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Russound Persevering In Down Market

8/02/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern
NEWMARKET, N.H. — Russound plans a variety of new multi-room-audio products in the coming months despite what it said was a 27 percent drop in industrywide factory-level multi-room-audio sales, including speakers, during the two years ending in 2009.

Many of the products will debut at September’s CEDIA Expo. Here’s what the brand revealed so far:

Collage updates: A firmware update due in a couple months will add Radiotime’s Internet-radio station- aggregation service to the retrofit-focused Collage Media and Intercom system, which already streams the Rhapsody music service.

The services are accessed from Collage’s in-wall amplified keypads, which incorporate RDS FM tuner and ability to stream music from PCs and network-attached storage devices. Music is delivered to the in-wall keypads over a home’s powerlines.

Next year, the company plans a Collage iPod/iPhone dock to turn an iPod into a home-wide music source. Also next year, Collage will get a Source Bridge to connect security cameras as well as legacy sources.

C-series multizone amp/controller:
The six-source, six-zone MCA-C3 features AM/FM RDS tuner, 12x20-watt amp, zone grouping, and new protocol to streamline integration with third-party home-control systems. It’s due at the end of September or early October to join the higher powered eight-source eight-zone MCA-C5. The MCA-C3 and six bundled in-wall keypads will retail for $3,899.

Touchpoint upgrade: The TCH1 Touchpoint links an R-Net multi-room-audio system to a home Wi-Fi network, serving up a web page that enables an iPhone or iPod Touch to control an R-Net system. Now, with a firmware upgrade, consumers can control an R-Net system from an iPad. The upgrade also adds such features as a back button, ability to display SMS3 music-server album art on an iPhone or iPad, and more ways to search for music, including genre.

X-series amps: Three models in Russound’s first series of two-channel amps are targeted to single-zone installs such as home barrooms. The amps feature frontmounted volume and balance controls. Pricing and ship dates were unavailable.

Rock speakers:
Four new models available in three colors will be more efficient than their predecessors and feature 8-inch woofers, up from their predecessors’ 6-inch woofers. One will be the brand’s first single-speaker-stereo rock speaker. Shipments are planned for the fourth quarter at prices expected to be the same as the current models.

Touchscreen:
The 3.5-inch TS2-C3, due around November, will replace a 3.7-inch model and add active TFT display, a faster processor to improve graphics, and ability to support all features in C-series multizone controller/amplifiers. It’s expected to retail for 30 percent less than its $1,299-suggested predecessor.

Acclaim outdoor speakers:
The first outdoor speakers in the value-oriented Acclaim 5 speaker series ship in July. They’re more efficient than previous Russound models and double as bookshelf speakers. Three models retail for $199 to $349/pair. A single-speaker-stereo unit is $249.
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