Originally Posted by bartl007
Cedia 2017 Impressions:
Sorry for the long post, but you asked for it...
All of the following is my personal opinion.
Overall, I was not, and am not, impressed with Atmos. I think the amount of times it is used in film special effects is not worth the cost to implement this is a worth while way. I've also seen several movies in a Dolby prime theater (Atlanta) and couldn't tell any difference in overhead effects vs traditional surround sound commercial theaters .
I realize I'm an outlier here and everyone else but me thinks Atmos is the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe my ears are shaped funny?
Also, it's very difficult to compare demos due to big differences in room size, speaker layout, demo clips used, volume level, ambient noise, etc.
I think that overall, the size and scope of a theater have a greater impact than other variables given a minimum level of capability. In other words buy as many lumens as possible in your projector to light up the biggest screen you can get in your room, get overly capable speakers to prevent clipping and distortion and you'll be able to compete with the best theaters out there….And don't forget about your room, you should really start with your room and then fill it with the above.
Some of the highlights first:
Dynaudio off site demo in Marriott Carlsbad room- my vote for best demo of show. I sat front and center like a selfish SOB. barco balder cinemascope projector, not sure how wide the screen was (maybe 14 ft?). No fatigue and didn't even seem very loud. Great mix of music and movie dynamics with clips chosen although as others noted, it was a bit random. JL subs (double 12”- Gotham?) were very tight and tuneful, blended really well, but room wasn't quite as energized as some other demos (I forgot to ask how many they had running and was later told there were 4, I was also told that the house curve was more of a flat response due to choices made by the calibrator). Also a slight amount of rattle from the AC duct/tiles overhead during loud passages (understandable given the ballroom we were in) (Not sure how big the room was given the black drapes all around (maybe 20x30 ish with 15 ft ceilings?). 4, 8inch coaxial in ceiling speakers in backer boxes overhead with in-wall 2 ways behind curtains to the side and rear. Datasat processor. 25k watts of power. Very dynamic. Gunshots in lone survivor had great chest thump along with high end “thwack” that wasn't too loud or jarring despite 108-109db peaks (what we were told, I didn't have an spl meter with me) Peeking around the back of the cinema master 60 (the big LCR) on display was a speakon connector. These seem to be the m3xe studio monitor repackaged for high end home theater. Apparently each speaker is quad amped and capable of 135db at 1m. Was told that all audio gear in use was $150k MSRP. With a quick Google search; The studio version is driven actively with dsp in the lab gruppen PLM10000Q amps that are packaged with the monitors.
The demo however used ATI amps to my knowledge but I'm not sure if there was a dsp/crossover in the amp or how exactly the system was being driven with the datasat (active vs passive ). Again as an entire demo (audio+video) if I could take home only 1 demo and put it in my house, this would be the one for me. I thought it was best of show.
And perhaps my favorite part of the demo was before it even started. While waiting for people to find their seats and file in, they played a nice Latin jazz percussive piece (sing, sing, sang?) that was phenomenal. Super wide sound stage, trumpets wailing that sounded like the real deal, great foot tapping percussive mid bass that was very “live” and again absolutely no fatigue, super smooth. Best of show
Superb dialogue intelligibility, forgot I was watching a demo during passengers, giant screen, scl-2 speakers go 10db higher than scl3 and 4. 8 15in subs (assuming ported), great balance and played at reasonable but still exciting levels, they used again for the LCR, the vintage looking passive 2 way with the same drivers as the m2 but the wide mouth traditional horn (can't remember the model number) instead of the M2. 2nd favorite demo overall
Barco/meridian -reference quality with acoustics on wall and all run from a $2k marantz processor with dsp in the speakers themselves, 8500 lumen Loki on 14ft wide scope screen.dsp in wall speakers $4k per lcr and $3k per surround with 4 $3k subs in the corners. Exciting but not painful levels. 3rd favorite demo of the show
Pro audio tech
Acurus processor and barco balder projector, high db levels but not too much. in wall double 5¼ inch LCR with 300 ish watts a piece, 1ru amp and 2 ported 15in subs get plenty loud, very cinematic. Best bass of the show and really energized the room. Outside of the demo booth the day before I was thinking “how obnoxious, why don't they turn down the bass”. Inside the room however it was well done and probably had some house curve boost to the low end many AVS bass heads are used to. Small in wall speakers had no problem keeping up. Probably 4th favorite demo of show
Great demo, reference quality sound. Visceral but clean and not fatiguing. When asked to guess how loud the demo was, I guessed 95db peaks. The spl meter said 108db… Deadpool demo was great. They passed around the mid-range silk? dome driver, it probably weighed 30lb on its own and apparently hits 135db. They used I believe the BB5 XBD pair with the matching BB5 center channel. Uber expensive after a quick Google search. Also had a full Atmos setup but not sure what other speakers were used for surrounds. Unsure of amplification or if these were the active version?
