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Sonance Expands Speaker Lines

9/22/2009 11:18:25 AM Eastern

Atlanta
- Sonance expanded its Visual Performance series and Cinema series at CEDIA Expo 2009, where
it also showed a concept product that turns an iPod Touch into a permanent
in-wall touchscreen that controls home systems.

SonanceTo its Visual Performance series of in-wall and in-ceiling
speakers, the company added more than 30 SKUs to broaden the selection to more
than 70 SKUs, all of which feature a low profile and a 0.2-inch-wide micro trim
to make the speakers less visually obtrusive.

To its Cinema series of custom speakers, the company added its
first in-ceiling models to complement in-wall models. All Cinema models feature
the micro-trim grille design
used in the Visual Performance series. The company also showed prototype
Cinema-series in-wall subs that
would deliver higher bass output with more bass extension than current models
in the series.

Also at CEDIA, the company displayed an expanded Invisible series,
which are completely invisible because they become part of the wall.

For installer feedback, the company demonstrated its Control Dock
concept, which turns a Touch into an installed in-wall touchscreen to control
home systems. It's positioned as an option between $500 in-wall keypads and
in-wall touchscreens priced from $1,000 to $7,000, CEO Ari Supran said. The
Touch would run apps already developed by other custom-install companies, such
as Crestron, to operate their systems via the Touch's embedded Wi-Fi. 

In Visual Performance speakers, the company launched eight two-way
models with 4-inch woofers in round, square and rectangular variations, some of
which are single-speaker-stereo models. They'll ship in December at $300 to $900/pair.
Thirteen two-way models with 6-inch woofers, also due in December, are priced
from $350 to $1,400/pair. They include round, square and
rectangular models as well as models for shallow-depth installs and models for
shallow-depth installs in humid environments like saunas, showers and boats.
Ten 8-inch three-way models at $1,300-$2,850/pair ship in April and include a single-speaker stereo
model and two 70-volt speakers for commercial applications.

In its Cinema series of custom speakers, the company added its
first three in-ceiling models, all three-way square models. Two are LCRs, and
one is a surround. The LCRs are the $1,000-each LCR1S and $650-each LCR5S. The SUR1S surround is $1,000 each, and a $1,000 cabinet
version of the LCR1S is designed for applications in which in-wall mounting
isn't practical, the company said.

All three in-ceiling models feature coaxial tweeter/midrange
drivers and dual 5.25-inch woofers in non-resonant enclosures made of 0.75-inch-thick
MDF. The LCRs' midrange drivers are 4 inches, and the surround's midrange
drivers are 3 inches.

To prevent the LCRs' grilles from protruding from the ceiling, Sonance
installed drivers on both sides of an inverted-V baffle, with tweeter/midrange
drivers facing viewers and woofers firing in the opposite direction toward the
video display. The surround uses the same design to deliver diffuse surround
channels.

The dual woofers minimize up-to-6dB frequency-response dips in
other inverted-V designs that use only one woofer, Sonance contends. In
single-woofer designs, sound reflected off the walls and ceiling can cause dips
up to 6dB, but such dips are kept to a maximum 3dB by using two woofers whose
distances from a reflecting surface are unequal, the company said.

All of the in-ceiling Cinema-series models are shipping.

 The prototype subwoofers
in the Cinema series are 10- and 12-inch in-wall models with integrated back
boxes, requiring installation before drywall goes up. The former features
250-watt Class D amp, and the latter features 500-watt amp. The integrated
enclosures are made of MDF. Pricing and ship dates hadn't been set at the Expo.

In the Invisible series, three new models on display were
launched earlier this year, bringing the Invisible selection to five SKUs. They
are the $1,400/pair SA3, $1,000/pair SA1.5 and $1,000 in-wall SAW subwoofer.

Like their predecessors, the new models feature drivers covered
by a primed, flat radiating surface that's flush with the wall. Contractors mud
over the existing models to make them disappear, but the new models improve on
their predecessor's acoustic performance by requiring contractors only to mud
up to the panels and over a little, said Supran.

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