B&K Resurrected at CEDIA 2016: ‘Every Product is Innovative in Some Way’

CEDIA 2016 marks the official return of B&K Components, the audio electronics company that closed in 2010. Distributor Sound Developments, which acquired the brand says it “remains well-known.”

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B&K Components is back in business after six years of silence. A leading home-theater and multiroom audio provider in the 1990s, B&K closed shop in 2010, acquired shortly thereafter by Amplifier Technologies Inc. (ATI), Morris Kessler's famed amplifier company.

The brand went dark, though, and we’ve barely heard a peep in six years … until now. Distributor Sound Developments Ltd. picked up the brand and will be demonstrating new amplifiers and pre-amps under the B&K banner at CEDIA 2016.

“This was originally intended to be a ‘house brand’ but ultimately became a separate global entity,” Sound Developments president Barry Wosk tells CE Pro. “We’ve been looking to add an innovative electronics line to our portfolio for more than five years.  We couldn’t find what we wanted, but through that investigative process we stumbled upon an opportunity to license and purchase the B&K brand utilizing our own designs.”

Sound Developments will be the exclusive distributor for Canada and the U.S., and the company is hiring distribution partners internationally. It will be the first time the B&K brand will be available outside North America, according to Wosk.

So far, B&K has confirmed partners in 13 additional countries, including the UK, Germany, France, and Australia.

New B&K Products

“The concept is simple,” says Wosk. “Use well-known designers and factories to help execute innovative designs and feature sets.”

He points to the forthcoming IZA 2.50, a compact 25-watts-per-channel amplifier touted as the “world’s smallest” for the custom installer market.

Wosk says the amp includes features that many competitors do not, especially in a chassis that is only 16mm deep, ideal for hiding behind the thinnest TVs. The product offers IP control, a pre-amp, and a subwoofer output.

At CEDIA, Sound Developments will be showing a three-channel version of the IZA 2.50 for LCRs. 

Another example of B&K innovation, Wosk says, is the MRA 16.75+, “a‘traditional’ 16-channel amplifier except we provide more power on four channels — another first.”

Learn about other surprises at CEDIA during the free Ultimate Preview Webinar.

He explains there are always a couple of rooms on any job that need more power, for example, an outdoor space or great room. 

“Rather than forcing dealers to buy additional amplifiers or bridge channels (losing zones and compromising performance), we rate our amplifier at 12x75wpc + 4x150wpc at 8 ohms.”

Two more audio components will be shown at the CEDIA launch: the SCA 2.100 amp with 2×100 watts per channel (8 Ohms); and the HTA 7.225 with 7×225 watts per channel from ATI founder Morris Kessler.

In addition to these four components (detailed on next page), Sound Developments will launch three new B&K-branded soundbars.

“Long-term we plan to grow the line to include home theater processors (and ultimately receivers), innovative home-theater and multi-room amps, and a small number of models targeting light commercial,” Wosk says.

Why bother licensing the B&K brand if the products are new and the brand is old? Wosk says B&K had a small presence at CEDIA Expo 2015 and ISE 2016, and “response from attendees at both events proved our theory that the brand remains well-known.” 

He says the company is “attempting to retain as much of the spirit of the old company as possible: Made in the U.S., reliable, good value for the money, custom-installer-focused.”

Next page: New B&K Products for CEDIA 2016{pagebreak}

New B&K Products for CEDIA 2016

IZA 2.50

This ultra-small footprint, feature-packed workhorse is designed to provide powerful amplification in tight spaces. Measuring less than 2/3” (17mm) deep and utilizing Class D technology for minimal heat dissipation, the world’s smallest CI amplifier is the perfect solution for installation behind a flat-panel display or in a wall box. The unit ships with a small, external power supply capable of delivering 25 watts per channel at 8 ohms. Need more power? Then purchase our larger (optional) power supply for 50 watts per channel.

  • A/B switching for easy multi-room integration
  • Integrated pre-amp for source selection and volume control
  • Analog, digital, and speaker-level inputs
  • Sub out
  • 12V trigger, signal sense, IR and IP control
  • Stable to 3 ohms
  • Universal power supply
B&K IZA-250 (prototype)

SCA 2.100

At 2×100 watts per channel (8 ohms) this compact power amplifier punches well above its weight. Designed specifically to complement a Sonos CONNECT, it includes a simple mounting system that mechanically links the two units together.  Use this product to improve the overall audio experience while maintaining the system’s value equation or deploy independently as a small-footprint power amplifier

  • Sub out
  • 12V trigger; signal sense
  • Stable to 3 ohms
  • Rack-mountable (optional)
  • Universal voltage
  • Detachable power cord
  • White finish
B&K SCA 2.100

MRA 16.75+

Mix it up.  Every room in your home isn’t the same so why use an amplifier that treats them that way?  Inevitably there are rooms that crave more power: think great room, pool, or patio to name a few.  With that in mind, we developed the world’s first multi-channel amplifier to deliver power where it’s needed most.  Featuring 12x75wpc for robust background music plus 4x150wpc to let two zones really strut their stuff, this powerful 16-channel amplifier is unlike any other.  Made in USA.

  • Independent analog inputs per channel
  • Sub out
  • 12V trigger and signal sense
  • Stable to 2 ohms
  • Rack-mountable
  • Fan-cooled
  • Universal voltage

HTA 7.225

With great power, comes great responsibility.  At the heart of any great A/V experience is powerful amplification.  Award-winning designer Morris Kessler lets loose with seven channels (225wpc) of crystal clear Class AB power, featuring a fully-balanced topology including dual DC servos and current feedback, capable of reproducing the most demanding passages of today’s blockbuster soundtracks with ease and sophistication.  We dare you to find a better-performing amplifier anywhere near this price. Made in USA.

  • Massive power supply
  • 5-way binding posts
  • Balanced and unbalanced inputs
  • 12V trigger
  • Stable to 4 ohms
  • Rack-mountable
  • Fan-cooled
  • Universal voltage

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson:

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