New York — Berlin-based Raumfeld will bring its high-resolution wireless multiroom-audio speakers to the U.S. on Sept. 1 through its online store, Amazon and eBay.
Raumfeld, owned by Berlin Acoustics Group, eventually plans to open company-owned stores in the U.S.
Raumfeld is targeting “boys who have grown out of Sonos shoes,” said chief marketing officer Sascha Mallah. “We are focusing on grown-up music lovers with quality of sound and materials.” The products incorporate “the best of Teufel Audio,” a hi-fi company also owned by privately held Berlin Acoustics Group.
To appeal to its target customers, Raumfeld will offer active multiroom, multizone speakers ranging from compact one-piece tabletop models to stereo pairs that include a large bookshelf pair and a floorstanding speaker pair. Raumfeld’s wireless technology will also appear in a soundbar and a stand-alone network player that connects to existing sound systems.
All products will stream high-resolution audio files up to 192kHz/24 bits, access a variety of music services including Tidal’s CD-quality service, and use coaxial drivers to retain sonic detail and deliver wider imaging, the company said. They’re tuned to deliver linear response, and stereo pairs will feature wood cabinets.
Also to enhance sound quality, the company will offer an optional device that creates a dedicated Raumfeld network if a home’s Wi-Fi network has stability problems.
Raumfeld is also considering the addition of high-res DSD-file playback and support for Meridian’s high-resolution MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology, which delivers higher sound quality in smaller files at lower bit rates than today’s high-resolution music formats.
The company is coming to the U.S. because the U.S. economy is growing, U.S. consumers have embraced wireless multiroom audio, and the company has multiple years of expertise and customer feedback under its belt since its European launch. “Now it’s time to separate the boys from the men with grown-up sound and grown-up design,” he said.
The company is carrying over its direct-to-consumer distribution strategy from Europe so it can offer a great value to consumers and get direct feedback from customers, Mallah said. The brand is also in a handful of high-end department stores in Europe, including Harrods in London.
Because consumers don’t have a way to audition speakers purchased online, Raumfeld offers a two-month trial period, extendable to three, with a full refund if the speakers are returned. Consumers who register their purchase get the third month. Consumers who buy through Amazon will get Amazon’s standard four-week trial period, which is what’s offered to TV purchasers.
To promote the brand, Raumfeld plans online and print ads, co-promotions with online streaming services, and participation in consumer events, such as next year’s SXSW.
To support the products, Raumfeld will set up a U.S. service center, call center, a warehouse in Los Angeles and a U.S. office on one of the coasts.
The products will stream audio from networked PCs and NAS drives, networked mobile devices, and devices plugged into a speaker via USB or line input, including turntables. The company’s iOS and Android apps will aggregate all networked content and content stored on USB-connected devices.
Each speaker will also access the Cloud directly to stream music from Spotify, Tidal, Rhapsody, Sound Cloud and TuneIn, with others to come. They also feature Spotify Connect technology.
Each model is available in white or black matte, with all but the opening-price model featuring cast aluminum accents. All come with four preset buttons so consumers can choose a Cloud service or playlist without launching a smartphone or tablet app.
The speakers consist of the following, all with Class D amplification:
--the mono $249 1S with coaxial driver, two passive radiators, water-repellant coating for use in kitchens and bathrooms, and ability to pair with another S1 to deliver stereo;
--the $599 1M one-piece stereo speaker that resembles a table radio and features downfiring subwoofer;
--the $649/pair bass-reflex Stereo Cubes, consisting of a passive slave that connects via cable to an active master;
--the $1,399/pair Stereo M bookshelf pair with 6-inch woofer, 320-watt amp and magnet-mount grille; and
--the flagship three-way Stereo L floorstanding speaker at $2,399/pair with 400-watt amplification and option to connect a component amp to drive the system.
The soundbar, whose pricing was unavailable, incorporates Sonic Emotion’s wave-field synthesis technology to widen the sound stage and deliver a room-wide sweet spot. The bar will come with a companion subwoofer that is flat and wide for horizontal placement in a cabinet or under a couch, but it can also be placed vertically.
--the $299 Connector, which connects to existing sound systems via analog or digital outputs
--and the $89 Xpand, which is free with purchases exceeding $599 and creates a Raumfeld-dedicated network.
The products incorporate Wi-Fi b/g/n and Raumfeld’s patented sync technology to sync the arrival times of music from room to room. Raumfeld does its own R&D and design.