Crestron’s Adagio Entertainment System With New AMS Processor Wins Awards at CEDIA

Crestron’s Adagio Entertainment System (AES), an integrated audio distribution system for multiroom and whole-house audio installations, has been awarded CEDIA’s Electronic Lifestyles Award as one of the year’s 5 top new products.

At the CEDIA show, held earlier this month in Denver, CO, Crestron introduced the newest addition to the Adagio line, the Adagio Media System (AMS). AMS is a processor/controller that adds sophisticated surround sound processing and video for home theater, alongside complete whole house audio distribution. The AMS-AIP model goes a step further, to provide professional-quality video scaling up to 1080p and on-screen display.

Crestron's new AMS controller/processor brings home theater surround sound processing and pro-quality video scaling to the multi-room Adagio Entertainment System (AES) line.

Crestron describes Adagio Entertainment System as the first fully-integrated audio distribution system with plug-and-play connectivity. System components already available include Adagio Audio Expander (AAE), Adagio Audio Server (AAS), CEN-IDOC iPod® interface, 12-button keypads and APAD LCD room controllers. Adagio is the only audio distribution system that provides seamless expansion to whole house automation including lighting, HVAC and shade control.

Along with the prestigious top-5 product recognition, Crestron won three Excite Awards at this year’s CEDIA show. Adagio was honored as the “Most Exciting Product,” and Crestron was named “Most Exciting Home Automation System.”

The new AMS component features Adagio’s signature integrated architecture including built-in tuners, amplifier, multi-room processors, Crestron 2-Series control system, e-Control web browser, Ethernet connectivity and front panel control.

It also offers the plug-and-play connectivity, out-of-the-box functionality, and seamless expansion options that makes Adagio the easiest home entertainment system to install and the most versatile to expand.

The AMS features a state-of-the-art surround sound processor and powerful 100w 7-channel amplifier designed to drive any 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 theater speaker system. DTS 96/24 decoding achieves superlative sound quality from the latest generation of DVD titles. Audyssey MultEQ equalization corrects time and frequency response problems, effectively removing sound distortion at every listening position, to create the optimum listening experience.

The AMS accommodates a full range of audio and video sources. It has 10 analog stereo inputs, and one analog 7.1 surround input. Built-in high-definition video switching handles 3 HDMI, 6 HDTV/component, 4 S-Video, and 4 composite sources.

AMS also includes stereo audio distribution to support 4 to 6 rooms. The integrated multi-room amplifier delivers a robust 45 watts per channel to each of 4 rooms, while a fifth stereo room or up to 2 mono rooms can be supported using one or two of the surround amplifier channels. Each room includes independent volume, bass, and treble controls. The AMS may be expanded to accommodate additional rooms simply via Adagio Audio Expanders (AAE).

The enhanced AMS-AIP model adds the latest generation high-definition scaling and de-interlacing. True 10-bit video processing in the AIP supports displays with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 and HDMI, DVI, RGB, or component connectivity. AMS-AIP also offers DVI for connecting multimedia computers and a wide range of professional video source components. With PIP and PBP, the AMS-AIP enables dual video source display or video and graphics, simultaneously.

The AMS front panel with backlit LCD display provides a powerful, yet simple user-interface for system set-up, or to control a home theater or distributed whole house AV system. Plug-and-play connectivity with Crestron 12-button keypads or the advanced APAD Wall Mount LCD Controller enables versatile control of the AMS in every room. The APAD extends the many functions of the AMS front panel to each room, providing true feedback display of audio sources, CD titles, artists, and songs, plus audio settings and many other parameters. The optional TPMC-4X Handheld WiFi Touchpanel provides an enhanced user interface to control the AMS home entertainment system. Out of the box, the TPMC-4X includes numerous control screens for setting up and controlling the AMS, AAS and Apple® iPod®.

Plug-and-play compatibility with Crestron’s Adagio Audio Server (AAS), CEN-IDOC iPod® interface, and plug-in dual-tuner cards for AM/FM, XM and Sirius delivers instant access to additional music sources and entire libraries of music from any room in the house with full capability for browsing by album, artist, and song title.

