The Dali Sound Hub is the central interface of the Dali EQUI wireless streaming platform. A new HDMI interface will soon be available for this solution, transforming the Dali Sound Hub into an AV solution and thus providing the basis for 7.1-channel surround sound.
The Dali EQUI Wireless Streaming Platform is the focus of the now presented expansion of the Dali Sound Hub and thus a central component of this ecosystem of active speaker systems from the Danish speaker specialist Dali Speaker A/S. The new Dali HDMI module for the said Dali Sound Hub equips it for surround sound playback, turning the Dali Sound Hub into an AV preamplifier, if you will.
With the new Dali HDMI module for said Dali Sound Hub, it is equipped for the playback of surround sound, the Dali Sound Hub becomes an AV preamplifier, if you want to put it that way.
Dali Sound Hub as the central interface
When Dali Speaker A/S first introduced active loudspeaker systems with the Dali CALLISTO C Series, which are primarily controlled via radio, the Dali Sound Hub was already at the centre of this product series.
It is responsible for establishing the connection to source devices, be it via cable or via Bluetooth. In addition, a streaming module based on BluOS was also available for it, which allows the integration into a multi-room hi-res audio streaming system.
As already mentioned, the connection to the actual active loudspeaker systems is made via radio, using a 24-bit, 96 kHz, high-resolution signal transmission with minimal latency.
It was striking that the Dali Sound Hub was initially designed for stereo, but already offered hints that Dali Speaker A/S was pursuing a concept with considerably more possibilities, namely surround sound.
Dali EQUI Wireless – The new platform for wireless streaming audio systems
This is exactly what is now being realised with the new Dali EQUI Wireless streaming platform, which Dali Speaker A/S recently introduced and which brings together all available products in the field of wireless active speakers, if you want to put it that way.
Dali EQUI Wireless includes the Dali CALLISTO C Series, Dali RUBICON C Series as well as Dali OBERON C Series and is supposed to serve as a basis for numerous future solutions, according to the promise of the Danes.
New Dali HDMI Module for Dali Sound Hub
A seemingly inconspicuous but ultimately decisive new component is now presented by Dali Speaker A/S in the form of the new Dali HDMI module for the Dali Sound Hub, which ultimately equips it for surround sound signal processing. The Dali Sound Hub thus actually becomes an AV preamplifier.
Dali Sound Hub as AV preamplifier
The new Dalli HDMI module for the Dali Sound Hub finds its place in one of the two slots available here and provides first and foremost an HDMI connection. This is used to establish the connection to a TV set, using ARC or even eARC, i.e. the Audio Return Channel or enhanced Audio Return Channel of the HDMI connection.
The new Dali HDMI module is not only able to process stereo signals, but also surround sound in Dolby Digital and DTS and supports configurations with 5.1 and 7.1 channel surround sound. Whether 5.1 or even 7.1 channel surround is possible depends on how the TV set is equipped. In combination with a TV set with ARC alone, uncompressed stereo audio signals or compressed multi-channel audio signals with up to 5.1 surround are supported, but if an eARC is available, uncompressed multi-channel audio in various formats with up to 7.1 channels is also possible.
One thing must be made clear, however: the Dali HDMI module only has the said HDMI connection for connecting to the TV set; there are no other inputs for Blu-ray players or game consoles, for example.
Extremely simple construction
The reason for this is that Dali Speaker A/S deliberately aimed for a solution that is as simple as possible, a solution that allows the user to realise surround sound in the simplest, but at the same time most elegant way, especially in the living room.
This is also reflected in the configuration, because as before, the speaker systems controlled by the Dali Sound Hub only have to be assigned their tasks, whereby this can now not only be left and right channels for stereo, but a complete surround setup with left and right front channel, centre channel, surround channels plus subwoofer.
This means that there is no room calibration, only the distance of the respective speaker systems to the user is specified in order to guarantee accurate surround reproduction.
Compatible with all speakers of the Dali EQUI Wireless Streaming Platform
By the way, what was already true for stereo also applies to surround: the Dali Sound Hub can be used with all active speaker systems of the Dali EQUI Wireless Streaming Platform, even when setting up a surround solution based on the new Dali HDMI Module. The signal is transmitted in 24 bit and 96 kHz with a particularly low latency of only 15 ms. This allows lip-synchronous playback even in surround.
Optional streaming via BluOS
For the sake of completeness it should be mentioned that the Dali Sound Hub can of course still be used as a component for multi-room hi-res audio streaming, because while the new Dali HDMI module can be installed in one slot of the hub, the corresponding optional streaming module for BluOS, the likewise new Dali BluOS module NPM-2i, can be installed in the second slot of the Dali Sound Hub.
Dali Sound Hub Compact
Also for the sake of completeness it should be mentioned that the new Dali HDMI module is designed for the Dali Sound Hub alone. The Dali Sound Hub Compact, which is also available and was introduced at the same time as the Dali OBERON C Series, is left out of this innovation, as it does not offer any optional expansion by means of plug-in units.
However, it must be mentioned here that the Dali Sound Hub Compact already has HDMI right from the start, which means that it can already be connected to a TV set as a source. However, according to the current state of affairs, there are no plans to extend its capabilities to surround as well. Instead, it is intended to offer exactly what it already does, namely to serve as a very attractively priced alternative to the Dali Sound Hub.
According to the manufacturer, the new Dali HDMI module for the Dali Sound Hub is expected to be available in specialist shops by the end of 2021. The recommended retail price is stated at € 399.
Getting to the point
What has long been part of the concept of wireless active speakers from Dali Speaker A/S is now being introduced with the newly formed Dali EQUI Wireless Streaming Platform, namely the reproduction of surround sound via the wirelessly controlled active speaker systems of the Dali CALLISTO C Series, Dali OBERON C Series and Dali RUBICON C Series. This is made possible by the new optional Dali HDMI module for the central Dali Sound Hub, which allows surround configurations with 5.1 or even 7.1 channel surround.
|PRODUCT||DALI HDMI MODUL FoR DALI SOUND HUB|
DALI BLUOS MODUL NPM-2I
DALI SOUND HUB
|Price||Dali HDMI Modul for Dalli Sound Hub € 399,-|
Dali BluOS Modul NPM-2i € 499,-
Dali Sound Hub € 699,-
|Manufacturer||DALI SPEAKER A/S|
|Distribution Austria||smart audio GmbH|
|Distribution Germany||Dali GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG|