Custom Speaker Selection Just Keeps On Growing

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Indianapolis — Speaker suppliers will diversify their custom-speaker selections to accelerate their growth, and more companies will launch their first custom models here at the CEDIA Expo.

Installers can expect to find expanded selections from Angstrom, coNEXTion, Elan, KEF, Klipsch and Snell. SunFire will show its first architectural speaker.

Here’s what the companies plan:

Angstrom: For multiple dwelling units (MDUs) in markets where construction codes prohibit in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, Angstrom will show surface-mount models that also assuage concerns about the transfer of music from one condo unit to another.

The Markham, Ontario, company will be in the Vidikron booth with two kits, each consisting of two Angstrom mini speakers in off-white, color-matched swiveling mounts and other installation hardware.

coNEXTion: The direct on-line B to B supplier of custom products to installers is expanding its speaker selection with the commercial launch of its first in-wall models, first outdoor speakers and first powered enclosed subwoofers. They’ll complement the startup’s in-ceiling models, launched last year.

The new in-walls are part of the top-end zi series, which simplifies installation with a frame that snaps into place in the wall. Installers place the speaker in the frame and twist it, locking the speaker to the frame via levers without using a screw driver. The mounting technology first appeared in the zc in-ceiling series launched last year.

The zi series includes three models designed for high-end home theaters and features a rubberized LCR baffle for tweeter and midrange angling and a dipole/bipole surround speaker that can be switched. Two other zi models feature 20 degree swiveling eyeball tweeter. All zi models come with a curved speaker frame and grille and minimal bezel exposure. Prices range from $350 to $1000 each.

In-ceiling zc models feature a woofer that can be angled up to 20 degrees. A tweeter or tweeter/midrange combo sits on the end of a pole that can be extended up to an inch below the ceiling and angled up to 50 degrees for a total range of 70 degrees. Prices range from $275 to $750 each.

The company’s first four powered subwoofers are enclosed models not intended for in-wall installation. They start at an estimated suggested retail of $349 and top out at $750 and $900 for two servo-controlled models. The two Sonoma series indoor/outdoor speakers consist of a $600/pair two-way speaker with dual passive radiators and a $375-each model that uses dual tweeters to deliver stereo from a single speaker. It also has dual passive radiators.

Also new: the company's first entry-level series, the r2l series, which features a baffle that rotates firmly into its frame but uses screw-actuated dog frames to lock into place.+Like the in-ceiling zc models, the two r2l in-ceiling models feature aimable pole-top tweeter that angles up to 50 degrees. These tweeters don't extend below the ceiling like the zc models do. The in-wall r2l model features the 20 degree swiveling eyeball tweeter of the in-wall zc models. The in-ceiling models are priced at a suggested $125 and $175 each. The in-wall is $175 each.

KEFAmerica: A new high-end in-wall, its second HTiB system, and a second plasma-friendly on-wall speaker will be among the new products displayed.

The company will also show its new motorized in-ceiling speaker, its first motorized in-wall surround speaker and its revamped Q series of enclosed speakers. All were previously announced.

The new flagship in-wall is the three-way Ci9000 ACE, due in November at $999-each with sealed back box. It’s the first architectural speaker with KEF’s big-bass, small-enclosure ACE technology. The speaker also incorporates UniQ driver array, which consists of a 6.5-inch midrange with coincident-mounted 0.75-inch tweeter, and two 6/5-inch drivers. It’s said to deliver performance that rivals freestanding speaker performance and comes with choice of three grilles, including one that lets customers choose their own grille cloth.

The on-wall KHT 6000 ACE is the company’s second plasma-friendly on-wall LCR speaker, but it’s shallower and slimmer than the current KHT9000 ACE. It uses a UniQ array, dual bass drivers and a mounting system that automatically optimizes response depending on whether the speaker is wall- or stand-mounted. The speaker contains two differently voiced crossover networks, and when the speaker is mounted onto the supplied wall bracket or stand, different contacts are engaged, turning on the appropriate crossover network. It’s available in brushed aluminum at a suggested $499 and will be offered in black lacquer at $549.

KEF’s second DVD-equipped HTiB, the gloss-black KIT 200, features five speakers and a subwoofer, unlike the two-speaker KIT100, which uses two speakers to deliver left, right and surround channels. It’s due in October at a suggested $2,999.

Elan: The company will expand its in-wall and in-ceiling speaker selection with its first enclosed speakers and a new customs series targeted mainly for high-performance home theater applications.

With home theater in mind, the TheaterPoint in-wall and in-ceiling models will include three-way models that could be the industry’s first three-way custom speakers with all drivers aimable. The company will also launch its first enclosed home theater speakers. (see page xxx).

Snell: The company will expand its custom selection with four models tuned to match its Series 7 bookshelf and floorstanding speakers. Two in-wall speakers are priced at a suggested $1,250 and $1,800/pair, and a third in-wall is priced at $1,250 each. All feature aluminum back boxes and aimable tweeter. An in-cabinet speaker at $1,250 each is designed to fit inside home theater cabinets. It features aimable tweeter and uses multiposition boundary-compensation switches to compensate for the sonic effects of cabinet boundaries, under-screen mounting, and behind-perforated-screen placement.

Sunfire: The company’s first architectural speaker is a $3,500-suggested in-wall subwoofer. Sunfire’s first non-subwoofer speaker is a 7x5-inch on-wall/on-stand with ribbon technology and side-firing drivers.

The in-wall ContraBass sub, due in October, is built into a 53-inch by 14-inch by 3.5-inch enclosure built from 0.75-inch MDF enclosure. The rigid enclosure and an amplifier-driven system of counterweights, which reduce linear and rotational vibrations by 10dB, let consumers crank up the included 2,700-watt amp without shaking up the wall.


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