By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – U.K.-based Monitor Audio unveiled an expanded selection of high-end wireless-audio products and its first active soundbar, which also incorporates wireless-audio capabilities.
Monitor’s three networked products, all with built-in Wi-Fi, which debuted at CE Line Shows, here, will ship later this year.
The company already offers a pair of desktop computer speakers that use wireless technology to stream music from a wireless USB dongle plugged into a computer. The WS100 2.0 speaker system is available at a suggested $399/pair.
To this, the company will add the Airstream A100 networked tabletop music streamer/amplifier, the networked Airstream S300 tabletop stereo speaker and the networked ABS-2 soundbar.
The $499-suggested Airstream A100 streamer/amplifier connects to any pair of passive speakers to play back music streamed wirelessly via Apple AirPlay from Apple’s mobile. The A100 also streams from DLNA-equipped network-attached storage (NAS) drives and PCs that lack iTunes music-management software, and it streams music stored on DLNA-equipped Android devices and from DLNA-enabled apps on Android and Windows mobile devices.
Not only does the device stream music over a home’s Wi-Fi network via AirPlay, but it also uses AirPlay Direct for peer-to-peer Wi-Fi streaming from Apple’s mobile devices without the need for a home network.
An Airstream app for Apple mobile devices will also let users search for music on an iTunes-equipped computer as well as on NAS drives and on PCs that lack iTunes.
The A100 features a curved chassis made of aluminum and a rigid polymer. The chassis shape allows the device to stand up in vertical orientation or lie flat in horizontal orientation. The chassis, available in white or black, incorporates 2x50-watt RMS Class AB amplifier with single optical digital input to double as a DAC for a connected audio source or to enhance TV sound. The device also features stereo 3.5mm aux in, stereo RCA input, and an RCA output for use with an active subwoofer or with another amplifier.
The Airstream 100 ships in September or October.
The second new product, shipping in September, is the $499 Airstream S300 single-chassis tabletop speaker, which also incorporates Wi-Fi and the same networking capabilities as the A100. The two-way stereo speaker features 140-watt Class D amp, two 1-inch tweeters and two 4-inch woofers. The drivers use the company’s component-speaker driver technologies. The speaker also has a 3.5mm aux in.
The ABS-2 three-way soundbar, shipping in September at $1,599, offers the Wi-Fi and network capabilities of the other two models, but it’s designed to also enhance TV sound and switch cable-connected audio and video sources.
The soundbar features three auto-sensing HDMI inputs, HDMI output with audio return channel, auto-sensing optical and coaxial digital inputs, and stereo RCA input. Via HDMI, the soundbar accepts 7.1-channel PCM audio that is then digitally processed with a 3D algorithm to deliver virtual surround with discrete sound effects without bouncing sound off walls, said Alex Brady, sales and marketing director. It doesn’t incorporate Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 decoders.
The soundbar features wired-subwoofer output, 160-watt Class D amplification, two 1-inch tweeters, two 4-inch midranges, two 5.5-inch woofers, active three-way crossover, wired-subwoofer output and interaural-crosstalk cancellation to widen the soundstage.
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