specification. But that’s a discussion for another day. The beauty of immersive audio in gaming is the size of the budgets available to create these outstanding games. The reason that some films are more active with immersive audio objects than others, usually comes down to budget. When audio designers have to create the theatrical mix for the cinema release then a number of fold down mixes for consumer Atmos, 7.1, 5.1, stereo etc., you can see how much longer this takes. With gaming, this is not the case and means sound design for games is one of the most active in terms of the use of audio objects available.

If you have a games console in your demo room, you should absolutely make it part of your demos as you can view this action in real time on the Altitude 16 and 32 processors via our unique Dolby Atmos Object Viewer. This allows for full view of just how many audio objects are being used in these games and is why the Dolby Atmos Demo Disc always contains some form of gaming content to really show off what is possible. Taking gaming away from a TV in a bedroom to a large screen projection system or modular Micro LED display is growing in demand. After all, why should Mum and Dad have the cinema or media room to themselves when the whole family can get involved with gaming in these high-performance spaces? After playing Forza Horizon on Samsung The Wall in their Monaco showroom with the immersive audio solution provided by Trinnov and K-array, I rediscovered how captivating gaming can be, having not picked up a controller for several years. It took it to another level and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Micro LED displays come with their challenges. Namely where to put the centre speaker? As the surface is not acoustically transparent, like a regular perforated or woven projection screen, alternative methods need to be considered when delivering audio solutions for these types of display. As a result, we recently worked with Samsung and HTE to write an article on this subject looking at installation, acoustic design and audio processing requirements for these types of installs.

Furthermore, at Trinnov Audio our passion is immersive audio, and gaming provides a real opportunity for integrators to offer solutions to customers that truly embrace immersive audio technologies to broaden their appeal. Trinnov Audio is uniquely positioned to provide multichannel optimisation solutions with our range of Hi-End Residential, Commercial Cinema, and Professional Audio processors. Our Optimiser technology is shared across our entire platform and provides the performance, and crucially, the flexibility of tuning options required to deal with anything these challenging installations will throw up. Trinnov’s software-based platform means we can offer far more possibilities in terms of configuration options than DSP chip-based competitors. Our output structure is not fixed, so any output can be assigned to any speaker channel. The benefit of this is in installations where you have multiple speaker layouts or the requirement to change layout on the fly, it can be done by simply creating a preset for any given layout. This makes you think about channel count in an entirely different way. Left is no longer just left, and right is no longer just right. As an example, you could flip the room 180° and these outputs then become left and right rear surround speakers. With up to 64 channels of audio optimisation, you have the option to use these channels in any way the specification requires.

David playing Forza Horizon at Samsung’s Monaco showroom



JULY 2021 33




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HIGH-END GAMING AND SIMULATION: TIME TO GET SERIOUS! Tim Sinnaeve, MD High-End Residential at Barco, says its time to get serious about high-performance gaming.

Should installers focus on next gen consoles or PC gaming?

Much has been written about how the COVID-19 Pandemic has changed gaming. According to one survey on, 77.1% of respondents played more games than before, with almost no respondents playing less. Simulators, especially Sim Racing, gained much wider popularity, and Microsoft Flight Simulator’s first major new release in 14 years was called “the most incredible experience I’ve ever had on a computer” in an IGN review. Its realism is unprecedented. According to Frank Azor, chief architect of gaming solutions at AMD, shipments of gaming PCs and monitors were up 26% in 2020. Demand for the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles went through the roof and finding one became almost impossible. And if you are currently looking for a new graphics card for your high-end gaming PC, you will need good fortune in every sense of the word…

36 JULY 2021

So it’s no surprise that gaming was on many lists of the top opportunities for 2021 for our industry. Now that we are seeing the light at the end of the Pandemic tunnel, have we taken that opportunity? Should we be worried that with the end of the pandemic we will see that opportunity evaporate? Perhaps starting with gaming’s post pandemic future, at Barco Residential we tend to take a positive view. There is no doubt that the gaming population was already growing, with the pandemic acting as a major accelerator. This larger audience is not going to go away, and while other sources for entertainment will be available, they will not just lose their newfound appetite for gaming. Especially since the best in terms of gaming experience is yet to come, with gaming studios able to take advantage of new technologies in their gaming engines and better hardware available to gamers. One negative impact of the pandemic was that many major game titles saw their launch dates pushed back, with more delays expected to come. The upside of that however is that this new larger audience has a lot to look forward to in the next months. On our end of the market, it also isn’t simply a question of I already ordered new gaming gear on Amazon and now I’m done for a while. It takes some time and planning to create a highend, world-class gaming environment. Whether as an industry we are fully taking this opportunity is a different question. While we

have seen gaming related projects and interest grow, it doesn’t feel like this is anywhere near the level it could be, and that by and large, we are still not pro-actively offering it as a core experience to our clients. The key there is to inspire our clients with a world-class gaming environment, as well as put more focus on gaming from a sales and marketing perspective, where we need to create more opportunities for clients to experience what we can offer in terms of gaming. Perhaps a launch party for your clients for some of the upcoming big game releases like Battlefield 2042, Far Cry 6 or Microsoft Forza Horizon 5 in time to drive projects for the holidays?


A first question perhaps is console or PC? If you really want to push the envelope when creating a world-class gaming and simulation environment, PC gaming is the only choice in our opinion. It’s, where the limits of the experience are truly pushed in terms of resolution, frame rates, … A single high-end graphics adapter, the key component in a gaming PC, costs several times what the latest consoles cost and the innovation cycles on PC hardware are much faster than the renewal cycles on consoles, which are several years. That being said, gaming consoles are relatively cheap and can be more convenient than PC gaming, so you can and should have both available when demoing gaming to clients.




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The next thing up is the digital canvas. What is more immersive than life-size to create a portal into the ultimate gaming environment? While we can use different technologies, projection offers a lot of flexibility and advantages for gaming and is also the preferred technology for professional simulators. We want to go as close to life-size as we possibly can. This means high brightness, 4K resolution, HDR capability at 60+ fps and even 120 fps so we have sharp and detailed images during fast motion for fast-paced games and simulations. Cinemascope and wider offer even more opportunity to elevate the experience. Low input lag, the delay between the display receiving a signal and it being displayed on the screen, is critical in gaming and simulation. DLP projectors are particularly well suited as the DMD imaging device has a response time measured in microseconds vs the milliseconds for LCD and LCoS panels. Any image processing (such as upscaling or motion smoothing) adds further input lag, which is why we developed Single-Step-Processing (SSP) to further cut down processing time and input lag in our projectors. Simulators put even higher demands, as frame rates and lag become even more critical. This is where our market leadership as the leading provider of DLP projectors in the commercial pilot training market comes into play. The most renowned front-line fighter and rotor-wing aircraft have Barco projectors in their simulators, as does the iconic BMW Motorsport Simulator. Our advances in 4K performance, color richness, high frame rates and the use of


laser and LED technology set us apart in the industry and feed into our products for the highend residential markets. Sound is of course critical as well when creating an immersive gaming environment, with several games supporting surround sound and even Dolby Atmos. Our industry’s experience and focus on high quality sound (not to mention sound-proofing) for home theatre applications should give us all the necessary expertise to carry that through to high-end gaming.

mapping an entire wall to create that impression that you’ve pushed over the wall into the gaming world. This doesn’t require a large space to create a large impact. Let’s start planning those launch parties for our clients. There is of course more to creating the perfect gaming environment than we can cover in this article, but we would be happy to provide any advice to help you the high-end gaming opportunity!


