Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hank "Moose" Alexander Returns to Niles as Western Regional Sales Manager

Niles®, The First Name In Custom Installation®, today announced the return of Hank “Moose” Alexander to the company to serve as its new Western Regional Sales Manager, reporting directly to Niles President Mike “Sparky” Detmer. Alexander assumes the position vacated by Kenneth Johnsen, who has been promoted to serve as The AVC Group’s International Training Manager.

“The return of Moose Alexander to our team speaks volumes about the many exciting things that are happening today at Niles,” Detmer said today. “I had a feeling that when Moose left us two years ago he would be back and that day has come — and his return could not have come at a better time. We are entering a dynamic new phase in the history of Niles, and Moose’s experience, talents and leadership skills are going to play a major role in our long term future success.”

Hank Alexander is widely known as a complete sales professional with a 20-year track record of penetrating new markets, exceeding company goals and motivating, coaching and training sales teams to increase revenues and efficiencies. He is also recognized for his abilities in management, business development, marketing, product design and development, and inception and management of sale programs in the high-end commercial and residential custom consumer electronics field.

Alexander returns to Niles from Crestron, where he has served as Mountain States Regional Sales Manager since 2008. Prior to that he was the Western Regional Sales Manager for Niles from 2006 through 2008, where he was responsible for the supervision of seven rep firms, the retail launch of the ICS IntelliControl brand, and 20 percent year-over-year annual growth for three consecutive years.

Prior to his first tour at Niles, Alexander held sales management positions at ReQuest, Kenwood, Vann’s Electronic Billings Mt and Video Sat and Sound. He studied Business Management, Communications and Law at the University of Wyoming — Casper and the University of Arizona — Tempe.

High Design Meets High Tech In The 2011 Mansions and Millionaires Designers' Showcase Featuring ELAN g!

From September 10 to October 30, 2011, two separate ELAN® g! Entertainment and Control System installations will be on display in the 2011 Mansions and Millionaires® Designers Showcase® at Chestnut Manor in Upper Brookville, New York.

Exhibiting interior designers Katharine Posillico of Katharine Jessica Interior Design and Angela Leva and Suzan Visconti of Leva & Visconti Designs enlisted the help of Melville, New York-based custom electronics distributor Royal Systems to design the ELAN g! Control Systems for their rooms at Chestnut Manor. These seasoned professionals who designed the Pool Room and the Music Room, respectively, may have differing styles, but they all both agree on one thing.

“Technology is ingrained in everyday life, so I don’t plan any space without some sort of audio/video system,” said Posillico. “Mozart Multimedia installed an ELAN system designed by Gregg Feldman and Dave Silkin of Royal Systems in my home a couple years ago. It is such an amazing supplement to the house and to my life that I now strongly advise my clients to work with Royal Systems to incorporate a full ELAN g! Control System. The second-floor Pool Room at Chestnut Manor is the ultimate lounge and game room, so naturally I included a large projection TV and a full audio system.”

Visconti had Hauppauge, New York-based Audio Design Consultants install an ELAN Control System in her home nine years ago, and now she advocates that technology not be an afterthought, but instead be integral to the function and layout of the rooms she designs. She notes, however, that many homeowners still aren’t aware of the possibilities with control systems.

“A lot of people don’t know that when they are on vacation they can touch their iPhone and set up their heating, air conditioning and lighting so it’s ready when they get home, saving them energy and money,” said Visconti. “I think that as more people learn how this technology can affect their homes and their lives, and actually raise the home’s value, there will be a lot more houses with home control systems.

“In our design for the Music Room at Chestnut Manor, my partner Angela and I wanted to project a relaxing and rejuvenating ambience and create a place for the homeowner to get away from it all—watch whatever shows and listen to whatever music he wants or jam on his guitar. We incorporated the highest level of technology to make the room sophisticated and at the same time functional and simple to control.”

The Music Room’s A/V system was designed by Dave Silkin of Royal Systems and Bob Portolano of Audio Design Consultants, and features an ELAN HC6 as the system’s brain, an ELAN M86 for audio distribution and an ELAN TS7 seven-inch in-wall touch screen for simple user control. It even has a camera aimed at the door so anyone entering the room instantly sees themselves on the TS7 located next to the doorway. It includes a wall-mounted 42” Samsung 1080p Plasma HDTV and uses two Induction Dynamics SolidDrives to turn the room’s walls into speakers.

