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Teac Continues Pursuit Of Niches

Teac will relaunch its ultra-high-end Esoteric line after an absence of about a decade while expanding its table-radio selection and launching other new products.

The introductions are part of the company’s ongoing strategy to tap new niches, having entered the nostalgia-radio and custom-install markets during the past few years, said Joe D’Angelo, hi-fi group manager.

Teac’s other product categories include upscale small-size Reference series components and mid- to high-end standard-size components.

The Esoteric series will consist initially of a CD transport, a companion D/A converter and a universal SACD/DVD-A/V player. New table radios include a second ’50s-style CD-radio, the company’s first ’50s-style turntable radio, and its first contemporary-style CD radio.

Other new products include a custom-oriented two-zone AM/FM tuner with two tuner sections and the company’s first DVD-receiver, which retailers can pair with speakers of their own choice to create a home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) system.

With the Esoteric series, “We’re returning to a realm that we never deserted outside the U.S.,” D’Angelo said. Teac plans May shipments of the Esoteric DV-50 universal player with MP3-CD playback, Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, CD and DVD-A/V upsampling, SRS TruSurround decoding and progressive scan at $4,999 retail.

The Esoteric CD transport at $7,000 and separate D/A converter at $6,000 are already available. Future Esoteric products will likely be available in 2004, D’Angelo said.

Reference-series prices, by comparison, extend up to about $600 for a home theater receiver.

In custom, the company plans late-May or early-June shipments of the dual-tuner TR-D2000 with RS-232 interface, rack-mount option and dual fluorescent displays at $599 retail. “Retailers say there’s little need for more than two tuners in custom,” D’Angelo said.

The DR-L700 DVD-receiver, just released at $650 retail, features progressive scan, built-in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding and two-channel amplification. A companion three-channel add-on amp is priced at $350. Both feature silver finish.

In nostalgia table radios, the company is expanding its ’50s-style selection to three from one. The original CD radio, with digital clock/alarm, remains in the line at $149, but the new $199 SL-D90 adds electronic tuning, remote, separate bass driver in its own chamber and auxiliary input. Like the first model, it will be available in multiple colors.

Also new in the ’50s line is the company’s first ’50s-style turntable radio, which features three-speed turntable, analog stereo tuner and auxiliary output at $149. It is available now.

Teac is also launching its first contemporary-style table radio with a tentative retail price of either $199 or $249. It ships in September with metal finish, separate chamber for a dedicated bass driver and a raised chassis that emits a blue light from underneath.