Russound will begin to ship in December the first products to embody its XStream concept for whole-home audio.
The inaugural models in the X1 and X5 series will represent the company’s evolution from pursuing broad powerline technology solutions such as its Collage system into the development of flexible, decentralized, wired/wireless scalable audio solutions that adhere to Wi-Fi standards and will connect with existing home networks, said Charlie Porritt, CEO.
The first products, meant for installation by professional integrators, are slated for display and demonstration at CEDIA Expo.
XStream will include a roster of convenience features for installers, including an option for locally wired keypads like Russound’s MDK-C6, SLK-1 and TS3, as well as compatibility with the My Russound iOS and Android apps. The X5 series makes possible the configuration of up to 16 zones of audio.
XStream will also feature third-party integration with other brands’ home automation systems, via Ethernet or Wi-Fi through the Russound RIO IP-based control protocol.
The introductions will be in line with the company’s new tagline, ‘Audio Everywhere,” which debuted at the end of last year in sync with Russound’s rededication to audio as its primary focus. “We’re a great audio company, and we decided, let’s quit chasing something else,” Porritt said, alluding to the company’s earlier pursuit of the home automation market through its acquisition of Colorado vNet.
Porritt said he is making the rounds of Russound dealers in the next few weeks to drive home the company’s renewed audio-centric product direction, and to detail its master plan.
While the number of Russound employees has been downsized, the company has hired personnel in 10 new positions, and is experiencing “above plan” single-digit growth as it closes out its fiscal year ending in June, he said.
A recent bright spot for Russound, said Porritt, has been the Acclaim line of thin-bezel speakers, which have been available since last October and have “gotten great traction” among dealers, he said.
For the future, the company’s focus will be to “look where we can apply ourselves where we haven’t, but with our strengths. Custom installers who have survived in this market are now into the commercial, displays, and houses of worship businesses, and audio is definitely part of those businesses,” said Porritt.