The Pool Room’s A/V System was designed by Royal Systems and installed by Mozart Multimedia of East Islip, New York. It features an ELAN HC4, ELAN M86 and ELAN TS2 with the VL2 Valet option, as well as a Severtson 120” front-projection screen and three Sound Tube ceiling-mounted speakers throughout. The room’s use of natural light helps to ensure the projector’s image isn’t overpowered or washed out.

“The Mansions and Millionaires Designers’ Showcase is a great way to show how technology is influencing designers, builders and homeowners,” said Dave Silkin of Royal Systems. “But the great thing about the ELAN g! Control System is it’s not just for millionaires. In fact, the system is so affordable that any homeowner can install a multi-room A/V system, and then expand it to control lighting, security, heating and air conditioning, and pool and spa systems.”

From September 10 to October 30, 2011, more than 30 New York City Metropolitan Area interior designers will showcase their work for the general public at the 97-year-old Chestnut Manor. All proceeds will benefit Mill Neck Manor School For The Deaf. To learn more about the Mansions and Millionaires® Designers’ Showcase®, visit

To see more designs from Katharine Jessica Interior Designs, visit For more information about Leva & Visconti Designs, visit For more information about Royal Systems visit

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ken Johnsen Appointed to Lead International Sales Training for The AVC Group

Adding strength to its international sales support programs, The AVC Group today announced the promotion of Niles® Western Regional Sales Manager Kenneth Johnsen to the newly created position of International Training Manager. Effective immediately, Johnsen assumes responsibility for the development and implementation of all distributor and dealer training programs and training teams for the ELAN®, Niles®, Xantech®, Sunfire®, and ATON® product lines outside of North America. In this new position he reports directly to Mark Terry, President of The AVC Group.

“In his 12-year career at Niles, Ken has held a number of key positions in sales and product training,” Terry said today. “He is a natural educator who understands how to train distributors and dealers to completely and accurately present the full capabilities of our brands’ product lines. On top of this, he is a leader who can identify and motivate a global team of product specialists who will take our training courses deeper into every geographic region around the world.”

Johnsen joined Niles in 1999 as a Regional Product Specialist and was responsible for coordinating, developing and conducting all Niles product and sales trainings for internal staff and Niles sales representatives, as well as dealers and end-users in both domestic and international markets. In 2003 he was promoted to the position of Training Manager and was responsible for development and execution of all of Niles, IntelliControl ICS and JobSite training strategies. He hired, coordinated and managed training staff, while creating and developing the Niles in-house training facility while introducing new frontiers of training and field communication with the “Train the Trainer” and Web-based training sessions.

After a brief stint as Eastern Regional Sales Manager, Johnsen returned to his roots when he was appointed Niles Product Manager in 2006 where he served as liaison between Niles Engineering, Sales and Marketing, and Niles customers to design and develop new products while being “the voice of the customer”. He worked on the product development teams responsible for bringing to market IntelliControl ICS products such as the iRemoteTS and DMS4 Digital Music Server and Niles branded products such as the VS-6 Component Video Switcher, the iC2 Home Theater and Control System, RFG Radio Frequency Gateway, HT-MSU Home Theater Main System Unit, HDMI Baluns and next-generation 20 series Infrared Repeater products. For the last year, he served as Western Regional Sales Manager and was responsible for managing 10 Niles territories in the United States and Canada.

Prior to his career at Niles, Johnsen was with Audio Concepts of Long Beach and San Gabriel, California, from 1989 to 1999. Previous to this, he held sales management positions at World of Sound and The Good Guys. He was awarded a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from San Francisco State University and an Associate of Science degree from Monterey Peninsula Jr. College. He resides in Oceanside, California.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Brings Down The House At CEDIA 2011 Birthday Celebration for the ELAN g! Entertainment and Control System

America’s favorite baker and television’s unchallenged Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, brought down the house last week at CEDIA 2011 when he personally delivered a custom designed birthday cake to The AVC Group exhibit to help ELAN® Home Systems celebrate the first birthday of its revolutionary g! entertainment and control system.

Nearly a thousand show attendees followed Buddy as he accompanied his confectionary replica of the ELAN HR2 handheld remote controller from the exhibit hall loading dock to The AVC Group booth. Once there, fans mobbed Buddy, and the cake, to take pictures with their cameras and smartphones. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this at a CEDIA Show before,” said Paul Starkey, President of ELAN Home Systems, “at least not in my history of attending this show. I don’t think anyone will ever forget it!”

