New York — Niles Audio plans new source units to follow the recent shipment of a sharply expanded speaker selection, which now includes a broader assortment of in-ceiling speakers and lots more freestanding and custom-installed home theater speakers.
The sources include two company firsts, an HD Radio tuner due in 60 days and a music server due this summer. An Internet radio tuner will be shown in prototype form at September’s CEDIA Expo, but no release date has been set, said president Franks Sterns.
The speakers were among more than 100 new products introduced by the company at last September’s CEDIA Expo to give installers more application-specific options and provide more step-up options. In the new StageFront home theater series, for example, in-wall models are priced up to $1,499 each. New in-ceiling speakers outside the StageFront series are priced up to $2,000/pair. New in-wall and in-ceiling subwoofers due in 60 days will round out the speaker introductions. (See TWICE, Sept.11, 2006, p. 32.)
The planned HD Radio tuner is a $350 module that installers insert into the IntelliControl-series $2,799-suggested GXR2 multiroom-audio receiver. The six-source, six-zone 12×60-watt receiver also accepts Sirius and XM tuner modules, an iPod interface module, source-input modules for connecting legacy sources, and an interface card due in May to connect Escient and ReQuest media servers to the receiver. The card will replace an outboard interface box.
The company’s planned DMS-4 music server will also connect to the card. The 160GB server features CD transport and distributes up to four separate streams of music via four analog outputs. The Internet-radio module under development will stream internet radio stations as well as subscription streaming services, Sterns said.
For today’s customers, Niles is shipping the StageFront series of 13 voice-matched freestanding, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers for home theater use. The expanded home theater selection provides Niles with additional sell-though opportunities because most custom jobs include home theater installs as well as multiroom-audio installs, Sterns said.
StageFront was designed to give installers the ability to mix and match speaker types to deal with challenges presented by architects and interior designers, Sterns said. Custom installers are called in to install systems usually after architects and designers have done their jobs, he noted. For the same reason, two in-wall LCRs feature midrange/tweeter pod that installers pivot up or down depending on whether the room’s design requires speakers to be mounting high or low on a wall.
Home theater and distributed-audio are two of four pillars that Niles is building to support sales, Sterns said. The other two pillars are accessories, such as satellite-antenna splitters, and subsystem integration and control, underscored by the RS232G bidirectional gateway module that integrates control of lighting systems. The module adds lighting control to in-wall multiroom-audio keypads connected to the IntelliControl receiver.