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 price points.
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 8x40-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 8x40-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.