As regards the space itself, there is a whole range there, from using an existing home theatre or media room to a going all out with a dedicated room optimised for a specific application such as simracing, taking inspiration from some of the professional simulation setups mentioned before. An existing home theatre, particularly one with cinemascope capabilities, can already offer a great gaming experience. Some theater seating manufacturers are also adding gaming specific features, cleverly integrating gaming controls. And as regards design, some themed home theatre designs can already align quite well with certain games, think Star Wars for example. But this is also an interesting opportunity for theatre designers to expand into game room design. But to really expose clients to a unique gaming experience, we would recommend creating a more dedicated life-size setup


JULY 2021 39



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INSTALL PIONEER Rethinking home entertainment installations: architectural rendering of project under way featuring Island Prestige

I can’t think of a single supplier with greater commitment to end-toend project support across the CI repertoire.

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42 JULY 2021

THE L WORD Dr Christian Heil, President & Founder, L-Acoustics, in an exclusive EI interview from our Install Pioneer Series. In this issue we present part two. Tell us a little about the HQ in Highgate, how can installers and visitors get to experience the systems for themselves? Our Highgate immersive sound space is now open to visitors by appointment. We welcome integrators, music industry executives, musicians, potential clients, and members of media on a daily basis. The sonically curious can get in touch via the contact form on our website l-acoustics-creations. com /contact. We look forward to introducing you to the space for a moment of pleasure and escape. Our immersive sound spaces in Paris and Los Angeles are also equipped to host visitors who want to experience our technology. Please get in touch.

What is next for the brand in the home and out on the live circuit? Any new products being worked on? Beginning with live sound, we are looking forward to the rollout of our new full range loudspeaker K3 which fills a space in our product range between the impressive K2 used on major tours, and Kara II, a perennial bestseller. It’s an ideal speaker for the restart where show capacity may be reduced in some instances as we gradually and safely return to the live events we love. We are also eager to see Contour XO, an IEM developed in collaboration with Jerry Harvey’s team at JH Audio, serve live sound engineers on tour and in the field. Many have related that they view it as a valuable tool to reproduce the L-Acoustics sonic signature either at the mixing desk or in preparation for a tour. In addition to this

professional use, we view Contour XO as a true full bandwidth Hi-Fi in-ear to enjoy music in Hi-Res anytime, anywhere. We recently released L-ISA Studio, software that enables object-based mixing on a laptop with binaural emulation. This greatly simplifies production of content in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound and allows users to output that content in multiple formats. I’d encourage sonic creators to explore our 30-day free trial at Returning to L-Acoustics Creations specifically, in our view, we offer the right technology at the perfect time, a time when audio is cool again. In the past few weeks or months, every major music streaming service has made an announcement that they will be offering Hi-Res or spatial audio moving forward. This is a massive leap forward after having

Christian in conversation with Guillaume Le Nost, Executive Director of Creative Technologies (left), and Sherif el Barbari, Director of L-ISA labs. In 2011, Christian assembled this core team to begin exploring the spatial audio technology that would become L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound




valued convenience above quality for quite some time. End users will come to realise that a high resolution audio source can only be as impactful as the sound system upon which it is played. L-Acoustics has a range of premium pro solutions for connoisseurs who truly value sound whether in residential or other architectural settings. Additionally, immersive audio has become the threshold-level expectation - driven by experiences in gaming, virtual reality, and cinema. At the high end of home integration, this expectation determines what is specified. End users want to bring blockbuster cinema in Dolby Atmos or DTS home or bring the live concert or nightclub experience home. This has become fully achievable with professional audio solutions such as those offered by L-Acoustics Creations. Finally, we want to push the boundaries of the present paradigm beyond the dedicated cinema room or multi-purpose media room to transform the central living space into a ‘sound space’ capable of delivering the full range of entertainment options with a single installation: concert-grade music listening and livestreaming, cinema, gaming, but also entirely new experiences such as digital art enjoyment and immersive environments dedicated to wellness. As we look to the future of L-Acoustics Creations and of sound in general, we are increasingly focused on ‘sound architecture’, a convergence of home entertainment, technology integration, and architecture into a new way of thinking. We envisage a comprehensive sonic ecosystem involving architects and AV specialists to make sound and transformative acoustics a part of the living space itself. The all-in-one sound space would become the multi-purpose entertainment, cultural, and wellness hub of the modern home, built into the design itself. This sound space would benefit from advanced Immersive Hyperreal Sound, but also from options to use sound to enhance the room feel with virtual acoustics, to DJ, perform and create with sound for those inclined to do so, or to enjoy sound art on its own or paired with visual digital creations. Sound can offer extraordinary sensory experiences. Spatialized audio and the resulting physical sensations are an invitation to dream, meditate, or become awed and energized by journeys that can be musical, atmospheric, or purely imaginary. We have barely begun to explore the vast possibilities of sound.

Do you have any favourite artists or content to listen to on L- Acoustics Creations? Our Island immersive sound space plays a dedicated format called Bubbles. Bubbles are usually a bespoke commission by a collector or a creation by an artist. As the L-Acoustics research team was designing Island, I found myself in the privileged position of being able to commission this new sound art myself. So our first creations feature music that I love: works by Debussy and Chopin performed by the talented pianist Jeremy Brown; Daphnis and Chloé by Ravel performed by the orchestra Les Siècles conducted by FrançoisXavier Roth; SPIRITO, a collection of bel canto arias performed by the renowned soprano Marina Rebeka. We are able to share a few recordings from live shows presented in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound such as alt-J, Aerosmith or Mark Knopfler. These are quite special – close your eyes and you are there. The team in Highgate finds that our immersive sound spaces are fantastic for listening to electronic music, either in Dolby Atmos or using a third-party processor to upmix from stereo to spatialized audio. I find that whatever the genre, as long as the underlying track is well mixed, details really come to life. We’ve even had a few high-profile musician visitors listen to their own recordings and discover things they didn’t know were there!

