From fixed frame screens to outstanding audio, these were our EI Live Show highlights

posted on Tuesday, 28th May 2019 by David Slater

EI Live  home cinema  Hi-fi 

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There were no shortage of highlights at this year’s EI Live show.

Installation company Cinema Build Systems’ Ultimate Screens range offers installers high performance 4K-ready, acoustically transparent screens, designed for the easiest assembly and installation. Featuring an innovative and extremely easy 4-stage assembly and installation, Ultimate Screens in fixed Wide, Slim and Edge bezel models allow the screen to be attached to the frame and tensioned in an on-wall position rather than from the floor, avoiding the risk of damage to screen and frame.

Launched at the show, Cinema Build Systems’ innovative new Ultimate Deep model saves the installer the trouble of having to introduce secondary wall structures in brick built rooms, such as basements in older buildings. It’s a 110 mm deep fixed frame screen designed to install over popular on-wall speakers. A very neat piece of lateral thinking results in a beautifully elegant solution, completed in a fraction of the time and with pristine finish and performance quality.

Cinema Build Systems also introduced a new magnetic bracket system for all its screen models, making installation even more straightforward and secure, complete with a unique ‘tether’ feature, which allows the frame to hang in space while the installer works behind it.

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Cinema Build Systems’ stand also featured its Cinema Space Frame kits, which offer a time efficient way to assemble structures for fabric walling systems.

The assembled louvre wall frames are designed to create a stunning overlapping wall effect in conjunction with the company’s Ultimate Track fabric walling track, conceived to be the most installer-friendly fabric walling system available. Designed to remedy many of the problems posed by existing track system designs, Ultimate Track is supplied in metric sizes allowing the installer to use standard MDF or Plywood 18mm materials to create support structures for sockets, speakers or lights beneath the stretched fabric. Created for a consistent high quality outcome, the Ultimate Track design allows the use of drywall guns for rapid installation. The extra width of the Ultimate Track system makes it simple to overhang the track to create a hidden channel for LED lighting.

Walking around the show it certainly looked the part, AWE had an awesome stand with sound booth and TVs galore, Epson was also showing its affordable Epson EH-TW9400 home cinema projector. Offering a 4k image display, the setup also featured a Draper projection screen, sound was provided from KEF with Marantz amplification.

The new URC TDC-9100 tabletop touchscreen controller and TKP-9600 in-wall touchscreen was being shown. Featuring a 10-inch colour screen, built-in camera, microphone, and AV intercom, these products are ideal for door integration, room to room, and whole house communication. I have to say the screens do look rather cool, and have the ability to be customised.

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Karma-AV offered a signature mix of high performance AV and custom esoterica. Leading the showcase was Emotiva’s sensational RMC-1 processor, likely to be the world’s first 16-channel capable design. The flagship RMC-1 supports full 4K UHD video, with high speed video switching, in addition to the latest Dolby Atmos and DTS-X object-oriented surround sound formats. It includes 16 fully balanced channels, an all-analogue preamplifier section, precision 32-bit AD/DA conversion, and an advanced 4K UHD video management system. Eight HDMI inputs and dual HDMI outputs support 2.0b and HDCP 2.2, ensuring theatre-like video quality from all 4K UHD HDR10 sources and equipment. Typical retail is an astonishing £5,500!

In support are Emotiva’s powerful but diminutive new PA1 Class D IU monoblock power amp, running cool at 140 watts RMS 8 ohms; JBL Synthesis SCL4 in-wall compression driver speakers, Revel’s high-end in-wall/ceiling speakers and Goldenear’s award-winning high-end Single Point Stereo (SPS) in-wall/ceiling speakers.

The JBL Synthesis SCL-4 is a two-way design that offers superb performance in a low-profile package. It features a 7-inch (180mm) cast-frame, aluminium woofer and JBL Professional’s D2-derived ring compression driver with a Teonex diaphragm. The SCL-4 provides dispersion of 100 by 100 at 20 kHz and 120 by 120 at 10 kHz providing ultra-wide dispersion for a flush mount loudspeaker without the need to aim it during installation. The SCL-4’s rectangular self-contained front baffle system can be mounted with a back box into shallow 2x4-inch depth-restricted applications. In common with the smaller SCL-3, the SCL-4 includes zero-bezel, magnetically attached, paintable grilles that can discreetly integrate into any environment and décor.

As one of the most technologically advanced and resourced of all US speaker brands, Revel is able to design extraordinary speakers for all budgets. Its highly sophisticated R&D allows discoveries to enhance every model from entry level to the esoteric, so that the least expensive shares a provenance with the most expensive. Revel speakers are measured in furnished rooms as well as in anechoic chambers. Its engineers apply exhaustive empirical techniques, including groups of independent listeners in double blind environments, to define and prioritise the things that make speakers sound good to real listeners in the real world.

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On display at Ei Live were the C763L in-ceiling LCR with angled drivers to direct sound toward the listening position; the C383 in-ceiling, W380 8- and W990 9-inch 3-way in-walls

Meridian were showing its new architectural In-Wall Loudspeakers, the DSP640.2 and DSP520.2, for home cinema or media room installations. Characterised by a high SPL and strong bass, the DSP640.2 and DSP520.2 In-Wall loudspeakers are the first to be powered by the new Meridian CLASS-M DSP engine. Also on show from Meridian was their M6 Digital Active loudspeaker. Activated from the Digital Channel Selector switch, Meridian’s unique ‘mono’ mode technology sums signals from the left and right channels so that the M6’s signature sound can be achieved from just one single loudspeaker.

Samsung’s gigantic IF Series 130-inch LED screen was the centrepiece of the Invision UK booth. One of the star attractions of the recent Invision Technology Showcase, the screen boasts a wide colour gamut, deep black level performance and a pixel pitch of only 1.5 mm.
The 1080p panel uses HDR image optimization and has a wide viewing angle. For many integrators this will be the first time that they’ve had an opportunity to see a large IF series screen at first hand. The IF 130 panel offers 800 nits brightness and weighs in at 750kg.

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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