Wisdom Audio Offers More ‘Insight’ to Architectural Speakers
Known for its high-performance architectural loudspeakers, Wisdom Audio recently rolled out its Insight Series that brings greater affordability with little compromise on quality.
We’ve been documenting the audio category’s big return as a thriving market recently, as more and more integrators provide anecdotal evidence of homeowners’ quest for higher-quality sound solutions.
One category that may get overlooked these days with the new-construction market still down is architectural loudspeakers. In-walls and in-ceilings were all the rage when integrators were outfitting new homes left and right, but today it’s more about retrofitting rooms that tend to lean on freestanding speaker solutions.
However, there’s no denying that homeowners’ tech priorities still involve three crucial elements: value, performance and aesthetics. Renowned for their architectural speaker offerings, Wisdom Audio can now say that it has all three of those elements with the recent introduction of its Insight Series.
Wisdom gave installers good audio food for thought during its demonstrations at CEDIA Expo 2012, when it showed off the combination of trickle-down technology from its higher-cost Sage Series and features such as the new thin-film planar-magnetic drivers and moving coil woofers incorporated into the Insight Series. The in-wall Insight speaker models include: P2i two-woofer point source planar-magnetic hybrid ($1,250 ea); P4i four-woofer version ($1,750 ea); P6i MTM point source planar-magnetic hybrid ($3,000 each) and L8i 48-inch line source version ($5,000 each).
The introduction of the Series gives integrators more options to present both value and performance, while heeding homeowners’ interior design demands, as they consider perhaps remodeling a living room or bonus room into a two-channel listening room or multi-channel media room. Wisdom Audio president Mark Glazier presented the demo with enthusiasm at CEDIA, underscoring the expanded customer reach that Insight can potentially give installers.
“It’s lower cost than our Sage and Wisdom series, but has all new planar drivers whose purpose was built for this system,” says Glazier, whose demo of most of the lineup was connected to an Integra pre/pro and SA2 Wisdom amp on the front end. “Just like most of the speakers sold today, so can the Insight Series be driven with an A/V receiver or other traditional components.”
According to Wisdom, unlike its other speakers the Insight Series contains traditional passive crossovers to allow use with single amplifier channels per speaker.
In terms of performance, the demo effectively showed the Insight Series’ clarity, depth and weight—even when the P4i’s were accidentally playing without a subwoofer, there was still some nice low-end sound to them, and on one particular piano piece you could have closed your eyes and thought the pianist was taking center stage in the room itself.
“Our partners have been asking us to address the needs of their broader client bases, while maintaining our commitment to employ the superior performance of planar magnetic transducers,” Glazier says. “We have also heeded the request to develop a better way to install in-wall speakers in the field. ... Wisdom Audio will never compete at the lowest price levels in the market, but the performance and installation system our engineering team has been able to create at competitive price points is truly unparalleled and needs to be seen and heard.”
Other feature highlights include: the Uni-grip system that clamps the wall along the length of the speaker via actuator screws on the front panel; and that the 2mm-thin grille is held in place magnetically and can be ordered in custom lengths to match display heights and widths. Both illustrate the company’s attention to build quality and micro details.
Glazier, who says the company uses more parts made in America than other architectural speaker companies, points to Wisdom’s heritage in taking architectural speakers to levels that more rival top-of-the-line freestanding speakers that afforded the company the opportunity to bring a more accessible line like Insight to market.
“If you look at cars, Chevy makes a sports car and other companies make architectural speakers; but for Porsche all they do is make sports cars so that’s what they know how to do ... and architectural speakers is all that we do.”
Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want read more about? Email Arlen at [email protected]
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