Indeed, Buddy Valastro was also taken back by the emotional reaction of the show attendees, many of whom surged around the stage and, for a time, overwhelmed it! “I’ve always wanted to attend this show,” he told the assembled audience. “I love all of this technology and I appreciate all of the benefits it brings to people of all ages, particularly the ELAN g! System. The g! system has transformed the way my family lives at home and it has revolutionized the way I run the business at our new Carlos Bakery commercial production center in Jersey City, New Jersey. I always tell people that if I can operate g! anyone can operate g! It’s so intuitive and easy to master.”

Amplifying Buddy’s message, Starkey noted that, “In one short year, the ELAN g! System has established itself as the benchmark for entertainment and control quality, reliability, user-friendliness, ease of installation and profitability that our competitors can only dream of matching. It provides dealers with precisely the kind of entertainment and control system they need to succeed in today’s economy — a profitable and easy-to-install system that scales the waterfront from single-room entry level to whole home mega-mansion installations.”

ELAN also chose the occasion of its first birthday celebration at CEDIA 2011 to strengthen the g! product line with the market introduction of an expanded series of home controllers, the latest Version 5.2 software, and a 10” touch screen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Niles' News CM Ceiling Mount Loudspeaker Offer High Design and Superior Sound For Any Application

Niles®, The First Name In Custom Installation®, introduces a new line of cost-effective ceiling mount loudspeakers featuring the same unique combination of design aesthetics, advanced technology and installation versatility found in Niles’ highly-popular third generation DS Directed Soundfield Ceiling-Mount Loudspeakers. The new CM Architectural Loudspeakers deliver Niles’ legendary high performance sound quality and blend discreetly into any environment thanks to the paintable, low-profile, magnetically-attached grilles.

“When Niles introduced the third generation of its DS Directed Soundfield Loudspeakers in 2010, we ingeniously presented a loudspeaker line that addressed the challenges professional installers face every day,” said Mike ‘Sparky’ Detmer, president of Niles Audio. “The introduction of our new CM Architectural Loudspeakers completes our ceiling mount lineup by providing installers a vast assortment of application-specific loudspeakers that fit into the same-sized cutout making them perfect for projects of any scale and any budget. Installers can specify and install systems using any combination of our new CM and DS loudspeakers thanks to the similarities in size and performance found in each series.”

The new CM Architectural Loudspeakers thin-bezel and ultra-low profile provide a crisp, clean finish, and the magnetically-attached grilles greatly reduce installation time. The series includes round grilles standard and square grilles are available. The grilles can be painted to coordinate with any surrounding d├ęcor for added installation flexibility. The grilles are rust-resistant, eliminating service calls for loudspeakers installed in moisture-prone areas such as saunas, bathrooms and even outdoors under eaves.

Niles’ patent-pending spring-loaded mounting clamps compensate for a number of environmental conditions that would cause the mounting surface for the new CM series to expand or contract, such as high heat and humidity. The mounting clamps help to prevent material compression and stripping of screws by providing tactile feedback during the installation process to indicate when the installer should stop drilling.

All speakers in the line feature the same premium components found in Niles’ DS Directed Soundfield series including copper caps, high-level crossovers and Kapton voice coil formers to deliver the exceptional sonic performance expected from Niles loudspeakers. Additionally, the loudspeakers have been voiced specifically to handle dynamic content from Blu-ray discs as well as compressed music from sources such as iPods, Pandora and Rhapsody to ensure the best in audiophile performance from virtually any source.

Niles’ CM Architectural Loudspeakers are organized into logical groupings, enabling installers to easily specify the right loudspeaker for every application. The groupings and models for each include:

  • MP (Multipurpose) – A versatile ceiling mount loudspeaker that is ideal for multi-room audio and home theater settings. 
    • CM7MP – 7”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $149.95
    • CM8MP – 8”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $174.95
  • PR (Performance) – Strikes the perfect blend of value and performance to deliver high performance sound in a wide variety of applications.
    • CM4PR – 3.5”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $249.95
    • CM7PR – 7”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $199.95
    • CM8PR – 8”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $224.95
  • HD (High Definition) – Provides superior sound quality and longevity by utilizing advanced components, materials and circuit design.
    • CM7HD – 7”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $249.95
    • CM8HD – 8”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $274.99
  • BG (Background Music) – Perfect for secondary listening zones that need a cost-effective solution.
    • CM7BG – 7”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $99.95
  • SD (Shallow Depth) – Designed for applications where the depth behind the wall is limited such as MDUs.
    • CM7SD – 7”, 2-way loudspeaker for Left/Right/Center; MSRP $249.99
  • FX (Surround Effects) – Ceiling mount loudspeakers for the rear and side channels in a wide variety of home theater and multi-channel music applications.
    • CM7FX – 7”, 2-way loudspeaker with surround effects; MSRP $349.95
  • SI (Stereo Input) – Provides stereo sound from a single loudspeaker; ideal for locations that cannot support more than one loudspeaker, such as a small bathroom or hallways.
    • CM7SI – 7”, 2-way loudspeaker with stereo input; MSRP $149.95
    • CM8SI – 8”, 2-way loudspeaker with stereo input; MSRP $299.95

