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TDK Boosting U.S. Audio Presence

Oakdale, Minn. – The TDK brand
will reenter the U.S. audio-equipment market in a big way in 2011 with the
launch of premium home and portable audio products that include AC/DC boomboxes
priced up to $499, belt-drive turntables up to $399 and a CD-micrsosystem.

Imation already markets
TDK-branded audio gear outside the U.S. and earlier this year

two TDK-brand headphones

in the U.S.

Seven new audio products,
marketed under the

TDK Life on

brand, will leverage TDK’s high brand awareness in the U.S. and the
brand’s still-strong association with high-quality audio, thanks to its years
in the blank-media market, said Steven Swenson, global brand manager for TDK
Life on Record.

All of the products feature
premium finishes and deliver premium hi-fi-quality sound, he said.”We focused
on what people love about analog products — the warmth of sound — and merged
that with modern digital technology,” he continued. The result is a line “that
combines premium sound quality with bold designs and crafted finishes,” he

All products will be available
through select online retailers in January, followed by brick-and-mortar
distribution in the spring. The company is targeting CE chains as well as A/V
specialists for its brick-and-mortar distribution.

The products include a
three-speaker “boombox audio system” priced at $499 and a smaller two-speaker boombox
audio system at $399. Both are AC/DC models with AM/FM tuner and connectivity
to multiple audio sources. The models’ USB Host port streams music from the
digital PCM outputs of a cable-connected iPod/iPhone, which rests face-up on an
inset on top and recharges while connected. The USB port also plays MP3- and
WMA-encoded music streamed from USB drives and hard drives, allowing for song
selection by artist, title, album or genre. Other audio inputs include stereo
RCA inputs, a 3.5mm input, and a quarter-inch input to connect music
instruments for playing along with recorded music.

Both boomboxes eschew a
traditional speaker-dock design to deliver a bolder industrial design, Swenson
said. It’s also easier for consumers to navigate iPods when they hold them in
their hand, he added.

Each boombox features aluminum
handle, gloss-black finish, 2.6-inch four-color display that displays metadata,
bar-type EQ display, capacitive back-lit touch controls, and rotary knobs with
real-aluminum finish to “bring some analog feel to these products,” Swenson

The three-speaker boombox, the
TP-6803, is 15.5 inches by 5.3 inches by 23.6 inches and incorporates 2×10-watt
plus 1×15-watt Class D biamplification, two 6-inch coaxial speakers, and an
active subwoofer for the third speaker. The two-speaker boombox, the $399 TP6802,
offers the same features, finish and coaxial speakers but lacks the active
subwoofer, incorporates lower power amps at 2×10 watts, and features leather
carrying strap as an addition to the integrated aluminum handle. Both models
operate up to 10 to 12 hours at 80 percent power on 12 and 10 D-cell batteries,

A three-piece AC-only Micro Audio
System with a similar industrial design features separate two-way speakers and
a vertical 2.9-inch-wide main unit that incorporates AM/FM tuner, vertical
slot-loading CD player, and 2×20-watt amplifier. Inputs include USB Host that
accepts PCM streams from a USB-connected iPod/iPhone, RCA and 3.5mm analog
inputs, optical and coaxial digital inputs for videogame sources, and an RCA
output to drive a powered subwoofer or second zone. It also plays WMA and MP3
music files from USB drives and hard drives. Pricing was unavailable.

A fourth product is the AC/DC Sound
Cube Audio System, a 13.6-inch by 13.6-inch by 15-inch system with 5.25-inch
coaxial speakers firing from opposite side and two 5.25-inch passive radiators
on the two other opposite sides. The $299 system is equipped with carrying
handle, FM tuner, 2×10-watt Class D amplifier and same inputs as the boomboxes.
It’s designed for placement in the center of a room, enabling sound to reflect
off opposite walls to deliver a wide soundstage, the company said.

The two turntables are belt-drive
models, both with embedded phono preamp and one with USB output and included PC
software to rip vinyl to MP3. They retail for $299 and $399 MAP, respectively.
Both feature gloss-black acrylic finish, bar-type equalizer display in the
acrylic finish, aluminum frame, vibration-isolating feet, and included
cartridge. The 33-1/3/45rpm turntables feature an optical feedback circuit to
automatically deliver the precise rotation speed without manual adjustment.
Their tonearms feature universal head to accommodate almost every type of
standard cartridge.

The sixth new product is an on-ear
stereo headphone, the $249 ST-800.

To promote the products, the
company will sponsor consumer events, place products at events such as
concerts, provide in-store merchandising, and launch a


 in which three music groups – The Strokes, Nas
and The Walkmen – recount their affinity for the TDK brand and their memories
of using cassette tapes to create mix tapes for friends and occasions. The site
goes live in the coming days.

Imation purchased TDK’s
blank-media business in 2007 as part of a corporate strategy to acquire storage
brands and leverage their products and names to generate faster growth. A year
earlier, Imation purchased Memorex.

The TDK brand has been out of the
U.S. audio market for years. In 2003, when the brand was marketed by TDK Corp.
of Japan, TDK-branded MP3 players were launched in the U.S. And earlier in the
decade, TDK offered such consumer electronics products as a component
CD-recorder, home hard-drive juke box, PC speakers and portable MP3-CD player.