Review: Habitech Open Day dealer showcase 2017

posted on Friday, 22nd September 2017 by David Slater

Habitech  Trade show  Wyrestorm  home cinema 

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Habitech threw open its doors again this week, for its eagerly awaited three day Open Day dealer event, held at the company’s HQ in Basingstoke. Inside CI hit the road to catch-up on the latest CI tech at the showcase, much of it coming direct from the US CEDIA show.

But before we got in too deep with the latest products, we had to take in Habitech’s new home theatre. The showroom cinema has gone through a major update, with acoustic cloth treatment throughout and a speaker system update from Wisdom Audio, a new addition to the distributor’s product portfolio. The cinema now features super discreet Wisdom Speakers in a 9.4.4 3D audio configuration, using line-source and point source models, powered by Wisdom amps and Arcam amplification and processing.

Wisdom Insight L8i LCR in-wall line-source models have been placed behind screen, with Insight P4i x6 surrounds on-wall point source located behind Ultimate Track panels (4 x Side and 2 x Rear). The height channels comprise four Sage IC7a, with deep bass being catered for by four S110i subwoofers, teo placed at front and two at the rear. The picture is provided by the amazing JVC Z1 4k laser projector.

Also, outside the theatre were Wisdom L75 freestanding speakers on demo with IC7a in-ceiling speakers, which I have to say were truly awesome!

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Lots of new products were on show from Sonance, which one of the featured brands at the event. I thought the obvious highlight here was Sonance’s Reference speaker line. Retro-fittable with the existing VP range, the new Cinema Reference Series upgrades have larger drivers that go much louder and lower than before. One new range on show included two in-wall LCR speakers, two matching in-wall surrounds, two in-walls, an in-ceiling LCR and an in-ceiling surround. That’s every channel catered for!

Habitech also has first sight of new Sonance Impact cabinet subwoofers. In 8-, 10- and 12-inch guides, they boast DSP with 16-band parametric EQ and room correction via an iPhone app. The subs also add a wireless receiver and optional wireless transmitter option. Also on show for the first time outside CEDIA US, was the brand’s smallest sub. This compact 190 x 190 x 228mm room shaker features two drivers firing on opposite sides and includes EQ. It’s due next year.

Also noteworthy at the show was the iPort xPRESS WiFi keypad for Sonos. Integrators can pair the xPRESS with any Sonos device and control the system from anywhere in the home. Setup seems easy enough, using the iPort Connect app. Functions include play, pause, track forward, Sonos Favourites and volume. iPort xPRESS is simple to install on-wall with the included wall-plate adaptor. It’s battery powered and magnetic, so you can stick it to the fridge if you like. It retails for around £99

And if Sonos doesn't hit the right note (maybe you have a client that wants High-Res Audiuo?), then there was a wide range of Yamaha MusiCast enabled audio products on show.

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I was particularly keen to see the latest Wyrestorm demos. Fresh from CEDIA US, Habitech showed off Wyrestorm’s H2X series of modular HDBaseT 5Play 4K UltraHD (with integrated audio DSP matrix) switchers and the brand’s new Network HD 600 Series 4K-over-IP switches, which give integrators unrivalled full 4K 4:4:4 options.

The new standard H2X platform ships with an TX-H2X-HDMI card featuring HDBaseT and mirrored HDMI Out, HDMI In, analogue and digital stereo audio outputs, digital audio line in and IR to zone for source control. But you can build on this.

Transmission card options include the TX-H2X-HDBT which adds an HDBT Input for remote source connection, while the TX-H2X-VDZ and TX-H2X-ADZ cards enable video and audio zone-expansion respectively, if you want to expand the number of AV inputs and outputs to suit any given project.

The TX-H2X-VLC card offers variable light signal compression to enable 18Gbps 60Hz HDR and 8bit 4:4:4 to be passed 100m/328ft within HDBaseT 10Gbps bandwidth. The TX-H2X-OM3 card offers the same variable compression, but replaces an HDBT output with a 10Gbps optical fibre output to send content over fibre up to 300m. Impressive!

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Also direct from the CEDIA show was Wyrestorm’s Network HD 600 Series of 4K HDR over 10GbE switchers. These offer uncompressed instant seamless switching of true full HDMI 4K UHD @60Hz 4:4:4 with HDR and zero-frame latency over Cat 6a up to 100m.

Once again, Habitech put on a terrific trade event, rewarding visitors with early access to some of the hottest new products coming to the CI scene, and plenty of deep insights. If you wanted to see stunning product, and get a handle on new install possibilities, this was the place to be.

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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