In addition to the range of 7” and 8” CM models available, Niles is also introducing the long-awaited CM4PR to the new lineup. The DM4PR is a 3.5" ceiling mount micro-loudspeaker designed with computer optimized Linkwitz Riley cross-over components and includes Niles Rear Wave Control. This highly compact but extremely versatile loudspeaker has virtually unlimited applications where space and design are a factor.

All CM Architectural Loudspeakers come with Niles’ Limited Lifetime Warranty. For more information on Niles’ CM Architectural Loudspeakers, please visit

Niles SI-1230 12-Channel Power Amplifier Inducted Into CEDIA Product Hall of Fame at CEDIA Expo 2011

The Niles® SI-1230 12-Channel Systems Integration Amplifier was inducted into the CEDIA Product Hall of Fame last week at CEDIA Expo 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to CEDIA, "The Product Hall of Fame was developed to show the origins of the residential electronics industry and track the progression of product development and technology."

The SI-1230 Systems Integration Amplifier is a 12-channel power amplifier that delivers exceptional sound quality and offers unique configuration features that solve common whole-house distributed audio challenges.

“We developed the SI-1230 Systems Integration Amplifier to help the professional systems designer simplify and optimize today’s complex installations through an array of application specific features that enhance flexibility and performance,” said Mike ‘Sparky’ Detmer, President of Niles. “Niles continues to lead the custom audio industry in both design and innovation, and our passion for excellence has now been recognized with the SI-1230’s induction into the CEDIA Product Hall of Fame. I accept this honor on behalf of everyone here at Niles. ”

The SI-1230 is a 12-channel amplifier that delivers a solid 30 watts per channel RMS into 8 ohms and 37 watts per channel RMS into 4 ohms. The massive Multi-Tap Toroid power transformer features six independent secondary transformers for each of the six amplifier modules. As a result, the SI-1230 delivers twenty percent more power than its predecessor, the SI-1200. This extraordinary power supply design provides the energy necessary to deliver solid, deep, controlled bass response to a house full of speakers.

In addition, Each of the SI-1230’s six adjacent output pairs are bridgeable, allowing for up to six 80 watt channels by sliding the bridging switches located between each pair to the “bridged” position. This enables you to allocate more power to specific locations, such as large rooms or outdoor applications.

Monday, September 12, 2011

ELAN Home Systems' HR2 Awarded 2011 Resi Award for Best Remote Control

ELAN Home Systems last week was awarded the 2011 Resi Award by Residential Systems magazine in the category of Remote Control for the ELAN HR2 Remote. The award was presented to ELAN at the 2011 Resi Awards CEDIA Expo Reception in Indianapolis, Indiana.

"With ELAN g! we set out to create the best whole house system, making sure that the whole family could enjoy it," said Paul Starkey, president of ELAN Home Systems. "The HR2 is the most logical extension of that system because everyone has and uses a remote control. We aimed to break the mold of whole house control - and together, the ELAN g! Series and the HR2 remote do just that.”

Each year, Residential Systems magazine presents the prestigious Resi Awards to honor the best products exhibited at CEDIA EXPO, based on their industrial design.

“This year’s Resi Awards finalists demonstrate, once again, that innovation and elegant design need not be sacrificed during challenging economic times,” stated Residential Systems editorial director Jeremy Glowacki.

The sleek ELAN HR2, the company’s first ever remote, features the ELAN "g!" engine and hybrid use of backlit buttons with a 2.4" OLED touch display. This provides all the function of hard buttons and a touch screen packaged in a stylish remote that weighs a mere 8 ounces. Nearly a year of development went into the remote's shape and button layout, and that plays out in a very pleasing and easy-to-use button configuration, with a crisp clear touch display of the g! icon controls. This delivers quick-touch access to media, climate, lighting and security subsystems. Its ergonomic design is easy on the hands and eyes, and is ready on pickup thanks to a noiseless accelerometer and instant-on electronics. Integrated Wi-Fi and IR ensure rich metadata content as well as speedy local control of sources and TVs.

