By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
High-end speaker manufacturer Thiel Audio unveiled its second-generation in-wall and on-wall PowerPoint, PowerPlane and HigherPlane speakers, which feature a new aluminum cabinet design it says improves clarity and dynamics.
Thiel, which said its high-performing architectural audio products have become a significant part of its revenues, is targeting customers who are looking for less-obtrusive speakers but who don't want to sacrifice sound quality. “Eighty percent of our dealers now do 50 percent of their business in architectural products,” said product designer Jim Thiel. The company uses the same high-performance drivers in its on-wall and in-wall products that are used in its floorstanding and bookshelf speakers.
In addition to using aluminum cabinets, the new surface-mount PowerPoint 1.2 also sports a new sleeker, rounder shape. During a presentation at International CES, here, Jim Thiel said the cabinet's new construction and shape make it less resonant, improving the clarity and dynamics of the speakers. In addition, the new in-wall PowerPlane 1.2's size has been reduced by 20 percent. Both the two-way PowerPoint 1.2 and PowerPlane 1.2's coaxial/coplanar 6.5-inch woofer and 1-inch dome tweeter — the same one used in Thiel's flagship $13,500 CS7.2 — use the company's low-distortion short coil/long gap motor system, and both use aluminum diaphragms.
The PowerPoint 1.2, which is priced at $1,450 each, can be placed on ceilings or walls, and used as front, center, rear or side channels for both music and movie reproduction. The new PowerPoint has a 90-degree radiation pattern, providing significantly more room coverage than conventional in-wall speakers. The PowerPlane 1.2, a paintable in-wall loudspeaker priced at $990 each, features a smaller design, giving it greater flexibility in in-home sound installations. The in-ceiling version, called the Higher Plane, uses the same high-quality components in an 11-inch diameter round design. It is also priced at $990 each.
Thiel also added the SS1 to its SmartSub line, which now includes the SS1 ($2,900), the SS2 ($4,900), the SS3 ($6,900) and the SS4 ($8,900).
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