What do you get up to away from work? Any hobbies or other interests we should know about? I have enjoyed every moment of my working experience. Since 1984, the L-Acoustics project has constantly evolved offering me an immense intellectual satisfaction, a never-ending source of new knowledge gained from so many different sectors. It has also been a unique human adventure, made of challenges & successes, and the meeting of true friends who happen to be also on the board of L-Acoustics. Away from work, my life is pretty simple. My lovely wife Bea and I are vegan, that implies a kind of discipline on our behaviours and life choices. She introduced me to yoga and I love these moments where music, sound art, meditation & yoga offer a true source of wellbeing. L-Acoustics L-Acoustics Syva loudspeakers deployed on location at the Louvre Museum for a Louis Vuitton fashion show.

Please promote her immediately. Or make her Prime Minister. The world needs more Abigails and Julies.

Nick Sedgwick, Cre8tive Rooms

(loves our customer services)

Do you have any insight on when the live and festival sector might be able to get back to normal? More than insights, we hold onto hope and see many positive signs that live music is slowly but surely poised to return to our lives. We have missed it terribly and our hearts go out to our many live events industry collaborators who have been sidelined and deprived of work during this terrible time. More than anything, we look forward to seeing and hearing them back in action. They are essential workers too. Culture is essential.



JULY 2021 43


8K HDMI: A NEW FUTURE IS MADE POSSIBLE Injecting a bit more fun into the humble HDMI cable. “A New Future Is Made Possible” is the marketing campaign for HDANYWHERE’s (HDA) new 8K HDMI cable range which has been designed to be deliberately fun and targets what HDA believes is going to be the core market for this new technology.

“After 15 years and over half-a-million cables sold I think I’m suffering from some kind of deep HDMI psychosis” says Chris Pinder of HDA, “ ...which has contributed to the creation of this new marketing idea. 8K content right now is primarily delivered from either a console or PC and we

wanted to speak directly to that audience. The fluid hypercolour visuals delivered via 8K HDMI are the extreme opposite of dull and I wanted to reflect this in the campaign.”

Prepare to enter a new era of next-generation gaming as HDA opens up the arena of 8K. While 8K content for PCs and next-gen consoles may currently be in short supply, what there is deserves to be enjoyed at its full potential, and that calls for a new kind of cable; enter the number one contender SLIMWIRE MAX (48G) for HDMI 2.1. SLIMWIRE MAX (48G) seamlessly delivers all the stunning Ultra-HD High Frame Rate visuals associated with the latest cutting-edge 4K and 8K gaming experiences, offering an uncompressed, uncompromising 48Gbps bandwidth, transmission of static and dynamic HDR, resolutions of 10K@30Hz, 8K@60Hz and 4K@120Hz, eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) support for truly superior sound, Variable Refresh Rate eliminating image stutter, Auto Low Latency Mode for lag-free play and immense, immersive 21.9 video aspect ratio support. And it even looks good while doing it.

be the hot story, but they provide the highperformance connection that brings the story screaming to the screen in ultra-reliable UltraHD, proving itself an intrinsic part of any serious game’s AV entertainment arsenal. HDA’s 8K Ultra High Speed SLIMWIRE MAX (48G) HDMI 2.1 range deliver every advanced aspect of next-gen games, from the console or PC to the monitor or smart TV, exactly as the games’ designers intended it to be seen, heard and played, letting players soak up the flashing hyper-colours, brooding skies and doom-laden graphics of every slice of zombie-holocaust waste-ground shoot ’em up like never before.

• Uncompressed 8K@60fps, 4K@120fps and 10K@30fps. • Built around HDMI 2.1 specification. • Officially certified for 48G data rates. • Static/dynamic HDR, HDR10 & Dolby Vision • 21:9 screen ratio support. • HDMI 2.1 spec support: VRR, ALLM, QMS, QFT. • Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) • DTS Master, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Atmos audio format support. • Small precision-manufactured compact aluminium headshell assembly. • OFHC (Oxygen-Free High-Conductivity) copper. • 3-layer shielding for exceptionally low EMI with nearby wireless devices.


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44 JULY 2021


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SMART BUILDINGS THAT ADAPT FOR ASSISTED LIVING Smart building technology can help people live independent and fulfilling lives. Dean Reddy, ABB’s Product Marketing Specialist for smart buildings, explains how building automation can help people with disabilities and complex needs, as well as older people, to live independent lives. HOW IS THE MARKET FOR ASSISTED LIVING TECHNOLOGY IN THE UK?


Traditionally, we’ve rewired buildings every 20-30 years but there’s no need to rewire

The most important requirement is adaptability,

It’s a growing market as people are waking

whether in private homes, purpose-built

up to the potential of the technology. We’re

apartments or sheltered accommodation.

seeing more projects both for assisted living

People’s needs change naturally over time

and later living, mostly from consultants and

and ABB i-bus KNX is ideal to support this.

developers as end users are not yet aware of

For example by putting in the infrastructure,

the possibilities.

the property can be reconfigured around the

Consultants are looking for solutions

resident’s needs.

to present to their clients and developers

The core of a smart building system includes

are interested in building apartments that

control over HVAC, lighting and blinds. It can

will adapt as residents’ needs change.

also control security and access, appliances

There’s also interest from the retrofit market,

such as TV and fans, and doors that open and

as past infrastructure was not adaptable

close at the touch of a button. Furthermore, it

or scalable.

can integrate specialist living aids such as lifting

By 2066, more than a quarter of the UK’s

hoists and other appliances.

population will be 65 or over – a total of 20.4

Adding voice control or another function

million people. It will be important for them to

would previously have required rewiring. But

have technology to help them live independently

by installing ABB i-bus KNX structured wiring,

for as long as possible.

you can simply add a module to upgrade or add

Independent living will also be important

new functionality.

structured cabling unless there are significant changes to a building. It is simply a case of changing the hardware components to adjust to new requirements.

HOW IS FLEXIBILITY BUILT INTO THE CONTROL INTERFACE? It’s not just the building’s functions that need to be adaptable, the interface also needs to be accessible for people with complex and varying needs. Every project is different, partly because individuals have large variation in what they need from a system. For example, it’s possible to provide support for people with cognitive and memory issues, vision problems, as well as dexterity and co-ordination issues. Our standard interface for ABB i-bus KNX

for wider society. Technology doesn’t just

New technologies and lifestyles also

or the ABB free@home smart home solution is

provide independence, it also reduces the level

develop over time, so it’s also important to try

based on an app but it can be adapted to suit

of support and care that people need, helping

to foresee the needs of coming generations.

the needs of residents. The idea is to provide

to control costs and reducing the impact

Buildings under construction today will still be

people with straight-forward control over their

on society.

in use in 50 or 60 years time.

environment, whatever their needs.

