Industry veteran Eli Harary is returning to the home audio market to launch a new luxury brand, with some products appearing in stores as soon as late September.
The brand, AudioXperts, will include tabletop audio products, tabletop TV-audio platforms with swiveling base, and lifestyleoriented component speakers that will be available through authorized dealers, select online retailers, and directly through AudioXperts.
Initial products are scheduled to be displayed publicly at an invitation-only event on Aug. 7 in midtown Manhattan.
Harary will serve as company president, having left D+M’s Boston Acoustics brand in June 2011 to start a consulting company focused on the audio and CE businesses.
Harary, who has been in the CE industry for almost 40 years, was with Boston Acoustics for five years, having previously held management positions at Infinity and JBL and having owned and operated Paris Audio stores in Los Angeles for 19 years until he joined JBL in the early 1990s.
His products will be sold strictly through retailers “who can present better products,” Harary told TWICE. Although the products are designed to be “simple, not confusing,” they will nonetheless “need someone on the floor or in an Internet environment to say `You have to check this out. It’s cool,’” he said.
For authorized online retailers, that means a website that “knows how to call out better goods,” is descriptive, and offers live chat immediately with someone over the phone or over the Internet, he explained.
Harary will bring the products to market personally to select accounts but will also use a mix of carefully chosen independent reps. Rep selection is “being carefully managed” to select reps “in areas where their organizations will add real value to the process,” Harary said.
Harary has already lined up several A/V specialty dealers for the products but notes that products such as the tabletop EVA (En- Vironmental Audio) Music Systems will “more than likely” expand beyond A/V specialists to include additional channels, possibly including high-end furniture retailers.
Authorized dealers will get a “rich demo program” and “attainable dealer margins consistent with the margins required by dealers who will make the effort to introduce customers to a new luxury brand.”
In line with the luxury positioning, AudioXperts will offer a two-year over-the-counter exchange, Harary said. “If something goes wrong, you just get a new one [directly from the dealer or from the company itself].” Consumers who return a product directly to the company will be able to ship the product for free, he said.
The company will also offer a five-year parts and labor warranty.
Because the company will “slowly build distribution,” consumer promotion will initially focus on social media and viral marketing, then the company will consider national advertising once it achieves a “reasonable level of product availability on a national basis,” Harary said.
For its initial product launch, the company will offer models in its 4TV series of audio entertainment consoles and its EVA series of tabletop audio products.
The 4TV products will appear in stores in late September and early October, followed by EVA products at the end of October. Lifestyle-oriented component speakers in the Korner series will arrive in stores sometime later in the year.
AudioXperts calls the 4TV products under-TV “consoles,” but they don’t sit on the floor like a piece of furniture. Instead, they are slim audio platforms that sit on top of furniture and under a flat-screen TV.
They’re positioned as delivering component-audio quality for TV and music in a form designed to “eliminate confusion, chaos and clutter,” the company said.
The $1,999-suggested 4TV Model 2112 Virtual Surround Sound Console and the $3,999 two-piece 4TV Model 5122 5.1 Surround Sound Console feature smoked-glass and aluminum low-profile enclosures and a variety of embedded technologies.
Those technologies include Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, digital connection for an optional Apple Airport Express to add wireless AirPlay capability, Bluetooth audio streaming with the CSR’s Apt-X codec, USB audio inputs for playback of music stored on USB sticks, USB mass-storage devices including Android smartphones. Apple certification for connection to Apple mobile devices is pending.
The systems also incorporate multiple surround modes and EQ settings, including a Voice Intelligibility Enhancement setting. Controls are touch-sensitive.
Both 4TV products use the TV to switch video sources. The height of each model is no more than about 2.5-inches. The 5122 adds more power, more channels, and a wireless 12-inch subwoofer that can stand upright with included feet or lie flat, including directly underneath the 5122’s main console.
The 2.1-channel Model 2112 incorporates built-in subwoofer said to deliver the equivalent bass output of a separate 8-inch powered subwoofer.
The first three EVA products are the $499-suggested SCR400 dock FM clock radio with Bluetooth, $599 SCR400D dock FM/DAB+ clock radio with Bluetooth for international markets, and $399 SPS300 dock speaker with Bluetooth.
The mono speaker systems can be turned into stereo systems with the addition of the $349-suggested AC250 amplified speaker with clock or the $299 PS200 powered speaker.
All feature woven wool cover and bamboo case, touch controls and Bluetooth audio streaming with the CSR Apt-X codec. A digital optical connection to add an optional Apple Airport Express and USB audio input to play back music from USB sticks and massstorage devices are also featured. Apple certification for connection to Apple mobile devices is pending.
EVA models will be available in slate and sand finishes. They’re designed to maximize the use of recyclable, renewable and biodegradable materials, the company said.
A fourth EVA model is due in late fall.
In September, the company will launch Korners, a series of “room/designer-friendly” high-performance component speakers and powered subwoofers. Visual samples of the products were expected to be display at the company’s Aug. 7 event.