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World's First Active In-Wall Speakers


September 18, 2005

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September 19, 2005 Last week’s CEDIA Expo 2005 saw some interesting new technologies showcased to the electronic design and installation community, with one of the most interesting being Polk Audio's new active flush-mount loudspeaker systems featuring D2Audio's Intelligent Digital Amplifiers. Polk's rectangular LC265i-IP and round LC80i-IP include D2Audio's MXS amplifier, which actively tri-amplifies and bi-amplifies each driver in Polk's speakers achieving truly remarkable sound quality. D2Audio's Digital Audio Engine drives the sound optimisation through patented technology inside D2Audio's module and custom digital audio processor IC.

"D2Audio's Intelligent Digital Amplifiers bring the critical elements of superb sound quality, incredible control of built-in DSP and Internet Protocol functionality to our new IP Series in-wall speakers" said Al Baron, Polk Audio's Product Line Manager. "Their advanced digital technology and quality made D2Audio the clear choice of electronics vendor for our cutting edge active IP speakers."

"The chance to combine one of D2Audio's best intelligent digital amplifiers with Polk's reputation for excellent sound quality is an audiophile's dream come true," said Brian Wong, CEO of D2Audio. "This terrific combination will fuel the new trends towards active loudspeakers and networked Whole House Audio."

Polk's LC265i-IP and LC80i-IP in-wall speakers are active loudspeakers, which feature all digital audio processing with tri-amplification and bi-amplification, provide more faithful music reproduction at low distortion levels. D2Audio's sophisticated electronic crossovers, Digital Audio Engine with embedded DSP, along with provision for TCP/IP control interfaces are all built into the speakers to deliver a wealth of demonstrable benefits. The embedded Digital Audio Engine provides each speaker driver with its own EQ and frequency band for its frequency range. Active crossovers inside eliminate the need for passive electronics in the speaker.

These unique features and terrific sound quality will be realized regardless of whether they are used with new digital interfaces or legacy analog systems. The speakers offer maximum integration flexibility by offering analog inputs for legacy systems as well as networking options for cutting edge networked audio. Both models of speakers began shipping to dealers and retailers this month.

Integrators can do far more with an amplified speaker than can be done with a passive speaker and external amplifier. By locating the amplifier at the speaker, losses associated with long runs of speaker cable are a limitation of the past. The speaker's D2Audio amp processor IC with DSP allows the integrator to make frequency and time delay adjustments to compensate for speaker positioning, room acoustics and personal listening preferences using a proprietary GUI interface. The performance is unprecedented for built-in loudspeakers and arguably superior to all but the most sophisticated and expensive free-standing loudspeakers.

While the Polk LCi-IP Series speakers provide the greatest functionality when used within a NetStreams DigiLinX system, they can also accept inputs from any analog distributed audio system and still deliver significant performance benefits.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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