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Rockford's Brax, Helix Car Lines Debut

1/12/2011 02:27:49 PM Eastern

Las Vegas - Rockford Corp. unveiled its high-end Brax line of automotive amplifiers and speakers
at International CES along with the Helix
brand of high-performance amps and speakers at entry-level to high-end price
points.

The new brands, both developed
by mobile-audio supplier Audiotec Fischer of Germany, overlap only slightly
with the company's Rockford-Fosgate
brand and will enable Rockford to sell to additional dealers via separate
franchise agreements, said Brax/Helix sales director Dominick Aquilini. Most
products will ship by mid-January.

Brax is positioned as
a luxury brand, and Helix is the "baby brother" comparable to a lower-priced
series in the BMW line of cars, Aquilini said.

The products includes a Helix-branded
amplifier/digital signal processor (DSP) intended for use with factory head
units and speakers to upgrade OEM sound quality by adding higher power and by tuning
the sound to a car's interior -- but without the need for a microphone and
pink-noise generator to tune the system. The amp/processor can also be used
with aftermarket speakers.

With the DSP system, installers
download acoustic-correction algorithms for a specific vehicle via the web in
90 seconds, then side-load them to an SD card that would be plugged into the
system. If an algorithm is unavailable for a specific vehicle, installers will
be able to hand-tune the audio system, he said.

Independent mobile
electronics retailers are "screaming" for high-end brands with "marketing
muscle" behind them, Aquilini said of the introductions.

 For both brands, customer and dealer support
will be handled separately from Rockford-Fosgate.

Helix speakers range from $99
to $249 per pair for two-way and three-way speakers and run to $1,099/pair for
component speakers. Helix amps range in price from $899 to $1,200. Subwoofer
pricing was unavailable.

The more limited Brax
selection includes two component-speaker systems at $2,199 for a two-way model
and $3,499 for a three-way model. Four Brax amps are priced from $1,999 to
$3,499.

The Helix amp/processor is
the PP50 with 8x40-watt amp and DSP. It connects to an OEM audio system's
speaker-level outputs. The amp/processor will ship at the end of January, at
which time tuning algorithms for the top-selling 20 to 25 vehicles will be
available. By the end of April, algorithms will be available for 45 to 50
vehicles.

Dealers don't have to stock
the amp/processor but will be able to order it as needed.

For use with the PP50 in OEM
systems that lack bass output, Helix comes with a compact enclosed PP7E 7-inch
subwoofer. The price for the PP50 is $549. A PP50-subwoofer bundle is $799.

Late last year, Rockford
announced that it acquired the exclusive North American distribution
rights to the German Brax
and Helix
mobile-audio brands, owned by Audiotec Fischer of Germany.

 

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