48 JULY 2021




NO COMPROMISE SOUND Introducing our next generation of residential audio solutions • Popular streaming services embedded in every zone

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• Local inputs and outputs • Easy to install speakers built with premium materials for optimal performance

Visit All brand names, product names, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Certain trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marks and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not responsible for errors in typography or photography. ©2021 Crestron Electronics, Inc.


19” Convertible Wall Mount Rack Enclosure With Removable Shell Swap between secured enclosure and open form rack in moments

The freedom of an open frame and the security of a sealed cabinet The latest design in our 19” range offers rack builders and AV installers an enclosure with more freedom than ever before. The R6225 wall mount enclosures provide total accessibility on demand as well as rock-solid security when needed. The steel outer shell disengages to slide off independently from interior cables and devices to provide quick and convenient access to the rack anytime. When the shell is secured to the rack frame, security is assured with a lockable front door and high quality steel construction throughout. Choose to go open form and make device installation and management a breeze - no more struggle trying to work inside awkward and difficult to access enclosures!

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Some people ask for voice control, and in other cases we can support integration with an eye-tracking application. This overlays our app and tracks the eyes of the person using the tablet. They can trigger actions with just the blink of an eye, for example to switch lights or channels.

Springfield Apartments in Brisbane provides independence for 18 people living with multiple sclerosis


While systems meet the needs of individual residents, ABB i-bus KNX technology can also help managers of accommodation to maintain safety and optimise energy consumption. By integrating sensors for movement, lighting, air-conditioning levels and other functions, operators can optimise energy efficiency, operate sustainably and control energy bills. Changes may indicate that a resident is having difficulties, and a system can be set up to raise alerts to trigger a duty manager to check in with them. Systems like ABB i-bus KNX can also reduce domestic electricity consumption by as much as 60 percent, depending on the number and type of functions that are connected.


One example is MS Queensland in Australia, an organisation that provides support for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). It developed the Springfield Apartments in Brisbane to provide independence for 18 people with the help of an ABB i-bus KNX system. MS affects the nervous system, causing symptoms such as fatigue, problems with balance, co-ordination and dexterity, as well as blurred vision and difficulty with planning and learning. Therefore, MS Queensland wanted to meet the needs of residents for accessibility and ease of control. It also wanted a building with flexibility and futureproofing.

The smart building contractor, SyncWise, recommended the KNX solution to stand the test of time. SyncWise’s Managing Director Roy Baharal says, “In the assisted-living space, new KNX-based products are constantly emerging and they’ll be compatible with the ABB i-Bus infrastructure that makes up the electrical nervous system of Springfield apartments. “That’s the beauty of it, we don’t know what technology will emerge in five years’ time, but by using KNX, the standard protocol, we know we will be able to implement and integrate it.”


KNX technology is providing control for every appliance and socket in all 18 apartments, with tablets for each resident to provide them with personal control over their environment. The technology has been life changing, according to MS Queensland’s Executive General Manager of Service & Operations,

Jillian Paull: “One resident said she’d never been able to invite a friend over and open the front door for them, because she’d never had her own front door. Now, she has privacy and can tap her tablet to open her front door whenever she likes. “Residents love that they can speak to their friends, family, and service providers through the intercom at the street entrance then invite them in, give them access to the lift, and open their own front door – all through the tablet controls. “It’s the little things that people who don’t live with a neurological condition would take for granted. But it means so much to our residents that this technology empowers them to actively control their home environment.” Six months after the first residents moved in, MS Queensland surveyed them about their experience and found a large improvement in their quality of life.


We’re finding that style is more important than ever. People want to feel like they can put their own touch on their home and not let their assisted living devices dictate how it looks. Older assisted living technology did not always combine style with functionality. As a result, some older controllers and actuators are cumbersome and have an institutional feel. It doesn’t need to be like that. Today’s technology was first developed for luxury homes and hotels. As a result, it provides people with control over the look and feel of their homes, as well as enhanced functionality.



JULY 2021 51

01359 270280


THE AGING PROCESS Providing assisted living technology for elderly or disabled people is a growing business for our smart building control industry. Paul Foulkes, KNX UK President, examines the opportunity. We have a lot to offer at a time when the residential care industry has been warning about the impossibility of matching quality care with service users’ (or their family’s) concept of affordability for many years. It’s a situation only amplified by the shock of the Covid pandemic and the pressures it put on to care providers few sectors were impacted on so many fronts while still having to maintain a full service. The lion’s share of the market for assisted living will be caring for the elderly. With forecasts of an ageing population and commensurately more people suffering from chronic health conditions requiring continuing care, the conundrum of meeting demand for services while managing costs clearly isn’t going away. Not surprisingly, the tech firms are predicting tech led solutions, which the tech-savvy next waves of service will readily accept. The next waves of older people are you, dear readers one way or another we all have a vested interest in how this turns out. So now the ‘senior living industry’ is a thing, but focused on residential care, with technology poised to deliver smarter, more responsive care and improved quality of life for older and vulnerable people. Ideally, the outcome is to free up staff to deliver personal and social care, rather than ‘policing’ residents. Voice-enabled controls give residents control of their own surroundings appropriate to the level of independence they have; while wearable devices keep watch on their wellbeing and raise the alarm in an emergency, such as leaving safe spaces. Naturally all this can mean big investment by residential care providers who increasingly are chains of multiple residences and are likely to turn to specialist tech providers. So, does that mean that the non-specialist integrator has no place in the assisted living market? Absolutely not, because residential care is only one possible option. Aging or disability is a process, not an event, and most of us prefer to stay in or own homes for as long as possible. Assistive technology can make this possible for longer, and mitigate the perceived risks – not least of social isolation – as our faculties fail. They key message here is to recognise that client needs change and the best technology for their needs will provide flexibility and enable making the necessary changes and upgrades simple and seam free, without having to rip out and replace existing devices and installations. As ever, once you start to look for futureproofing


and flexibility, the inevitable answer is the nonproprietary KNX control protocol. KNX allows control devices from literally hundreds of different manufacturers to talk to each other and work in concert, with guaranteed compatibility. Even non-KNX devices can be integrated using a gateway device. For those with a physical disability or limited by frailty of advancing age, general KNXcontrolled lighting, heating, blinds and video entry will form the basis of their installation, but there will also be the need for products that are not as commonplace in the home automation environment. These include window and door openers, and improved front-end controls for smart phones or voice activation. All of these are well within the abilities of a KNX smart home installer. There are plenty of opportunities to help people maintain their independence with KNX. Andy Ellis of consultancy Household Automation describes a refurbishment project to adapt a home to accommodate a disabled family member. The key element was working closely with the occupational therapist. His team installed KNX lighting, heating, automated windows, blinds and doors, with an IT network providing reliable WiFi coverage and the use of wireless RF technology. Control of lighting, heating and blinds is via smartphone and voice activation.


