By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Newmarket, N.H. – Russound has begun shipping the first products in its XStream wireless-audio selection.
The company also plans an additional product by the end of the first quarter, and will support the launch with an integrated marketing initiative targeting distributors, installers, and consumers, the company announced.
The campaign will “emphasize the importance of exceptional performance and audiophile-quality sound for custom wireless audio products,” said CEO Charlie Porritt.
The multiroom-audio company is kicking off the campaign with the XStream X5 Tour, a series of events featuring XStream-branded displays, collateral and XStream tour T-shirts. Russound will also leverage its website and social media pages and offer application guides, an XStream e-book and other collateral materials to support dealer sales. The campaign will also include public relations initiatives and an ad campaign, which will launch in the first quarter and focus on musicians’ passion and perspective on audio performance, the company said.
The $399-suggested X1-RX220 wireless receiver/amplifier receives music wirelessly up to 100 feet away from the X1-TX8 transmitter.
Russound also plans the February launch of an incentive-based dealer contest via Facebook. The “Be XStream” contest will encourage distributors and dealers to post an image along with a short blurb on Russound’s Facebook fan page to show how they deliver performance in the work place, on the job site or in marketing their business. Dealers who enter will encourage others to “like” their entry, and the dealer receiving the most “likes” by the time CEDIA 2014 rolls around , will get free Russound Acclaim speakers for jobsites through the remainder of the year. Everyone who enters will receive a free XStream performance T-shirt.
The wireless products will be sold through Russound’s current custom-install dealers and aren’t intended for over-the-counter sales.
The XStream selection includes the tabletop $849-suggested XStream X5, a networked music-streamer/amplifier that will ship by the end of the first quarter. It can be used to create a decentralized 16-zone wireless-audio system if 16 X5 devices are added to a home network. The device incorporates a stereo amplifier to connect to passive speakers, preamplifier to connect to an outboard amp, Wi-Fi, Ethernet port, AirPlay, DLNA networking, and embedded music-streaming services. It also features analog RCA and optical digital inputs to connect to a local source such as a TV.
The X5 can be controlled from an iOS or Android app, and users will get the option to add control from one of three locally wired keypads already available from Russound for its centralized wired multi-room audio systems.
Sources connected to one X5 can be distributed to other X5 devices. Such sources can include a smart TV’s music-streaming services if the X5 is connected to the TV’s audio outputs. Built-in streaming services include Pandora, SiriusXM, TuneIn Radio, and vTuner. Additional streaming services will be added throughout the year.
The X5 also integrates and controls other A/V products because of a built-in IR-code library, enabling a mobile device to control components in a home theater system.
Another XStream system already shipping is the XStream X1 four-zone wireless multiroom-audio system, which is intended for retrofit installations or expanding an existing wired multiroom-audio system. It consists of a four-zone $319-suggested X1-TX8 wireless transmitter, a $399 X1-RX220 amplified receiver with 2x20-watt RMS amp to power to passive speakers, and a non-amplified $249 X1-RX2 receiver to connect to existing stereo systems.
The four-zone transmitter, which can be controlled from a Wi-FI-equipped mobile device, features three line-level stereo inputs and a fourth input that lets installers choose between line-in or optical digital in. Though operating in the 2.4, 5.2, and 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi bands with channel-hopping and fixed-channel capabilities, the transmitters uses a proprietary digital wireless technology to enhance reliability and reduce latency.
The transmitter range is up to 100 feet to the receivers.
The X1 products can be used with a C-Series multizone controller/amplifier to wirelessly expand an existing wired multiroom-audio system.
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