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Harman Group Adding Audio Under Four Brands

12/19/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
ELKHART, IND. – Harman’s luxury audio group, formerly known as the high performance audio video (HPAV) group, will turn up at International CES with new products bearing the Mark Levinson, Revel, JBL Synthesis and Lexicon brands.

Mark Levinson will celebrate its 40th anniversary with four new products available at various times during the year. Some products mark the brand’s reentry into product segments that it left awhile back, said marketing manager Jim Garrett. The brand will also launch an ad campaign to support the anniversary, he added.

For its part, Revel is revamping its Performa speaker series to upgrade performance at lower prices, and JBL is launching three high-end speakers.

Here’s what the group plans:

Mark Levinson: Four new products are the No. 52 reference stereo preamp, No. 585 integrated stereo amp, No. 519 CD/SACD player/DAC, and No. 560 DAC. Three products will be the brand’s first with USB ports for music playback, USB connections to Apple mobile devices, and HDMI ports.

The No. 52 two-chassis stereo preamp, targeted to retail for a suggested $25,000, will be the brand’s first reference- level stereo preamp in about a decade. It will join the $10,000 No. 326S single-chassis stereo preamp.

The No. 52, for use with the No. 53 reference mono amp, is a pure analog model with solid-state design. Analog inputs and outputs are incorporated in one chassis to keep noise from entering control circuitry in a separate chassis.

With the No. 585, Levinson is offering its first integrated stereo amp in several years, but the new model adds connectivity to almost all modern digital sources along with its predecessor’s balanced and unbalanced analog inputs, Garrett said.

The 585, targeted to retail for a suggested $10,000, is rated at 2x225 watts into 8 ohms. It comes with three USB ports, one of which streams music from a connected iPod, iPhone or iPad, and charges an iPod and iPhone. The USB ports also accept 96kHz/24-bit PCM audio from PCs.

The 585 also features HDMI 1.3 connector to take in two-channel PCM audio and native DSD SACD audio.

The third new product is the No. 519 CD/SACD player/ DAC with digital volume control, which enables direct connection to an amp to make a separate preamp unnecessary. It’s targeted to retail for a suggested $8,000.

For use as a DAC, the 519 features two S/P DIF digital inputs and two USB inputs capable of decoding multiple digital music-file formats. One USB input also streams music from a USB-connected iPod, iPhone or iPad.

The fourth product is the $6,000-suggested No. 560 DAC, which borrows the DAC technology of the 519 CD/SACD player/DAC, strips out the transport, expands the number of digital inputs to 10 from four, and the digital inputs include two two-channel PCM/DSD HDMI inputs and three USB.

With the 560’s variety of inputs, consumers can connect multiple digital sources to an existing sound system without replacing the system’s other components, Garrett said.

Revel: The brand will replace its entire Performa series of bookshelf and tower speakers with the Performa3 series, which sports upgraded performance via advances in driver design, Garrett said. The price points will also drop slightly to “get more aggressive in the market,” he added.

The first eight speakers will be priced from a targeted $1,200/pair to $4,500/pair. Two more speakers due in the fall will add a third tower at around $6,000 to $6,500/pair.

The first eight speakers will consist of two bookshelf models, two floorstanding towers, two center channels, one bipolar surround and one subwoofer.

JBL Synthesis: The brand is launching three high-end speakers, including a $20,000/pair S4700 tower positioned as a more affordable version of the $44,000/pair K2-S9900.

The S4700 is a three-way floorstanding speaker with 15- inch woofer, horn-loaded high-frequency compression driver, and horn-loaded ultra-high-frequency compression driver operating from 16kHz.

In its Array series, JBL is bringing back two models discontinued a few years ago. Like other Array models, both feature a three-way design with woofer, horn-loaded high-frequency compression driver, and horn-loaded ultra-high-frequency compression driver.

The Array 1000 is a floorstanding tower with a targeted suggested retail of about $9,000/pair. The Array 800 is a bookshelf speaker at a targeted $7,000/pair.

Lexicon: The brand is adding a black finish option to its $2,500 DD-8 8x125-watt Class D multi-room amp.
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