In another project for disabled living, Household Automation provided retrofit control of KNX-automated windows and blinds from a device set up on the client’s wheelchair. For people coping with ageing, adaptations like remote monitoring, voice/remote control of stair lifts, automated lighting and face recognition for security are all possible. Remember, disabled people do not pay VAT on products designed or adapted for their own personal or domestic use. They are also exempt from VAT on the installation and any extra work needed as part of the project, on repairs or maintenance, or on spare parts or accessories. Andy Ellis says, “As a KNX professional, there is no reason why you cannot expand your business into the assisted living market. The initial route to becoming a KNX professional involves a five-day training course, available at various UK locations. Going on to become a very good KNX integrator involves being part of the KNX UK community, where you can explore ideas and troubleshoot with likeminded people.” Of course, any smart home project should be designed with an eye to the future needs of the client. Installing KNX bus cabling at the outset is as good a start as any in setting the client up for future change and flexibility, so their home automation technology can stay in step with their needs at every stage of their life.

JULY 2021 53


THE CLEAN AIR ACT! Indoor Air Quality must be important - they’ve even created a TLA for it; IAQ. Pollutants may be as much as five times higher indoors than outdoors. What is the potential for clean air support systems? Asks Paul Kasler, installer and Director at Aura Air Limited. THE GOOD NEWS

At least one good thing has come out of the pandemic - people are much more aware of the impact of indoor air quality and good ventilation. Offices and schools have undergone extensive research over the past decade, confirming that excessive concentrations of CO2 and VOC (volatile gases such as car fumes) affect performance and concentration. Air Filters, humidifiers and Ionisers have been around for years, but none of them actually tell you if it does ‘what it says on the tin’. The best you get is a red, yellow or green light on the top of the unit. Well, that is all going to change as ‘IoT meets Filtration’ - Smart Filters that automatically react to improve air quality using AI. Integrated sensors that continuously measure specific air quality parameters to assist in this instant decision making, without requiring any human intervention. Email alerts when conditions go above pre-set safety levels. And all this data is saved to the cloud in readiness for when the government actually demands that properties confirm to not just safety, but air quality standards. Maybe your client owns a block of flats and needs to stand up in a COVID-19 litigation case, to demonstrate they not only acted above and beyond government guidelines, but also To quote the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding Indoor Air Quality and your Health – ‘EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels’. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern, because most people spend about 90% of their time indoors. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later. Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and humidifier fever, may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.

54 JULY 2021

have the data to prove it! Automated alerts can also be set up for high risk scenarios and the resulting action can be recorded - again for legal protection. We have already seen property insurance companies increasing their rates - maybe in the future they will demand a monitoring and recording system to be in place as a pre-requisite to help protect occupiers against the next pandemic? The next generation of smart filters, also have API’s, links to the IFTTT app and also realtime access to local, external air quality data. At the simplest level, this technology could be used to automatically turn down the cinema filter system when the home cinema room is occupied. At the most sophisticated level, rather than sucking in poor quality air during the morning and evening rush hour, the smart filter could instruct the HVAC system to temporarily turn itself off. The next standard for Smart Home Control? What will your clients be asking for on their ‘Home Automation Dashboard’ in the next few months? Room temperature, humidity, lighting levels are now the norm. In the future, it will be CO2, particulate and VOC levels, advance warning of high pollen levels and automation of their HVAC & Filter systems to take pro-active action. Isn’t this the real “Smart Home”?

A genuine smart home that can help support people’s health as well as their other needs.



B2B Services & Solutions For The Audio Visual & Integration Industries

020 3745 1548




EMBRACING SUPPORT Paul Doyle, Associate Expert Witness at Bush and Company and CEDIA Subject Market Expert, looks forward to the smart home industry embracing assisted living systems. I am an assistive technologist and I’ve been involved in assisted living projects for many years, but most recently, I’ve become excited by the developments that I’m starting to see. The smart home industry is catching on to assisted living being an emerging market and some interesting products are coming through. There are four features that an assisted living home can deliver: • Comfort • Convenience • Safety • Security However, in matters related to safety and security, integrators should be aware that Telecare technologies are often integrated in a ‘hybrid approach’ to providing assisted living solutions. Here are a few examples of new products that tick these boxes and have piqued my interest. ProKNX is a dynamic, innovative home automation company that specialises in offline voice-controlled smart speakers that keep data private by working completely on-device. The company has developed a unique internetindependent assistant that combines vocally activated manipulation of smart appliances with assisted living features to keep frail people safe and independent in the familiar environment of their homes, or in residential care facilities. This offline version of Alexa means that users won’t be in the situation of needing to make a critical emergency call or escaping their property at a time when the internet connection goes down or needs rebooting, preventing them from getting the help that they need. Voiceitt, an Israeli company, is using AI to understand people who have motor speech disorders like dysarthria. The company, which is working closely with Amazon and Proctor & Gamble, provides a means of enabling people with speech impediments to do their online shopping using their voice. But the spin-off from this is that they can also start using their voice to control their home environment. AdaptEco has developed the Digital Care Partnership, which is a unique way of combining the world’s leading smart technologies to provide end to end digital care solutions. Assisted living projects tend to require multi-


disciplinary teams, which include electricians, integrators, programmers, architects, etc. This ecosystem-based approach brings in the various professionals required to design and install the required end-to-end solution. There are a couple of other new technologies that are very interesting for this market. One is an eye gaze-based system that provides access to environmental control for smart home technologies. This is manufactured in France and has been around for about a year. The other one is a brain-computer interface that uses virtual and augmented reality to enable an individual with profound physical disabilities to interact with the physical world, including a smart home install. This American technology should become available within the next six to 12 months. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has, to a certain extent, been a solution to which there was no known problem. We are now finding practical applications where AI can be useful. For example, for somebody with a profound physical disability, we can fix a sensor array using a cap onto the back of their head that uses AI to discern what’s noise and what’s actually intended from


the user’s brain function. The old sensor-based technology is involved and required a surgical application of sensors. So, this is a massive step forward. Two engineers from Google have started a company called Hello Robot and have developed a little robot called Stretch, a discbased robot with a mast, that has an end effector or ‘hand’ at the end of it, which you can control. Think about it, if you are in a wheelchair, the floor is no man’s land. If you drop your remote control or your keys, it’s not possible to reach. Stretch has a camera built into the hand, so that you actually see where the hand is going. Hello Robot is now looking at how Stretch can integrate into the smart home. The user interface has always been a challenge for those with physical, cognitive, or visual impairments. The issue for assisted living projects has never been what needs to be controlled, it’s how you are going to control it. Control panels are designed specifically for people without impairments. However, we are now seeing a shift and the interfaces are becoming far more adaptive.

