Essential Install Live! South has always been the destination of choice for installers looking for new high-end home audio products for future installations and this year’s show was no exception.
Throughout the show floor a range of brands had their latest wares on show, with the likes of Amina, Artcoustic, Lode Audio and Monitor Audio, just to name a few, all showing off some of their home audio solution.
At the Amina stand there was plenty of interest in the company’s new Mobius7 line-up of invisible speakers.
Despite being built upon much of the technology created to drive Amina’s other products, the company has made some significant changes that should make them easier to specify in future installations.
The latest model uses new exciters in new locations and is also designed to combine with Amina’s specially designed protection boxes to provide peace of mind once the speakers are in place.
Amina is also now confident that its speakers can be sold based on their sound quality, as well as their aesthetics. The company has improved the performance of the speakers as each new generation is introduced, with the new Mobius7 being the culmination of that improvement.
The Mobius7 is equally at home driving a two channel system or a home cinema set up, says Amina, and maintains the large sweet spot the maker is known for.
More new speakers, this time over on the Artcoustic stand. Company MD Paul Cummin explained that the company has overhauled its entire range using feedback from dealers to simplify the options and make specification easier and more accurate.
The new SL and Spitfire mk2 ranges offer two sizes of cabinets with six variations in design.
The move has several benefits, improving stock holding, filling in some performance gaps and offering improved and simplified wall fixings. Of course the products still come with all the aesthetic options the company is known for and high quality audio performance.
Also on show was the new floor standing Elevate, a stylish think tower with surprising power, suitable for ‘second’ room systems or where space is at a premium.
Greeting visitors as they entered the show with its attractive stand was Monitor Audio, which was showcasing its range of full-sized, indoor, outdoor and external speakers.
Joseph Boyd, head of UK sales, said: “It’s been busy here; it’s good to raise awareness of the range that we do. We are here to make the install industry more aware of the range of speaker solutions that we provide.”
Proving to be popular with installers was Monitor Audio’s Soundframe range: ultra-slim ‘picture’ speakers designed to make it easy to integrate high quality sound with any interior.
Now offering full-sized frames, the range provides easy-to-install on-wall and in-wall options, pivoting drivers for the ideal audio balance and a wide range of grille colours, images and custom grille designs.
Joseph added: “This has been very popular at the show and we’ve had lots of visitors. I’m very happy with the quality of installers that we have here; we’ve also had lots of new installers approaching us for projects who are new to Monitor Audio.”
New at the show were the AWC265 and AWC265T2 and also on the stand were the manufacturer’s garden systems, commercial speakers, full sizing wall speakers and the new CW8 and CW10 subwoofers.
Outside of speakers, Lode Audio was at the show to provide an overview of its offering into the multi-room music category including Lode Net, which has been created to offer the ease of use, high-quality performance and compatibility with automation platforms Crestron, AMX, RTI and Control4. The company is looking at integration with CommandFusion next as well as Russian system, Iridium.
Using Lode Net, the over IP platform offering a 24-bit 64 room environment, installers are able to give users access to their own music as well as online services such as Tidal, Spotify and Deezer. The hardware and software the four-year old company has engineered is designed to be one of the most flexible and scalable solutions available. In fact, the company says that even if users choose to run all 64 rooms simultaneously only 40% of the platform’s processing power will be used.
The company’s background is in creating enterprise software for banks, which need to react superfast, so the company has poured this knowledge into its music platform, meaning it has achieved a latency of just 5ms (Sonos is around 200/300ms).
The company took the opportunity at Essential Install Live! South to show its new iOS range of Apps, which can be used to control Lode Net. The company is most product of the speed of control it has achieved with these Apps, thanks to low latency.
Lode Net is described as suitable for both residential and commercial installs, with the system already specified in quite a number of hotels all around the world, marine is another market the company is targeting.
Online services currently include Tidal, QOBUZ, with Deezer just about to be added followed by Rhapsody and Napster. The system is also Airplay compatible.