This week is the giga-exhibition ISE in the RAI,. Amsterdam. This year there are also quite a few audio manufacturers. Most clustered in halls 5 and 6. So we walk around to see what you can see and hear in the area of Custom Install
More audio than ever, we see on ISE 2020. Or maybe it’s because everything is now neatly put together. That makes it a lot more pleasant to visit the fair as an audio fanatic. It used to be a game of search and find with the huge floor plan (map) in hand. Now this is the last ISE to be held in the RAI. Next year we should fly to Barcelone for a report. Too bad…
Lots of in-wall
Now the ISE is of course a trade fair about custom installation. And custom installation of course includes in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Not entirely surprisingly, we find a lot of them.
What is striking, however, is that manufacturers have an increasingly larger and better range of products on offer. Monitor Audio, Dynaudio, DALI, Martin Logan, Focal, Revel, PSB… they all have new models that are easier to assemble and are supposted to sound better. What is also striking is that the models are increasingly moving towards high-end; more expensive, better models are being added. And that’s good news for those looking for a serious alternative to floor-standing models and bookshelves.
What we also find a lot, are rackmount solutions. Think Bluesound Pro and Monitor Audio’s Bluesound-based solution. They now offer four zones in one 1U solution for rack mounting. Very handy for hotels, for example. But also for people with a Smart Home who have a rack in the basement and just want to keep everything centralized. Especially Bluesound is going really fast when it comes to Custom Install.
We also see a nice solution from Anthem: a multi-zone amplifier with the possibility to switch, group and control separate zones via an app. Very nice. There’s an eight and a sixteen-zone model. Prices are around 2200 euro for the eight channel version and 3200 euro for the sixteen channel version.
Finally, we notice that WISA – yes… that wireless solution – is finally starting to gain some ground. Primare uses it in its amplifiers and we now see Ascendo partnering with a party – Platin Audio – that has developed solutions based on WISA. This gives special possibilities, because WISA can process up to eight channels losslessly. A wireless 7.1 setup is therefore possible with this wireless link.
A funny discovery was a PoE-controlled loudspeaker. PoE stands for Power over Ethernet. We have always wondered why this does not yet exist (or at least is very little applied). PoE can deliver between 15 and 100 watts, depending on the version. It should therefore be sufficient for simple solutions.
So Glensound has a PoE speaker. It works on the basis of the Dante protocol. The speaker is mainly intended for public areas. There will also be a version without loudspeaker, but with line-out.