With CEDIA 2019 all wrapped up, it's time to take a look back on some of the best products and demos at the show. These choices range from subwoofers and soundbars to entire speaker lines and even a demo of a high-end home theater system that's shipped to your home in crates! From the affordable to higher end, here are our picks for the Best of CEDIA 2019.
Polk L800 Stereo Dimensional Array Speakers
The L800 employs Stereo Dimensional Array in the form of SDA-PRO technology to reduce interaural crosstalk, effectively improving stereo imaging. The speaker's drivers sit on an angled baffle that point the “primary” sound producing drivers at the listener, so you don't have to toe-in these speakers.
Polk's L800 also features pinnacle ring radiator tweeters, turbine cones for the mid-range drivers, enhanced power port design, and an intensively engineered cabinet design to add rigid bracing and structure to control vibration and eliminate unwanted audible distortion.
Legend Series L800 SDA speakers were unveiled at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 where Mark Henninger was able to extensively audition a pair. With that experience in mind, the Polk Legend Series L800 gets a Best of CEDIA 2019 award.
"Having heard the Polk Legend L800 during multiple extended listening sessions at RMAF 2019, I already knew that it deserved recognition as a Best of CEDIA 2019 selection. SDA technology delivers an unparalleled 2-channel stereo listening experience with precise imaging that extends far beyond the physical bounds of the speakers. Quite frankly, it's the 'holy grail of soundstage and imaging because of the physics of interaural crosstalk cancellation, which is what SDA provides for the listener." - Mark Henninger
Monoprice Monolith M-215 Sub
Get ready for tons of tight, clean and deep bass, because Monoprice is release their new Monolith M-215 Dual 15" Subwoofer. The 2000-watt ported subwoofer extends to 12 Hz, is housed in a vented HDF cabinet with horizontal and vertical bracing, adheres to CEA2010 measurements, is currently being reviewed for THX Certification.
"Monoprice had the M-215 cranking away out on the open show floor. The opening of Godzilla provided appropriate demo material for this monster sub, the foot stomps registering as mini-earthquakes as the dual 15" drivers flexed. This is a no-brainer Best of CEDIA 2019 selection." - Mark Henninger
Monoprice Monolith THX Floorstanding Speakers
Monoprice's new Monolith floorstanding speakers are THX Certified and employ four 6.5″ woofers with long fiber pulp cones, FEA optimized nitrile butadiene rubber surrounds, and aluminum shorting rings; one 2″ silk dome midrange driver with Neodymium magnet and aluminum shorting ring; and one 1″ silk dome tweeter with Neodymium magnet and copper shorting ring.
"These new towers from Monoprice are absolutely badass home theater beasts. The 3-way design achieves THX Ultra output levels and is available with or without Atmos-enabled modules on top. I reviewed the bookshelf model and they were some of the very best speakers I heard this year, or any year. Now there are towers so you can put together a truly impressive system using all Monoprice Monolith gear that goes toe-to-toe not just on value, but in terms of raw performance, versus anything out there. For real... hence a Best of CEDIA nod for 2019." - Mark Henninger
LG HU85LA Cinebeam Laser Ultra Short Throw Projector
The LG HU85LA Laser Smart Home Theater CineBeam Projector does not use a “single laser plus color wheel” design for the light source, but in its stead use a three-laser system that generates the RGB primaries. The HU85LA accepts 4K resolution and HDR10, is able to produce 2700 lumens with its laser light source, has smart TV functionality built in, and is a speaker that can also be paired with Bluetooth-enabled audio products for great sound. The HU85LA is effectively an all-in-one, if you're looking for a portable home theater system.
