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Niles Smiles, Launches 60+ Products

9/08/2003 01:30:00 PM Eastern

Indianapolis - Niles Audio went to the CEDIA Expo here with the broadest product launch in its history, unveiling more than 60 new products that include its first in-wall A/V touchpad.

The new products also include:

  • multiple IR extender systems that feature 'universal' plasma-TV-proof IR sensors, which work with all AV electronics brands and in high ambient light conditions.

  • seven new speaker selectors.

  • its most powerful distributed-audio amp.

  • the company's first rock speakers.

  • new custom-install indoor speakers.

  • and a consolidated volume control selection with expanded capabilities.

Niles, which is celebrating its 25th birthday, also announced plans to offer XM Satellite radio technology as early as the second quarter. The first XM-equipped products will likely be keypad-controlled multizone receivers. The company hasn't decided whether the multizone receivers would incorporate more than one XM tuner, enabling different rooms to simultaneously play different XM channels.

For distributed-audio systems, Niles's first touchscreen is the TS-1, nicknamed Art. It connects via CAT-5 to either of Niles's two 12-channel, six-zone receivers, called Bob and Gloria. Due in November at a suggested $550, it's designed as a more affordable alternative to general-purpose custom-install touchscreens.

The two-gang 3.8-inch black-and-white touchscreen features seven back-lit hard buttons, auto-configuration for quick installs, real-time system-status display, a plasma-proof IR sensor, and the functionality of four existing Niles keypads to reduce keypad clutter.

Niles's most powerful custom-install amp, also intended for distributed-audio systems, is the $699-suggested SI-2125, rated at 2x125 watts into 8 ohms and 2x185 watts into 4 ohms for driving multiple speaker pairs. It operates at 300 watts into 8 ohms in bridged mono. With stability to 2.66 ohms, it's capable of driving a backyard full of Niles's new rock speakers, the company said. Other features include choice of voltage- and music-sense turn-on and availability in 17- and 19-inch rack-mount chassis.

In its revamped seven-model speaker-selector lineup, the company is adding higher power handling, and removable connectors. Select models feature volume controls, one per speaker pair, with impedance magnifying volume-control technology, eliminating the use of impedance-matching resistors that the company said use extra power and produce extra heat.

The speaker selectors range in suggested retail price from $99 to $329. The opening price point is for a four-speaker-pair, 100-watt-per-channel model accommodating up to 14-gauge speaker wire. At the top end, a six-speaker-pair model comes with volume control, impedance magnification technology to maintain a nominal 8-ohm load when all speakers are playing, and 100-watt-per-channel power handling.

To get its rock speakers off to a successful start, the company said it designed its models to look and sound more realistic than competing models. Two series are available in three styles: gray granite, tan sandstone, and white coral. The RS6 series at $249 each features 6.5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter angled up at 20 degrees. The RS8Si adds 8-inch woofer and two angled-up 1-inch tweeters, and unlike many rock speakers, it can be operated in mono, stereo, or single-speaker stereo mode in which the tweeters play in stereo and the dual-voice-coil woofer plays both channel simultaneously.

A new IR line called Ingenious IR incorporates multiple custom-friendly features, including select main system units that incorporate 12-volt triggers and contact-closure connections to automate control of select home theater components and other home systems. Four MSUs range in price from $69 for a single-zone model to $243 for a multizone design. More important, each IR sensor will work near plasma displays with the IR signals of any AV brand, and they'll work in high ambient sunlight conditions. They'll also resist interference from compact fluorescent lights. Five sensors are available for wall, ceiling, flush, surface, and tabletop mounting at prices from $89 to $139.

A $69 expansion hub is intended for structured-wiring panels. Flashers are also available. Products incorporate in-line power supplies to eliminate wall warts.

In other introductions, Niles added the first in-ceiling speaker with 8-inch woofer to its affordable Multi-Purpose series. The two-way model retails for a suggested $399/pair and complements 6-inch models. It's intended for larger rooms or where more bass is needed. —launched its first 8-inch DS series in-ceiling home theater speakers to complement current 6-inch models. Four models due in January range in suggested retail from $374 each to $749 each, all with pivoting tweeter and independently pivoting woofer.

The company also consolidated its volume control line to reduce wholesales by an average 25 percent while raising dealer margins. Improvements include higher power handling, 12 steps of attenuation, and front-mounted impedance-selector switch to connect up to eight speaker pairs to a single amplifier. Other improvements include programmable automatic muting, enabling some speakers to turn on and others to stay off when the audio system is turned on. One $199 model features plasma-proof IR sensor.

The 11-model series is based on six core platforms, and many of the models are available in five different colors. Prices range from $69 to $199.