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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

image The Soundbar category has quickly risen to become one of the most popular product choices in the consumer audio market. Adding to its array of soundbar choices is the Midwestern audio manufacturer Klipsch which is set to introduce its latest product the HD Theater SB 3 Soundbar.

The HD Theater SB 3 Soundbar is a 2.1 speaker system that includes a wireless subwoofer and a driver array that features a pair of aluminum-dome compression drivers mated to a set of the company's Tractrix horns. The speaker system also incorporates four of the company's 3.5-inch long-throw IMG midrange drivers, and the subwoofer features a 10-inch driver. Internally the HD Theater SB 3 offers Dolby Digital surround sound processing, a choice of analog and digital inputs, and a 3.5mm input to allow homeowners to connect their portable electronics to the speaker.

Klipsch adds the HD Theater SB 3 Soundbar ships with a remote and the system includes provisions for wall mounting.

Monday, September 24, 2012

image As one of the early adopters to the "Apple lifestyle," Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has introduced an array of products that are Apple friendly, including its P3 headphones, MM-1 multimedia speakers and Zeppelin all-in-one speaker systems. Following the footsteps of the company's Zeppelin Air product, B&W has introduced its latest products to incorporate active amplification and Apple AirPlay: the A5 and A7 all-in-one speaker systems.

B&W says the A5 and the A7 allows electronics professionals to set up retrofittable wireless audio systems that incorporate Apple's increasingly popular AirPlay technology. With AirPlay users can wirelessly stream content from their iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches or computers that are running iTunes to these self-contained speaker systems. The flagship A7 incorporates 24-bit/96kHz digital-to-analog convertors (DACs) and a 6-inch woofer that helps the speaker system fill large spaces with sound.

The A5 is a smaller version of the A7 and its smaller footprint allows installers to place the unit in bedrooms, studies and kitchens without taking up too much space within a living space.

Friday, September 21, 2012

image Computer audio is without question one of the hottest categories within the residential audio market. Monitor Audio, a British loudspeaker company well known for its good and affordable line of products is now addressing the computer audio category with the release of its WS100 wireless audio system.

The WS100 system is designed to allow homeowners to play the music that's stored on their computers regardless of whether it's a Mac or PC. The system includes a pair of active, two-way loudspeakers that incorporate on-board amplification and wireless receivers, as well as a USB powered transmitter that distribute the system's wireless audio signals. Monitor says The transmitter works with as many as four pairs of speakers within a 10 meter range to enable authorized Monitor Audio dealers to setup a retrofittable four zone system, and the company also notes that dealers can add another three USB transmitter units to outfit a wireless system with a total of four sources.

Internally the speakers utilize discrete amplifiers for each driver, and the company says that the drivers were developed using technologies and designs from its high-performance traditional speaker products.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

image Soundbars have quickly become one of the most important product categories for loudspeaker manufacturers as speaker companies rush to develop products that serve modern consumers. Joining the rapidly expanding fraternity of soundbar manufacturers is the Kan.-based company MartinLogan.

MartinLogan's new Motion Vision soundbar is an all-in-one, multichannel speaker solution that incorporates three of the company's Folded Motion tweeters and four 4-inch woofers that are reinforced by a pair of rear-firing bass ports that can be adjusted plus or minus 10dB. The company adds the multichannel speaker's bass can be augmented with the addition of one of its wireless subwoofers, and that the speaker has provisions to expedite the integration of one of its wireless subwoofers to make the process of adding a subwoofer easy for CE Pros. Internally the Motion Vision soundbar utilizes 100 watts of total amplification and advanced digital signal processing (DSP) that are designed to replicate the immersion of a traditional home theater system.

The Motion Vision soundbar also includes a choice digital optical and coaxial inputs, as well as analog RCA inputs. Martin also points out the speaker's dimmable LED display can be setup to disappear when the speaker is in use. MartinLogan wraps the speaker in a HDTV friendly gloss black trimmed with aluminum accents to help the speaker cosmetically match a variety of flat-panel TVs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

image The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based speaker Leon Speakers has built a reputation in the custom electronics industry for being able to build just about anything a custom installer needs.

With all the talk of the company's ability to build one-off, custom speakers it is easy to forget that Leon also offers a standard line of products. Recently the company announced that it has redesigned its Vault Series of in-wall loudspeakers, and the company says the newly re-engineered speakers now look better and are easier to install then the previous generation of Vault Series products. The new Vault Series of speakers utilizes sealed MDF enclosures, new crossover designs, and the company says that Leon can custom paint the speakers' grills in house to match the decor of any home.

Some of the Vault Series' other features are a newly designed mounting system and new cosmetics that further enhance the speakers' ability to blend into a residential environment.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

image GTL Sound Labs has been manufacturing loudspeakers since the mid 1970s and recently the company introduced a new product that is designed for applications outside of its traditional architectural loudspeaker products.

