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CEDIA Expo 2000

Part 3


A-BUS  Longtime manufacture and supplier of custom home devices, Russound introduced their innovative A-BUS system that removes the need for multi-room or homewide distribution amplifiers in multi-room audio installations. Their A-BUS in-wall keypad incorporates a built-in amplifier while also providing a 10-step volume control with LED indicators and a built-in infrared receiver for source component control. Dual illuminating LED indicators are also included for system status and IR information. The keypad buttons are also backlit so that they can be easily activated in low to no ambient light situations. "A-BUS is truly the beginning of a new way to deliver audio," said Oscar Ciornei, Russound’s chief operating officer. "It greatly simplifies the installation and operation of a typically complex system while making it more affordable as well. A-BUS will become a standard for multi-room audio and ultimately expand the market for custom installation."


Theta CasablancaOne of the companies that started early in the modular designed digital disc transport and decoder industry, Theta Digital was proudly showcasing their new Casablanca II Music and Cinema Controller. This improved version of the Casablanca is claimed to offer "significant improvements in flexibility, performance, and ease of use, eliminating the need for customers to choose between audiophile music reproduction and video-based surround sound." Based on their legendary "Open Architecture" design that allows for future upgrading, it thereby removes the chances of being outdated as newer technologies are released. Both the hardware and operational/technical software can be updated/upgraded over time. Keeping an eye on the future while lowering the cost for upgrades, Theta's Digital Signal Processing (DSP) software that decodes various musical signals and the control software can be upgraded from Theta's Web site. Older Casablancas can be updated to full Casablanca II capabilities. The new unit can be purchased with one of two quality levels of DACs for digital to analog conversion. According to their press release "The Superior DACs are three-channel (balanced and single-ended); the Standard quality offers yet another configuration choice (6-channel Single Ended or 3-channel Balanced). These boards can be combined to provide up to 12 channels of audio.

Users can also choose 8- or 12-channel digital-output boards, which are capable of sending 24/96 data to external DACs, such as Theta’s Generation V. A separate tape-out DAC lets users record (or send to a second zone) one digital source while listening to a different one." 

The basic Casablanca II includes Dolby Digital, Pro Logic, and DTS processing. Theta's patented "Central Power Redistribution" corrects for theater sound mixes which tend to place too much of the sound within the center channel. Also included is Theta's "Jitter Jail" that is claimed to virtually eliminate jitter by reclocking the digital data using a high-quality crystal oscillator and DSP algorithm. Keeping analog lovers in mind, the Casablanca II serves as an audiophile-quality analog preamp. While Theta's first product many years ago was, in fact, an analog preamplifier, their new Casablanca II offers completely analog inputs that never pass through its sophisticated digital processing. Because of the modular design, digital-input boards, analog-input boards, processing boards, and DACs can be employed for up to 12 outputs (seven or eight full-range, and four or five subwoofers). This 12-channel capacity includes: front left, right and center; surround left and right; side left and right; front left and right subwoofer(s); surround left and right subwoofer(s); and surround center or front center sub. For added easy of use, each of the 12 inputs can be assigned any alpha-numeric name that also covers specific speaker configuration other settings.

Keeping custom home installer in the loop, the Casablanca II also offers the standard RS-232 serial port for Crestron, Phast and other system-control devices popular in the industry. The unit is rack-mountable and has four 12-volt trigger jacks for controlling power amplifiers, motorized projector screens, drapes, and lighting systems. The Casablanca II is priced between $6,000 and $17,000, depending on configuration.

Theta is also showing their David II DVD/CD transport that accommodates digital audio with sampling rates of 44.1, 48, and 96 kHz as well as resolutions of 16, 20, and 24 bits. It uses the Pioneer drive mechanism that includes dual lasers (650 nm for DVD and 780 nm for CD, CD-R, CD-RW and Video CD). A complete complement of video outputs for the videophile are included such as one Component (Y, Cr, Cb on BNC connectors), two S-video, and two Composite (RCA and BNC). For audiophile, the David II provides digital outputs for PCM Only (RCA) and PCM/DTS/Dolby Digital 5.1 (RCA, BNC, XLR). An optical output (AT&T or Laser Linque) is available as an option. Also available as an option is Theta’s UltraSync progressive-scan output (480p) in both Component and RGB with sync outputs for sync on green, horizontal, vertical, and composite. Users can also add a 4:2:2 digital-video output to service an outboard video processor with digital inputs. The David II is priced at $5,000 in platinum or ebony.

For owners of Theta Digital's Dreadnaught, a new two-channel audio amplifications module that delivers 100 Watts at 8 ohms is now offered. This helps to further extend the Dreadnaught's capabilities as multi-channel and also multi-room setups are desired. Each Dreadnaught module has single-ended and balanced inputs for each channel, along with buss selection for stereo or surround modes. The new two-channel module is available at a suggested price of $1,000.


VidikronLooking to satisfy both custom installers and their HDTV customers, Vidikron of America is now offering two newly styled editions of their Vision One and Vision Two CRT projector units. While being slightly smaller and sleeker than their predecessors, the new Vision One and Vision Two use fewer panels which enhance the fit and finish while also making the projectors easier to work with during installation. The Vision One is claimed to offer "extremely bright, clear, distortion-free pictures, regardless of aspect-ratio, picture size or mounting considerations" according to Vidikron. It can also be used with video line doublers and quadruplers. The Vision One and Vision Two's suggested pricing is $49,995 and $31,995 respectively.


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