"This ultra short throw projector from LG dispenses with color wheels altogether thanks to it's three-laser light source. Although introduced at CES 2019, now it's a shipping product and at CEDIA 2019 is was shown in operation and it looked sharp and bright on the show floor. I thought it "did the trick" as it projected a bright image on the included UST-compatible screen. The show floor at was very bright so even in daytime this projector should put up a bright picture that's perfect for sports. If you want to "go big" in the living room the cost of entry for UST laser with no rainbow artifacts and the longevity of laser is now attainable for $6K. Laser UST could well be the future of affordable big screens in the living room and this is a compelling package worth calling out with a Best of CEDIA 2019." - Mark Henninger
LG Signature Z9 8K TV
LG's new Z9 TV is their first OLED 8K TV. The TV features LG's most powerful TV processor ever with 6-step noise reduction; unparalleled depth, detail and high resolution of over 33 million pixels; and international standards for measuring resolution with a Contrast Modulation. AVS Forum editor Mark Henninger said "When you put it all together, it sure does seem like they're describing a TV that's close to perfect, at least for cinephiles who enjoy watching with the lights dim door turned off. You simply cannot beat the picture quality of an emissive display and the infinite blacks that they achieve, when watching with the lights out. And while they don't approach the multi-thousand peak nit specs of LCDs, compared to projection, the highlights found in OLED are true HDR."
"Yes, it also won Best of CES 2019 but hey, it totally deserves a Best of CEDIA 2019 award as well. For now, nothing touches it; unless you need 98 inches of screen real estate, this 88-incher is the finest TV of its size that money can buy. The picture quality is beyond belief." - Mark Henninger
Epson's new LS500 Laser Projection TV is a combination of an advanced ultra-short throw laser projector with an ultra-high definition ambient light rejecting screen with unique optical layering technology, resulting in bright, colorful, and sharp picture in virtually any viewing environment. The TV offers stunning 4K HDR projection, and will be available in the first quarter of 2020. The LS500 includes full 10-bit color processing accepting 100 percent of the HDR source information to faithfully reproduce HDR, advanced 3-Chip 3LCD technology that displays 100 percent of the RGB color signal for every frame, and an incredible Dynamic Contrast Ratio exceeding 2,500,000:1 thanks to its advanced black density control.
"Epson's laser UST offering advertises 4000 lumens. It also possesses a lens that is sharp and has great uniformity. This projector is designed for the living room, and on either the 100" or 120" included screen it genuinely looked like a humongous TV on the CEDIA show floor. The price and the brightness offered by Epson in the L500 makes it an easy Best of CEDIA 2019 selection and represents real growth and maturation in the UST projector segment." - Mark Henninger
MartinLogan Masterpiece CI Series Speakers
MartinLogan unveiled their new Masterpiece CI series at CEDIA 2019. The series include four in-wall speakers, namely the flagship Statement 40XW, and an in-ceiling speaker. Each speaker includes MartinLogan’s Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters, mid-frequency and bass drivers featuring unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cones, proprietary Vojtko crossover networks, sealed back box enclosures, die-cast aluminum mounting-locks, and spring-loaded binding posts.
"If you absolutely had to go for in-wall speakers and had no budgetary concerns, these absolutely badass MartinLogans would be a top choice, easily. Last year they were teased but showgoers were NOT told what they heard. This year, the source of the super sound coming from the MartinLogan soundroom was easy to explain... it's the new flagship Masterpiece CI. These speakers are responsible for of the best sounding demos at the show and are a Best of CEDIA 2019 selection." - Mark Henninger
Trinnov / Triad DTS:X Pro 11.4.6 Channel Demo
"Of all the AV demos at CEDIA 2019, the Trinnov / Triad DTS:X Pro demo sounded best. The soundfield was seamless and truly 3-dimensional and as a bonus, the room was a "proper" home theater, built as a "room within a room" at the show. What's key is now you can use all the speakers in your system, so here we got 11.4.6 even with 5.1 source material. The best description for what I heard is achievable perfection." - Mark Henninger
Trinnov has unveiled something unique at CEDIA 2019 – they’re the first company to bring DTS:X Pro technology to home theaters through their Altitude platform. Trinnov, alongside Home Theatre Environment master craftsman Maurizio Conti, walked the audience through their setup, which included a new upmixer, DTS Neural:X that’s designed to render audio objects at precise locations with whatever speaker layout is implemented. Trinnov is using their Altitude32 and Altitude16 processors, which are the first to offer DTS:X Pro.
