Large Revamp Brings Designer-Friendly Thin-Bezel Design
The new Protege Series includes 31 models of architectural speakers and subwoofers, all with a Thin-Bezel design that eliminates the wide plastic flange that surrounds most ceiling and inwall speakers. The look is sleeker and much more nuanced, allowing the speakers to blend in better in walls and ceilings – and to please homeowners and interior designers.
To make transitioning to Protege as easy as possible for systems integrators and custom installers, Proficient’s engineers adapted each model in the new series from an existing design. The acoustical and electrical engineering is identical to that of the originals, only the look has changed. Where an installer might have previously specified a C640, the Protege Series C641 can now be specified with no change in performance or installation.
The Proficient Protege product line includes every type of flush-mount speaker a system integrator might need for residential installations: eighteen in-ceiling speakers, ten in-wall speakers, two in-wall subwoofers and an in-ceiling subwoofer. Every home application can now benefit from the clean new look, whether it’s a dining room using Proficient’s affordable C625TT single-point stereo in-ceiling speaker, a custom home theater using the brand’s IW655 top-of-the-line dual- 6 ½” inwall LCR speaker or IWS85 dual 8” inwall subwoofer or anything in between for that matter.
“The Thin-Bezel design has become popular in the residential custom-installation market and we knew our dealers would love it,” Core Brands’ Keith Marshall said. “But we didn’t want them to have to get used to new models, especially since they like our signature sound so much already. That’s why we created Protege as an adaptation of our existing speaker line. There’s nothing new for the dealer to learn. The installation procedure is basically the same, and even the model numbers are barely changed. So with practically no effort, our dealers can get a much nicer look in their installations. We think they’re going to readily adapt to it and we are quite confident that their customers will too.”
Large Revamp Brings Designer-Friendly Look to Brand
Core Brands will be showcasing the biggest product line change to Proficient at ISE 2014. The new Proficient Protege Series includes 31 models of architectural speakers and subwoofers, all with a Thin-Bezel design that eliminates the wide plastic flange that surrounds most ceiling and inwall speakers. The look is sleeker and much more nuanced, allowing the speakers to blend in better in ceilings and walls – and to please homebuyers, homeowners and interior designers
To make transitioning to Protege as easy as possible for systems integrators and custom installers, Core Brands engineers adapted each model in the new series from the existing design. Only the cosmetics of the speakers were changed, not the acoustical design. Proficient Protege sounds, performs and installs the same as Proficient’s legacy in-ceiling and in-wall speakers. This is great for the end user because there’s no sacrifice in sound quality, and even better for our dealers because they don’t have to familiarize themselves with a whole new line of product.
The Proficient Protege product line includes every type of flush-mount speaker a system integrator might need for residential installations: eighteen in-ceiling speakers, ten in-wall speakers, two in-wall subwoofers and an in-ceiling subwoofer. Every home application can now benefit from the clean new look, whether it’s a dining room using Proficient’s affordable C625TT dual voice coil, twin tweeter in-ceiling speaker, a custom home theater using the brand’s IW655 top-of-the-line dual 6½” inwall LCR speaker or IWS85 dual 8” inwall subwoofer or anything in between for that matter.
“The Thin-Bezel design has become popular in the custom-installation market and we knew our dealers would love it,” Core Brands’ Keith Marshall said. “But we didn’t want them to have to get used to new models, especially since they like our signature sound so much already. That’s why we created Proficient Protege as an adaptation of our existing speaker line. There’s nothing new for the dealer to learn. The installation procedure is basically the same, and even the model numbers are barely changed. So with practically no effort, our dealers can get a much nicer look in their installations. We think they’re going to readily adapt to it and we are quite confident that their customers will too.”
To experience the new Proficient Protege speakers and other new products, visit the Core Brands stand 1-P22 at ISE 2014. Proficient Protege is shipping immediately.
Three New High Performance Subs Plus Mono Amp/Crossover
With the release of three new subwoofer models designed for in-wall or in-ceiling mounting, Proficient Audio is making it easier to get powerful bass without sacrificing any floor space.
The new models are the $625 IWS82 in-wall sub, the $500 IWS100 in-wall sub and the $375 ICS10 in-ceiling subwoofer. All are designed for use with Proficient’s $500 M3 180-watt subwoofer amplifier/crossover.
Proficient Audio president Keith Marshall notes, “For years, our IWS10 in-wall subwoofer has been popular with homeowners who want high-powered, high-quality bass but don’t have room for a large subwoofer. So we decided to expand the category. These new subs will give homeowners more options, and make it easier to install two or even four subwoofers for those who want true state-of-the-art bass.
“By designing these architectural subs for use with the M3 amplifier, we made them just as easy to install as our other in-wall and in-ceiling speakers,” Marshall adds. “There’s no need to run AC power to the subwoofers, so you don’t have to call in an electrician. Just run the wire back to the equipment rack, same as you would with any other in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, and connect it to the M3.”
The IWS82 is Proficient’s top-of-the-line architectural subwoofer. The dual 8” sub employs long-excursion graphite woofers with a power handling capacity of 200 watts. The system has a frequency response range of 30 to 120 Hz. The IWS82’s compact design makes it easy retrofit into existing homes.
The IWS100 in-wall subwoofer features an inverted motor design—the magnet is inside the speaker cone instead of behind it. This design allows the big, 10” long-excursion treated paper cone woofer to fit into a standard wall space. Frequency response is rated at 36 to 150 Hz. The IWS100 is tuned to the optional BB-IWS10 MDF back box for use in new construction.
The ICS10 in-ceiling subwoofer is certainly one of the least conspicuous subwoofers available. It mounts entirely in the ceiling, so it doesn’t affect wall décor or furniture. It uses a 10” long-excursion graphite cone with a ferrite magnet motor. Capable of handling up to 175 watts, the ICS10 has a frequency response of 30 to 120 Hz. With an installed depth of 6½”, the ICS10 easily fits any ceiling cavity.
Core Brands said this week that its Proficient brand is now shipping its new Protege Series, which includes 28 models of architectural speakers and three architectural subwoofers.
The Proficient Protege, the company said, includes 18 ceiling speakers, 10 inwall speakers, two inwall subwoofers and a ceiling subwoofer.
“The Thin-Bezel design has become popular in the residential custom-installation market and we knew our dealers would love it,” Core Brands’ Keith Marshall said in a statement.
“But we didn’t want them to have to get used to new models, especially since they like our signature sound so much already. That’s why we created Protege as an adaptation of our existing speaker line. There’s nothing new for the dealer to learn. The installation procedure is basically the same, and even the model numbers have barely changed.”
Petaluma, Calif. – Proficient Audio has begun shipping the final models in its redesigned 31-SKU Protégé series of custom-install speakers, which now feature a thin-bezel design to blend in better with walls and ceilings.
Each speaker in the updated series offers the same acoustical and electrical designs as its predecessor and installs like its predecessor, but the new versions eliminate the visible flange around the grille. The brand chose this route so dealers wouldn’t have to get used to new models, “especially since they like our signature sound so much already,” said Keith Marshall, senior VP of channel management at Core Brands. “There’s nothing new for the dealer to learn.” The installation procedure is basically the same, and the model numbers are almost the same as before, he explained.
The lineup consists of 18 in-ceiling speakers, 10 in-wall speakers, two in-wall subwoofersand a ceiling subwoofer. The speakers include a single-point stereo ceiling speaker, an in-wall LCR with dual 6.5-inch woofers, and a subwoofer with dual 8-inch drivers.
The speakers feature magnets molded into the back side of the front baffle to ensure the magnets don’t fall off, the company said. Many suppliers of thin-bezel speakers glue magnets to the front of the baffle, but sometimes the magnets become un-glued, Proficient said. As a result, a gap opens between the wall and the grille, and sometimes the grille falls off.
2.1 System, Powered Subwoofer & Sound Bar Designed to Bring Great Sound to Any Room in Any Home
Today Proficient Audio introduced three new compact loudspeaker systems designed to bring high-quality sound to places in the home where there’s not enough space for a typical audio system. The new models include the $600 GS2.1 subwoofer/satellite minisystem and the $300 GS6 compact subwoofer.