Hello Robot helps those with physical mobility challenges

JULY 2021 57


AONYX PERFECTLY EXECUTES LUXURY CINEMA Also including a billiards room and bowling alley, this very special entertainment space was created for an exclusive Thames-side development. At a new luxury apartment building on the

it was crucial to include high-end versions of fun

To create an easy-to-use environment

River Thames; custom interior finishes, prime

activities to differentiate from other buildings and

for all of the functionalities the three areas

location and extravagant amenities combine

entice potential buyers.

provide, the team employed an intuitive

to create an ultra-high-end experience. With

“The top end of London’s residential

apartment prices reaching as much as £7.8

real estate market is in a bit of an arms race

million, it’s no surprise that the owners wanted

to provide high-net worth individuals with



customized living experiences and centre-piece

boasts an (impressively proportioned) 18-seat

amenities like this incredible movie theater, in

cinema as well as a bowling alley and a

order to make a statement to potential buyers,”

billiards room.

Richard says. “Every detail matters here, from




and expandable Control4 system. Using the system’s straightforward user interface, staff can quickly and easily set up or shut down the entire entertainment area, choose movies or music and set the volume for each independent area. The cinema, bowling alley and billiards room each have hidden Triad

Richard Reid, Managing Director of AONYX

colour-matched custom-painted grilles for the

- the installation company responsible for the

Triad Platinum Series in-ceiling speakers to

creation of this impressive set of amenities, says

the hand-built projector enclosures. The most

audio residents desire through the Control4

the building’s developer knew early on that the

important thing, however, is that the room and

multi-room audio system. Each room can play

occupants would require catered experiences in

system is always reliable and easy to use and

the same music or can use different sources

addition to luxurious residences, so they decided

that’s why we chose to install Control4.”

for multiple groups.

58 JULY 2021

speakers in the walls and ceilings to play any



ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY: AONYX In addition to the painted in-ceiling speakers, AONYX also installed acoustic treatments and Triad in-wall speakers behind the cinema fabric walls and behind the screen itself to deliver a commercial-grade surround sound experience for each seat. Kaleidescape players in each room offer a custom selection of titles chosen by property management, while Apple TVs enable residents to bring their own content or connect to subscription streaming services. “In buildings like this, the goal is to ensure residents can live carefree and not have to trouble themselves with details or procedures of building functions,” says Oliver Benson, Operations Director at AONYX, “All the hidden technology in these rooms present an out-ofsight, out-of-mind experience that provides all the benefits of top-shelf tech with none of the headaches. The property managers are even planning to offer new film screenings, private events and potentially offer the space for booking to outside parties.” The billiards room and bowling alley also feature TVs that receive video signal through the Control4 system, and each display can play its own content or share a video stream with other areas. This flexible system allows larger parties to enjoy the full entertainment options together and separate groups to use separate rooms simultaneously. Residents can book the cinema and other spaces through a digital reservation system. Because it is a basement entertainment area, AONYX also beefed up the space’s wireless networking with professionalgrade networking gear so there is plenty of bandwidth to support dozens of guests and the AV system as well.



JULY 2021 61


Dramatic lighting and luxury seating create the right atmosphere

Creating a high-end space like this is always

practical reasons, but also to create drama

going to have its challenges in getting the

and atmosphere. The combination of different

system to the right level. The brief was clear in

lighting sources at different levels really makes

that the system had to be super discreet with

the space come alive and adds another layer of

none of the electronics on show. The team

luxury. Reliability is also built into the structure

created some highly attractive cabinetry at the

with full remote access available to the team to

rear of the room to house the projector as well

check everything is working OK and fix faults;

as designing and building the tiered seating

if possible in minutes, rather than rolling to site.

platform (including access) for wheelchair






users, to ensure a great view for all and to

technologies and finest finishes, we help

maintain the high-end look and feel of the

design and integrate world-class amenities to

space. This was complicated by the relatively

satisfy the upper echelon of homeowners. With

long and thin shape of the shell the team was

Control 4 and Triad, we can bring commercial

given to work with, but the result looks very

movie magic to private spaces in a way that’s

impressive. Lighting was always going to be

intuitive, expandable and able to blend in with

very important in a space like this for obvious

any aesthetic.”

62 JULY 2021



Every Industry has its gold standard Book now to hear Trinnov at our Home Cinema event on 13th and 14th July 2021

ESSENTIAL CASE STUDY: AONYX Essential Cinema Kit List Barco: Balder Cinemascope Projector

Management Controls

Barco: EN44 Lens

Control4 7in Portable Touchscreen incl. charging dock

Barco: Balder Rigging Frame Brand: Fixed 4.1m 2.37:1 Acoustically Transparent Projection Screen

Control4 App

Triad: 3 x OnWall Platinum LCR

Control4 2 Slot Din Rail Lighting Enclosure

Lighting Control Equipment

Triad: 2 x Triad InWall Silver/6 Monitor

Control4 C4-DIN-8DIM-E - 8-Channel Adaptive Phase Dimmer

Triad: 4 x Triad InCeiling Silver/6 Monitor Triad: 2 x Triad InWall Gold/4 Surround

Control4 C4-DIN-8ESW-E - 8-Port Din Rail Ethernet Switch

Sonance: 2 x R12SUB

Control4 C4-DIN-BEG - Bus Ethernet Gateway

Sonance: 2 x Sonamp 2-750 MKII Triad: 2 x InRoom Platinum Sub Triad: 2 x 700 DSP Subwoofer Amplifier Arcam: AV 860 Dolby Atmos Surround Sound Processor Arcam: 4 x FMJ P349 3 x 200w per channel Power Amplifier Kaleidescape: Strato S 4K Ultra HD Movie Player - 12TB

Control4 C4-DIN-BPS48 - 48V Bus Power Supply Control4 C4-SKCB2-N - Square Wired Configurable Keypad V2 - neutral Control4 - C4-SFP1 - Faceplate, One-Gang UK/EU Version Control4 C4-CKSK-MB - Keypad Buttons midnight black (satin)

Apple: Apple TV Panasonic: DPUB9000 Blu-ray Player

Backend / Ancillary Equipment

Control4: EA-5 System Processor

42U 19in cabinet w/ locking glass door, shelving & cable management

Control4: 7in wall-mounted Touchscreen Control4: SR260 Remote incl. charging dock and EA1 Controller Furman: Rack-mounted 10A power conditioner

