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Crestron Electronics, Inc.

Crestron offers the only complete end-to-end solution with a complete line of hardware and software. Crestron not only connects and controls devices; we integrate and automate all the building systems to provide a connected experience. We deliver integrated solutions for audio, video, IP, lighting and climate control making wiring and installations easier and promoting system integrity.
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Superior Sound From The Crestron DM-NAX-XSP
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Superior Sound From The Crestron DM-NAX-XSP

Audio comes alive with eARC technology for your next marine project — or any installation on land or sea

Jan. 31, 2024 - Early this year, Crestron announced the addition of our first decoding DM NAX™ digital signal processor to our family of audio solutions, the DM-NAX-XSP. It’s a digital signal processor that pairs seamlessly with any Crestron DM NAX amp or preamp. Among its numerous features, one that really stands out is the processor’s ability to bring eARC via HDMI® connectivity into the mix.

So what’s that all mean?

The term “eARC” is an acronym for “Enhanced Audio Return Channel,” which is an upgrade from the previous HDMI (“High-Definition Multimedia Interface”) ARC (“Audio Return Channel") that had been in use for years.

Here’s why this particular bowl of alphabet soup is important — for you and your clients.

Need more info on Crestron’s marine solutions? Start here.

How the Audio Return Channel Works

HDMI has been the go-to digital connectivity technology for TVs (and other displays) for over 15 years. During that time, it's evolved into more or less the ultimate all-in-one connection, acting as a conduit for various video and audio formats, which, unfortunately, requires even more acronyms. HDMI ARC (again, “Audio Return Channel”) is a clever protocol that sits within the HDMI connectivity standard, and it can help simplify a complicated AV setup and significantly reduce the number of cables you need.

Here's an example: Imagine you have a set-top box like an Apple TV® digital media extender and a games console plugged into your TV via HDMI connectivity, or your television is outfitted with apps that stream your favorite content. Whatever the situation, you wouldn’t want to use your TV speakers for audio — you’d rather hear everything played through the in-ceiling or in-wall speakers of the room instead. The sound quality will obviously be much better. Previously, you would have to connect an optical cable from the back of your TV to an optical input on your audio device. That’s a messy solution requiring yet another cable — always a concern in marine installations where space is at an absolute premium — but HDMI ARC solves this problem.

Learn more about Crestron audio solutions.

From ARC to eARC

Simply put, the Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) is the next generation of ARC. It’s a feature implemented in the most recent HDMI connectivity 2.1 specification.

The main benefit of eARC is a significant boost in bandwidth and speed. This allows you to send higher-quality audio from your TV into your DM-NAX-SSP and from there to your LAN network. Additionally, there’s scope with this technology for eARC to deliver up to 32 channels of audio, including eight-channel, 24bit/192kHz uncompressed data streams at speeds of up to 38Mbps.

This means all those high bitrate formats currently available on 4K Blu-ray Disc® technology, streaming services such as the Dolby® TrueHD format or DTS HD® Master Audio format, and object-based formats such as Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X® are all compatible with eARC. The upshot: It can make delivering great hi-res music and immersive audio a breeze, even at sea.

Enter the Crestron DM-NAX-XSP, a solution that brings eARC technology to wherever it’s needed.

Here’s more info on the Crestron DM-NAX-XSP digital signal processor.

What it Means for Marine Installations

Why is this relevant to marine integrations? Thanks to the constantly improving availability of high-speed internet connections at sea, and TVs and sources like the Apple TV digital media extender and Roku® players becoming “smarter” through the use of apps for streaming services, we see increased demand for a reliable way to route back audio to our central multi-room amplifiers without latency and quality loss.

And eARC is the leading method to get audio back from your TV screen. By leveraging this technology, Crestron is now able to send that audio to your DM NAX amplifier — wherever it is located — so you can play the audio in any room with optimum quality.

Time for an Upgrade?

If a present system needs an update, the current generation of DM NAX amplifiers includes the latest eARC solution — along with a full slate of additional features, including Airplay2® software and native integration of audio streaming services. What’s more, all DM NAX products are fully compatible with AES67, allowing you to send audio streams wherever needed.

Crestron’s first DM NAX product with eARC technology provides even more flexibility in system design and represents a milestone for our product engineering — one that we’ll expand upon with future releases. It’s yet another step forward for Crestron marine solutions — we always strive to bring you the best possible entertainment and automation options, both on land and at sea.

Want to learn more? Become a Crestron Marine Partner by starting here.

What is AES67?

AES67 is a standard that enables high-performance audio-over-IP streaming interoperability between the various IP-based audio networking products currently available that are based on existing standards such as Dante® audio networking, Livewire® audio, Q-LAN, and Ravenna. It is not a new technology, but rather a bridging compliance mode common to all IP networks. Essentially, it’s an interoperability solution that works with any AES67-compliant device on a participating network.  AES67 operates over standard layer 3 Ethernet networks and, as such, is routable and fully scalable, like any common modern IT network.

By Daniel Kerkhof, Director, Crestron Marine