By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Brea, Calif. – An audio brand that has been selling outdoor and indoor architectural speakers and related audio products direct to consumers since 2007 is making a big play for retail distribution.
OSD Audio is setting up a rep and distributor network that it hopes to have in place in 30 of the top 50 markets in time for the CEDIA Expo, said newly hired sales VP Douglas Turner, formerly with Iogear and Toshiba.
The Expo will be the first trade show that will count OSD Audio as an exhibitor.
The company, which offers more than 200 SKUs when speaker colors are included, is targeting a wide array of online and brick-and-mortar retailers, including big-box stores, custom integrators, home-improvement stores, commercial installers, and mom-and-pop electronics stores, he said.
OSD sold direct to consumers exclusively until February 2012, when it began selling OSD-brand products through Amazon. Based on the success of its Amazon venture, OSD will further expand retail distribution, Turner told TWICE.
As part of its expanded distribution strategy, the company will go to the CEDIA Expo with multiple new products, including its first Bluetooth-equipped outdoor patio speaker for mounting on a home’s exterior and its first Bluetooth-equipped outdoor rock speaker, both of which are active models that also connect via speaker cables to a home’s multiroom-audio system. The company will also unveil its first under-TV speaker, also Bluetooth-equipped.
The outdoor Bluetooth speakers are promoted as offering 120-150-foot Bluetooth range with no obstructions and 50-75-foot range with obstructions.
Turner described the OSD speaker lineup as offering a better value than other brands because of operational efficiencies learned during 10 years of e-commerce selling. Products are made in a China.
The brand will continue to sell direct to consumers through OSDaudio.com and through OutdoorSpeakerDepot.com, which is owned by OSD owner David Chai. Chai also owns other businesses, including an aquarium-manufacturing company.
OSD’s first products were initially outdoor speakers sold through OutdoorSpeakerDepot.com beginning in 2007, though the website first launch in 2003 to sell other-brand outdoor speakers. The website later added OSD-branded in-wall and ceiling speakers, amplifiers, speaker selectors and more.
OutdoorSpeakerDepot.com also offers other-brand speakers as well as a small selection of other-brand audio electronics such as AVRs and amps.
No OSD-branded products are targeted exclusively to custom integrators, but many are designed with integrators in mind, Turner said. “I have not seen a company do it [target integrators with an exclusive line] correctly,” Turner said, noting that those companies soon change strategies.
Many OSD products, however, are developed specifically for integrators and are “built as well as anything in the industry,” Turner said. Such products include 70-volt products for commercial installs and multizone amps.
To entice a wide variety of retailers to sell the products, OSD Audio establishes minimum advertised prices whose margins are comparable to those of other brands, Turner said. “The margin structure for the integrator is comparable to sheltered lines,” he added.
In addition, “if Amazon were to go below MAP, that price becomes the MAP for the channel, and the dealer’s cost goes down,” Turner said.
OSD’s full lineup includes four in-wall/in-ceiling speaker series priced from a suggested $69 to $599 per pair, in-room subwoofers, an in-wall subwoofer, and an outdoor patio series consisting of 28 cabinet speakers in black or white at prices from a suggested $79 to $369 per pair. The brand also offers more than 30 garden-series rock speakers in three colors from a suggested $89 for a dual-tweeter/dual-voice-coil model to a stereo pair at $349 per pair.
OSD’s outdoor selection also includes Wi-Fi-equipped patio speakers that can be installed on a home’s exterior, in-ground and above-ground omni speakers with 360-degree dispersion, and a decorator series consisting of speakers embedded in outdoor vases, planters, plaster frogs, and a plaster German shepherd.
The OSD selection also includes passive and active speaker selectors supporting up to 12 zones and the brand’s first amps, launched six months ago. The amps include two- to 12-zone models, two-channel amps, and a subwoofer amp.
To this selection, OSD will add its first TV speaker and the outdoor Bluetooth speakers at the CEDIA Expo.
The company is also planning a second TV-sound speaker, which will be smaller than the first, and its first series of portable Bluetooth speakers. Those products will not appear at the Expo.
The Bluetooth-equipped outdoor patio speaker is the two-way BTP-650 at a suggested $289/pair with speaker cable, power cord, mounting hardware, 10-50-watt amplification, 6.5-inch polypropylene cone woofer with butyl rubber surround, 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, and frequency response of 38Hz-20kHz. It will be available in black or white.
The two-way BTR-800 rock speaker at $349/pair, available in three colors, features 10-50-watt amplification, 8-inch polypropylene woofer with butyl rubber surround, 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, and frequency response of 28Hz-20kHz.
The $599-suggested TV speaker, called the Sound Platform SP2-1, measures 4 inches by 28 inches by 16.5 inches and houses dual downfiring 5.25-inch subs, four 2.5-inch midrange drivers, and two 1-inch silk-tweeters powered by a 4x20-watt RMS amp configured for biamplification.
The TV speaker streams the aptX codec over Bluetooth and offers a DSP-based simulated surround mode for TV watching. Inputs consist of Bluetooth, optical digital, coaxial digital, and stereo analog.
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