In-Wall & In-Ceiling Speaker Innovations 2009

Music is the heart and soul of a home; it’s what makes rooms come alive and makes parties last deep into the night (or morning). There’s no better way to increase the long-term value of a residence or add spice to entertaining than with an integrated AV system. An iPod-dock in the corner is fine for the kids, but the modern family appreciates the elegance of dynamic sound installed
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Sonance - Speakercraft - Paradigm Electronics

Home Improvement

NEW ECONOMY FAVORS BENEFICIAL PRODUCTS FOR THE HOME THAT DELIVER “EXPERIENCES”

Music is the heart and soul of a home; it’s what makes rooms come alive and makes parties last deep into the night (or morning). There’s no better way to increase the long-term value of a residence or add spice to entertaining than with an integrated AV system. An iPod-dock in the corner is fine for the kids, but the modern family appreciates the elegance of dynamic sound installed in the walls and ceilings. High-fidelity audio is possible in every room and hallway, from the kitchen to the master bedroom, even the front porch and patio.

Manufacturers such as Paradigm, Sonance, and SpeakerCraft continue to lead the industry with thoughtfully designed in-wall speakers that ignite rooms with an engaging audio.

Advances in mounting, bass delivery, baffles and pivoting tweeters mean that the structural barriers to good sound aren’t the roadblocks that they once were. There always will be wall studs and placement rules, but nextgen in-wall/in-ceiling speakers can be integrated virtually anywhere and still sound great.

THE SONANCE SOLUTION

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Ari Supran, COO of Sonance, believes that even in an economic downturn there are still opportunities for new custom installation business. Now is the perfect time for outreach to the architecture and design community,he suggested.

Sonance is a strong supporter of the AIA (American Institute of Architects). In fact, connecting the CI channel to the design community is mission critical for the company. “Our concept is exceptionally compelling, and the design community wants this,” Supran argued.

But what about the credit crunch and mortgage crisis? While new home starts are soft, luxury homes are still being built. Designers are passionate about creating the perfect interiors for their clients, and Supran asserts that they need products that will help them execute their vision. Unlike builders with the motivation to price shop, designers prioritize the “experience” of the interior. “It’s crucial to connect with clients,” Supran said. “People are willing to pay more and invest more in their home’s look and feel.”

That translates into more profit per job once you offer an exciting new variable. Top-shelf in-wall products excite the customer with the overall level of precision and detail they bring to the home. “In-wall speakers are a very profitable category,” Supran said. And by raising the bar, it moves the industry forward.

This philosophy is at the heart of the Architectural Series which represents the balance of aesthetics with invisibility and performance. “Designers thinks in shapes, and our range of shapes, sizes, applicationspecific (outdoor or indoor) speakers help differentiate Sonance from other companies,” Supran said.

But it’s not about products alone. He sees invisible audio as part of a broader movement toward clean design: minimalism, elegance, totally flush. It is happening in the lighting world, furniture world, and in architecture, not just in technology. “It’s seamless precision,” Supran articulated.

PARADIGM’S VALUE PROPOSITION

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PARADIGM’S VALUE PROPOSITIONFor nearly 20 years, Paradigm Electronics has been a “blindlistening- test” favorite. There’s something about their spacious soundstage that sets this Canadian manufacturer apart from others.

Traditionally known for its original designs and tightly integrated manufacturing practices, now it is being lauded for a recently launched vibration-canceling in-wall subwoofer, called the RVC 12SQ, and reverberant surround/rear speakers. These additions round out the Signature (SIG) and Studio (SA) Custom Series.

Paradigm says that its secret ingredient is the Adapted Di-pole (ADP) design, combined with new mid-range driver technology and first-grade construction. Since the ADP technology was introduced with traditional-box style surround speakers more than 15 years ago, dealers have requested the same technology for in-wall models. After investing serious resources and developing new design elements (dual-voice coils, and elongated, slimline cones, for instance), the in-walls are ready for prime time.

Jack Shafton, Paradigm director of sales and marketing, said that the new in-wall speakers represents a decade of total design time and is a big achievement for the Paradigm community. “This is a huge step for us,” he stated. “We now have every category covered with a premium quality solution.”

Shafton described the level of detail involved in the Paradigm design and manufacturing process. “We are ‘R&D’ focused, so we do all the development ourselves and are the primary manufacturer of our products in Canada.” From the plastic molds to the casting, it’s Paradigm’s work.

Not only does this tight vertical integration allow for quality control, but the value also can be transferred to the dealer and the homeowner.

This cost consciousness fits within Paradigm’s core mission of offering high-end quality with tremendous value. “We have been value-focused since day one,” Shafton said, “offering by far the superior performance for the dollar.”

Shafton believes that Paradigm’s combination of performance and design is the differentiation point from peer products. Like Supran, he also sees opportunities in the current economic climate. “What customers want has changed dramatically since we first started,” Shafton explained. “We have seen an expansion into higher price points, higher performance ranges. The market has evolved and this is what we want: higher fidelity and great design.”

