By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Gardiner, Maine – NEAR, which announced plans last fall to return to the residential custom-speaker market, priced its first eight all-environment speakers and announced plans for first-quarter shipments.
NEAR, founded in 1988, was acquired in 1997 by Ramsey, N.J.-based Bogen Communications and has since been focused on the commercial audio market.
NEAR’s first residential lineup in years includes four full-range bracket-mount speakers called the LB4, LB5, LB6, and LB8. They will be available in white and black. The lineup also includes three full-range speakers designed to be placed on the ground or partially buried. They are the IG 5, IG 6, and IG 8. The eighth speaker is the partial-burial IGS12 band-pass subwoofer.
The speakers can be driven by the NEAR 6XL amplifier, which delivers 2x600-watt output into either 70-volt or 8 ohm loads.
In 8-ohm versions, the bracket-mount LB4, LB5, LB6 and LB8 retail at $279, $499, $579, and $679 each, respectively. The 70-volt versions for large homes and yards are priced at $319, $539, $619, and $719 each.
The in- and on-ground IG5, IG6 and IG8 speakers can be used in 8-ohm and 70-volt installs and are each priced at $619, $779 and $859, respectively. The partial-burial IGS12 band-pass subwoofer at $1,599 drives either 8-ohm or multi-tap 70-volt install. The beehive-shaped IG and IGS models will be available in terra cotta color.
The speakers and sub can be driven by the $1,599 2x600-watt 6XL amp with selectable high- and low-pass crossovers and a low-frequency contour to extend bass performance below 40 Hz. A summing circuit allows stereo material to be combined into both channels.
All four LB speakers feature patent-pending lever bracket for a tool-free final installation, the company said. The four two-way models use metal-cone spider-less woofers and 1-inch aluminum inverted-dome tweeters. The coaxial driver arrangement of the LB6 and LB8 and the close proximity of the woofer and tweeter in the LB4 and 5 provide consistent dispersion for horizontal and vertical placement, the company said.
The on- and in-ground IG speakers also feature metal cone spider-less drivers, which NEAR said can operate under water. But the company also adopted a domed woofer design in these models to shed water that might otherwise collect in a cone. The design also improves audio linearity, the company said.
A water-shedding grille prevents moisture from entering “under all but the most extreme conditions,” the company added. The frame of the coaxial-driver assembly also directs away any water that may find its way in, NEAR added.
The IGS12 band-pass partial burial subwoofer features 12-inch metal cone spider-less driver whose output fires through three horizontal slots about a third of the way from the top of the enclosure. The slots are intended to be located just above ground level when the enclosure is buried. The openings are covered by a stainless grille and hydrophobic fabric.
The company original planned fourth-quarter availability of the products.
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