ISE 2016: news, highlights, best new products

It’s lucky 13 for ISE this week – the first Integrated Systems Europe tradeshow was held in Geneva in 2004, and has grown exponentially ever since.

Last year’s event featured more than 1000 exhibitors and getting on for 60,000 visitors to Amsterdam’s RAI.

This year the show is occupying all 14 halls of the RAI, and is now a four-day event – a day longer than before. And while its emphasis remains squarely on commercial applications (such as digital signage, custom/commercial install and smart buildings), there’s more than enough going on to whet the What Hi-Fi? appetite.

ISE 2016 highlights

Elipson show thorough new turntable range at ISE 2016

Amphion adds colour to its Helium range

Genelec introduces Smart Active Monitor desktop speakers

Monitor Audio unveils slimline ASB-10 soundbar and WS-1 sub

Electrocompaniet launches new wireless speakers at ISE 2016

ISE 2016 Preview

Dolby has been banging the drum for its Atmos technology at the show. Sony Pictures’ announcement that many of its forthcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will be mastered with Atmos soundtracks was a shot in the arm for the format, as was the Atmos deployment on the PC version of the Star Wars Battlefront game, and Dolby will be demonstrating the current state of the consumer Atmos art on its stand. UK hi-fi stalwart Arcam also has a hand in the new Dolby Atmos Immersive Theatre stand.

Over at the JBL stand, meanwhile, competing ‘impressive and immersive home cinema surround-sound’ standard DTS-X is being demonstrated in a frankly excessive-sounding 9.4.4 configuration. In case you’re not convinced of the overkill potential, be advised each S1S-EX subwoofer in the system features an 18in driver.

Active loudspeaker guru Genelec is showing its part-cute, part-businesslike G Series range of powered speakers (used by Foo Fighters to mix their last album, celebrity-endorsement fans). At the same time it’s guesting on the Merging Technologies stand, where an 18-speaker array provides the audio muscle.

There’s a whole new British audio brand debuting at ISE 2016, even though its parent company are no strangers to the show.

Steljes is a significant name in educational and business technology, and its new Steljes Audio division aims to introduce the brand to the mainstream. A nine-model line-up (active desktop speakers, soundbars, DAB radios) at launch is a confident opening, and a valve/Bluetooth hybrid integrated amplifier with hi-res certification from the Japan Audio Society – the ML30 – is intriguing.

So from brand-new brands to the globally long-established – LG, Panasonic, Philips, Sony and more are all in attendance – ISE 2016 promises to be the biggest (and loudest) yet. And that’s even before you realise no fewer than 41 exhibitors have ‘Shenzhen’ as the first word of their brand-name.

MORE: 7 key trends from CES 2016

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.