Had a tiny 55inch flat panel tv so your focus was on the audio.
They also ”cheated” a bit in my book in that they had the raw file mastering score from the latest resident evil movie pulled up on a macbook pro. they played this at the beginning of the demo in plain 2 channel with no corresponding video, following that was the Deadpool freeway shootout clip, then finished with the full resident evil Blu-ray clip with atmos audio and video together utilizing the score heard earlier with dialogue and special effects on the finished Blu Ray. Also of note the bass was fantastic. Really taught and with good chest thump and room filling energy but absolutely no bloat. My second favorite audio demo of the show behind the dynaudio.
Alcons audio- impressive demo but a touch too loud (apparently 2db below reference). Dialogue intelligibility wasn't as good as pmc demo that we had heard 30 minutes earlier on the same Deadpool clip. Barco loki (7500 or so lumens) looked nice on a 15ft. Wide AT screen at 0.82 gain but lacked a bit of sharpness on some demos . This could have easily have been due to the trinnov which was acting up again (no way in hell I would spend 20k on that expensive paperweight) probably 5th favorite demo overall but just too damn loud (my wife agreed)
And in no particular order the rest of my notes from the show:
Impressive projectors for the price
for 22k MSRP. Dlp single chip, 4k, 8000 lumens with HDR, lens purchased separately but only $400-1200 depending on installation
2k lumen, lamp based (rated for up to 4,000 hrs), dlp single chip 4k projector for $2500- steal of a deal, image was razor sharp and bright but on a relatively small screen (maybe 7-8 ft wide and I think it was 1.3 gain) Delta (viviteks parent company) acts as an OEM for most of the projector manufacturers (barco, Christie, sim2, etc) out there and has massive resources.
Phase technology darts- surprised that this sounded pretty good with dome tweeters all around. Some low bass distortion on the end of amaze Atmos trailer? Don't think these would do well in larger rooms due to design decisions re: tweeter. Very comfortable traditional motorized theater seats.
Klipsch sr15- only demo I think I missed
Seymor screen excellence/wolf/audio excellence
Good picture with wolf $50k modded rs4500 142inch wide 2.0x1 aspect ratio screen. 3200 lumen. 0.8 gain neo woven screen . Acurus processor had issues and stopped demo short, Audio was by audio excellence a European company but demo cut eval short and I won't comment. Apparently compression driver based
Top of their line laser faux-k LCD projector -Nice projector in totally dark room on 1.3 gain screen
23 ft. Lambert calibrated
Good blacks and pleasing image overall
Didn't notice any Motion artifacts
Monitor audio sound system sounded good but at lower levels overall
Decent Atmos effects.
Lacked a bit of the wow factor from some of the other demos with mega buck projectors and high spl speakers.
Overall the best moderately priced demo of the show comparatively.
4 clips, media room set up with all in wall speaker and sub products. Atmos effects were unimpressive. Good bass with 4 corner loaded subs had good couch shake ability (in wall sub with exit port of enclosure close to ceiling. Sony TV with good brightness, I like my mid range panny plasma better (last one they ever made). I was expecting a lot with this demo from reports of prior years having this a must see. A little bit of a let down.
Starke audio- nice demo with great sound quality, very flashy Speakers with gloss colored paint jobs and used large LCR even as surround speakers
Big speakers with amt sweeter. Very comparable to emotiva (much cheaper) playing the same unbroken clip which wasn't a very good demo in my opinion (no musicality just lots of bullet effects and noise)
Golden ear sr5
Trinnov issues cut demo short but 2 channel reference towers sounded very nice. Standing in back of room-Full theater demo was nice but not reference quality (terrible positioning on my part to evaluate)
Mbl- sounded nice but a little too much smooth jazz for my taste. Low volume vocal tracks from Livingston Taylor, etc. 2 channel audio is not my thing
Living room/kitchen system with top of line receiver and nice speaker/Atmos setup. Terrible acoustics and not really a prime demo. Next room was a slick player piano that integrated into the musicast and Alexa system.
