NEW YORK –
Some old audio brands — Audio Pro and Acurus — have returned to the U.S. market.
Swedish brand Audio Pro is imported and marketed by Minneapolis-based Group Madsen, which also imports and markets the Canton audio brand. Audio Pro has had U.S. distribution in the past at times but not in many years, Group Madsen owner Paul Madsen told TWICE.
Acurus is owned by Indianapolis-based Indy Audio Labs, which is also working on relaunching the Aragon brand. Both brands were acquired in 2009 from Klipsch Group, which purchased them in late 2000 from Mondial Designs. The Acurus brand, launched in 1993, has been out of production since 2001, and the Aragon brand has been out of production since 2005, said Dion Longworth, Indy Audio Labs director of product development.
After Indy acquired the two brands in 2009, the company engaged in fundraising and limited product development, then closed on its startup capital in March 2011. With that, Longworth said, “we were able to focus 100 percent on product development and have been working hard on launching new lines of Acurus and Aragon ever since.”
At Audio Pro, the focus is on high-end active computer speakers and active wireless speakers, which can be used to create a wireless multi-room-audio system whose source is a PC or any other music-storing device. Wireless speakers range in price from $329 to $2,000/pair, and wireless singlechassis speakers are priced from $600 to $750. USB-connected PC speakers start at $329 and range up to $599 in price for a 2.1 system. A pair of clock radios is also part of the brand’s lineup at $249 and $299.
Audio Pro’s “initial claim to fame in the U.S. was in subwoofers,” said Madsen. “Audio Pro developed the first highperformance, smaller cabinet subwoofers long before the home theater market existed.” The company, founded in 1978, launched a patented ACE (amplifier controlled euphonic bass) Bass subwoofers at International CES in Chicago around in 1981, he continued. “The Audio Pro B-250 was the model that put them on the map.”
Since then, Audio Pro has been “a significant factor in the European audio and home theater loudspeaker business,” Madsen said.
Audio Pro product-line highlights include the LV series of high-performance, active wireless loudspeakers, he said. The LV series, “while clearly targeted to people who store music on their computers,” enables consumers to create a wireless whole-house music using any musicstorage device, such as a tablet, as the source, Madsen said. An almost infinite number of speakers can be added to the system, he added. “Your only limitation is distance, which in an ideal world is 100 meters (328 feet).” In most homes, the usable distance will be 150 feet to 50 feet depending on construction, he said.
Audio Pro’s wireless technology will support up to three different sources, each requiring its own wireless transmitter.
For its part, Indy Audio Labs positions the Acurus brand as a high-performance, highvalue brand. The first Acurus products in 10 years, shown at the CEDIA Expo, are three amplifiers in the A2000 amplifier series. They are the 2x200-watt A2002, 5x200- watt A2005, and 7x200-watt A2007 in black-anodized aluminum chassis. The former is shipping with THX Ultra2 certification at $2,499; the latter two ship in November at $3,499 and $3,999, respectively.
The A2000 series amplifiers were developed with electronic systems contractors in mind, the company said. Each model features an Ethernet port and web-page server, enabling remote diagnostics from any device with a web browser. Each unit also includes a serial port compatible with popular home control systems, an external trigger input for remote on/off operation, and white back panels to ease hookup in a dimly-lit rack system.
Also at the Expo, Acurus showed a pre-production version of the Acurus Act 4 preamplifier/ processor, available for order in the first quarter. The Act 4 will feature Ethernet port to directly control and monitor other Acurus amplifiers in the system.