“Most of the Proficient line is focused on home theaters, media rooms and multiroom sound systems,” Proficient Audio president Keith Marshall said. “Many of our customers have asked us if we could deliver the same sound quality in smaller spaces, such as offices and bedrooms. These new speakers are designed to do just that. They use the same quality components found in the rest of the line, but scaled down to suit smaller environments.”
GS2.1 Sub/Sat System
As its name implies, the GS2.1 is a 2.1 three-piece system, with a pair of compact satellite speakers matched to a powered subwoofer. This system is ideal for spaces where full-range, high-quality sound is desired but space is at a premium, such as offices, bedrooms, dorm rooms or small media rooms.
Each satellite has a 3½” midrange/woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. The drivers and crossover networks are carefully engineered to blend perfectly, allowing the satellites to deliver exceptionally natural sound, especially in the critical midrange frequencies. Bosses are provided to accept wall mount brackets from many of the popular brands.
The included subwoofer houses all the amplification needed for the system, including a 30-watt amp for the sub itself and two 10-watt amps for the satellites. The subwoofer features a 6½” pulp-composite driver in a MDF cabinet. There are two control knobs: one to set the volume of the entire system, and one to adjust the subwoofer level. This arrangement makes it easy to balance the bass to suit the listener’s taste or the acoustics of the room.
The homeowner never needs to turn the system on or off. The system turns on automatically when it senses an incoming audio signal, and shuts itself off when no audio signal has been received for 5 minutes. A sophisticated limiter/compressor circuit protects the amp and drivers from overloads, so there’s no need to worry when you crank the system up.
The GS2.1 is shipping now with an MSRP of $600.
GS6 6½” Compact Subwoofer
The GS6 adds extra bass in places where a full-size subwoofer might not normally fit, such as under a desktop or in a small bedroom. It blends perfectly with any small speaker system, whether stereo, 5.1 or 7.1.
The subwoofer has a 30-watt built-in amplifier and a 6½” pulp-composite driver. Although it measures only 10 inches on its longest side, the GS6 delivers deep bass down to 35 Hz. A sophisticated limiter/compressor protects the amp and driver from overloads, and a 3.5mm audio input makes it easy to interface the GS6 with computers and portable audio devices.
The GS6 is shipping now with an MSRP of $300.
“In addition to its TV sound improvement capabilities, the new Max TV MT2 from Proficient Audio also includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity”
There are many reasons why the home audio market is experiencing a resurgence. In the home theater category or media system category, soundbar speaker products are as popular as they ever been and as the category matures it is also becoming more diversified.
Back in September, the California-based audio manufacturer Proficient Audio announced its latest speaker solution the new MaxTV MT2 which is designed for placement underneath a flat-panel television. When it introduced the MaxTV the company explained that a vast majority of flat-panel televisions are placed on stands and not mounted on a wall. Proficient theorizes the MaxTV provides the majority of users who are placing TVs on a stand with an audio upgrade that is easy to implement. “It’s rare to find a TV with good sound, and I’ve never heard one with great sound. It’s no wonder [why the sound from a TV is substandard] … the limited space available inside a TV cabinet has been a barrier to good on-board TV sound for years. Now with today’s flat- panels [TVs] it would be difficult for TV designers to even consider great sound in a TV as a goal,” says Loren Maldoon of Proficient Audio. “The only real way to get high quality TV sound today is with an outboard solution, but for many situations a full-blown home theater sound system isn’t practical. A lot of soundbars just don’t begin to make it to the level we would consider acceptable. So we approached the challenge from a whole new direction. We asked, what if we designed a sound system that was a platform for the display? The answer was Proficient Max TV. Our first TV speaker, the MT2 is perfect for people who want great sound but don’t want to fill their room with speakers and electronics.”
Maldoon points out that Proficient’s design goals for the MT2 include vocal clarity, along with the ability to reproduce content without any coloration or limited dynamics. To bolster the product’s versatility he adds the MaxTV also incorporates digital sound processing (DSP) and Bluetooth connectivity to enable devices like an iPad or iPhone to connect wirelessly to the speaker system. “In creating the MaxTV our design and engineering team set up performance goals, focusing on voice intelligibility, dynamic range and tonal accuracy,” he says. “This is important for movies and TV, and is also essential for music listeners. Given this approach, the MT2 really sounds great with music program material too, and in addition, there is a selectable DSP to enhance the sound field.”