At the heart of the AMS is the powerful 2-Series control engine featuring both Cresnet and Ethernet connectivity. The AMS allows nearly limitless expansion and customization using Crestron’s entire line of products such as touchpanels, infiNET™ dimmers and thermostats. The built-in Web server with native e-Control®2 XPanel support enables remote control over IP.

Crestron Website

Integra NVS-7.7 Is a Media Center PC Engineered For Custom Audio Installations

Media Center PCs have a troubled reputation as practical home entertainment devices. Installation, configuration, and chronic customer service issues have been common to open-platform PC-focused systems and software.

Integra has developed its new NVS-7.7 integrated media center and content server to tackle the issue head-on. It’s a purpose-built multimedia PC, engineered from the ground up for custom installers who want to avoid the hassles that have plagued the Media Center PC platform, in home theater and whole-house audio installations.

Integra’s designers worked with custom installers and programmers to make the NVS-7.7 much easier to set up, operate, and maintain in order to reduce the number of hours lost to customer support issues. The company says its new box provides a seamless, streamlined solution for the custom installation community. It retails for $3,000 (US).

The Integra NVS-7.7 provides a powerful suite of features for integration with home theater and audio installations. It offers 400 GB of storage for audio and video media, and proprietary Integra-designed audio circuitry. The electronics features Intel’s ViiV™ technology, plus high-end Wolfson DACs and the company’s acclaimed Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry (VLSC).

“The power, flexibility, all-in-one capabilities, and high storage capacity of media center PCs have made them an essential tool for custom installers,” says Integra Marketing and Product Planning Manager Paul Wasek.”However, these systems are first and foremost PCs, with all the attendant configuration and support issues that can add up to a customer service nightmare for small to medium sized installers. Integra’s solution to this problem was to design a system that is first and foremost an AV component – it just happens to be built on a PC Platform.”

The Integra NVS-7.7 features Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition™ 2005 operating system running on a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 Dual 820 processor and 1 GB of DDR memory. A 400 GB hard drive is included for storage of a complete library of audio and video files. It includes Intel’s VIIV™ technology to capture, store, and distribute a complete range of media formats throughout the home, including WMV HD, MPEG -1/-2/-4, DivX, JPEG, WMA, MP3, AAC, and PCM.

For Audio reproduction, the NS-V7.7 features an exclusive Integra-designed audio card that includes high quality Wolfson 192kHz/24-bit DACs with the company’s acclaimed Vector Linear Shaping Circuitry (VLSC) for smoother and more detailed stereo analog output. It is also the world’s first media server product to include Dolby Master Studio technology suite for complete 7.1-channel surround sound processing, including Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Live, ProLogic IIx, Dolby Headphone, and Dolby Virtual Speaker processing.

“Our goal was to make it as easy to set up and use as any of our other AV components,” continues Wasek. “With the NVS-7.7, Integra tames the convoluted configuration and programming process, giving installers a complete product that delivers the most powerful source and integration features ever available, yet is no more difficult to set-up, install, and maintain than a high end A/V receiver. And with Integra’s acclaimed dealer support and training programs behind them, dealers can feel confident about specifying media servers into every job they do.”

The NSV-7.7 includes both digital ATSC and analog NTSC tuners for recording and playback of TV broadcasts, and an FM tuner for radio broadcasts. The front-loading DVD/CD tray can be used to capture video recorded on DVD, DVD +/-R/RW, CD-R/RW, VCD and data based optical discs. Additionally, a multi-format front-panel 8-in-1 card reader is included for use with portable storage media, including SD/MS, MS-Pro, and Smart/Flash memory cards. For further expansion and integration, there are four USB 2.0 ports, and high speed Serial ATA-II port for support of storage transfer speed up to 1.5 GB/second.

Integra has designed the NVS-7.7 to be fully compatible with RS-232 and IP-based control systems, making it much easier for installers to offer media PC integration with their whole-house system installations. The NSV-7.7 includes DVI, VGA and component video outputs that are compatible with high definition video. There are also S-Video, and composite video outputs for connection to complete range of video displays. For network distribution, the media center is compatible with all Integra Net-Tune Clients for streaming audio, and content can be shared with other Windows MCE platform devices via a standard Ethernet network.

Integra Web Site

Axiom’s M80 Tower Loudspeakers Mansfield Beech Finish

Top-of-the-line Full-Range Sound

Axiom Millennia M80 Tower Loudspeakers: Sound Comparisons

AudioWorld Rating:

How do they sound?

