We saw continued signs of diversification among car audio vendors at CES this year. One of the more dramatic examples came from Epsilon, maker of Soundstream and Acoustik brands, which is now entering the audio furniture market.
Four years ago Epsilon’s product mix was 100 percent car audio. But it since fielded two products outside the traditional 12 volt market, a pair of earbuds and an oversized “party” boom box with lights that flash in sync with the music. The products proved successful and now Soundstream is opening the flood gates with three complete lines of non-car related products, led by a series of “Smart Tables.”
One hipster style cocktail table has a glass top that you can place your phone on for a wireless charge. Or press a touch screen button to launch the built-in 80 watt speaker/subwoofer system. Several major retailers have already committed to the tables, which hit Amazon this month, and which will appear in stores around March and April.
“It is pioneering a whole different category of product,” said Epsilon VP Sales & Marketing Paul Goldberg. “We’re talking to a lot of retailers who are not in 12 volt. You are going to see these products in a number of retailers and organizations that are not even in consumer electronics.”
Epsilon also introduced new lines of car audio products at CES, including new micro/mini amplifiers. But in the backroom of its booth, behind a curtain, was a new world of Smart Tables, livingroom-worthy canister speakers and egg-shaped portable speakers that split in two (see below). Also new were a line of upscale rechargeable wireless earbuds in stylish cases.
“Your financial advisor always tells you to diversify, so you don’t lose too much…Diversification is an important place to be when you are facing a market transition,” said Goldberg noting, “The business was spoiled by having a great deal of success for a long time. When the business changes we have to find other ways to satisfy consumers and channel merchants.”
Epsilon remains a 12 volt company. “We are certainly not going away from 12 volt, it’s still our core business, but we’re trying to …evolve into other areas.”
Some of the Smart Tables have a false glass table top that swings out to reveal another glass top with built in touch controls for the speaker. When closed, the round table serves as a wireless charging surface.
Epsilon says its expertise in 12 volt electronics sets it apart from other companies in the home furniture and even portable audio markets. “We can take some of the principles and some of the characteristics of the 12 volt audio environment that we’ve learned over the years and apply it to these furniture products in a way that other home audio manufacturers haven’t considered before. So there are some advantages in our 12 volt history,” said Epsilon’s Brandon Meyer.
The tables have True Wireless Stereo to network with other components including a new Soundstream “Sound Dish,” a stylized satellite shaped Bluetooth speaker that can complement the tables.
The tables come in different styles and fabric-finishes. They include a 6.5 inch down-firing subwoofer. The 2.1 channel 5 speaker systems deliver 80 watts. They ship this month starting at $400. The Sound Dish with 50 watt power is $149.