Emotiva - entire room was 13k for all audio gear. JVC projector, unbroken demo was comparable to rbh demo next door. Hard to justify buying a trinnov when their new processor can do most of the same thing for 5k. Also of note, 2 separate demos were having issues with their setup due to trinnov problems (alcons and golden ear)
Barco/ Steinway lyngdorf booth- multiple living room/media rooms setup and too difficult to evaluate audio or video critically given the amount light and significant show floor noise coming from all angles
Projectors on display were barco loki and 2 dpi 20k msrp laser projectors in high ambient light open booth setting (not good for critical evaluation) forgot the model numbers because dpi has so many and they all sound the same. I think it was the e vision laser 4k-uhd that does 7500 lumens. Difficult to tell them apart without knowing which was which (large price differential however)
They also had the huge dual laser 4k dpi projector in high brightness mode on a giant screen that looked great
$5k laser projector with 5k lumens, only 1080p (not on display however)
Favorite projector image of the show- dual 4k laser big boy projector on 16ft wide? Screen 16x9. Must have been 60 to 90+ft Lambert's but no one in the dpi booth had an answer for how bright the image was when asked.
that was apparently, the higher contrast lower brightness model.
Faux-k e shift HDR demo, the model just beneath the rs4500. showing fast and furious on SI screen, good color but some motion artifact, def tech sound was underwealming and no seating,
2nd day viewing, rs4500 on a 16ft wide screen looked great and very cinematic
4k e shift projector showing HDR looked very full of artifacts and motion soap opera effects, maybe worse than day one?. Overall audio was an afterthought and no where close to ideal
New 885 projector 4k image was great for video only demo, audio was not up to snuff comparably and Spiderman homecoming demo was underwhelming given the scope format after being spoiled with stunning 4k nature images just prior on 16x9 screen. Back row seat with lots of heads blocking my view of the speakers (and affecting acoustics). OLED looked fantastic as did short throw laser projector on an SI screen. (But not for the price tag compared to the Epson, Hisense and vivitech models.)
Dbox gave both me and my wife motion sickness after a 5 minute ride (no thanks). Seats were very nice otherwise with motorized articulating headrest (why don't all chair companies do this articulating headrest?)
Great recap of CEDIA!
At CEDIA I saw/heard demos not only by Alcons, but also by Dynaudio, JBL Synthesis, PCM, Golden Ear, and a few others, and the only one too loud and fatiguing for me was the Alcons which was easily so!
In my opinion, based on years of tweaking with two channel audio and home theater, and going to many live concerts particularly in more "audiophile" settings like the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, the best home theater systems, sure, should be able to play somewhat louder, but normally you will listen to them at a quieter level than in the better movie theaters, yet the bass and dynamics will be faster, quicker, clearer and more gut renching yet you can remain seated because the sonics are not fatiguing at all!
Based on what I heard from where I sat at the demos at CEDIA this year in terms of my above criteria, I rank the demos as follows in terms of quality as I've described above (I didn’t get to every single demo):
Dynaudio/Datasat/JL Audio subwoofers, very musical, very dynamic, very quiet, I felt it did everything well.
JBL Synthesis close to #1
in many respects but not quite as dynamic as when it came to low bass Dynaudio was more impactful. Not fatiguing at all. I would be very happy with this system, too.
PCM very nice demo. Soundstage not as wonderfully wide as Dynaudio and JBL demos. I couldn’t help but think that having some separate subwoofers instead of incorporated into the massive PCM speakers wouldn’t help the bass be even better in terms of placement for room modes.
Barco/Meridian/Revel - This setup takes any SSP, in this case a 2k Marantz, balanced analog out, to Meridian AD converter which converts analog to digital, then the bass management, etc begins. The rep said “Meridian is the best at AD conversion” and that’s why they do it this way. No, they do it this way to sell product! I would have liked to here the Meridian SSP with no extra digital/analog conversion stages. Once you convert analog to digital, the sonics you lose you lose forever, you can’t gain back by converting back to digital for further processing. Still not bad but not near as good as PCM.
Golden Ear = Very musical but light on the bass. System for a great price has great affordable promise by revising components and perhaps subwoofers. The above demos were not in my book far too loud. I can handle a little loud without complaining or fatiguing. Sorry but I found the Alcons demo far too loud. And part of this was what I considered most of the time to be booming bass rather than more impactful, quick, non-fatiguing bass, which interfered with midrange and quietness of the system. I don't care how good the system and speakers are how potentially great they can sound when setup to my liking - when what I hear is like this I just can't enjoy it much, period, its just way to fatiguing for me! This doesn’t mean the Alcons may not be great speakers for both two channel audio and home theater. It simply means this demo doesn’t drive me to recommend what I heard in the least! This doesn’t mean that THXMan’s Alcons setup doesn’t sound great and that I wouldn’t enjoy it! But don’t ask me to extrapolate how good it could sound if setup better as I can’t speculate – its up to the pros who market and setup the speaker line and theater to do this in the first place.