Custom Speaker Selection Just Keeps On Growing

By Joseph Palenchar On Sep 19 2005 - 6:00am




Speaker suppliers diversified their custom-speaker selections to accelerate their growth, and more companies launched their first custom models here at the CEDIA Expo.

Installers found expanded selections from Angstrom, coNEXTion, Elan, KEF, Klipsch and Snell. SunFire showed its first architectural speaker.

Here's what select companies showed:

Angstrom: For multiple-dwelling units (MDUs) in markets where construction codes prohibit in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, Angstrom showed surface-mount models that also assuage concerns about the transfer of music from one condo unit to another.

The Markham, Ontario, company showed two kits, each consisting of two Angstrom mini speakers in off-white, color-matched swiveling mounts, and other installation hardware.

KEF America: A new high-end in-wall, its second home theater in a box (HTiB) system and a second plasma-friendly on-wall speaker were among the new products displayed.

The company also showed its new motorized in-ceiling speaker, its first motorized in-wall surround speaker and its revamped Q series of enclosed speakers. All were previously announced.

The new flagship in-wall is the three-way Ci9000 ACE, due in November at $999 each with sealed back box. It's the first architectural speaker with KEF's big-bass, small-enclosure ACE technology. The speaker also incorporates UniQ driver array, which consists of a 6.5-inch midrange with coincident-mounted 0.75-inch tweeter, and two 6.5-inch drivers. It's said to deliver performance that rivals freestanding speaker performance and comes with choice of three grilles, including one that lets customers choose their own grille cloth.

The on-wall KHT 6000 ACE is the company's second plasma-friendly on-wall LCR speaker, but it's shallower and slimmer than the current KHT9000 ACE. It uses a UniQ array, dual bass drivers and a mounting system that automatically optimizes response depending on whether the speaker is wall- or stand-mounted. The speaker contains two differently voiced crossover networks, and when the speaker is mounted onto the supplied wall bracket or stand, different contacts are engaged, turning on the appropriate crossover network. It's available in brushed aluminum at a suggested $499 and will be offered in black lacquer at $549.

KEF's second DVD-equipped HTiB, the gloss-black KIT 200, features five speakers and a subwoofer, unlike the two-speaker KIT100, which uses two speakers to deliver left, right and surround channels. It's due in October at a suggested $2,999.

Elan: The company expanded its in-wall and in-ceiling speaker selection with a new custom series targeted mainly for high-performance home theater applications.

With home theater in mind, the TheaterPoint in-wall and in-ceiling models will include three-way models that could be the industry's first three-way custom speakers with all drivers that can be aimed. The company also launched its first enclosed home theater speakers.

Snell: The company expanded its custom selection with four models tuned to match its Series 7 bookshelf and floorstanding speakers. Two in-wall speakers are priced at a suggested $1,250 and $1,800/pair, and a third in-wall is priced at $1,250 each. All feature aluminum back boxes and aiming tweeter. An in-cabinet speaker at $1,250 each is designed to fit inside home theater cabinets. It features an aiming tweeter and uses multiposition boundary-compensation switches to compensate for the sonic effects of cabinet boundaries, under-screen mounting, and behind-perforated-screen placement.

Sunfire: The company's first architectural speaker is a $3,500-suggested in-wall subwoofer. Sunfire's first non-subwoofer speaker is a 7-inch by 5-inch on-wall/on-stand with ribbon technology and side-firing drivers.

The in-wall ContraBass sub, due in October, is built into a 53-inch by 14-inch by 3.5-inch enclosure built from 0.75-inch MDF enclosure. The rigid enclosure and an amplifier-driven system of counterweights, which reduce linear and rotational vibrations by 10dB, let consumers crank up the included 2,700-watt amp without shaking up the wall.

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