I tested the M80’s in a variety of contexts, focusing mostly on their role as main front speakers in a 5.1 surround system, both for music and for movies. With the M80’s replacing the smaller M22’s in the Epic Grand Master package, the system is similar to Axiom’s top-of-the-line Epic 80 package, but with a smaller center channel speaker (VP100 instead of VP150) and subwoofer (EP175 instead of EP350).

I also made direct A/B comparisons of the M80 vs. the M22. I was interested to find out how much of a difference the upgrade to the M80’s would make in various settings, given the $700 (US) per pair price differential.

Diana Krall: Love Scenes
(Impulse DVD-Audio)

This DVD-Audio disc is a great romantic jazz listen, as well as an ideal way to evaluate the essential characteristics of a speaker system in both stereo and surround. The ensemble of bass-piano-guitar plus vocal is beautifully recorded, with distinct mixes for each format: the stereo version (96kHz/24-bit) is up-close and intimate, the surround version (44.1kHz/24-bit) a little more spacious and reverberant. In both cases, the instruments are captured with realism and detail that reveals all.

Listening to Love Scenes in advanced resolution stereo through the M80ti’s alone is a delight. The acoustic bass, in particular, sounds sumptuous and natural, right down to the bottom. No hint of resonances or imbalances of any kind. As you would expect, the bookshelf M22ti’s are no match for the big speakers at reproducing the lower bass. Putting that obvious difference aside, I found that the M80ti’s present a slightly better defined soundstage, with the phantom center more stable and the whole stereo field a little more enveloping.

In surround, the M80’s again sound spectacular. The characteristic Axiom sound – transparent, open-ended, detailed – is evident, and the tower speakers fit together tonally and spatially with the rest of the speaker ensemble, to perfection. With this recording, there is little to say about the bottom end, since the mix directs the low bass to the LFE subwoofer channel rather aggressively. With or without bass management switched in, the end result is an accurate reproduction of the bass instrument, without any crossover glitches between registers.

Insane Clown Posse: The Wraith – Shangri-La
(DTS Entertainment DVD-Audio)

For something completely different, I turned to this extravagantly-produced hip-hop/rap attack, which offers a riotous surround mix and multitrack aural manipulations by the jugful (note: definitely not recommended for family listening, highly abrasive lyrics).

What I was after here was a fix on how the M80 would handle an extreme challenge in the low frequencies, with the heavily-processed bass lines and layers of chunky beats often found in current pop recordings.

The advantage of full-range speakers for the main front pair is evident in this situation. With the bass management crossover set at 40Hz, the deep – almost sub-sonic – fundamentals throughout this recording issue forth with appropriately furniture-rattling weight, courtesy of the subwoofer, while the M80ti’s bring definition and clarity to the mid-bass drum, percussion and synth elements. With the sub taken out of the picture, the M80’s still put this music over with substantial impact, but entirely lacking the profound bottom end on tracks like Murder Rap and Blaaam!!!

The big Axioms also have a clear advantage over their bookshelf siblings through the midrange of the spectrum, with this recording. The music is densely layered and frenetically busy, and I found that the M80’s are able to articulate and lay out the complex mix with greater clarity. Not to mention that cranking the amp up to deliver dance-club sound levels, the M80’s ramped up without breaking a sweat: really loud, and really clean.

Black Hawk Down
(Columbia Pictures DVD-Video)

The soundtrack of this modern war flick (Academy Award for Best Sound, 2001) is a showcase of complex, nuanced sound design – everything from crushing explosions and chopper fly-by’s, to subtle ambient details in the quieter scenes. The M80’s handle everything this movie throws at them with ease. These speakers, in common with all of the Axiom models I have auditioned, are masterful at creating a surround soundscape that is utterly realistic – enveloping, detailed, and accurate. I can’t really say that there’s much advantage in having the larger Axioms this time around, as the standard Epic Grand system with the smaller M22’s is equally proficient in this context.

Philippe Herreweghe J.S. Bach – Leipzig Christmas Cantatas
(Harmonia Mundi Hybrid Multichannel SACD)

A fine performance and recording of Bach choral-orchestral works, with lovely, naturally-reverberant acoustics. The M80ti’s sound spectacular here, all by themselves in the stereo version, or carrying the main effort in the surround mix. Perhaps it is tellling that listening to the stereo tracks provides an enveloping surround-like experience that is almost indistinguishable from the full surround – the Axioms really are that good at recreating a vibrant soundstage, given an excellent classically-engineered recording.

