At CEDIA Expo in Denver this year, some of the top names in high end home theater have teamed up to demonstrate a true State-of-the-Art home theater system. With over 120,000 watts of power, 9,000 Lumens of brightness, 43 speakers (including 24 subwoofers) and 5K resolution, this system puts most professional movie houses to shame. As for price, the exhibitors didn’t have a formal estimate but stated the system was “well into seven figures.” So yes, that’s over a MILLION DOLLARS (not counting the installation of course).
Trinnov Audio led the charge showcasing their new WaveForming technology which is designed to bring low bass performance to the next level through advanced acoustics measurements and digital processing. The company showcased their new Altitude 32 – 1632 and Altitude 48ext processors which support up to 48 independent channels of audio processing and up to 64 channels of output.
Trinnov CEO Arnaud Laborie described how the WaveForming technology works. They start with the dimensions and shape of the room, then measure the acoustic characteristics of the room with 21 separate mic placements. With these plugged into their proprietary software, they identify optimum placement for the subwoofers then adjust the response, level and time delays of every subwoofer in order to minimize (or even eliminate) standing waves.
With the specific system used in the demo, the company is claiming bass response all the way down to 5 Hz: that’s well below the limits of human hearing. Trinnov’s WaveForming technology can work with as few as 5 subwoofers: three across the front for transmission and two in the back of the room for absorption. But, as they say, “the more the merrier.” Results improve as you add subs, particularly in larger or oddly shaped rooms.
43 speakers, Over 120,000 Watts of Amplification
The demo system at CEDIA expo is comprised of 43 Ascendo speakers, of which 24 are powered subwoofers: twelve in the front of the room for transmission of bass frequencies and twelve in the back for absorption. In immersive terms, it is a 13.24.6 system (13 ear level speakers, 24 subwoofers and 6 height channels). All speakers, including the subwoofers) are provided by Ascendo including point source coaxial speakers for front, side, surround and height channels. With twelve of Ascendo’s DSP4-10k2 amps to drive the subwoofers and a pair of Trinnov’s Amplitude16 amps to drive the main, surround and height speakers, there is a total of approximately 126,400 Watts of amplification at the system’s disposal.
For visuals, Barco Residential has provided their Njord Cinemascope, a 2.37:1-optimized three-chip laser projector using the 0.9″ TI DLP chips with pixel shifting to enhance the native resolution to 5K. MadVR is handling the video processing and via their latest Envy Extreme Mark II processor, their first to include AI-based motion processing algorithms. Seymour Screen Excellence is showcasing their Enlightor Neo screen, an acoustically transparent model in CinemaScope aspect ratio measuring in at 189.3 inches wide.
Kaleidescape is providing the content for all demos (4K HDR with Dolby Atmos of course) showcasing their latest media server, the Kaleidescape Strato S. Beyond the extremely high quality of the source material, Kaleidescape is a superb platform for demos as it can pull in clips from multiple movies and shows with minimal delays between clips. This is likely why Kaleidescape systems are being featured in no less than 42 different booths at CEDIA Expo 2023 – a new record for the company.
The whole theater was built by Officina Acoustica, a custom home theater installer and smart home integrator. The room was pre-built in Italy and shipped to Denver for re-assembly on location inside the Convention Center in less than 3 days.
So, How Did it Sound (And Look?)
It should surprise no one that this million dollar+ system offered a level of audio and video performance that was difficult (if not impossible) for any booth to match. Most impressive was the low bass accuracy and consistency. In order to best demonstrate the WaveForming technology, the demo included a frequency sweep from 20 Hz to 100 Hz, once with WaveForming turned off, then again with WaveForming enabled. Without WaveForming, the test sweep sounded like a lot of home audio and home theater systems I’ve heard before – with bass response pretty much all over the place.
Without WaveForming, the response peaked at 20 Hz, went down at 30 Hz, peaked again at 60 Hz, dropped off again, and peaked at 80 Hz, dropping down at 100 Hz. This was from my listening position in the center of the center row – pretty much the sweet spot. With WaveForming turned on, the same clip maintained consistent volume all the way through the sweep from 20 Hz up to 100 Hz. I sat through the demo a second time from the front row, off-center, and noted the same uniformity in the bass. Many companies promise to make “every seat the best seat in the house” but in this case Trinnov and their exhibition partners actually delivered on this promise.
Listening to actual movie clips, my opinion only improved. The first clip, from John Wick 4 delivered a gut-wrenching bass note as our lead character was repeatedly punching a wood column wrapped in rope. Bass was both tight and extended. And this clip was using only 5 of the available 24 subwoofers, three in the front, two in the rear of the room. The next clip used 12 subwoofers in the front and two in the rear and the final two clips used all 24 subwoofers for maximum bass extension and impact. In each clip, bass was both visceral and precise. The tautness and extension accentuated the drama of the test clips quite effectively drawing the audience into the action and resulting in more than a few audible gasps from the listeners.
But it wasn’t just the low bass that impressed me. Ascendo’s point source loudspeakers used for all of the main, surround and height speakers created a cohesive three dimensional sound field with excellent voice articulation and a pleasing harmonic balance. Dynamics and articulation were consistently excellent across the frequency spectrum.
Visually, the system was equally stunning with the Barco 3-chip DLP projector providing excellent detail, deep black levels and rich saturated colors. With 9,000 ANSI Lumens to draw from, and HDR tone mapping courtesy of the Mad VR video processor, the system presented a dynamic and exciting visual representation that exceeds much of what I’ve seen in professional theaters.
For CEDIA Expo attendees, this demo is a must see and gets my vote for “Best in Show.” Kudos to Trinnov, Barco, Ascendo and all their partners for one truly special home theater demo. All hardware included in the system is in production and currently shipping, however the WaveForming software is still undergoing final testing. Any prospective home theater projects which require the WaveForming technology are being evaluated on a case by case basis.
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