BEYOND PRODUCT, THE SPEAKERCRAFT PHILOSOPHY

It was the talk of CEDIA—SpeakerCraft’s booth with no product and modern dancers with body paint and imaginative costumes. As if dictated by prophecy, SpeakerCraft’s message has become eerily relevant in the last fiscal quarter: it’s not about product alone, it’s about the experience.

This passion for the “experience” is the motor of SpeakerCraft’s dealer outreach and community building. Making things easy for dealers (and end-users) to operate is key, so that the experience is all the more enjoyable.

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SpeakerCraft’s Cinema Sub12 SystemThis philosophy also led the team to create a new innovation aptly named NEAT! It is an ultra-small speaker designed to mimic the look of a miniature can light, and will almost disappear into the ceiling with no exterior bezel.

Available as a THREE or FIVE model, NEAT! can be installed in almost any location. It’s Lilliputian size increases its application flexibility and should prove to be a popular solution in many different types of installations. It requires a bit more planning in the drywall phase, but its two-piece bracket simplifies the process. The bracket snaps together inside the wall and is secured with drywall screws through the surface. Mudding up to the bracket provides a clean edge that, after the paint dries, leaving only the grill exposed.

SpeakerCraft’s VP of marketing Dave Donald was enthusiastic about the company’s in-wall innovations such as NEAT!, new in-wall subs, and threeinch AIM LCRs, but he was even more excited about sharing his company’s passion for building relationships. “Our philosophy is to go beyond product,” he said. “We are always talking about more than product.”

It is a buyer’s market right now, that’s certain, but Donald warns against focusing on price alone.

Even if you’re concerned about increasing sales numbers, don’t bother “pitching.” Rather, Donald said, “It’s about asking what the customer needs.

Donald suggested that most decisions are made on an emotional level, including home purchases. Like Supran and Shafton, he sees the importance of connecting with how clients feel about buying something for their home.

“It’s an imaginary feeling and we want to deliver that feeling,” he said. “The customer is not looking for the cheapest commodity. They want something that will give them that magical feeling; this system is something they will live with for years to come. Make it truly easy to operate, create something that will change their environment for the better.”

Margot Douaihy is the contributing editor of Residential Systems magazine in New York City

SpeakerCraft REVOLUTIONARY IN-WALL DESIGNS THAT MEET INSTALLERS’ NEEDS

NEAT!™ (NO EDGE AUDIO TECHNOLOGY) LCR SPEAKERS

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SpeakerCraft’s NEAT! LCR THREEThe new series of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers have no external flange. Grill material covers the baffle and drivers leaving no additional edge between the speaker and the wall surface. Pivoting AIM technology means that every seat is the sweet spot.

SPECIFICATIONS OF THE NEAT! LCR THREE:

Two 4 1/2-inch aluminum cone woofers with phase plugs

  • Two 4 1/2-inch aluminum cone woofers with phase plugs
  • Pivoting 3/4-inch aluminum dome tweeter
  • Front-mounted switch allows for up to ±3dB of treble adjustment
  • Timbre-matched to all Five Series speakers
  • Efficiency: 89dB 1W/1m
  • Power handling: 90 Watts
  • NEAT! Installation Bracket required


AIM LCR

Building on the AIM series of fully pivoting ceiling speakers, the new Inwall AIM LCR series improves the flexibility of in-wall applications.

With a dual woofer and a single dome tweeter configuration the Inwall AIM pivots side to side or up and down (depending on vertical or horizontal installation) by 17 degrees. The pivoting tweeters can be angled an additional 30 degrees, all while staying flush in the wall.

FEATURES AND FUN FACTS:

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SpeakerCraft’s AIM LCR 3

  • Pivoting woofer baffle
  • Two 51⁄4-inch aluminum/Magnesium cone woofers with phase plugs
  • Pivoting one-inch aluminum/Magnesium dome tweeter
  • Front-mounted switches allow for up to ±3dB of bass and treble adjustment
  • Timbre-matched to all Three/Four Series speakers
  • Efficiency: 90dB 1W/1m
  • Power handling: 5 to 100 Watts
  • Impedance: 8/6 Ohms, depending on switch settings
  • Frequency response: 50Hz - 20kHz ±3dB


SPEAKERCRAFT CINEMA SUB 12 SYSTEM

Bass is essential for an immersive sound experience, but subs are about as subtle as a mini fridge. Bulky just won’t do in a sleek in-wall system, so SpeakerCraft designed the Cinema Sub 12 System with each woofer, cabinet, and amplifier as a single system. The sub performs like its floor standing brethren and matches to a range of speaker models. In larger systems, integrating multiple subs is unobtrusive.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

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SpeakerCraft’s Cinema Sub12 System

  • Fully Optimized System (Cinema Sub 12, AccuTuneBox 12, and Bass Power 250) are engineered to work together
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • Max power handling: 250 Watts
  • Impedance: 4 Ohm/ per coil
  • Frequency response: 30Hz - 500Hz


Sonance SETTING THE STANDARD FOR AESTHETICS AND SOUND QUALITY

Sonance® believes there is more to exceptional speakers than sound alone. They must strike the perfect visual note as well. Their geometry, finish, size and placement; every detail should be considered in the context of the room itself. The right choice not only complements a home’s design, it becomes a part of the design, as deliberate and personal as the flooring below and the lighting above.