Beyond function, a major part of the remote's appeal is the gentle and artistic sculpting of the bottom and back so that depth quickly goes from one inch in the palm to a half inch midway up for an easy and balanced grip. Its Lithium Polymer battery provides superior battery life with the display on or on standby. A stylish charging base is included and keeps the HR2 in a handy upright position - ready to grab-and-go with a minimal footprint.

The industry's most intuitive new control solution - "g!" - is what powers the HR2, and it is a welcome advance over the complexity of its predecessors. "g!" features uniform, icon-based control from favorite devices including TVs, touch screens, touchpads - even PCs and iPhones. The standardized GUI interface works across more than 11 platforms, so that the trendy g!Mobile app users love on the iPhone appears and works similarly on ELAN's HR2 and all other g! touch controllers as well as users' televisions and mobile devices. Individual "apps" for each subsystem allow the user to control security, climate, lighting, media, irrigation, pool/spa, messaging, video and photos with the flick of a finger. Access through the system's IP backbone is fast and secure through any ELAN home interface or globally with mobile Internet enabled devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Netbooks and PC Tablets.

ELAN HR2 Handheld Remote Control:

  • All the speed, response & graphics of a touch screen
  • All the ease-of-use, simplicity-of-programming & affordability of a remote control
  • 43 backlit Hard buttons 3 additional programmable buttons
  • 2.4" OLED display
  • Noiseless accelerometer for activating LCD and backlight
  • 802.11g communication provides robust metadata feedback
  • IR blaster for line-of-sight control
  • Quick & easy programming using the ELAN Configurator
  • Compatible with all g! System Controllers
  • Ships standard with battery and charging base
  • Controls all AV sources with metadata feedback for supported devices
  • Controls security, lighting, and climate with metadata feedback
  • Supports all drivers that run on other g! interfaces

Recent Stage Collapses Highlight Need for All Live Event Companies to Have Top-Quality Insurance

The summer of 2011 was a rollercoaster season for organizers of outdoor music festivals all over the world. Over a span of just five weeks in July and August, extreme weather caused four stage or equipment collapses at major music festivals in North America and Europe, resulting in untold millions of dollars of equipment damage. These catastrophes underscore the importance for every touring production company, band, rental houses and event organizer to have a comprehensive insurance policy for their equipment.

Weather-related stage and equipment collapses occurred at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, the Brady Block Party in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium. According to Scott Carroll, Executive Vice President of Take1 Insurance, these types of incidents are exactly what live event producers, touring companies, rental houses, band managers and film and television production companies need to be prepared for.

“As musicians continue to expand their touring seasons, to make up for lost revenue from declining album sales, it is increasingly important for all parties involved to have specialized insurance in case of an incident, especially for outdoor events,” said Carroll. “Weather is always a factor in stage design as well as in our insurance risk assessment. As evidenced by several unfortunate incidents this summer, extreme weather is becoming more commonplace, so touring and production companies simply cannot afford to risk not insuring the stage, sound, lighting and video equipment that is often worth into the millions of dollars.”

In recent years music tours large and small have begun using more elaborate staging, often including live cameras, video walls and dozens of lights with elaborate orchestration. Carroll contends that with all of the planning and engineering that go into these stunning stage designs, a comprehensive insurance policy is as important as the equipment itself.

Just last summer, live video capture and playback company Chaos Visual Productions found out how lucky they were to have Take1 as their insurance provider when a $1 million video wall was utterly destroyed in a flash wind and rain storm at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania. In a span of 60 seconds the conditions went from calm and overcast to pouring rain with gusts of wind strong enough to whip the video wall around like a sheet hanging on a clothesline. Take1 fully covered the loss.
And the devastating monetary effects of such incidents aren’t lost on the artists, either. After the main stage collapsed at Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium during a performance by the American band the Smith Westerners, the band said on Twitter, “Almost got crushed by the trees, I hope Pukkelpop has insurance because all our equipment is broken.” It may have been covered, but maybe not. If they get their own insurance policy with Take1, they won’t have to take that chance.

