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- August 2004 -
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Audio server pioneers Imerge exhibit at Cedia expo UK -
a personal view!
Imerge showed off the entire range of SoundServers, network players, PC and handheld control solutions and utilities, a unique loading solution, as well as a good proportion of the third party control systems that interface with the server.
It all began on a sunny bank holiday Monday at the end of May. But surely the show started on the Wednesday? That's right, for most people, but for the exhibitors at Cedia expo UK, the fun starts way before. The stand has to be built first of course. This year's stand was part of a larger group all under the Veda UK banner. Veda, being Imerge's distributor here in the UK, did a sterling job arranging all the building work needed for all the Imerge kit and a whole plethora of controllers.
This year the show moved from its seaside based jaunt in Brighton, up to the bustling metropolis in the midlands that is Birmingham. The ICC, located in the city centre, proved easily accessible, and all but the most hardened fishermen were happy with the situation. Rather fortunately, the ICC is conveniently located next to a run of bistros and bars overlooking the canal, so exhibitors in need of refreshment did not have to look far. Once the stands were up, it was time to install the kit. Imerge showed off the entire range of SoundServers, network players, PC and handheld control solutions and utilities, a unique loading solution, as well as a good proportion of the third party control systems that interface with the server.
We showed off the flagship SoundServer, the M2000, capable of 4,8,12 or 16 discrete zones with hard drive capacities ranging from 160Gb, 320Gb, up to a huge 500Gb (allowing over 750hrs of CD quality music or over 8000hrs at the lowest mp3 rate). The M2000 also uses the familiar Imerge TV GUI via composite, s-video or VGA. The GUI from the M2000 was displayed on one of the new Sharp Arquos LCD TVs and certainly caught the eye of passers by. Audio from two zones of the M2000 was fed into a Xantech MRC88 controller, and operated by one MRC88 keypad per zone. Speakers were kindly donated for the show by Sonance/Veda.
Further along the stand was the well established S2000. Here we showed off various control systems compatible with the SoundServer. The new Imerge Crestron module was loaded onto a TPS4500 and TPS2000, providing control for two of the S2000's outputs. The module developed jointly between the two companies was a major attraction throughout the week.
The Imerge AMX module was also on display. Still very much in beta form, the module attracted as much as the Crestron, and when finished, will strengthen Imerge's stand in the high end of the market.
Between the two stalwarts and their touchpanels, a Systemline keypad and Sonance K2 keypad were used for source selection and volume control as well as 'preset' select. Presets are a new software feature on the SoundServers allowing those with one way control the ability to play 'the entire library random/repeat' for example, with one button push.
Below all this, a rather unimposing Dell Axim X3i Pocket PC was on display. Why? Well, yet another new product to show off. The PDA was running XiVA Tacta for Pocket PC. Full two way control of the SoundServer over a wireless Ethernet connection. This was the most talked about of all the control solutions on display, and was heavily used. Luckily we had the docking station on hand to recharge those overworked batteries. Even more surprisingly, there were no problems with the wireless network we set up earlier in the week, given that wireless traffic was rife in the main hall.
A stroll to the other side of the stand brought you to the NP200 network player. The NP200 continues to impress the attendees (it always does!); two of which were wired to our network, the other operating via a wireless access point and bridge. There were the odd occasions where we had to stop the three NP200s at full volume playing a jam of The Who, Mozart and Moby! Try it and you'll see what I mean!
The final part of the stand consisted of the trusty laptop, an S2000 and a Powerfile C200s CD changer. This is XiVA Medialoader. Software written by our team of talented developers, used in conjunction with Powerfile's loader. It's all so simple and takes the hassle out of loading a hard disc based audio server.
Find the server on your network, load 200 CDs into the changer, select whether the CDs should be compressed or uncompressed, and press go! It's made so many of our dealers very, very happy.
The laptop also showed off XiVA Producer, a tool used to edit and control albums/tracks on the server, and XiVA utilities, a suite allowing the backup/restore/clean of a SoundServer.
So that was the Imerge stand. To say we were busy is an understatement, and I'm sure there were other exhibitors, we just didn't get much time to look around. For my first time at a Cedia expo (yes, I did say first time) I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience; not least Jimmy's for dinner on the Thursday evening (Cedia party). I will be back with Imerge next year for more of the same, and some things I cannot mention right now ;-)
Medialoader available from http://www.powerfile.com/xiva