Leon’s Horizon OTO is ‘First Powered Soundbar for the Custom Channel’
Less than two inches deep, new Horizon OTO 2x50 soundbar from Leon Speakers can be created in five days to match a display's depth, width and finish.
Leon Speakers says its new Horizon OTO is the “first powered soundbar for the custom channel.” The 2 x 50-watt unit, like other custom Leon speakers, is handmade in the company’s Ann Arbor, Mich., shop to match any flat screen TV.
Less than two inches deep, the speakers can be finished in five days in the same depth, width and finish of the specified display.
“It’s built like a Leon in every respect,” says Leon marketing director Ethan Kaplan, who adds that if another company is making custom-made powered soundbars, he hasn’t seen it.
While Leon is best known for its custom-made TV-matching speakers, the company may well be regarded as the innovator of soundbars.
“10 years ago we kind of invented the soundbar with the Horizon LCR,” says Kaplan. “We were the first to put three channels in a single bar and mount it on a TV.”
It was 11 years ago, actually, when Leon sold its first sound bar, which “couldn’t be a bigger category” today, Kaplan says.
The Origin of OTO
The OTO brand stands for “one-to-one,” a Leon philosophy that says the company is “all about the direct connection between us and our dealer base,” says Ethan Kaplan. “We approach product design from a solutions standpoint, which makes that connection and feedback loop extremely important.”
But there’s more to OTO, says Kaplan. “There’s one connection from the TV source, one to the wall/outlet and you’re done.”
By the way, “oto” in Japanese means “sound.”
The HzOTO is Leon’s first foray into active speakers and is just a hint of the “future of what we can build.”
Working with a “high-end amp manufacturer,” Leon expects to power other speakers, including (some day) the sound sculptures that currently consume Leon president and artist Noah Kaplan.
“It’s really a platform,” Ethan Kaplan says, noting that the HzOTO soundbar has provisions for streaming wirelessly to a subwoofer.
Featuring a digital optical input, the speaker decodes Dolby Digital and PCM. An analog stereo input makes it easy integrate with other components. A rear IR input jack and front panel IR receiver can be tied into a control system, while the front capacitive touchpanel and included remote provide auxiliary control.
Here are a few details from Leon (more on page 2):
At less than 2-inches deep and only 4.5-inches tall, the Horizon HzOTO is purposefully designed for ultra slim TVs. Its small form factor and shallow depth make it ideal for modern displays in any environment, from living rooms to bedrooms and boardrooms. The sleek soundbar also features a new, enhanced audio platform, pairing 3” aluminum cone woofers with cloth-dome tweeters to offer uncompromising, focused sound reproduction. The rear-ported design allows the speaker to develop impressive bass response down to 70Hz, unprecedented for the size of its enclosure. If more bass is a requirement, an internal wireless transmitter will pair with Leon’s new wireless subwoofer receiver (sold separately) to easily add any of Leon’s Aaros Series subs to the system.
Leon will take preorders for HzOTO soundbars on October 1, and plans to ship by the end of October. Pricing starts at less than $3,000 “retail.”
Visit Leon and check out its full range of speakers at CEDIA Expo 2013 at booth 3620.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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