The low frequency response of the M80 handles the full range of this recording without any difficulty: in fact, they sound better with the subwoofer switched out altogether, producing accurate, tight bass that is a tad compromised when the sub is involved.

MartinLogan Introduces New Voyage and Passage In-Wall Loudspeaker Models for High-Performance Home Theater

MartinLogan has introduced two new in-wall loudspeaker models using the company’s trademark Advanced Thin Film (ATF) transducer technology.

The architecturally-inspired Voyage™ ($1,995 each, US) and Passage™ ($749 each, US) are designed for high-performance home theater installations. They represent MartinLogan’s premiere offering in the rapidly-expanding in-wall loudspeaker market.

Both new loudspeaker designs feature:

  • Quick, Trouble Free Installation
  • Unbreakable, Constant Control, Die-Cast Aluminum Mounting Locks
  • High-Resolution ATF™ (Advanced Thin Film) Transducers
  • High-Excursion Aluminum Element Woofers
  • Massive Audiophile Grade Crossovers
  • Ultra Rigid, Wall Stiffening, Extruded Aluminum Chassis
  • Paintable End Caps and a Selection of Grill Color Options
  • Highly Adjustable Tweeter Alignment Sphere
  • IR Repeater Ready

Quick, Trouble Free Installation
To provide an extremely quick and trouble free installation, MartinLogan’s passionate engineering and design team created an extremely robust mounting lock system. When not in use the unbreakable, constant control, die-cast aluminum mounting locks are held firmly in place within a self-contained housing. When the mounting locks are moved into place during installation they firmly couple the loudspeakers rigid chassis to the drywall. If for any reason the speaker should be removed from the wall the mounting locks retract and lock themselves out of the way within their self-contained housing.

Every Voyage and Passage loudspeaker is provided with a rigid, full size installation template featuring a handle, quick reference installation instructions, and die cut guides for marking the cutout hole. To minimize installation site clutter, both speakers are boxed so that parts are removed from the shipping container in the order they are needed for installation—first the template, next the speaker and finally the grill covers.

ATF™ (Advanced Thin Film) Transducers Provide Clarity, Detail and Resolution
ATF™ (Advanced Thin Film) transducers, based on RADIA planar technology, consist of a micro-thin, low mass diaphragm with an ultra-light, etched conductive aluminum surface suspended between two high field strength neodymium super magnet arrays. When an electrical current (audio signal) passes through the etched aluminum on the diaphragm’s surface it is simultaneously pulled towards one of the neodymium arrays and pushed away from the opposing. When the direction of current is reversed the diaphragm is simultaneously pushed and pulled in the opposite direction, thus producing sound. This concept is called push-pull and is a major contributor to the linearity and sonic superiority of both ATF and electrostatic MartinLogan thin film transducers

ATF diaphragms are constructed of extremely low mass Dupont Kaladex® PEN (polyethylene naphthalate) — a material chemically similar to the low-mass PET (polyethylene terathylate) film used in MartinLogan’s Generation 2 electrostatic transducers, yet capable of handling the high thermal requirements needed for stable magnetic thin film operation. Full surface drive capabilities allow this durable, low-mass diaphragm to remain discretely sized, yet achieve extremely low-distortion levels with superior resolution.

High-Resolution Woofer for Accurate Bass
Utilizing high-excursion, high-resolution state-of-the-art woofers specially designed for accurate in-wall bass performance, Voyage and Passage deliver a precise low-end with accuracy, authority and extension uncommon to traditional in-wall loudspeakers.

Massive Audiophile Grade Crossover for Ultimate Clarity
State-of-the-art audiophile grade Vojtko™ crossovers found within the Voyage and Passage are designed and manufactured with the same meticulous attention, care and precision as those found in MartinLogan’s ultimate loudspeaker products. To maintain the integrity of the original audio signal throughout the filter, all high-performance crossover components, including massive air-core coil inductors, are carefully mounted to 1/8-inch thick high-rigidity circuit boards with ultra-wide traces.

