Russound plans to ship a variety of new multiroom-audio products in the coming months despite what it said was a 27 percent drop in industrywide factory-level multiroom-audio sales, including speakers, during the two years ending in 2009.
Here’s what the brand revealed so far:
Collage updates: In a couple of months, Russound will offer a firmware update to add Radiotime’s Internet-radio-station aggregation service to its Collage Media and Intercom system, which already streams the Rhapsody on-demand music service.
Next year, the company plans to offer an iPod/iPhone dock for its Collage system to turn an iPod into a home-wide music source. Also next year, Collage will get a Source Bridge to connect security cameras as well as legacy sources such as cable set-top boxes, whose audio could then be output to other rooms.
Touchpoint firmware upgrades: The TCH1 Touchpoint links a Russound R-NET multiroom-audio system to a home Wi-Fi network, serving up a web page that enables system control from a Wi-Fi-equipped iPhone or Touch. With a firmware upgrade now available, consumers can control an R-NET system from an iPad. The upgrade also adds such features as a back button, ability to display SMS3 music-server album art on an iPhone or iPad, and more ways to remotely search for music, including playlist and genre.
X series amps: Three models in Russound’s first series of two-channel amps are targeted to single-zone installs, including home barrooms and outdoor zones. Three amps feature front-mounted volume and balance controls. The models are rated at 2×60, 2×80, and 2×150 watts into eight ohms and are bridgeable to mono. They’re also four-ohm stable. Pricing and ship dates were unavailable.
Outdoor rock speakers: Four new models available in three colors will be more efficient than their predecessors and feature eight-inch woofers compared to the previous models’ six-inch woofers. One model will be the brand’s first single-speaker-stereo rock speaker.
Shipments are planned for the fourth quarter at dealer and MAP prices expected to be the same as the current models.
Touchscreen controller: The Linux-based 3.5-inch TS2-C3, due around November, will replace a 3.7-inch model and add active TFT display versus CTSN display, a faster processor to improve graphics, and ability to support all features in C-series multizone controller/amplifiers. It’s expected to retail for 30 percent less than its $1,299-suggested predecessor.
C-series multizone controller: The six-source, six-zone MCA-C3 features AM/FM RDS tuner, 12×20-watt amp, zone grouping, and new protocol to streamline integration with third-party home-control systems. It’s due at the end of September or early October to join the higher powered eight-source eight-zone MCA-C5. Pricing was unavailable.
The MCA-C3 is touted as Russound’s first green system because its draws less than a watt in standby mode and ships in packaging that doesn’t use Styrofoam.
Acclaim outdoor speakers: The first outdoor speakers in the value-oriented Acclaim 5 speaker series ship in July. The four models can be mounted horizontally or vertically on a house, in corners and on poles. They’re more efficient than previous Russound models and also double as indoor bookshelf speakers. The cabinets are sealed, but their efficiency and crossover design deepen bass response and output without resorting to a bass port that can let water, dirt and insects get inside, the company said. Three models are priced from $199.99 to $349.99/pair. A single-speaker-stereo model is $249.99 each.