By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sonance has expanded and upgraded its architectural speaker selection with the introduction of more in-wall/in-ceiling woofers and an upgraded entry-level C series.
The company also has:
expanded its Hi-Fi Works brand of speakers for do-it-yourselfers to include outdoor speakers,
introduced its smallest enclosed subwoofer,
and launched a new line of prewire cables, which include CAT5 and CAT5e for the first time.
Some of the products were introduced earlier this year at CEDIA's regional seminars, which were revised to include supplier exhibits. Down the road, the company said it plans an early-2003 expansion of its Cinema Series speaker selection and more water-resistant speakers, which can also be used in yachts, said sales director Buzz Delano.
For now, the company is adding to its year-old seven-SKU Virtuoso series of three-way architectural speakers, which are MAP-priced from $550-$2,700/pair. The series adds two active woofers and a passive woofer.
The two powered Virtuoso woofers, which feature outboard amplifier and single-driver design, are targeted for use in distributed-audio systems and in small-room home theater systems, said Delano. One round model and one rectangular model are priced at a suggested $799 each, including 150-watt amp. A passive in-wall version is $349. All are available.
The new architectural woofers complement two other architectural woofers in the Cinema series. They're higher powered and higher priced at MAPs of $1,600 and $2,700. The Cinema models, like the Virtuoso models, feature outboard amplifier but use dual drivers.
In enclosed powered sub, Sonance plans June-July shipments of a smaller, lower power version of an existing freestanding sub. The new model, the $349-suggested Son of the Sub, is only 14-inches-square (including rear-panel connectors). It features 10-inch front-firing driver and 75-watt amp. All controls are on the front panel for easy adjustment after the product is placed in a cabinet or on the floor, Delano said.
Sonance sees the Son primarily as a home theater product, but it can be added onto already installed distributed-audio systems, Delano said.
The new entry-level C series, which replaces an existing series, is due in May with an open MAP but is expected to retail for an expected $150-$200/pair. The five-SKU series, which boasts such improvements as higher power handing without a change in price, is ideal for dealers targeting tract builders, Delano said. "We see more installers going after tract builders," Delano said. "In the past 10 years, tract builders have become more aware [of distributed audio]." Installers introduced builders to distributed audio after having installed structured wiring for them, he noted.
The C series is part of Sonance's effort to target the tract-builder, marine, and commercial markets more effectively, Delano said. Although Sonance has begun to market more aggressively to these markets, he said, it has chosen to leave the sales and installation to its dealers.
More waterproof products for the marine and yacht markets are due in early 2003.
Around the same time, an expanded THX-certified Cinema Series selection is due. Sonance will add more LCR and surround models to the architectural series, whose prices range from $500 to $1,250 per LCR speaker and $1,000-$2,450 per surround pair.
In cables, Sonance's new MediaLinq line includes 10-20-percent lower prices on audio cables and RG-6 and the company's first CAT5 cables.
The company's Hi-Fi Works brand of outdoor speakers is already available through select Lowe's stores. It consists of a pair of rock speakers, pair of in-ground speakers, and pair of mountable speakers, each at $99/pair.
Hi Fi Works is a market-channel extension of Sonance's DIY HomeTech brand, launched in 1997. HomeTech which is sold at consumer electronics superstores such as Best Buy, Fry's and H.H. Gregg, while Hi-Fi Works is sold in the home improvement store market such as Lowe's and consumer retail clubs such as Sam's.
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