GTL's newly launched AP 9651 is a three-way loudspeaker that features cabinets that are CNC cut and finished in a five-step, layer matte black finish to allow it for its use as a stand mounted solution or for other applications such as placement behind an acoustically transparent screen. Internally the 28 inch tall speaker by 14 inch product features a 1-inch tweeter, a 5-inch midrange driver and a 9 inch woofer, and it employs a second-order crossover that works at 700Hz and 4.5kHz.

The company says the speaker is rated as an 8-ohm product and says it is 90dB sensitive. GTL adds the speaker has a frequency response of 30Hz to 20kHz and it handles anywhere from 25 watts to 150 watts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

image Pro Audio Technology's founder Paul Hales was one of the first engineers in consumer audio to take speaker technologies developed for commercial applications and use them for consumer products. Now several years later other companies are following Hales' lead by using technologies like large compression drivers for residential products.

Hales' latest product design is the newly announced four-way SCR-3215sm loudspeaker, and Pro Audio Technology says this new product is designed for placement in large rooms behind acoustically transparent screens. The 7-foot tall, 350 pound speaker incorporates dual 15-inch 1,400-watt woofers that are 102dB sensitive. These woofers utilize 30-pound motor systems and 4-inch voice coils to support the drivers' ability to play at concert volumes without the worry of the driver failing. The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company says the heart of the speaker's midrange and high-end frequency reproduction is a 41-pound high-output compression driver that is said to be 114dB sensitive. The compression driver employs a 7-inch carbon-fiber diaphragm and its dispersion and acoustic power transfer are controlled by a constant directivity horn that includes more than 800 inches of radiating surface. In addition, upper midrange and top-end frequencies are handled by a coaxial compression driver that's mated to a 18-inch by 22-inch horn that provides almost 400 inches of radiating surface.

Pro Audio Technologies adds that when the speaker is mated to its DSP-enabled PMA amplifiers, the speaker can produce sound pressure levels (SPLs) as high as 130dB.

Monday, July 23, 2012

image The San Clemente, Calif.-based company Sonance has shown the ability to design products that incorporate features that installers want in a package that appeals to architects and interior designers.

Sonance's latest product line, the newly announced Invisible Series of loudspeakers are described by company officials as, "the new reference in performance and installation flexibility for invisible loudspeakers." According to the company, this new product line will like its past products appeal to home design professionals and audio enthusiasts. Helping the company to live up to these claims are engineering elements such as the line's amplifier friendly sensitivity ratings; all of the speakers have at least a minimum rating of 88dB and an impedance rating of 8 ohms. The Invisible Series of speakers includes four models: the two-way IS2, the three-way IS4, the single-enclosure, stereo three-way IS4SST and the ISW Woofer.

On the design side of the speaker's engineering ledger, Sonance says the speakers can be installed and concealed with just about any type of building material of 1/8-inch or less that includes topping compound, wall paper or plaster without compromising the performance of the speakers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

image For many people the best way to enjoy the heat of summer is to get outside. The Brea, Calif.-based manufacturer OSD Audio is giving homeowners that enjoy the outdoors a way to combine music and the summer heat without having to spend a lot of money.

The company's new OSD-WPA650 wireless outdoor speakers provide an affordable way to add an outdoor zone of audio to new and existing homes without having to incur the cost of having to pull cables. The two-way loudspeaker features a 6.5-inch polypropylene woofer, 1-inch soft-dome tweeter and a complex crossover network. The main speaker in the wireless solution incorporates a wireless 2.4GHz receiver that has a range of 300 feet. The speaker system's 8-channel transmitter can be connected to a traditional A/V receiver or portable Android and Apple iOS devices.

OSD offers the speakers in a choice of black or white and the wireless speaker solution carries a price tag of $250.

Friday, June 22, 2012

image For years people have either loved or hated the idea of using premium cable products. One company that's tried to take the mysticism out of the cable category to allow people to make educated product decisions is the Hollywood, Fla.-based manufacturer Straight Wire.

The latest speaker cable from the decades-old company is its new Expressivo product. The bi-wireable Expressivo speaker cable incorporates the company's Compressed Conductor Technology (CCT) that utilizes four positive air-suspended 15AWG OFHC copper conductors and multiple low-dielectric insulators that are said to optimize the cable's mechanical and electrical performance. Straight Wire explains the cable's low-resistance design also includes two opposing spiral shields for the negative conductor paths and the company's traditional anti-static micro-fiber braid. Building upon the company's existing Symmetrical Helix design, the Fla.-based manufacturer also points out the speaker cable also combines its CCT technology with the Helix design to give dealer a solution that combines the best attributes of its solid-core and stranded-core conductor products.

