Tuesday, May 5, 2015


   Word around the tech campfire is that DTS is expected to officially unveil the home version of DTS:X this week—its own alternative to Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D. Details are still a little light on the ground, of course. So we don’t know if early adopters of Dolby Atmos will have to upgrade their receivers to add support for the new format. But what we can say for sure is that with more three-dimensional, object-based (as opposed to channel-based) sound formats available to content creators, we should start to see an explosion of home video releases supporting one or another of these formats. Which means that if you’ve been waiting for a good reason to add ceiling speakers to your home theater or media room, this may well be the good reason you’ve been waiting for.  And as luck would have it, SpeakerCraft also just announced that its AIM Series 2 architectural speakers are now shipping to authorized dealers.
   The timing really couldn’t be more perfect, because SpeakerCraft’s AIM Series 2 speakers were engineered from the ground up to deliver the sort of wide dispersion, tonal balance, and dynamic output that object-based surround sound systems demand.
   One of the biggest things that sets the AIM Series 2 speakers apart from most in-ceiling offerings is their patent-pending ARC Tweeter Array, which relies on multiple tweeters in a line array, similar to the configuration of drivers you’d find in a large venue sound system. It not only allows the high frequencies from the speakers to penetrate further into the room, but also allows for a lower crossover point between the high frequencies and midrange. The result is a much larger sweet spot, and much more powerful mid frequencies.
   The speakers also feature a new WavePlane baffle, which further smoothes the transition between high and mid frequencies and focuses the sound energy in a specific direction. Combine the fact that the WavePlane can rotate 359 degrees with the fact that the ARC Tweeter Array has a ±15-degree toe-in/toe-out range, and there’s pretty much no limit on the direction in which the sound from these new speakers can be aimed. This makes them perfect not only as height speakers in an object based surround sound system, but also as the main speakers in a traditional 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system, if you don’t have room on the floor or in the walls for speakers at ear-height.
   Even the backs of the speakers have been completely redesigned with performance in mind. One of the problems I’ve often run into when installing in-ceiling speakers is that the enclosures tend to pass vibrations along to the sheetrock, leading to a rattling, boomy mess of sound if the volume is cranked to high volumes. In the case of the AIM Series 2, SpeakerCraft developed new Acoustic Isolation Technology, which decouples and acoustically isolates the speaker itself from the material into which it’s mounted.
   “The enhanced aim-ability of the AIM Series 2 presents new options for sound design – from home theatre to whole home audio,” Dever continued. “More than ever, sound can be redirected to a specific section of a room, angled toward a seating area or where an audio impact is desired. In addition, integrators can now offer their clients the most uniform coverage ever in any room, along with increased power and frequency response. We’re proud to make installation easier and more flexible for integrators while providing consumers with a superior home audio experience.”