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Klipsch Revives The Stereo Console

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — Klipsch is reintroducing the stereo
console of the ’50s and ’60s with technology from
the 21st century.

The furniture-grade hand-built Klipsch Console,
designed for serious music listening as well as for TVaudio
playback, features built-in 2.1-channel sound
system, Apple AirPlay technology, and a USB port
that charges mobile devices as well as captures an
iPod’s audio in digital PCM form for playback.

The Console, expected to retail for around $6,000
when it ships in the third quarter, will “help redefine
how people enjoy high fidelity,” said Klispch Group
product development VP Mark Casavant. It will deliver
the high output (close to 120dB) and clarity of
Klipsch speakers as well as bass response down
to 20Hz through a speaker array consisting of two
12-inch opposing powered subwoofers, 10-inch midbass
drivers, and 1.75-inch high-frequency/midrange
Tratrix horn-loaded driver with sensitivity of 100dB at
1 watt/1 meter. The speaker array will be tri-amplified
and powered by amps that might deliver as many as
1,000 watts total when system design is finalized.

The Console will incorporate Dolby Digital and
DTS 5.1 decoders to decode soundtracks received
through its optical digital input and HDMI port. It
might also feature a virtual-surround setting when all
details are finalized, but the unit’s speaker configuration
will nonetheless deliver an expansive soundfield,
Casavant said. It will not incorporate Blu-ray player.

Also to enhance sound quality, the Console features
digital crossovers, DSP control of the drivers,
and digital equalization.

The speakers, electronics and amplification will be
housed in a compact console said to have elegant
proportions at around 30.75 inches by 50 inches by
16 inches.

The console also makes room for such components as
a cable box or Blu-ray player behind a door that swings up
and in. Piano-black and wood-veneer finishes are under
consideration.

“Most consoles from the ’60s combined TVs, AM/FM tuners
and turntables with tube amps in wood cabinets designed
more for a mass market that wanted both simplicity with the
new ‘stereo’ music entertainment options and compactness
for smaller living rooms in houses built in the post WWII era,”
said training manager Phil Hatch. “Once color TVs took over,
and many TV styles became more portable in the 1970’s with
less ornate cabinet models designed to be stand-placed, the
console started to lose its influence as houses and their “living
rooms’ became larger and stereos became separates,” he
continued.

“Today with smaller living spaces and the ‘flat-panel’ TV creating
an aesthetic opportunity that did not exist with gigantic
tube and projection TV sets, we see a real opportunity for a resurgence
of the console concept,” he continued. Empty nesters
“would appreciate the appeal of a beautiful piece of quality
furniture that also greatly simplifies the complexity of today’s
confusing technology options in one, simple solution that allows
them to both hear clearly their video entertainment and
enjoy listening to their favorite music with passion,” he said.

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