CEDIA is all about the custom-install channel, and when it comes to audio that means there is a focus on architectural speakers. 2016 marks ELAC America's debut at the annual industry expo, and among the goodies it brought to the party were all-new in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, plus subs.
The speakers in particular were derived from drivers used in its Andrew Jones-designed Debut and Uni-Fi lines. Meanwhile the low-profile in-wall subwoofer takes a clever approach to optimization, with EQ that allows it to be used in walls without an enclosure.
According to Andrew Jones, the well-known speaker designer and VP of engineering at ELAC America, the impetus for tackling the custom-install speaker market segment was a demand from customers of his Debut and Uni-Fi speaker lines. Whether it's for OCD reasons, aesthetic reasons, or because timbre matching is high on the priority list, people who by a pair of towers and a center channel and wish to add surround-sound using in-wall speakers prefer to stick within the same brand. It's only logical to meet demand where it exists, hence these new speakers.
Andrew went on to note that you typically find in wall speakers sporting either 5-inch or 8-inch mid/woofers, and that his 6.5-inch Debut IW-D61-W offering is something you don't see often. There's also an IW-C51-W with dual 5.25" mis/woofers that can serve as a center-channel. The JET Series IW-J61-W also has a 6.5" mid/woofer, but swaps out the Debut's dome tweeter for an AMT-style tweeter (the JET 5 Air Motion Tweeter).
When it comes to Atmos and DTS:X installations, ELAC offers the in-ceiling and angled Debut IC-DT61-W that takes the 6.5" woofer and the dome tweeter from the debut lineup and puts it in a recessed, padded waveguide that lets you aim the sound at the listening area much more effectively that pivoting tweeters do.
The ELAC Debut Series angled in-ceiling speaker. Photo by Mark Henninger
For fans of concentric two-way drivers (an Andrew Jones specialty), ELAC showed a couple of in Uni-Fi in-walls. The IW-UC51-W matches the 2-way concentric with twin 5.25" woofers for a center channel-friendly form factor, whereas the IW-U61-W features a 6.5" mid/woofer.
ELAC now offers Uni-Fi in-wall speakers. Photo by Mark Henninger
I was fascinated to hear how the 10-inch subwoofer driver works in conjunction with its rack-mounted amp to calculate a correction for the driver's response by measuring impedance. With this approach, a back box is not necessary, according to Andrew Jones the impedance measurement technique comes within 0.5dB of a microphone measurement. Once the system understands the response of the wall-mounted subwoofer driver, it can create an optimal room correction profile. Neat stuff!
ELAC's shallow-mount 10-inch in-wall sub does not need a back box. Photo by Mark Henninger
Here's the amp that drives the sub(s). Photo by Mark Henninger