By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Car audio supplier Stillwater Designs stepped up its home audio presence with its first iPod and Zune tabletop speaker systems, which join a lone pair of outdoor speakers in the company's home audio portfolio.
More iPod- and Zune-docking audio systems are in the works, the company said.
The new Kicker-branded iK500 for iPods and ZK500 for Microsoft's Zunes are one-piece units that, like Stillwater's car audio amplifiers and speakers, emphasize high wattage and high bass output. Each model features a 2x20-watt amplifier powering a pair of front-firing 0.75-inch tweeters and 5-inch woofers. The drivers are complemented by a 6.5- by 6.5-inch square passive radiator on back. Each system retails for a suggested $349.
The new products will reach Stillwater's existing younger customers as well as "take the brand to a larger audience," said J.A. Tonsfeldt, the 18-year Kicker Audio marketing veteran who was named business unit director of company's new home and portables division. The products will be available at www.kicker.com, other online retailers and national retailers, he said. The iPod model ships in late January or early February. The Zune version ships in late February or early March.
Both models feature separate bass and treble controls on their chassis, minijack input to connect other sources, and credit-card IR remote, which controls iPod and Zune menus, bass and treble, and aux-in option. The devices' standby mode will charge a docked portable even when the system is powered down.
The Zune version features a composite-video output to display videos from a hard-drive-equipped Zune to a connected TV. The flash-memory Zunes lack video capability, Stillwater said. The iPod version lacks video outputs and is not designated as iPhone- or iPod Touch-compatible or "works with iPhone," but consumers can manually place the iPhone and touch into airplane mode to turn off the iPhone's cellular radio and Touch's Wi-Fi radio to play stored music.
Stillwater markets Kicker-brand car audio speakers, amplifiers, signal processors and accessories as well as SoundGate-brand OEM-aftermarket integration devices.
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