Twenty-five years after inventing the first in-wall speaker, Sonance continues to set the standard for premium speakers, bridging the gap between acoustic performance and aesthetic appeal—and transforming the choice of speaker from an afterthought to an integral element of design.

VISUAL PERFORMANCE SERIES SPEAKERS

Visual Performance Series speakers offer extraordinary sound quality in an understated design, complementing your space without competing for attention.

Advantages of Visual Performance:

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Visual Performance Series Speakers

  • Aesthetically superior to traditional speakers
  • Sizes and shapes for any environment
  • Three acoustic performance levels
  • One-step painting process makes aesthetic integration seamless

ARCHITECTURAL SERIES SPEAKERS

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Architectural Series SpeakerArchitectural Series speakers precisely align with the surrounding surface, seamlessly integrating our legendary sound quality into your unique design vision.

Advantages the Architectural Series:

  • The first truly flush-mount speaker
  • Reference quality sound
  • Sizes and shapes for any environment
  • Two acoustic performance levels
  • Available in five different finish components including cloth-with or without trim, metal-with or without trim, and the bold Fascia option
  • Multiple mounting platforms make installation possible in almost all wall or ceiling construction types 


INVISIBLE SERIES SPEAKERS

Invisible Series speakers vanish into your room design, delivering ambient music that emanates from the walls and ceilings.
Invisible Series SpeakersAdvantages of the Invisible Series:

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  • Speakers are truly invisible, completely preserving the aesthetics of the interior design
  • Install into a standard wall cavity and are concealed using matching surface treatments
  • Sound radiates in a 140-degree hemispherical pattern with smooth, even coverage

Paradigm Electronics HIGH-END SOUND FOR DESIGN-MINDED CLIENTS

NEW IN-WALL SIGNATURE CUSTOM SERIES LCR SPEAKERS

Paradigm Electronics Inc. has added two new in-wall LCR speaker systems to its portfolio of high-end custom install products. Placement flexibility and premium component parts (including design and technology from the company’s freestanding Signature and Studio Series) make the SIG-LCR 5 and SA-LCR 3 ideal solutions for the discerning listener with an eye for style.

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(left) Paradigm’s SA-LCR 3 . (right) Paradigm’s SIG-LCR 5

The SIG-LCR 5 system—for high-octane sound in an elegant, minimal design—includes six drivers for powerful sound for music and home theater. The fourdriver SA-LCR 3 is a unique addition to Paradigm’s “Reference” SA Series, and ideal for clients who want the best performance quality in a space-saving design.

SIGNATURE SERIES V.2 TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED INTO THE DESIGN OF SIG-LCR 5:

  • One-inch P-Be™ pure-Beryllium dome tweeters
  • Four-1/2-inch Co-PAL™ Cobalt-infused pure aluminum bass/midrange cones
  • Proprietary IMS/SHOCK-MOUNT™ Isolation Driver Mounting System
  • and more....

NEW REVERBERANT SURROUND/REAR SPEAKERS

Paradigm is also shipping new reverberant surround/rear speakers, part of its Signature (SIG) and Studio (SA) Custom Series of in-wall speakers. At the heart of the system is the company’s Adapted DiPole™ (ADP) design, combined with new midrange driver technology and premium construction materials.

SIGNATURE SERIES V.2 INCORPORATED INTO THE DESIGN OF SIG-ADP:

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Paradigm’s SA-ADP

  • Two one-inch P-Be™ Pure-Beryllium dome tweeters
  • Four one-inch 1/8-inch x four-inch Co-PAL™ Cobaltinfused pure aluminum midrange cones
  • Adapted DiPole (ADP™) technology (bass response of a bi-pole and spaciousness of a di-pole)
  • “Reference Signature” Phase-Coherent Precision Crossover Networks, including close-tolerance air-core inductors, high-power resistors, polypropylene capacitors

STUDIO SERIES V.5 TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED INTO THE DESIGN OF SA-ADP:

  • Two one-inch G-PAL™ Gold-anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeters
  • Four half-inch S-PAL™ Satin-anodized pure-aluminum midrange cones
  • Adapted DiPole (ADP™) technology (bass response of a bi-pole and spaciousness of a di-pole)
  • SIG and SA-ADP speakers are designed for pre-construction and retrofit applications with professional installation
  • and more...


RVC-12SQ: FOR SERIOUS IN-WALL BASS

(left) Paradigm’s RVC-12SQ (bottom) Paradigm’s RVC-12SQ Driver The RVC-12SQ breaks all the rules, but not the wall. It’s a reference-quality in-wall subwoofer with high-excursion drivers and a minimal footprint. Its supremely rigid construction cancels vibration and keeps the speaker rock solid. The BX-12SQ ported backbox is optional and it’s powered by the Paradigm X-300 or X-850 Ultra-Class D amplifiers.

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