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SpeakerCraft Taps New Market Segments

9/15/2003 02:00:00 AM Eastern

For its first product introduction since its purchase by Linear, SpeakerCraft went to the CEDIA Expo to launch its first two multizone/multisource receivers, its first rock subwoofer and its first in-wall speakers incorporating aimable woofers and tweeters.

SpeakerCraft joins Niles and Sonance in the multizone/multisource receiver category, which also grew at the Expo to include AudioAccess.

Also new are SpeakerCraft's first two digital amplifiers and an expanded lineup of rock speakers and cabinet speakers.

Of the two receivers, the $1,999-suggested MZC-66 is a six-source, six-zone model featuring 12x40-watt amp and packaged with six in-wall IR-equipped keypads. It also features direct push-button selection of sources and AM/FM tuner. The $3,999 MZC-88 is an eight-source, eight-zone model with 16x50-watt amp, two AM/FM tuners and eight IR-equipped keypads.

Just two years ago, president Jeremy Burkhardt said, it would have cost more than $10,000 in components to duplicate the features of the $1,999 MZC-66 system.

Both receivers feature Ethernet connection, telephone functions such as paging and doorbell functions such as mute. Ship dates were unavailable.

In expanding its rock-speaker selection, the company unveiled its first rock subwoofer and a single rock speaker that simultaneously delivers left and right channels. The $799 Sub8 Rox features an 8-inch dual-voice-coil subwoofer. The dual-channel rock is the $299 Wide Coverage Rox, featuring dual 6.5-inch woofers and dual tweeters.

The company's first two digital amps, due in the first quarter, are the 12x100-watt DBB1200 at an expected $2,299 and the 16x100-watt DBB 16100 at an expected $2,999. It's the company's first-ever 16-channel amp. A digital amp introduced last year never shipped.

In cabinet speakers, the company introduced five LR and center-channel models in the Monitor Series, all with aimable tweeters. The speakers can be mixed and matched with select SpeakerCraft in-wall and -ceiling speakers because of similar voicing. The three three-way Monitor center channels feature pivoting midrange/tweeter combination to direct sound up or down toward the listener's seating position. They're priced at $299, $499 and $799 each. The top-end bookshelf LR is $499/pair.

Two AIM-series in-wall speakers, the Wall-Aim Two and Wall Aim Four, feature aimable woofers and tweeters at $499 and $999 a pair. Like their in-ceiling counterparts, they use a tilting baffle and the tweeter pivots independently of the baffle. Each is voiced to match an in-ceiling speaker with aimable drivers.

Earlier this year, Carlsbad, Calif.-based Linear Corp. purchased SpeakerCraft for $58 million six months after acquiring multiroom audio/video specialists Elan Home Systems. During the past few years, it also acquired the Xantech, ChannelPlus, and OpenHouse brands.

Now that it's a Linear company, SpeakerCraft plans to distribute ChannelPlus and OpenHouse products to its dealers, complementing the brands' existing distribution.

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