Audio Performance Video Performance Features Ergonomics Value
AT A GLANCE Plus
Dirac room correction
Limited setup and connectivity options
Dirac execution unintuitive
AudioControl's high-end processor is long on sound quality but comes up a little short on features.
The dwindling audio processor market has been shrinking for quite some time now. More than a year ago, while I was wandering around CEDIA 2015, I stumbled on one enticing option that caught my eye from high-end audio purveyor AudioControl. There were a few reasons it piqued my interest. For one, AudioControl is based out of my backyard in the Pacific Northwest, so they're something akin to my hometown brand. Their AV processor also supported the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio formats, another critical selling point. But perhaps the biggest draw was their inclusion of another hot name in audio circles: Dirac. Dirac's room correction scheme is well respected among audiophiles for its performance and adjustability, and I'd never had a chance to try it out. Finally, after some shop talk, lots of emails and a few months of waiting, the company was nice enough to send us a sample of their $8,900, Maestro M9 flagship.
For years, CEDIA has been promoting the term custom integrator over the older term custom installer—even though the latter is more or less embedded in its full name, the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association. But the trade group has changed its tune.
It has become trendy to bash corporations. And in some cases, if a corporation is big enough and faceless, it's easy to suppose that it's merely a shareholder profit machine that is uninterested in the needs of individuals. But of course many companies certainly do not fit that profile. Instead, you'll find that many small and medium size companies take a very different view of their role in society and, in many case, are family-run businesses. Case in point: Sennheiser and the Sennheiser brothers.
Outdoor speakers may be the last thing on your mind as the holiday season gets underway, but for those counting the days to the serenity of spring, James Loudspeaker is planting a few seeds with the introduction of the “ultimate landscape speaker.”
By the mid-1960s, it was estimated that 90 percent of the humpback whales were gone from the Earth when a moratorium was put in place throughout most of the world. Fortunately, the population started to grow again, and there’s now an estimated 80,000 throughout the world. I’m old enough to remember the “Save the Whales” campaign in the mid-1970s as well as George and Gracie from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986 where it took the songs of the humpbacks to save Earth from sure destruction by an alien vessel.