By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
— Subwoofers shaped as nitrous oxide bottles, the first amplifiers from Boston Acoustics, the most expensive amps from Rockford Fosgate, and more square subs from Kicker were some of the highlights at CES this month in speakers and amplifiers.
Rockford Fosgate announced a top-of-the line amplifier series called Type RF that is among the first to offer onboard digital sound processing, allowing each amplifier to be controlled separately.
Rex Whitehead, Rockford director of product planning said the line was developed as an answer to the many "cookie cutter" products on the market, and because Rockford "is trying to re-establish ourselves as a technology leader," he added.
Each Type RF amplifier comes with a display for DSP settings. The line includes seven models that feature state-of-the-art MOSFET output ICs, and all but one incorporate a fan to direct air flow over the heat sink. The line is scheduled to ship in March at prices ranging from $499 for the X1, rated at 60 by 2 watts into 2 ohms, to $1,199 for the X7 Class BD mono amplifier at 1350 by 1 watts.
Boston Acoustics first entry into the amplifier market is an Italian-designed seven-model line expected to range in price from $300 to $1,200, although final pricing has not been set.
All the new models use forced-air cooling and have a low profile chassis with removable tops to protect the controls. The amps are designed with installer-friendly features such as moveable track mounted "feet." All are rated at 12.6 volts for true power output specifications, said the company. Models are rated at 45 watts by 2; 75 watts by 2; 120 watts by 2; 200 watts by 2; 45 watts by 4; 75 watts by 4 and 45 watts by 4 +180 watts by 1. All are stable into a mono load.
Kicker's 2002 line includes a new design for the square Solo-Baric L7 plus increased output, increased Xmas, improved voice coil, and larger radius surround. Models range from the 8-inch S8L7 with 600 watt power handling at $269 to the 15-inch S15L7 with 1000 watt handling at $499 suggested retail price. The line is joined by a lower priced square subwoofer line called the Solo-Baric L5. It uses steel baskets with many of the same features at the L7 at prices from $179 to $399 and respective power handling from 300 to 750 watts.
One of the most unusual subwoofers at CES came, not surprisingly, from Bazooka, with its "Bass In a Bottle" 200 watt, 8-inch subwoofer disguised as a nitrous oxide bottle. The speaker, aimed at the "tuner" market, was inspired by the fact that many sport compact enthusiasts place the bottles in their cars for show without even hooking them up, said a spokesman. The subwoofer comes with all necessary mounting and is expected to ship mid-February at a suggested retail price of $299.
In other new products, Lightning Audio added a mono amp to the Bolt entry-level line. Like other Bolt amplifiers, it allows for an optional Cooling Turbine. Called the B.350.1, it delivers 350 watts into 2 ohms and comes with a remote level control to control bass from the front seat. It is expected to ship in January at a suggested retail price of $229.99.
In its Storm line the company is showing two new Class AB "no frills" amplifiers and three Class D amplifiers with remote bass EQ, remote gain, variable subsonic filters with 18dB slopes, variable crossover with 24dB slopes, and variable phase adjustment. The models X1.1000.1D, X1.1500.1D, and X1.2000.1D range in price from $549 to $799.
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