Internally, the MaxTV incorporates four 2.5-inch midrange drivers and two 1-inch soft-dome tweeters, mounted in a midrange/tweeter/midrange array, and two 5 1/4-inch downward-firing woofers that reside each in their own tuned and vented enclosures. These drivers are driven by four 20-watt RMS digital amplifiers set up in a two-channel, bi-amplified configuration. The 5 1/4-inch woofers each have their own 20-watt amps, and an on-board limiter protects the the woofers from clipping. Proficient says the MaxTV can support TVs that weigh up to 160 pounds.
”The MaxTV MT2 is an expert when it comes to impressive sound in a tiny package. We loved some of the design touches, like the magnetic removable speaker grills”
The phrase “sound bar” has a mixed reputation. But it’s not a dirty word or a slur- in fact, though the category might not seem sexy, it’s improved remarkably over the past few years. Though still constrained by the laws of physics- booming sound usually requires bigger space- new materials and technologies continue to allow improvements. Just like your headphones and earbuds have gotten better and less expensive, so have sound bars, all-in-one solutions that make home theater-quality sound simple and easy.
The Proficient MaxTV MT2 is the latest and greatest model from an audio company that specializes in some pretty high-end audiophile-grade equipment. This cabinet combines two subwoofers, two tweeters and four mid-ranges in a package that is, remarkably, only four inches high. Wide enough to accomadate most televisions without looking too overwhelming or being dwarfed, it’s perfect for modern flat panel TVs. Many folks buy a nice television and rely on the built-in speakers, which always sound anemic. The difference is amazing, and well worth the price- we definitely recommend saving a bit of money or opting for a smaller screen- and putting some of the savings towards the audio. Your ears will thank you.
Setup is simple, since pretty much any TV has a few output options, and the MaxTV MT2 accepts either digital or analog connections. We placed it under our Samsung 40-inch LCD and tested it with a variety of sources, including Blu-Ray movies via a PS3, recent games like Dishonored, and television as well. We used optical connections, but RCA and coax are also available. The remote is small and credit-card sized, and there aren’t a lot of extraneous options- but you can adjust treble and bass settings as well as turn the simulated surround on or off. We generally left it on- it helps boost the mids without any noticeable distortion- but on some music we turned it off for a more natural, warmer tone. There aren’t any other modes- we didn’t miss them though.
If you don’t have room for multiple speakers, or don’t want to snake cables around and worry about placement, sound bars are definitely the way to go. Explosions sound impressive- we were blown away while watching the 007 flick Quantum of Solace, and were also satisfied with DTS and Dolby sound tests like those on Pixar films such as Ratatouille that we use to check out the soundstage. We had to sit a bit back from the unit to get the full effect- close up and you won’t feel the surround; gamers especially might miss the pinpoint accuracy that comes with a true 5.1 system. But in a larger room, the unit has enough power to fill it and make plenty of beautiful noise, 80 watts in total.
More than Proficient, the MaxTV MT2 is an expert when it comes to impressive sound in a tiny package. We loved some of the design touches, like the magnetic removable speaker grills. And the inclusion of Bluetooth is a pretty great addition- you can connect your smartphone, laptop, or tablet and play Pandora or your music collection from your mobile device, wirelessly. As with most newer Bluetooth systems, pairing takes only a moment, and range is decent- but your results will definitely depend a bit on music bitrates; Spotify streaming sounded pretty flat and lifeless. At $600 and available now, primarily online, we wouldn’t buy it simply for that capability but it’s a tasty cherry on the top of the best sound bar we’ve seen. Save yourself some A/V hassles this holiday season, and get a small, slick unit that is perfect for the bedroom or apartment.
Each year, CustomRetailer invites nominations of products that stand out for being innovative, high-performing and solutions-oriented for the custom installation professional. This year’s winners stood out as particularly impressive, considering the unique challenges custom installers face every day on the job. The impact these products have on the industry is felt in the installers’ productivity, the dealers’ profitability, the clients’ satisfaction and the industry’s vitality. Congratulations to the winners!