Excel 24 port unsheilded cat6 patch panel P8E -Pakedge 8-Outlet Intelligent Power Distribution Unit Furman rackmount 10A power conditioner

HDBaseT 4K over Cat6 extender kit

Thermostatic rackmount cooling fan

Cisco Layer 3 Gigabit 24 Port PoE network switch

Consumables (cables, interconnects & accessories)

Draytek Vigor dual band firewall router


The entertainment space covers three separate areas, but the AV in each zone can work in conjunction with each other



JULY 2021 65



High performing, audio video connectivity delivered in plastic free packaging

Aura 4K HDMI Extenders

Flexson, known for its quality accessories for Sonos, has launched upgraded mounting options for the Sonos Five. The S5-FM Flexson Floor Stand and Play:5 and S5-WM Vertical Wall Mount and Play:5 are designed to securely mount the current iteration of Sonos Five speaker, as well as the previous second generation Play:5. Built to position the speaker at the perfect height for seated listening, the Flexson Floor Stand can hold the speaker in either horizontal or vertical orientation. Constructed from steel and aluminium, the stand is desinged to be quick and easy to assemble and securely holds the speaker - while the cable management design keeps the installation neat. The stable base is thin enough to slide under sofas and chairs if needed and adjustable carpet spikes mean the Flexson Floor Stand is suitable for all floor types and interiors. The Flexson Vertical Wall Mount for Sonos Five and Play:5 securely, yet discreetly, holds the speaker in a portrait position. From the upright position, the speaker can be swivelled up to 60° (30° left and right) and tilted up to 15° down, to perfectly angle the sound. Designed to suit any space, the Flexson Vertical Wall Mount comes equipped with the fixing hardware for brick/ masonry and wood/studwork.

Both the Floor Stand and Vertical Wall Mount for Sonos Five and Play:5 are available in black and white finishes to match the speaker



experience different with auraa

Visit to find out more Email:

Call: 0800

66 JULY 2021

75 75 65

Naim Audio has launched its first-ever turntable plus a next-generation Aro tonearm as part of a Solstice Special Edition package limited to 500 units. Vinyl-lovers can now enjoy the full Naim Audio experience with the launch of Solstice, the first turntable in the British brand’s almost 50-year history. It comes partnered with a next-generation version of the Naim Aro tonearm, an Equinox MC cartridge, Solstice Series Phono Stage, Power Supply and bespoke accessories set. The Naim Solstice Turntable NVS TT combines core Naim design philosophies, such as multiple levels of mechanical decoupling, with a celebration of beautiful materials. The product features a magnetic bearing supporting a high-mass, highly polished aluminium platter, with a unique, selfcalibrating motor drive system. The Naim Aro Tonearm retains the original’s design principles, but boosts performance by using improved materials including tungsten and carbon-fibre and adding a new, no-compromise bias, arm height and azimuth adjustments. The Naim Equinox MC Cartridge has a microline stylus shape closer to the original cutting lathe head to enable the retrieval of accurate highfrequency information as well as a boron cantilever, a stiff-but-light design that faithfully transfers the stylus movements to the moving coils. The Solstice

Series Phono Stage NVC TT is the first to use DR technology, originally included on the flagship Statement amplifier. The Solstice Series Power Supply drives the turntable and the phono stage, but via completely isolated power supplies with no risk of interference. Finally, the Solstice Accessories Set includes Digital Stylus Gauge, Bubble Level, Hex Drivers (x3), Vinyl Adjustment Tool Dust Protector and Cleaning Cloth and a Naim Records True Stereo album offering a curated collection of high-quality True Stereo recordings, newly remastered for vinyl by original engineer, Ken Christiansen. There is also a Solstice Special Edition Book – including insight into heritage, technology and design. Naim Audio Available from late July, the Naim Audio Solstice Special Edition is available to pre-order with a suggested selling price of £16,000 / €17,000 / $20,000



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Available are optional square thin bezel grilles, back boxes and pre-construction brackets

Atlantic Technology has announced the launch of its latest in-ceiling loudspeaker line, AZURE. A step-up from its IC Series, AZURE is comprised of three 6.5 and two 8in two-way loudspeakers that incorporate the latest in acoustic designs and drivers from the company. All AZURE models are timbre-matched to Atlantic Technology’s range of in-room and in-wall speakers providing fresh integration options. With the launch of the 5 AZURE speakers atop the 8 IC Series the company now offers 13 premium architectural solutions in total. The new models are shipping now. AZURE’s woofers use Atlantic Technology’s new lightweight low resonance formed fiberglass cones, as found in its flagship 8600 and AT-3 H-PAS towers. The fiberglass provides superior uniformity, stiffness and speed with the cones designed in a new curved shape to

reduce distortion from break-up resulting in improved midrange clarity. The woofers use hightemperature voice coils with a massive magnet structure and a vented pole piece along with butyl rubber surrounds for audiophile performance. The woofer is contained in a new non-resonant enclosure design with a horn-shaped profile for wide uniform mid-range dispersion. High frequencies are handled by the company’s advanced proprietary, coated silk dome Low Resonance Tweeter (LRT), same as featured in many of Atlantic Technology’s in-room and inwall speakers. These wide dispersion tweeters use Ferrofluid cooling and super-efficient Neodymium magnets and have a lower cross-over point (than that of typical in-ceiling speakers) with a computeroptimised 2nd order network composed of precision audiophile grade components and a resettable polyswitch protection circuit. The tweeters are mounted on a new bridge designed to reduce interaction with the woofer and 30° orbital pivoting allows optimisation of sound. Installation-friendly features include ultra-thin bezel paintable magnetic grilles, secure quickclamp mounting and heavy-duty gold-plated pushon terminals.

