NEXT LEVEL AUDIO INTRODUCES SOUNDBARS FOR `FRAME TVS’

 

Owners of Samsung’s design-centric The Frame TVs may be interested to learn that custom home theater audio equipment maker Next Level Acoustics has introduced a line of high-performance soundbars tailored to look and perform at a level that complements the popular television series.

The soundbar line, which is called “Fusion Frame”, was designed taking “insights into unmet needs for sound quality and aesthetics in the soundbar market,” said Rob Goldman, Next Level Acoustics founder and COO.

The soundbars are tailored to The Frame TV design, which was developed three years ago in collaboration with Swiss design house Fuseproject, led by renowned designer Yves Béhar.

The design was presented as a solution to a common consumer objection to big-screen TVs appearing as obtrusive “black holes” when turned off, Next Level Acoustics said. To counter this, Samsung made The Frame TVs look like framed artworks that can display artistic paintings and photographs on screen when not being used to watch videos and help the TVs blend in with the room decore.

The narrow Frame TV cabinets measure just 1.75 inches deep and are offer customizable color options for bezels on TVs measuring 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inches. 2019 The Frame TVs include Samsung’s QLED technology.

Next Level Audio is offering six Fusion Frame soundbar models: four stereo models (matching 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch screen sizes) and two left-center-right (LCR) channel models (55- and 65-inches). An optional in-wall subwoofer is also available.

Suggested retail pricing for the stereo soundbar models range from $1,400 to $1,900, the suggested retail pricing for the 55- and 65-inch LCR models are $1,850 and $2,150.

Next Level Acoustics said it set out to design a complementary soundbar that would bring enhanced high-quality sound to these thin-design televisions that are equipped with less-than-optimal speakers, since the had to be made to fit inside the narrow cabinets.

Next Level Acoustics said its Fusion Frame line was made to deliver the “same high-fidelity as their other soundbars” in a design that fits within The Frame TV picture requirements of 1.75-inch deep and no wall gap.

The Fusion Frame sound qualities include: “a wide frequency range, full dynamics, voice intelligibility, and detail of a high-quality speaker system suitable for movies and music,” the company said.

When Frame TV is off and displaying art, owners can sync their favorite music to the Fusion Frame soundbar so the art is accompanied by complementary music.

Next Level Acoustics said it engineered a proprietary enclosure “with a radical internal air-load management system and proprietary woofer capable of deep naturel bass from a shallow cabinent.”

“A typical cone woofer can’t perform as needed with the shallow cabinet so we engineered and built our own 4.5-inch aluminum dome drivers” stated John Sollecito, the company’s head of engineering. “The drivers have stiff, non-resonant cast baskets mated to powerful rare-earth Neodymium magnets. A high flux 2-layer voice coil drives the ultra-stiff aluminum dome suspended by a butyl rubber surround for very high acceleration and excursion. The result is clear, dynamic bass and smooth detailed mid-range, much more than one would imagine possible from such a thin soundbar.”

The Fusion Frame soundbars include 1-inch soft dome tweeters from audiophile Danish driver manufacturer Vifa along with a proprietary crossover made with high-grade precision components. A custom ultra-rigid high-density sealed enclosure comprised of CNC-machined MDF and lined with an anti-resonant coating makes a vibration-free cabinet.

The back of the enclosure features installer-friendly recessed terminal cups with gold-plated heavy-duty binding-post/banana-jacks and recessed cable management channels supporting no-gap mounting. Also included are magnetically attached grilles that provide easy access to the cabinet installation holes to directly attach the bar with the included screws into wall studs or mounting to a wall with the included anchors, the company said.

Amplifiers used to drive the four sizes of Fusion Frame Sounbars range from 30 watts or up to 150 watts. Next Level Acoustics offers six Fusion Frame models including: four stereo soundbars and two LCR models, are available for the larger 55- and 65-inch sizes. All use the same drivers with the same great sound regardless of size.

The Fusion Frame soundbars feature a black Plex finish to match the standard Samsung Frame TV bezel with a black acoustically transparent fabric grille that’s magnetically attached. An optional white lacquer maple veneer finish is available to match white Frame TV’s.

Custom painted options are also available.

The Fusion Frame models will be offered through Next Level Acoustics’ network of custom installers and speciality AV retailers. The company backs the soundbars with a 5-year warranty.

Next Level Acoustics said it is also offering generic versions of the soundbars, called Fusion Flat soundbars, for non-Frame TV applications.

For extended bass performance, Next Level Acoustics is also offering an in-wall subwoofer to match the Fusion Frame soundbars, model CI-IW10S,
carrying a $1,315 suggested retail price. This is a compact sub with a long-throw 10-inch cast frame driver that’s designed to fit in 2×4 construction and extend bass response down to 34 Hz driven with as little as 40 watts of power, the company said.

Specifications for the Fusion Frame soundbars are as follows:

Sensitivity: 87 dB for 43- through 55-inch models and 88.5 dB for 65-inch models. Impedance: 4 ohms all models. Frequency Response: 43-inch Stereo: 80 Hz–20 kHz; 55-inch LCR: 80 Hz–20 kHz; 49-inch Stereo: 75 Hz – 20 kHz; 65-inch Stereo: 70 Hz–20 kHz; 55-inch Stereo: 72 Hz–20 kHz; 65-inch LCR: 77 Hz – 20 kHz.

By Greg Tarr

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