Playback CEDIA 2012 Show Report - Part 2 (Playback 61)

Playback CEDIA 2012 Show Report - Part 2 (Playback 61)

This is Part 2 of a two-part show report on CEDIA Expo 2012, which was held in Indianapolis, IN from September 6-8.

Now to be frank, most people quite rightly think of CEDIA as a home theater and/or custom-installer-oriented show, both of which are true observations, but even so I have discovered that at least some manufacturers have chosen to use CEDIA as their venue of choice for rolling out new headphones, earphones, and personal and desktop audio products. Thus, I gathered notes on new Playback-related products seen and heard at CEDIA and have pulled them together in the report, below.

Note: To make things easier for online readers, I’m covering manufacturers in alphabetical order. As always, my apologies to manufacturers whose worthy products I fail to mention here. Enjoy.

Monitor Audio

Joining in the desktop audio revolution in a meaningful way, Monitor announced its new Airstream WS100 wireless multimedia speaker system ($399). The Airstream speakers look like swept-back, two-tone, black and silver cubes that perch on your desktop with a notable absence of speaker and/or interconnect cables. Instead, connectivity is handled by a wireless, 2.4GHz USB dongle based on SKAA technology said to provide “superb CD quality audio.” Each Airstream speaker features a 3-inch C-CAM mid/bass driver and a ¾-inch C-CAM tweeter, with the mid/bass driver and tweeter driven, respectively, by built-in 20-watt and 10-watt amplifiers. Interestingly, you can also connect up to four Airstream systems to a single source, for low cost, easy to use whole-house audio systems.


At last year’s CEDIA event, NAD unveiled a fascinating portable/desktop audio product called the VISO 1, which was a combination iPod dock-speaker, Bluetooth speaker, and astonishingly competent self-powered desktop/tabletop speaker system. This year, NAD introduced a new wrinkle by releasing a new Apple Airplay-compatible version called the VISO 1 AP ($599). The main differences between the VISO 1 and the VISO 1 AP are that the latter drops the former’s iPod dock, offering Airplay connectivity instead, and that the VISO 1 AP adds a 96/24-capable USB digital audio port as well (making the VISO 1 AP a natural for use in computer based applications).

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