The Integrated Systems Europe show in Amsterdam was running last week and I was able to attend for a couple of days. There was plenty to see and grab your attention – especially in the digital signage area with the searingly bright advertising screens.
Closer to the audio visual world there were several 3D audio cinema rooms with various manufacturers showcasing Dolby Atmos or Auro 3D. Over the course of the two days I listened all of the main players with speakers set ups from JBL Synthesis, Procella , B&W, Wisdom Audio, Genelec, Quested and Auro. Each room had a very different interpretation of how cinema sound should be from aggressive to simply boring. I don’t doubt that the person responsible for each room thought they had it just right and that is the variance that makes home cinema so personal. Talking to others who had heard the room did not overly narrow the search for the best sound – everyone had a favourite but the only item of agreement seemed to be on the worst sound.
The rooms were all different and although high quality processors were used (mostly the Datasat RS20 and the Trinnov Altitude) along with high performing speakers and amplifiers there was a huge variety how the sound reached you. The difference between the processors was easy to detect but the extent of that difference surprised me. One processor was preferable to the other (I am not going to commit to better ) but that is probably because in the rooms it was used the sound was closest to the sound I try to create.
Bass was different across the board – way too much in some rooms with it totally dominating the soundtrack to perfectly judged invisible in the mix bass in others. The different types of speakers used all made for different sounds – the compression drivers, line source and direct – with individual merit but to me it was the system as a whole that needed to capture your attention. Thankfully I am not totally out on a limb with the sound I am looking to re-create in the cinema and several rooms ticked the box and there will be new additions to the HomeSound line up as a result.
Away from sound Epson showed their all new laser projector the LS10000. In among the retina burning signage and commercial projectors from Barco and Christie et al it was nice to see an accurate balance of colour and real black levels. Our Epson LS10000 is here in April and I look forward to the calibrated unit working in the showroom. Other highlights were the new Dali 12″ in wall speakers – ideal for an LCR configuration or where you really need lots of discreet sound, a reasonable price as well. Basalte showed the very cool Eve Ipad frame and Panasonic Pro had a fantastic display using a Tesla Model S car – much as I would love both I think the ipad frame is the most realistic
Next stop Munich 2015 for a more hi-fi orientated show