By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Klipsch is tapping two new customer segments with the shipment of the Palladium speaker series, targeted to the high-end luxury market, and the Icon W series, targeted to consumers who are simultaneously performance- and décor-conscious.
"We'd like a share of everybody's home," Klipsch Group president Mike Klipsch told TWICE.
Palladium and Icon W join Klipsch's other in-room speaker series, including the recently shipped Icon X series of black narrow-cabinet extruded-aluminum speakers designed for use with flat-panel displays. Klipsch also offers the audiophile Reference series and the Heritage series of vintage designs from the company's early years. The brand also offers architectural speakers for custom installation.
"We have something all the way down to iPod products," Klipsch said.
All the way up, the Palladium series of seven in-room speakers is the most expensive series in the brand's 62-year history. Models range in price from a suggested $4,000/pair of bookshelf speakers to $20,000/pair of tower speakers. The next-most expensive series, the Reference series, tops out at $2,700/pair.
Palladium's technology and performance represent "our best foot forward," enabling the series to generate an aura effect that will "create more positive brand recognition for Klipsch in the global market," Klipsch said. It will also help the brand expand into more U.S.-based high-end specialty retailers and residential contractors that sell speakers in this price range, and it will likewise enable the brand to expand into "a different class of retailer in Europe," Klipsch said.
"Palladium is our first real global product, which was designed with input from all over the world," Klipsch continued. It is already available in Europe and Asia and will roll out to Australia, China and Latin America.
Palladium is designed cosmetically as a "very high-end piece of furniture" for "customers who want to show it off and have it front and forward," Klipsch said. In contrast, the five-model Icon W Series plays a completely different role. Said a spokesman, "Because of its slender cabinet, small footprint and elegant wood-grain finishes, it's meant for a highly style-conscious customer who cares just as much about looks as they do performance."
The Icon W series consists of two floorstanders at a suggested $1,499 and $1,199/pair, a bookshelf pair at $599, a $499 center channel and a $749 pair of surrounds. They shipped to Magnolia Home Theater outlets within Best Buy stores, and they are available to other specialty retailers to be named, the company said.
Palladium Points: For a different customer, Klipsch is rolling out Palladium this month to U.S. dealers. The series features boat-tail-style cabinets, horizontal-grain wood veneers to match the finish of popular contemporary furniture, and new proprietary technologies, the company said. The horizontal-, or zebra-grain veneers are available in natural, merlot and espresso finishes.
The series consists of the $20,000/pair flagship P-39F floorstander, the $12,000/pair P-38F and $8,000/pair P-37F floorstanders, the $4,000/pair P-17B bookshelf, the $3,500-each P-27C center channel, the $4,000/pair P-27S surrounds and $4,000 P-213W powered sub. PFS-24 accessory floor stands are $800/pair, and the PFS-18 center-channel stand is $650.
The flagship P-39F is a 3.5-way speaker that incorporates 0.75-inch tweeter in a 90x60-degree Tractrix horn, 4.5-inch inverted-dome aluminum midrange in a 90x60-degree Tractrix horn, and three 9-inch aluminum-cone woofers with three side-mounted ports to boost bass response. Frequency response is 39Hz-24kHz +/-3dB with 400 watts of continuous power handling.
The 3.5-way P-38F and P-37F floorstanding speakers feature P-39F technology and appearance but feature a slightly smaller cabinet with three 8-inch and three 7-inch woofers, respectively. The Palladium P-17B bookshelf and P-27C center channel feature three-way design.
All feature the flagship's Tractrix Horn-loaded midrange and super tweeter. All drivers were designed in-house to deliver a higher level of performance than similarly sized drivers, the company said.
W's Plans: For its part, the Icon W series is touted as offering furniture-grade products that integrate with a home's décor without compromising performance, the company said.
The five-model Icon W Series, which does not replace any current series, "is a new category of product that is intended to reach a demographic that we've never targeted before," a spokesman said. To perform as well as they look, he continued, they use new horn technology to enable thin speakers "to deliver an extremely smooth response with constant directivity."
All models feature Klipsch XT Tractrix Horn-loaded technology, which is used in the recently shipped Icon X Series of six speakers, including two powered subs, ranging in price up to a suggested $2,498 for a pair of floorstanders.
In the Icon W series, the WF-35 and WF-34 floorstanders each feature three cone woofers and 1-inch titanium tweeter mated to an 80x80-degree round Tractrix Horn. The wall-mountable WB-14 bookshelf features one 4.5-inch cone woofer, while the WC-24 center channel and wall-mountable WS-24 surround have two woofers. To augment bass, Klipsch recommends the use of the Icon X series subs.
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