Custom-Speaker Suppliers See Rooms For Growth

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DENVER — CI speaker suppliers are in an expansive mood.

With the CI industry growing an estimated 10 to 17 percent at the wholesale level, multiple speaker suppliers are expanding their CI selections at the CEDIA Expo. Other suppliers are bringing out new technologies or tapping new niches to capture a bigger share of an expanding pie.

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) forecasts point to architectural-speaker growth. Unit sales of in-ceiling speakers will rise 6 percent this year at the wholesale level and 2 percent in 2015, CEA said. In-wall speakers will rise 5 percent this year but go flat in 2015. And wall-mount speakers will grow 5 percent in 2014 and 3 percent in 2015.

With the wind at their backs, companies such as OSD Audio, Bay Audio and Golden Ear are expanding their architectural selections. And SpeakerCraft is unveiling its next-generation AIM in-ceiling speakers with woofers and tweeters that can be aimed in many more directions than before.

Outdoor speakers are getting their share of attention, with NEAR expanding its line and Rockustics launching new models.

Here’s what dealers will find at the show:

Bay Audio: The company is expanding its selection of invisible architectural Live-Wall speakers to three models with the launch of the LW1210 at a suggested $500 each.

The three SKUs, which include a subwoofer, can be installed in the wall or ceiling and be mud- ded over or covered in wallpaper to disappear.

The new rectangular 12- by 10-inch LW1210, like the larger 12 by 18-inch LW1218, uses a patent-pending planar three-layer flat diaphragm that operates as a point source. The pattern dissipates high frequencies as it propagates toward the speaker’s edges to achieve balanced sound, the company said. It also eliminates standing waves. The speaker features wide 160-degree off-axis dispersion and high power handling.

Listen Audio Systems: The Denver company will demonstrate its new Voice in-wall speaker, said to rival high-performance floorstanding speakers while fitting in a standard wall cavity.

The $4,999-each speaker uses point-source drivers consisting of a ring radiator tweeter, a 7-inch midrange, and a 7-inch midbass driver. The speakers use secondorder, three-tier cascade passive crossovers.

OSD Audio: The company is expanding its architectural-speaker selection with the introduction of the high-end OSD Black series, which will be sold through select distributors and dealers but not through online retailers.

They ship in the fourth quarter at prices that were unavailable.

The series consists of 18 edgeless ceiling, wall, LCR and dual-tweeter units, the latter switchable for singlepoint stereo or surround applications. The series is positioned at the high end of OSD’s speaker offerings.

The series, available in three performance levels, features upgraded drivers incorporating silk and ceramiccoated dome tweeters and graphite and carbon-fiber woofers.

The series consists of 5-, 6- and 8-inch woofer models in round, square and rectangle shapes. All round speakers can be fitted with optional square grilles. Speaker grilles are edgeless and slim.

All speaker frames, mounting flanges and hardware feature a black finish.

Monitor Audio: The company has begun shipping the $500-suggested 10-inch architectural subwoofer, companion $250 IWB-10 back box, and the sub’s $500 IWA-250 DSP power amp. The sealed back box fits into standard 14-inch stud bays in new construction or retrofit installs. Without back box, which delivers optimum performance, it can also be used in retrofit applications.

It’s also suitable for ceiling and floor installs, the company said.

The amp delivers up to 250 watts into 4 ohms. A single IWA- 250 drives up to two IWS-10 subs.

NEAR: The Bogen Communications division is launching a new 10-inch in-ground sub, the IGS10. It ships in March at a suggested $1,199. The 10-inch sub joins the 12-inch IGS12 subwoofer and three full-range speakers in the company’s IG series of in-ground speakers.

Though intended for in-ground installation, the brown bee-hive-shaped sub can be placed above ground and camouflaged among planters and pots. In-ground installation, however, delivers better sound performance, lower visibility and greater security, the company said.

UDIO (upside down/inside out) low-frequency driver technology maintains frequency linearity and sound quality at loud volume levels.

Separately, NEAR is unveiling a mulch-colored version of its LB4T outdoor speaker and an optional color-matched ground-stake accessory to mount the speaker into the ground. The existing LB4T 4-inch, two-way speaker is a 70V/8- ohm speaker. The mulch-colored LB4T ships in Decembers at a suggested $319. The GS4 ground retails at a suggested $29.

Phase Technology: The MSE Audio brand is updating its CI series of flush-mount high-end in-ceiling and in-wall speakers, which have been redesigned with a built-in mounting flange and a microflange grille with nearly invisible bezel. The price has been reduced to $130 to $250 each. The new series consists of three in-ceiling models and three in-wall models, including a surround model.

Pro Audio Technology: The company is bringing down the opening price of its architectural subs with the 12-inch 700-watt LFC-12v, which can be driven by any of the company’s three amplifier/DSP processors.

The cabinet is only 6 inches deep and 14 inches wide to fit into a standard stud bay. Maximum output is 117dB.

Companion amp/processors can be used with proprietary software to tune the speaker to a room.

Rockustics: The MSE Audio brand is bringing three new outdoor speakers. They are the redesigned Surround Stone 5 and 8 and the XT-Power Rock. The omnidirectional Surround Stone speakers have been redesigned for more uniform sound, tighter bass response and improved weatherproofing. They also get a transformer option for commercial applications. The two Surround Stones are 5.25-inch and 8-inch coaxial models.

The XT-PowerRock is a high-power, two-way outdoor speaker with 8-inch woofer and 1.3-inch high-frequency diaphragm with 1-inch throat on an 80-degree conical horn. Power handling is 250 watts. A 120 watt transformer with 8 ohm bypass is included.

Russound: The company plans fourth-quarter shipments of eight Acclaim series models with bezel-less design and choice of round or square grilles for ceiling or in-wall installs. All are two-way models that feature shallower mounting depths than their predecessors, thanks to an inverted motor design and thin but powerful neodymium N40 woofer magnets.

Per pair prices start at $139/pair and range up to $379. Per-speaker prices range from $219 each to $359 each. And the single-point stereo model is $129 each.


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