E-Series Intros Mark Phase Two of Russound’s Sphere Program
Russound has rolled out the first two products in its high-end E-Series line to dovetail with the building of membership in its recently announced Sphere Certified Integrator program.
Jeff Kussard, vice president of strategic development, says the Sphere dealer network as of the end of July had surpassed the 150-member mark, adding that at the upcoming CEDIA Expo, 3,300 square feet of space was slated to be devoted to Sphere training. To attain Sphere certification and be eligible to sell E-Series products, dealers need to commit to guidelines barring Internet or mail-order sale, and must meet certain installation skills criteria, “to make sure that customers will get the service experience they’re paying for – because this product series requires a higher level of skill than ever.”
The products that Sphere-certified installers will be learning about include two new models with October shipment dates that the company has announced in advance of the Denver show.
The engineering of the E-Series ACA-E5 multi-zone controller amplifier ($5,650), says Andy Lewis, Russound’s senior product manager, is partially the result of installer input. “We went to the suggestion box – to our dealers, our technicians and our sales group.” he says. “People wanted more source inputs, distribution zones and user interface capabilities,” and so the unit, an eight-zone/12-source IP-enabled controller amplifier was the result. The 40-watts-per-channel unit, compatible with Russound’s other RNET devices, replaces the CAV6.6 as the company’s new flagship model and carries built-in AM/FM tuners and a Web server, among other features.
The other E-Series product being unveiled is the KLK-E5 click-wheel keypad ($599). It is a menu-based device that offers a simplified -- and familiar-looking -- round interface, plus a full graphical grayscale display, and is installable via a single CAT5 cable connection. A single touch of its “home” button brings the user back to the starting point.