In addition, Straight Wire is stepping outside of the speaker cable category's aesthetic limitations and following the lead of the speaker market by offering the cables in a choice of colors to help custom installers meet the color demands of homeowners and interior designers.

Monday, June 04, 2012

image There's no question that style and design have impacted the way that consumers evaluate and ultimately purchase loudspeakers.

Architettura Sonora (AS) is a manufacturer of audio products and the company's Sphere 360 is a unique looking loudspeaker that's engineered to look stylish and perform well in a variety of environments in and around the home. The two-way loudspeaker incorporates a driver array that is capable of reproducing a omni-directional soundstage, and the company says the speaker offers homeowners a full and warm sounding tonal balance indoors or outdoors. The 8-ohm sound module has a nominal impedance of 8 0hms and a rated frequency response of 50Hz to 15kHz. Archittettura Sonora adds the speaker is also 88dB sensitive and its nominal power handling is 100 watts (IEC).

Externally, the 68 pound spherical speaker stands 19 inches high by 14 inches wide, and AS offers the speaker in a choice of marble onyx, travertine, galestro, Tuscan terracotta, alternative stone finishes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

image The Florida-based speaker manufacturer Pinnacle Speakers is known throughout the custom installation world for its value-minded line of in-wall and freestanding speaker products. The company's latest product solution remains in step with Pinnacle's philosophy of value, but it is engineered to provide more than a standard value proposition.

Pinnacle's newly announced Black Diamond Series II loudspeakers are designed to provide electronics professionals with an affordable line of reference level loudspeakers that incorporate features such as neodymium magnet, silk-dome tweeters, die-cast phase plugs on the woofers and midrange drivers and crossover networks that utilize quality coils and mylar capacitors. Externally, the speakers employ 10-layer piano lacquer finishes and curved cabinet designs for most models within the series.

The line of products includes eight models that range from floorstanding, bookshelf and LCR models, and all the products are timbre-matched to enable electronics professionals to mix and match the speakers as needed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

image A recently released study from Futuresource Consulting confirmed something that many electronics dealers already knew: soundbars are popular.

The study finds that sales of soundbar products will continue to grow through 2016 and with products like the newly introduced Wharfedale Achromatic LCR helping to drive these sales, custom installers will have a ever-increasing range of products to solve a variety of home A/V problems. Wharfedale is distributed in the U.S. by the Massachusetts company Sound Import, and the product is designed to provide flat-panel TV owners an affordable sound solution upgrade. The speaker stands just 4.5-inches high and it is finished in a gloss black to complement the bezels of many modern flat-panel televisions.

Internally the all-in-one, left, center and right speaker incorporates six inverted-cone aluminum woofers and three soft-dome tweeters, and Wharfedale says the product is engineered to mount above or below a flat-panel television.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

image A few years ago the Carson City, Nev.-based speaker manufacturer BG Radia introduced its R18 on-wall loudspeaker and it offered electronics installers a versatile and unique solution that could address whole-house and home theater applications.

Recently BG Radia redesigned the speaker to make it more installer friendly. The newly reintroduced R18i is now available and it offers the professional installation market the same benefits as the previous generation product and additional benefits that include increased sensitivity and the ability to play louder. Highlighting some of the work the company did to the speaker, BG Radia is now using new 4-inch woofers and a new Neo8 planar ribbon driver that aid the speaker's increased 3dB sensitivity, increased power handling capabilities and minimized distortion. In addition, the speaker is also said to play 8dB louder than the previous model and through the company's Dispersion Pattern Control (DPC) option, installers or end users can select a diffuse, direct or a combination of the two as the speaker's output. BG says this enables electronics professionals to tailor the speaker's dispersion to its surrounding environment.

BG adds the speaker has an impedance rating of 6 ohms, and a frequency response of 80Hz to 20kHz.

Monday, May 07, 2012

image For years people have been able to download their favorite songs as ringtones, but unless a homeowner owned an exotic electronics system they were never able to treat their home's doorbell answering system with the same level of customization.

The security manufacturer Swann is now providing homeowners with the ability to customize their doorbells with the same level of fun and uniqueness that phone owners enjoy with downloadable ringtones. Swann's new MP3 Doorbell is a wireless doorbell that plays music when a visitor presses a home's doorbell button. Swann says the solution is able to transmit a wireless audio signal up to 165 feet, and it is able to play music stored on SD cards that range up to 32GBs in size. In addition, the company also offers USB connections to allow homeowners the ability to play music stored on their computers.

Other options bundled into the MP3 Doorbell include the ability to use the doorbell as a speaker, as well as a portable audio player. The speaker incorporates built-in controls and Swann packages the solution with music editing software to allow installers or homeowners to manage their music.

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