LAS VEGAS —
Rockford Corp. unveiled the high-end
Brax line of automotive amplifiers and speakers at International
CES along with the Helix brand of high-performance
amps and speakers at entry-level to high-end
Late last year, Rockford announced that it acquired
the exclusive North American distribution rights to the
two brands, owned by German’s Audiotec Fischer.
The new brands overlap only slightly with the company’s
Rockford-Fosgate brand and will enable Rockford
Corp. 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.
Independent mobile electronics retailers are “screaming”
for high-end brands with “marketing muscle” behind
them, Aquilini said of the introductions. For both
new 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.
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 products include an amplifier/digital signal
processor (DSP) intended for use with factory head
units and speakers. The 8×40-watt PP50 is designed
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. The
amp PP50 can also be used with aftermarket speakers.
With the DSP system, installers download acousticcorrection
algorithms for a specific vehicle via the web
in 90 seconds, then side-load them to an SD memory
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.
The amp/processor, which dealers can order as
needed, is the $549-suggested PP50 with 8×40-watt
amp. It connects to an OEM system’s speaker-level outputs.
The device ships at the end of January, at which
time tuning algorithms for the top-selling 20 to 25 vehicles
will be available. By April’s end, algorithms will
be available for 45 to 50 vehicles.
For OEM systems that lack bass output, Helix is also
offered with a bundled PP7E 7-inch subwoofer at $799.