By Dave Tovissi
Vice President and General Manager
HARMAN Luxury Audio
As we close out a very successful year, I’ve spent the past few days reflecting on what we accomplished together in 2022. The year kicked off with COVID still preventing most of us from getting together at CES in Las Vegas. Once again, we were forced to launch our latest NPIs without an audience reacting to them in person. We were anticipating the industry’s reaction to our 50th Anniversary ML-50 Limited Edition Monaural Amplifier and were stoked to be able to play them for our customers and the press but that never happened because we once again reverted to a virtual HARMAN Explore event.
We also introduced our first premium wireless headphones designed and engineered by the Luxury Audio Group. We were fortunate enough to send out 50 of the Mark Levinson №5909 headphones to reviewers across the globe prior to CES for them to try out and review. Their reactions to these luxury headphones were unanimous - they all stated that the №5909s were the best sounding over-the-ear wireless headphones they had ever heard. That was not a surprise to us since we collaborated with the HARMAN X team to develop them. We designed the headphone to measure as closely to the HARMAN Headphone Curve as possible without any DSP. The results of our drive for perfection were recognized during and after CES. We received many Best of CES Awards for the Mark Levinson №5909 and are still receiving accolades from everyone who has reviewed them.
Another product we announced in January 2022 was our first ever Active Studio Monitor for the home. The amazing JBL 4305p started shipping later in the spring and was the highlight of the High End Show Munich in May. The show in Munich was really the first time that most of us were able to meet face-to-face at an event in several years. So it was exciting to watch the expressions of those who came to our stand to listen to our products. The JBL4305P won the hearts of the attendees on Press Day, Dealer Days and most importantly the weekend days that were open for the public.
The excitement of the High End Show Munich gave us the affirmation that our products were special. It also pushed us to have other industry leading products for the next trade show we would be exhibiting at, late September’s CEDIA Expo 2023 in Dallas, Texas. This show was the first chance for many of our systems integrator partners to see our JBL Synthesis Flagship loudspeakers and subwoofers. The SCL1 and SSW1 display at the front of our booth was one of the most frequented places where attendees would stop and take a selfie of themselves next to the display before getting in line for the two demo rooms.
Experiencing the breathtakingly immersive sounds of our JBL Synthesis demo rooms delivered a great experience to attendees. It was fun watching the expressions on the faces of those coming out of the demos. Top Gun Maverick was released for download on our Kaleidescape players just in time for CEDIA and the scenes from that movie brought back memories of watching the original Top Gun movie at CES in the early 80s. Everyone came away totally blown away by our reference cinema presentations.
This year at CEDIA Expo we also launched the JBL Stage 2 series of architectural loudspeakers and the Stage XD line of Extreme Durability loudspeakers. Both of these introductions were welcomed by the attendees and the products are now shipping and available in warehouses across the globe. The Stage 2 Architectural loudspeakers pack a lot of HARMAN proprietary technology at very affordable price points. They expand the portfolio of JBL architectural speakers and provide dealers with confidence and now, budget flexibility in proposing and installing JBL loudspeakers into their projects.
After CEDIA our team participated in several regional shows including the famous Tokyo International Audio Show. We were well represented at that show and came home with several awards including the Grand Prix Award for the Mark Levinson ML-50 Monaural Amplifier. It was a great way to close out the year of celebrating Mark Levinson at 50.
Oh, by the way, we just received our first production of the Mark Levinson at 50 hard-bound luxury collector’s book which documents the history of the brand and the many iconic products that we have introduced to the audiophile community over the past five decades.
Later in this newsletter you will hear from Jim Garrett about what to expect at next month’s HARMAN Explore which will be the centerpiece of our CES 2023 experience in Las Vegas. I am proud of the fact that HARMAN Luxury Audio will be leading the company in new product launches at this year’s event. If you are attending CES 2023, make sure you register to attend HARMAN Explore at the Virgin Hotel and Casino. We would love to show you what we have been working on during the pandemic. Here is the link to register for HARMAN Explore.
Thank you for making 2022 a memorable year for all of us at HARMAN Luxury Audio. Have a great holiday and a prosperous new year.