Nortek’s Core Brands Selects New Protocol for Wireless Multiroom Audio

Parent of Niles, Sunfire, SpeakerCraft and Proficient audio brands picks Eleven Engineering for forthcoming wireless audio products.

Eleven Engineering's' SKAA wireless audio developers' kit.
Julie Jacobson · May 21, 2013

Core Brands, LLC, part of the Technology Solutions Group of Nortek, Inc. (Nasdaq: NTK) will launch a line of wireless audio products later this year using technology from Eleven Engineering.

Core Brands – parent of audio subsidiaries Niles, Sunfire, SpeakerCraft, Aton and Proficient Audio – has never really had a coherent wireless audio strategy.

Speaker manufacturers SpeakerCraft and Proficient have toyed with multiroom solutions but their Synergi and Zero products, respectively, were put on hold.

Core Brands officials have not yet been reached for comment, but a press release indicates the group will “deliver a range of consumer electronics products for mobile devices, computers and more ….”

The wireless audio technology is based on a relatively new wireless protocol, called SKAA, from Eleven Engineering.

According to Eleven Engineering’s Web site, SKAA “is the new wireless hifi audio standard created specifically for personal portable devices.”

The technology was introduced back in 2010 but apparently hasn’t had any name-brand CE implementers until now. All I could find was a SKAA-enabled prototype DAC from NuForce; however the Website lists “partner companies” Artison, Boston Acoustics and Soundcast.

Artison’s MusicLites speaker/LED lights utilized technology from Eleven Engineering, but that product didn’t last long.

SKAA operates in the crowded 2.4 GHz band, but coexists nicely with the myriad other devices in that band because of EE’s patented Walking Frequency Diversity (WFD), which provides a “unique combination of both excellent Coexistence and Quality of Service.”

Eleven claims these key features of the SKAA “standard”:

  • 100% partner brand interoperability
  • Low power consumption
  • Low latency
  • Excellent fidelity of sound
  • An ability to bond to up to four separate receiver nodes, thereby enabling true stereo and wireless subwoofer configurations, as well as multi-user social interaction.

What, no WiSA?

Most of the buzz on wireless audio these days concerns the newish Wireless Sound and Audio
(WiSA) “standard” based on technology from Summit Semiconductor.

Sharp, for instance, is promoting WiSA heavily neither it or the other big-name supporters have announced any products or roadmaps for the technology.

In any case, WiSA is a whole different animal compared to SKAA.

Utilizing the 5 GHz band, WiSA is meant for single-room 7.1-channel audio. SKAA, on the other hand, is touted as a multiroom solution.

Secure Your Free Pass to CEDIA EXPO 2019

Register before Sept. 2 to gain free access to the opening keynote, product training & education series as well as the show floor including Innovation Alley and much more. Don’t miss your chance. Sign up today.

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at

Follow Julie on social media:
Twitter · LinkedIn · Google+

Julie also participates in these groups:
LinkedIn · Google+

View Julie Jacobson's complete profile.

  Article Topics

News · Core Brands · Niles · Nortek · Proficient Audio · SKAA · SpeakerCraft · All Topics
CE Pro Magazine

Read More Articles Like This… With A Free Subscription

CE Pro magazine is the resource you need to keep up-to-date on the latest products, techniques, designs and business practices. Subscribe today!

Subscribe Today!