By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TEMPE, ARIZ. -Rockford Corp., known in the CE industry mainly for its Rockford-Fosgate autosound products, will begin selling high-end home audio products through its new Fosgate Audionics division in the coming months to independent A/V specialists and custom installers.
The company obtained rights to the Fosgate Audionics brand name from founders Jim Fosgate and Charlie Wood, who become executive consultants and will design the brand's surround processors. Speakers and amplifiers will be designed by Rockford Corp.'s existing engineering teams, said national sales manager David Munzlinger.
Rockford is targeting year-end distribution through 100 storefronts and is developing a special program for members of the Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group. Fosgate Audionics will market to smaller dealers and custom installers via reps and stocking reps and go factory-direct to larger accounts.
The announcement marks Fosgate Audionics' return to the consumer market after an absence of about five years, said Munzlinger. Harman International bought the company in 1990 but about five years later merged the brand into its Citation group and dropped the Fosgate Audionics name altogether. Fosgate and Wood later left Harman, and the brand name reverted to their ownership, Munzlinger said.
For Jim Fosgate, the development marks his second association with Rockford. In 1980, he sold his car audio company, Fosgate Electronics, to Rockford Corp., which was formed to market car audio under the Rockford-Fosgate brand name.
This isn't Rockford's first entry into the home audio market. Rockford bought Hafler and its home and pro audio business more than 10 years ago and later extended the brand to the car audio market. Rockford later dropped Hafler home and car audio to refocus on the pro market.
Last year, the Rockford-owned Hafler brand returned to the home audio market, but the products were sold only through online channels. Rockford since dropped that program, citing consumers' need to touch and hear home audio products before buying them, Munzlinger said.
The Fosgate Audionics lineup will include a $3,499-suggested-retail preamp/processor featuring Dolby Pro Logic II, THX EX. and DTS ES Discrete and Matrix decoding. The company will also offer a limited-edition vacuum-tube Dolby Pro Logic II surround processor at a suggested $7,499.
The line will be filled out by three amplifiers (including a 6 x 150-watt and 5 x 200-watt model into 4 or 8 ohms at a suggested $2,999 and $2,499, respectively), four bookshelf speakers priced up to $449 each, and three powered subwoofer priced up to $899 each.
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