Audio Introductions Spring Forward
By Joseph Palenchar On Apr 9 2012 - 4:01am
NEW YORK –
Home audio suppliers are pursuing a
variety of product directions to boost sales during the
Highlights include Yamaha’s addition of Apple
AirPlay and iPad charging to its A/V receiver
(AVR) lineup for the first time and reduction
of the opening price point on networked
AVRs to an everyday $399
from $549. (See story below.)
Pioneer expanded AirPlay in its
Elite series AVRs to a lower
For its part, Onkyo expanded
its selection of TX-series AVRs
with InstaPrevue and Mobile
High Definition Link (MHL) and
brought down the opening price
of DTS Neo:X surround processing
and Audyssey MultEQ XT32
In the home-speaker segment, Atlantic
Technology launched five new inceiling
speakers, including the company’s
first four bezel-less, flat-grille
Also in speakers, MartinLogan replaced
two floorstanding speakers in
its Motion series to bring the company’s
brand to a wider customer base.
Here are the details on each company’s introductions:
Five new in-ceiling speakers
shipped by the company include the company’s
first four bezel-less, flat-grille models. All five sport
sonic improvements over the models they replace.
The bezel-less models constitute the Trim-Look
Ceiling (TLC)-series speakers, which feature thin
magnetically attached grilles that “are flat, not domed
out in profile like conventional ceiling speakers, so in
addition to a trim no-bezel look, they lie flatter to the
ceiling,” said marketing director Steve Feinstein.
The four bezel-less models include two Tri-Mode
speakers, which like their predecessors can be deployed
in mono, single-point stereo, or bipole/dipole
The new Tri-Mode speakers are the $325-each
TLC-6.3 and $450-each TLC-8.3, each with a dualvoice-
coil woofer and two pivoting tweeters, which
can be used to maximize the dipole effect for surround
Compared to their Tri-Mode predecessors, the
new three-in-one speakers feature significantly refined
crossovers and tweeters, and their tweeters are
pivoting rather than fixed as in the predecessor models,
The other two TLC speakers are the two-way TLC-
6.2 and TLC-8.2 at suggested retails of $250 each
and $325 each, respectively. They are single-channel
6.5- and 8-inch speakers with 1-inch soft-dome
tweeters that pivot 30 degrees for optimal imaging.
Two TX series AVRs expand the company’s
selection of AVRs with InstaPrevue and MHL.
The two new AVRs are the $999-suggested TXNR717
and $1,199 TX-NR818, both available in May.
They join four other lower-priced AVRs announced
Among the previously announced AVRs, the $499,
$599, and $699 models feature Silicon Image’s InstaPrevue
technology, and the $599 and $699 models
feature MHL-enabled HDMI inputs.
InstaPrevue delivers live picture-in-picture thumbnail previews of video sources connected via HDMI
and MHL-enabled HDMI inputs, including video from
Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles, set-top boxes,
and MHL-enabled tablets and smartphones.
MHL-enabled HDMI inputs enable an MHL-compatible
smartphone or tablet to stream 1080p HD
video and 7.1-channel surround sound from
the mobile device via cable to a hometheater
system. The AVR’s HDMI port
also charges the portable device,
and consumers can use their AVR
remote to control the playback
of content streamed from their
MHL-enabled mobile device.
The two new AVRs, both available
in May, are the 7.2-channel
networked AVRs with Windows
7, DLNA, and THX Select2 Plus
certification. Both stream Internet
radio stations and Internet music
services, and they upscale any video
source to full 4K (3,840 by 2,160) resolution.
The $1,199 model adds ISF videocalibration
technology and DTS Neo:X
To date, the company hasn’t announced
adoption of Apple AirPlay in its AVRs.
With the launches, Onkyo is bringing
DTS Neo:X’s opening price in the TX series
down to $1,199 from last year’s $1,399 and Audyssey
MultEQ XT32 room correction down to $1,199
from last year’s $2,199.
The speaker specialist replaced
two floorstanding speakers in its Motion series to
bring the company’s brand to a wider customer base.
The two new floorstanding speakers are the Motion
20 at a suggested $749 each and the Motion 40 at
$949 each, replacing floorstanding models priced at
$995.95/pair and $1,499.95/pair.
The Motion series, launched in January 2010, incorporates
Folded Motion thin-film tweeter technology in lieu
of the company’s more expensive electrostatic drivers.
The technology is said to deliver fast transient response
and a surface area that is eight times that of a 1-inch
dome tweeter to deliver high levels of realism.
The two new models mark the beginning of a “full remake”
of the Motion series, which are priced less than
the company’s electrostatic speakers, a spokesman said.