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Atlantic Technology

GO PRO WITH HIKVISION With its new AX PRO wireless security system, Hikvision delivers a comprehensive suite of smart technology products designed to be easily installed, flexibly managed and truly scalable. AX PRO is based around a central hub panel which wirelessly connects and controls an extensive range of security products, including PIR and PIRCAM detectors as well as water, smoke, window and door sensors. CCTV, intercom and access control systems can also be integrated with AX PRO’s hub panel and managed via software or Hik-ProConnect. All components feature the latest long-range wireless technology and incorporate leading security protocols to ensure high performance and system safety. AX PRO offers users and installers multiple system management options, including control via the Hik-Connect mobile app and the capability to link directly to an Alarm Receiving Centre for full professional security monitoring and response. AX PRO boasts numerous features, including Hikvision Tri-X Technology, IVaaS (Intruder Verification as a Service), app compatibility and a slick design. Each feature has been developed with both the installer and user in mind, making installation a breeze, while functionality and the user interface is reliable and straightforward. AX PRO supports up to 96 wireless devices and features a wireless range of up to 2km, making


it fully adaptive for almost any situation and is configurable to face any installation challenge. Alongside the panel, Hikvision has also developed an extensive range of detectors and peripherals to tailor the system to all installation requirements. The range includes a variety of detectors and sensors to cater for every setting, such as combined PIR and Breakglass, and Dual Technology, as well as panic buttons and door contacts. Whatever the need, there is a wireless detection option. This includes the Wireless PIR-Camera Detector (PIRCAM), which delivers a 12-metre detection range, infrared LED Illumination for night vision capabilities, internal memory buffer for snapshots and an 800m long-distance wireless protocol range. Hikvision

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Direct control is possible via keyfob, wireless keypad and the Hik-Connect app


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SAVANT ADDS DEEZER HIFI A high-quality music experience deserves highperformance home audio hardware. That is why Deezer HiFi has been fully integrated into the Savant Music experience say the two companies. Live as of now, users can fill their home with the music of their choice, in lossless audio quality, through Savant’s smart home audio products. Savant’s latest Pro 9.4 software allows users

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to enjoy an on-demand music experience within a personalised and customisable app, letting all users access Deezer music. Users can also enjoy top sound quality in lossless FLAC audio, comparable to that from a CD. The service plays the full range of frequencies that the human ear can hear (16-Bit/44.1 kHz), while making

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sure that data and energy is not wasted on huge

Savant customers can also control all music from on all mobile devices, Savant Remotes and in-wall touch screens as well as create a unique personalised dashboard experience on the app of favourite albums, artists, playlists and podcasts. All Savant users will also benefit from a free two-month trial of Deezer HiFi. Deezer HiFi offers advert-free access to over 70 million tracks in high fidelity, plus exclusive artist content from the dedicated ‘HiFi Room’, as well as a wide range of curated and personalized content for every listener. Savant Deezer HiFi has been fully integrated into the Savant automation experience

file sizes. Users can Play Deezer HiFi on any Savant enabled audio product to experience exceptional sound quality, they can also search for and play a song directly from the Savant app. Simply type in a favourite artist to discover albums, tracks and more in one easy-to-navigate app experience. Savant ‘scenes’ include music settings as well as lighting, shading, and other entertainment settings. Press one button to activate multiple devices and create the perfect mood for any occasion.


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The MF-201A system is the first speaker in the world to combine both an internal skyline diffuser and a CNC cut laminated cabinet

Mayfly Audio Systems has launched world’s first speaker with ‘Skyline Diffusers’, presented as a revolutionary point-source loudspeaker. Luxurious hand-laminated French polish-finished birch cabinets are outfitted with coaxially aligned Seas woofers and tweeters making the most of proprietary internal skyline diffusers delivering a sweet spot said to be as wide as 90°. An optional high-performance MF-301 bass module has been created to add even greater realism and soundstage, says the maker. The systems are hand-built in Canada by chief designer Trevor May and sold with a 30-day trial period. The brand tells EI that it is looking for dealers and distribution in the UK.

Until now, skyline diffusers have been wallmounted panels made of wood or foam blocks specifically placed at varying heights used to treat sound aberrations such as echoes and reflections in recording studios, concert halls and homes. Here the technology is incorporated inside the speaker (MF-201A), making a unique 24×24 internal diffuser from slices of CNC cut birch ply. The slices are hand-glued, each layer comes together as the body of the cabinet itself. The idea is that the approach eliminates internal reflection and diffraction artifacts, lobe tilting effects and woofer breakup, yielding more controlled midrange and better bass response – a patent has been applied for focused around the technology. Chief Designer, Trevor May explains, “I was inspired to start Mayfly Audio Systems after reading the BBC paper on skyline diffusers and later visiting a local CNC woodworking shop. Putting the two together I wondered what the benefits of putting a diffuser inside a loudspeaker cabinet would be. The prototypes measured great, sounded great and looked great to everyone, so I figured I had a winner.” Mayfly Audio Systems









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A revised version of the popular NP5 Prisma network player, the NP5 Prisma MK2, is scheduled for this summer. The development of the new model was necessitated primarily by the AKM chip factory fire, causing long-term disruption of the supply of the critical re-clocking chip at the heart of the NP5 Prisma design that allowed for the selection of output sampling frequencies. In order to continue to make available one of our most popular models with the minimum of interruption, Primare has sourced a readily available chip and redesigned the circuit to maintain the performance of the original NP5

Prisma while allowing for MQA passthrough not possible with the original chip. All features and functionality remain the same, with Spotify HiFi and Tidal Connect expected this summer to join the extensive list of connection and control features already available, including AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in, Roon Ready and a host of other features, making the NP5 Prisma MK2 more than ever the network player for everyone. Primare

Availability August 2021 typical retail price inc VAT is expected to be £550.00


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The Theory Audio Design iw25 is the first of a series of architectural speakers to be announced by the brand this year. The iw25 has been created to provide dealers with a premium loudspeaker option for discreet surround sound and distributed audio installations. The new Theory accessories, including the sb Tabletop Stand and sb25 Universal Mount Adapter, give Theory’s sb25 multipurpose loudspeaker and soundbars the ability to be easily mounted on credenzas, tables, walls and ceilings. The iw25 and installation accessories join Theory’s existing product line consisting of three high output soundbars, a multi-use surface mount speaker, two subwoofer models and at the nucleus of every Theory system, the ALC-1809 Amplified Loudspeaker Controller. The Theory product ecosystem offers many of the advantages of professional audio products – effortless dynamics, high efficiency and rugged durability – but with the sonic delicacy, detail, and resolution of the best high-end high-fidelity loudspeakers, says the maker. Add Theory’s intelligent full-system design approach with automatically tailored DSP and you get startling performance at tremendous value, says UK distributor Custom AV Distribution.

The iw25 offers 1.4-in advanced polymer compression driver and dual 5in carbon fiber woofers provide 117db of output from a discreet in-wall speaker making completely invisible cinemacaliber surround systems possible. In distributed systems, the iw25 can scale to foreground music levels for parties or gaming systems. For the largest distributed installs, the iw25 includes switch-selectable 70V/100v transformer which can be driven direct by Theory’s forthcoming ALM 10-channel Dante/AES67 enabled loudspeaker controllers. Theory Audio Design

The iw25 can also be used outdoors with an available all-weather optional grille



LIGHT FANTASTIC With Samsung 4K QLED smart TV technology, ‘The Terrace’ turns everyday viewing into an epic outdoor entertainment experience, even on the sunniest of days. Available from Habitech in 55, 65, 75-in sizes…

For further information or to arrange a demo, please contact the team: | 01256 638500 |

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