Carroll is quick to point out that insurance for an outdoor event is not the same as insurance for a company who sometimes performs or works at outside events. He also notes that as staging systems are increasingly upgraded to bring the look and feel of indoor events to the outdoors, the insurance industry needs to study the underwriting issues and learn new questions that need to be addressed, as well as possibly introducing stricter risk mitigation requirements from clients.

Take1’s specialty program has designed inland marine coverage, among other specialty coverages for the entertainment industry, that automatically applies everywhere in the world, without the need for additional riders or endorsements. It eliminates co-insurance, thus protecting 100 percent of the insured value of the equipment covered; provides automatic replacement cost valuation; allows for separate limits in key individual coverage areas like owned equipment, equipment rented from others, equipment in the insured’s Care Custody and Control (CCC), and equipment in transit; flood coverage for equipment in transit; and blanket limits that eliminate the need for clients’ to itemize each and every piece of equipment, cable, LED panel, etc. being covered.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Marc Ecko Fuses Fashion and Function In Breakthrough New Line of Earbud Headphones

Moving decisively to place his unique sense of design and style on one of the consumer electronics industry’s traditionally most boring product categories, fashion designer, multimedia artist, and technology entrepreneur Marc Ecko today announced the immediate market introduction of a groundbreaking new line of *ECKOUNLTD. earbud headphones that fuse together fashion and function in unprecedented new ways.

According to Ecko, the six new earbud headphone styles — “Zone,” “Chaos II,” “Stomp,” “Lace,” “Zip,” and “Chain” — will be delivered to dealers starting next month under an exclusive licensing agreement with Mizco International’s DIGIPOWER Division. Each new style lives up to its respective name, featuring a fusion of fashion and function unique to each series. All will be marketed under the *ECKOUNLTD. brand name and carry suggested retail prices of between $12.99 to $39.99.

“I can’t imagine life without all my gadgets. From my phone to my laptop; I am as dependent on my gear as I am the quality of my environment. For me it is not just a bunch of cables and ports. I expect my gear to be seamless with what it is I am doing, reliable and easy to manage. If I am on a plane, managing my photos, catching up on the news, vibing on music or even playing videogames, it has to work as hard as I do,” Marc Ecko said today.

He continues, “Having grown up in a digital generation, and having it shape so much of my point of view as a designer – I could not wait to tackle the challenge of building a proper collection of technology accessories. I aimed to build something that really captures our generation’s unlimited sense of style. Fearless. Action minded. Designed with a unique voice. Always live life Unlimited!”

According to Mizco’s Vice President of Sales for the *ecko Division, Steve Kops, “For the first time in the headphone category’s history, Fashion & Function are major influences on product development. As a result, retailers have a brand new opportunity to merchandise headphones not just on their sonic quality, but now on the fashion likes of their consumers. Traditional, all black headphones are being replaced with vibrant colors, unique silhouettes, and superior technology to their predecessors.”

The “Zone” earbuds feature the iconic *ecko Rhino on the outer surface of the earpieces. Available for $12.99, in red, green, pink, yellow, blue and white, the earbuds include a one-meter cable compatible with iPods, iPhones and Android smartphones and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

“Chaos II”, available for $14.99, in purple, pink, blue, red, and black, features the *ecko Rhino on the outer surface of the earpieces, a 1 meter cable, inline microphone, controls for the iPod, iPad and iPhone, and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

Available for $19.99, the “Stomp” earbuds feature the iconic Ecko Rhino on the outer surface of the earpieces. Available in red, blue, white, pink, purple and black, the earbuds feature a flat 1.2-meter cable with an inline microphone and controls compatible with iPods, iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones. The earbuds include a convenient travel bag, and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

The “Lace” earbuds, available for $24.99, feature a nylon, shoelace style cord, available in white, red, blue, black, pink and purple. The earbuds feature an inline microphone, controls for iPods, iPads and iPhones, three sizes of ear gels and a convenient travel bag.

The new “Chain” and “Zip” earbuds merge Ecko’s reputation for street-conscious fashion with utilitarian function. Featuring a beaded, dog-tag chain cord design, the “Chain” earbuds are available for $39.99 in blue, pink, red and black. The “Zip” earbuds feature a functioning zipper cord, and are available in red, gold, blue, white, pink and purple, for $29.99. Both styles of earbuds feature an inline microphone and volume control compatible with iPods, iPhones, and Android smartphones, as well as a convenient travel bag and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

According to Ecko, today’s introduction of the six new ear bud headphone lines is a prelude to a major CES 2012 product line introduction that promise to take his vision to an even higher plateau of design and function.