Ultra Rigid Extruded Aluminum Chassis and Baffle Stiffens Wall
Extruded and milled, the Voyage and Passage aluminum chassis exhibits rigidity capable of stiffening the wall in which they are installed, thus minimizing acoustically destructive vibrations. Additionally, an extremely dense and rigid, one inch-thick front baffle further minimizes acoustically destructive vibrations.

Flexible Aesthetic and Performance Features Allow High Levels of Integration
Paintable end caps and a selection of grill color options endow the Voyage and Passage with the flexibility to complement any decor. The Industry’s most highly adjustable tweeter alignment sphere (featuring 20° pan and tilt and 90° degree rotation capabilities) allows incredible adaptability in any environment. Horizontal and vertical installation options make the Voyage and Passage ideal for 2-channel stereo and multi-channel home theater listening in left, center, right or surround configurations.

IR Repeater Ready for Custom Installations
Voyage and Passage feature locations and predrilled pilot hole where IR repeaters can be installed allowing custom installers even more flexibility when integrating an audio/video system into a home.

MartinLogan's Voyage (left) and Passage In-Wall Loudspeakers deliver audiophile high-performance for premium home theater installations

Summary of Key Features and Benefits

  • ATF Transducers: Efficient output with detail, clarity and resolution.
  • High-Excursion Aluminum Woofers: Extended, accurate low-end.
  • Audiophile Grade Crossovers: Maintain purity of audio signal.
  • Extruded Aluminum Chassis: Minimizes acoustically destructive vibrations.
  • Rigid, Dense Front Baffle: Minimizes acoustically destructive vibrations.
  • Unbreakable Constant Control Die: Allow quick, trouble free installation. Cast Aluminum Mounting Locks
  • Detailed Installation Template: Allow a quick, trouble free installation.
  • Paintable End Caps: Voyage and Passage match any decor.
  • Selection of Grill Color Options: Voyage and Passage match any decor.
  • Highly Adjustable Tweeter: Incredible adaptability in any environment. Alignment Sphere
  • IR Repeater Ready: Integration flexibility for custom installations.

Voyage Specifications

System Frequency Response 40–20,000 Hz ± 3 dB
Sensitivity 91 dB/2.83 volts/meter
Impedance 5 ohms
Crossover Frequency 350, 3000 Hz
Components Audiophile grade air core coils, polypropylene, metal film and low dissipation electrolytic capacitors
Woofer Type Two 8” (20.3cm) magnetically shielded high rigidity aluminum cones with extended throw drive assembly
ATF Mid-Range Drivers Two 1.5″ x 6″ (3.8cm x 15.2cm)
ATF High Frequency Driver 1.5″ x 2.25″ (3.8cm x 5.7cm)
Tweeter Sphere Range of Motion 20° tilt in all directions. 90° rotation.
Power Handling 200 watts
Weight 25.5 lbs. each (11.6 kg)
Overall Size (HxWxD) 35.875” x 10.5” x 5.625” (91.1cm x 26.7cm x 14.3cm)
Required wall opening (with tolerance) 9.125″ x 34.3125″ (23.2cm x 87.2cm)
Projection from wall surface 1.875″ (4.8cm)
Depth required behind wall surface 3.75″ (9.6cm)

Passage Specifications

System Frequency Response 45–20,000 Hz ± 3 dB
Sensitivity 90 dB/2.83 volts/meter
Impedance 6 ohms
Crossover Frequency 2200 Hz
Components Audiophile grade air core coils, metal film and low dissipation electrolytic capacitors
Woofer Type Two 6.5” (16.5cm) magnetically shielded high rigidity aluminum cones with extended throw drive assembly
ATF High Frequency Driver 1.5″ x 2.25″ (3.8cm x 5.7cm)
Tweeter Sphere Range of Motion 20° tilt in all directions. 90° rotation.
Power Handling 150 watts
Weight 16 lbs. each (7.3 kg)
Overall Size (HxWxD) 24.5” x 8.9375” x 4.9375” (62.2cm x 22.7cm x 12.5cm)
Required wall opening (with tolerance) 7.5″ x 22.9375″ (19.1cm x 58.3cm)
Projection from wall surface 1.75″ (4.4cm)
Depth required behind wall surface 3.1875″ (8.1cm)