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Niles Broadens Home Theater, In-Ceiling Lines

DENVER — Niles is launching a major expansion into home theater speakers, significantly expanding and upgrading its selection of in-ceiling speakers, and offering new options for its IntelliControl ICS multi-room audio system.

All told, the company is unveiling more than 100 new products at the show.

In home theater speakers, the company is launching 13 in-wall and freestanding models in the StageFront Home Theater Solutions series. In the in-ceiling market, the company is expanding its selection to 26 speakers from 15 in five series that include six models that are dedicated for center-channel or surround applications.

The in-ceiling models, targeted to the fastest growing segment of the architectural speaker market, include the company’s first in-ceiling models with three-way design, first two in-ceiling subwoofers, first two center-channel models, first to masquerade as an in-ceiling light fixture, first with patented twist-and-click installation, and first with woofers integrated into the baffle to boost bass output without boosting their footprint.

The in-ceiling selection includes nine Directed Soundfield models with independently pivoting woofers and tweeters to focus sound directly into the listening area. Niles is applying Directed Soundfield design for the first time to an in-ceiling center channel and to dedicated in-ceiling surrounds.

Suggested retail prices of the in-ceiling models, due early 2007, range from $174 to $1,999 per pair for models excluding the subs and single-speaker stereo-input models, which uses dual tweeters and one woofer to deliver stereo from a single speaker.

The five in-ceiling series are the:

  • CM6, anchoring the opening price points of $175 and $225 per pair, both with 6-inch woofers;
  • CM7, all with 7-inch woofers and most with tweeters that pivot up to 20 degrees. They range in price from $200 to $450/pair and include two dedicated surrounds with switchable bipole/dipole operation and three single-speaker stereo-input models;
  • CM7DS, all Directed Soundfield models with 7-inch woofers and independently pivoting woofers and tweeters at $400-$850/pair. They include two dedicated center channels with dual tweeters and one woofer and two dedicated surround speakers with one woofer, dual tweeters and switchable bipole/dipole operation. A single stereo-input model is priced at a suggested $350 each;
  • the top-end CM9 series, all consisting of three-way models with 9-inch woofers, 2-inch dome midranges, and pivoting midrange/tweeter assembly at $1,000-$2,000/pair, and
  • CM9 subwoofer series, consisting of two passive models with 9-inch driver and switchable high- and low-pass filters at $250 and $300 each.

In its StageFront Home Theater series, the company unveiled six in-wall models and seven freestanding box speakers, all sonically matched and due in December. The box speakers are Niles’s highest performance freestanding speakers to date.

Niles promises to further enhance its home theater profile with specialized home theater electronics “shortly thereafter.”

The six in-wall home theater speakers are all enclosed to deliver consistent performance no matter where they’re installed. They include two LCRs at $499 and $599 each with tweeter flanked by a woofer on either side to control dispersion and allow for horizontal or vertical mounting. Two other LCRs at $899 and $1,199 each feature pivoting/rotating midrange/tweeter pod flanked on either side by a woofer to allow for horizontal or vertical mounting and more flexible mounting locations. Two dedicated surrounds at $699 and $1,199 each feature switchable bipole-dipole operation. The former features forward-firing 6-inch woofer and tweeter and two angled baffles, each with a 3.4-inch full-range driver. The step up adds 7-inch forward woofer and angled baffles with 4-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter.

The enclosed speakers consist of four LCR models, two dedicated on-wall surrounds, and a powered subwoofer. All satellite models are three-way models with pivoting/rotating pod housing a tweeter/midrange combo. Pricing ranges from $799 each to $1,499 each in LCRs, $1,099 and $1,299 for the two surrounds, and $1,799 for 1,000-watt powered sub.

In other announcements, the company is launching multiple options for its IntelliControl ICS multi-room audio system, based on the modular GXR2 six-source, six-zone 12-channel receiver. The options include:

  • Niles’ next-generation iPod docking system, enabling iPod control from an ICS system’s in-wall controllers;
  • two interface modules to integrate for the first time with other-brand devices. The RS-232 module is hard-coded to integrate Lutron Radio Ra and Graphic Eye lighting systems and Escient and ReQuest music servers, but Niles will publish the module’s specs so RS232 programmers can integrate other devices;
  • An IP module allows integration with IP-based devices such digital media adapters that stream music from a PC’s HDD or from Internet radio stations, and
  • An HD Radio tuner module, due in early 2007 and said to be the first HD Radio tuner to display datacast text to a wireless handheld remote, the iRemote.

Also new are the company’s first nine CAT-5 signal extenders, all passive models to extend CAT-5 cable runs by anywhere from 330 to 2,500 feet depending on the model. Different models ranging in price from $39.95 to $99.95 are intended for audio or video applications, such as delivering digital audio or composite video.