Atlantic Technology Speakers
AVS Forum editor Mark Henninger reports on Atlantic Technology's showing at CEDIA 2019:
At CEDIA 2019 the company showed a new monster center channel, the 8600ec, designed to go with its flagship tower speakers. It’s huge, heavy and features a full D’Apolito array for the mids and highs! Frequency response is both linear and extended with a rating of 50 Hz to 25 kHz +/-2 dB. Atlantic Technology also well also unveiled a new iteration of its H-PAS speaker design in the form of the AT-3 towers. These 2-way, 6-ohm speakers have a rated response of 41 Hz to 25 kHz +/-2 dB, handle up to 150 watts of power and have a rated sensitivity of 90 dB.
"Ask anyone who's owned Atlantic Technology speakers and they will attest to the fact they are built like tanks and properly engineered for home theater and the high SPLs required. The booth at CEDIA may be modest, but the company's speakers are worth calling out with a Best of CEDIA, including for the fact the company's pricing is quite palatable." - Mark Henninger
Atlantic Technology Gatecrasher3 Soundbar
The Atlantic Technology Gatecrasher3 takes on the role of three different soundbars all at once, depending on what your needs are. First, it’s an active wireless 360-watt LCR soundbar, metal grill, discreet LED display, and multi-function learning remote. Then it’s a wireless surround sound soundbar with SKAA wireless 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS Home Theater technology. Then it's a comprehensive multi-room streaming audio system.
"IMO, the best soundbar systems are modular and wireless (albeit not cordless - yet!). There are numerous options and approaches to wireless soundbar systems and this SKAA wireless Gatecrasher3 and the compatible SKAA speakers and subs that work with it form an ecosystem that's more complete than what I see from other companies, while promising super low latency that's key for gaming and also for perfect lip-sync. Work calling out with a Best of CEDIA 2019 recognition." - Mark Henninger
ELAC Debut Reference Series
ELAC is back with the Debut Reference, and they sound phenomenal at that super-competitive $500/pair price point that Andrew Jones has targeted time and again with exceptional results. AVS Forum editor Mark Henninger reports.
"I heard a pair of the bookshelf model belt out tunes with clarity and dexterity at RMAF 2019. ELAC showed the bookshelf model along with a tower variant of the Debut Reference at CEDIA 2019. These are simply amazing $500 speakers. [ELAC's Andrew Jones] notes the new Debuts have a better crossover than the current Debut, same woofer but new cast basket with less resonance, and same tweeter but new waveguide. And the vent is now a front slotted design, which improves placement options versus the rear-ported Debut 2.0. Worth a Best of CEDIA 2019 based on value."
Screen Innovations Solo 2 Pro
Screen Innovations' completely redesigned version of the Solo motorized screen system, called Solo 2, improves on its predecessor. The screen offers a compact cassette housing for the screen 17% smaller than the original model, "reverse roll" for installations where you want the screen to drop down in front of a flat panel TV, larger sizes up to diagonal 160", and the option of using either AC power or rechargeable battery power. Screen material options include ambient light rejecting screens, short throw applications, and ultra-short-throw compatible material.
"In a year when UST projection is having a 'moment" at CEDIA, Screen Innovations is there with the Solo 2 Pro that can be equipped with UST material and comes in a cordless option that holds a charge for a full year. This opens new possibilities for installations in living rooms in condos and apartments where you don't want a fixed screen and running wiring is not an option. The Solo 2 Pro was shown with an Epson L500 projector at both the Epson booth and SI booth, proving its viability and earning a Best of CEDIA 2019 for being the right product at the right time." - Mark Henninger