Klipsch Revives The Stereo Console

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Klipsch is reintroducing the stereo console of the ’50s and ’60s with technology from the 21st century.

The furniture-grade hand-built Klipsch Console, designed for serious music listening as well as for TVaudio playback, features built-in 2.1-channel sound system, Apple AirPlay technology, and a USB port that charges mobile devices as well as captures an iPod’s audio in digital PCM form for playback.

The Console, expected to retail for around $6,000 when it ships in the third quarter, will “help redefine how people enjoy high fidelity,” said Klispch Group product development VP Mark Casavant. It will deliver the high output (close to 120dB) and clarity of Klipsch speakers as well as bass response down to 20Hz through a speaker array consisting of two 12-inch opposing powered subwoofers, 10-inch midbass drivers, and 1.75-inch high-frequency/midrange Tratrix horn-loaded driver with sensitivity of 100dB at 1 watt/1 meter. The speaker array will be tri-amplified and powered by amps that might deliver as many as 1,000 watts total when system design is finalized.

The Console will incorporate Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoders to decode soundtracks received through its optical digital input and HDMI port. It might also feature a virtual-surround setting when all details are finalized, but the unit’s speaker configuration will nonetheless deliver an expansive soundfield, Casavant said. It will not incorporate Blu-ray player.

Also to enhance sound quality, the Console features digital crossovers, DSP control of the drivers, and digital equalization.

The speakers, electronics and amplification will be housed in a compact console said to have elegant proportions at around 30.75 inches by 50 inches by 16 inches.

The console also makes room for such components as a cable box or Blu-ray player behind a door that swings up and in. Piano-black and wood-veneer finishes are under consideration.

“Most consoles from the ’60s combined TVs, AM/FM tuners and turntables with tube amps in wood cabinets designed more for a mass market that wanted both simplicity with the new ‘stereo’ music entertainment options and compactness for smaller living rooms in houses built in the post WWII era,” said training manager Phil Hatch. “Once color TVs took over, and many TV styles became more portable in the 1970’s with less ornate cabinet models designed to be stand-placed, the console started to lose its influence as houses and their “living rooms’ became larger and stereos became separates,” he continued.

“Today with smaller living spaces and the ‘flat-panel’ TV creating an aesthetic opportunity that did not exist with gigantic tube and projection TV sets, we see a real opportunity for a resurgence of the console concept,” he continued. Empty nesters “would appreciate the appeal of a beautiful piece of quality furniture that also greatly simplifies the complexity of today’s confusing technology options in one, simple solution that allows them to both hear clearly their video entertainment and enjoy listening to their favorite music with passion,” he said.


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