Publisher Profile

2016 CI Expo, Part 2

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Origin Acoustics has a heritage that goes back to the beginning of custom installation speakers. Back in 1976 Ed Hasse and Ken Humphreys started designing and building speakers for the then emerging in-wall and in-ceiling speaker category. Within a few years Jeremy Burkardt joined them and Speakercraft became one of the industry’s most respected companies.

They built CI speakers for such companies as Niles, Sonance, B&O, Polk and JBL which was and is supper impressive to this day. After selling Speakercraft everyone sort of retired. But obviously that didn’t last. Most recently the three men came back together to form Origin Acoustics as a brand new company like before. They are also building a new line called Celestial for B&O.

I hope to get the opportunity to review some of their products in the future. For now, let’s just say from what I could see, the build quality is excellent and Origin is extremely innovative and creative.


Polk and Definitive Technology were highlighting their PlayFi products. Please read my separate article on streaming here on Jeff Davis of Sound United (Deftech and Polk’s parent company) was on hand. Briefly, Playfi was developed by DTS and is one of several competitors to Sonus for streaming music to multiple zones in a home or office. I actually appreciate their approach to this rather new product category. I have listened to both the Polk and Definitive PlayFi speakers and thought they sounded pretty good. Certainly not high end, but they do offer the ability to put music anywhere you want with extreme ease.


Polk Omni P1

Polk PMNI A1

Polk S1



Sony was showing their new turntable. The PS-HX500 is a belt drive manual table with a built in A to D with USB output. Nice looking table with what appears a decent arm and a basic Magnetic cartridge. It also has a built-in phono EQ which supports both phono and line output so you can play through its integrated amp or external phono EQ.

It does use a Texas Instruments PCM4202 digital chip, which is pretty darn good. But considering it’s $599.99 retail price tag, I would be far more impressed if it wasn’t using a $59 cartridge and somewhat pedestrian tonearm. For that price point I would expect a better arm, maybe something like the Carbon Fiber arm found on the Pro-ject Carbon DC, which sells for a lot less money and includes an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge which is excellent and a great performer at only $100 retail.

Upon first seeing it, I was kind of excited to see a good looking table from Sony. I know for years, I have been encouraging companies like Yamaha and others to bring  back turntables. Fortunately more and more companies are doing just that. So I do applaud Sony for their table.


Yamaha showed their AV line of receivers, which are excellent but have been talked about by everyone, so no need to add to that. What they also showed was their WXA-50 from their I-Cast line of streaming products. Again, please read my Streamers Article. I do want to add that I really like what Yamaha has done in this category, because they are an actual Audio/Video company that is dedicated to producing product that actually sounds like music.

yamaha-wx-030 yamaha-wxa-50 yamaha-1

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