Las Vegas -
. unveiled its high-end
line of automotive amplifiers and speakers at International CES along with the
brand of high-performance amps and speakers at entry-level to high-end price points.
The new brands, both developed by mobile-audio supplier Audiotec Fischer of Germany, overlap only slightly with the company's
brand and will enable Rockford to sell to additional dealers via separate franchise agreements, said Brax/Helix sales director Dominick Aquilini. Most products will ship by mid-January.
Brax is positioned as a luxury brand, and Helix is the "baby brother" comparable to a lower-priced series in the BMW line of cars, Aquilini said.
The products includes a Helix-branded amplifier/digital signal processor (DSP) intended for use with factory head units and speakers to upgrade OEM sound quality by adding higher power and by tuning the sound to a car's interior -- but without the need for a microphone and pink-noise generator to tune the system. The amp/processor can also be used with aftermarket speakers.
With the DSP system, installers download acoustic-correction algorithms for a specific vehicle via the web in 90 seconds, then side-load them to an SD card that would be plugged into the system. If an algorithm is unavailable for a specific vehicle, installers will be able to hand-tune the audio system, he said.
Independent mobile electronics retailers are "screaming" for high-end brands with "marketing muscle" behind them, Aquilini said of the introductions.
For both brands, customer and dealer support will be handled separately from Rockford-Fosgate.
Helix speakers range from $99 to $249 per pair for two-way and three-way speakers and run to $1,099/pair for component speakers. Helix amps range in price from $899 to $1,200. Subwoofer pricing was unavailable.
The more limited Brax selection includes two component-speaker systems at $2,199 for a two-way model and $3,499 for a three-way model. Four Brax amps are priced from $1,999 to $3,499.
The Helix amp/processor is the PP50 with 8x40-watt amp and DSP. It connects to an OEM audio system's speaker-level outputs. The amp/processor will ship at the end of January, at which time tuning algorithms for the top-selling 20 to 25 vehicles will be available. By the end of April, algorithms will be available for 45 to 50 vehicles.
Dealers don't have to stock the amp/processor but will be able to order it as needed.
For use with the PP50 in OEM systems that lack bass output, Helix comes with a compact enclosed PP7E 7-inch subwoofer. The price for the PP50 is $549. A PP50-subwoofer bundle is $799.
Late last year, Rockford announced that it acquired the exclusive North American distribution rights to the German Brax and Helix mobile-audio brands, owned by Audiotec Fischer of Germany.