Industry Roundup

TrueSound Lounge: Headphone giant Sennheiser has opened an online music destination, the Sennheiser "TrueSound Lounge", providing web-surfers an entertaining selection of new music from company-supported emerging artists like Sugarcult and Jody Whitesides. The site also provides "fun, quick-witted web-video shorts from top commercial filmmakers and producers, fruits of the Sennheiser Invitational Film Project," and "concise info on Sennheiser's unequalled selection of personal listening products," according to a recent announcement.

Parasound phono preamp: San Francisco-based Parasound has added a new phono preamplifierand a speaker selector to its Z-series of compact, half-rack-width "problem-solver" components for custom installation in commercial or consumer audio systems. The new "Zphono" accepts both high-output moving-magnet and low-output moving-coil phono cartridges.

Priced at $150, the Zphono solves the common problem of the absence of phono inputs on many current production receivers. The $130 Zselect speaker switcher solves the problem of insufficient speaker outputs on many receivers and amps. The new models are only one rack space (1.75") tall, and 9.5" wide, and are the first of several new Z-Series products scheduled for introduction this year.

Polk comes home to Tweeter: After a ten-year absence, Polk Audio products should soon reappear at Tweeter Group stores, according to an early June announcement. Tweeter recently scaled back its orders of Boston Accoustics products, and has moved to Polk to take up the slack. Automotive speakers, custom-install speakers, and Polk audiophile products are included in the new marketing initiative, which should give Polk excellent exposure to huge numbers of music lovers.

Monster's big move: Making good on promises made by "Head Monster" Noel Lee at last month's Home Entertainment Show, Monster Cable has launched its own component audio division, called the "Monster Reference Home Theater Music Experience" (MRHTME). The company has begun dealer training and by July should have as many as 200 specialty dealers with more than 300 storefronts demonstrating new Monster products.

MRHTME participants include Harvey Electronics, Stereo Exchange, Electronics Expo, Myer-Emco, and Ultimate Electronics. New Monster products include two power amps, three lines of loudspeakers, A/V furniture to house components and software, and butt-shaking sofas for the last bit of sonic realism.