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Custom Speakers: New Names Appear As Bezels Disappear

Indianapolis – Some
new names and new technologies appeared in custom-installed speakers at the
CEDIA Expo, where the selection of bezel-less and narrow-bezel speakers also grew.

At the show:

  • Krell, startup
    GoldenEar and Savant launched their first architectural speakers.

  • Monitor Audio showed
    its first bezel-less speakers.

  • Niles and
    SpeakerCraft expanded their selections of bezel-less speakers.

  • Solus/Clements
    Loudspeakers unveiled the industry’s first in-wall and in-ceiling speakers
    incorporating its H-PAS bass-extension technology.

  • Phase Technology
    launched 16-ohm installed speakers, enabling installers to run multiple
    speakers in parallel in a large zone.

Here’s what
attendees found at select booths:

Krell: The company
brought its speaker technology to architectural speakers for the first time
with the $5,000-each on-wall/in-wall Modulari Ion, which incorporates
technologies from the company’s reference in-room Modulari Duo.

The company is
considering more in-wall/on-wall speakers and other architectural models.

The Ion, sized at
32 inches by 9.5 inches by 6 inches, can be installed in horizontal or vertical
modes because of its driver array. As an in-wall, it extends past the wall by
the same distance as most standard flat-panel TVs, the company said.

The tweeters go
out to 64kHz. Woofers are positioned ahead of the tweeters to achieve time
alignment between the woofer and tweeter.

They were built
for Krell by Leon Speakers.

Monitor Audio: New
CWT series in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are the brand’s first with
trim-less, or bezel-less, design and low-profile grilles for unobtrusive

Also new: an
addition to the brand’s line of SoundFrame on-wall/in-wall speakers, which are
designed to look like modern-styles picture frames for custom-printed artwork.

In the CWT series,
all models feature technologies from the company’s high-end in-room speakers,
which are voice-matched to their custom counterparts. Three models are
available — 4-, 6- and 8-inch — and each can be used with a square or round
grille for in-wall or in-ceiling installs. They’re priced at $150, $210 and
$270 each, respectively.

All CWT models are
less than 4 inches deep, and size has been reduced 25 percent compared with
other models with the same-size drivers. Grilles are held in place by neodymium

Technologies included
from the company’s in-room speakers are C-CAM gold dome tweeters, which boost
frequency response beyond 20kHz. The tweeters pivot up to 15 degrees in all
directions toward the listening space to provide ideal imaging and reduce
unwanted reflections when installed close to corners or wall boundaries.

In the SoundFrame
series, Monitor is adding the two-way SoundFrame 3 at a suggested $399 each. It
features pivoting C-CAM 1-inch tweeter and a 4-inch bass/mid driver. It’s
intended primarily as a surround speaker but can be used with or without a subwoofer
for front-channel home-theater use or multi-room-audio installs.

cabinets are available in matte white or black with black or white grilles and black
or white piano-lacquer frames. A paintable version has matt-white cabinet,
matt-white frame and white-cloth grille frame. Color grille options are available.

Monitor has
contracted with a printing company to offer custom-printed artwork for the

Phase Technology:
The company launched its first 16-ohm in-ceiling speakers, enabling integrators
to run multiple speakers in parallel in a large single zone in classrooms and
restaurants. Eight speakers can be run in stereo, or four speakers can be run
in mono, presenting a 4-ohm load to an amplifier, the company said.

The speakers can
also be installed in parallel in homes with large rooms, making it unnecessary
to wire speakers in series/parallel to manage loads, said sales VP Duke Ducoff
of parent MSE Audio. Residential installers have been asking for 16-ohm
speakers, which are also available from commercial-audio companies, Ducoff

The 16-ohm
speakers are an alternative to 70-volt speakers commonly used in larger
commercial installs and requiring the installation of 70-volt transformers, he

Unless the speakers
for 70-volt systems incorporate very large transformers in their back cans, the
systems experience high insertion loss and a loss of frequency response at the
high and low ends, he explained. And 70-volt amps are primarily mono, requiring
two to drive a stereo zone.

The C1520, CI 620
and CI 820 are two-way coaxial ported speakers with integrated back cans
feature 5-, 6- and 8-inch woofers, respectively. They’re expected to ship in
December at suggested retails of $328, $392 and $432 each. All feature a
dispersion ring to deliver wide off-axis high- and mid-frequency coverage.

Savant Systems:
The home-control and multi-room-audio supplier entered the custom-speaker
market with a full range of models designed by Bay Audio.

With the launch,
the company will offer a complete multi-room-audio solution consisting of
speakers, a multi-room-audio controller/processor, and a 16-channel amplifier,
which was introduced earlier this year.

The new speakers
consist of four in-wall models, four in-ceiling models, an in-wall subwoofer
and related mounting accessories. Details were unavailable.

SpeakerCraft: The
company expanded its selection of bezel-less in-wall and in-ceiling speakers
with magnet-mount grilles to deliver a less-obtrusive look.

The company showed
30 new models to complement the eight original models unveiled last year. The
30 will ship in the fourth quarter, with another 10 to come in the first

The original eight
were priced from $199 to $699 each, and when the line is complete, the price
range will expand upwards to $1,049 each.

Profile speakers
are available with a choice of square and round grilles.

Wisdom Audio: The
company showed the first two models in a new planar-magnetic in-wall speaker
series called Insight, which will reduce the opening price points for the
company’s planar-magnetic architectural speakers to a range of around a
suggested $1,000 each from a current $2,250 each.

The Insight series
will range in price up to about $5,000 each and will ship sometime later this

The speakers will
use a new planar magnetic design said to allow for greater efficiency and power
handling.  They’ll “establish an entirely
new level of performance at their price points,” said president Mark Glazier.

The company’s
current selection of planar-magnetic in-wall speakers range in price from
$2,250 to $40,000 each and will remain in the company’s selection.