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Tabletop Speaker Systems Display Diversity

11/07/2011 12:02:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK – Audio suppliers are filling up the fourthquarter
pipeline with a variety of products that fill niches
from the low to high ends and stray from the traditional
component-audio, HTiB and shelf-system categories.

Single-chassis iPod/iPhone/iPad speaker systems,
stereo-Bluetooth speaker systems and an AirPlay speaker
system are among the new products designed to play
back audio stored on hand-held devices such as iPods,
smartphones, and tablets.

With the launches, Libratone is entering the U.S. market,
HoMedics is expanding its docking-speaker HMDX
lineup, and Soundfreaq is expanding its lineup of what it
calls “universal” speaker systems. Here’s what these and
other companies announced:

HoMedics Group: The company is making a stronger
push into the audio market under its HMDX brand,
launching five new docking speaker systems to expand its
HMDX selection to 10 products.

With the five new speakers, the company has launched
nine HMDX audio products this year.

Three of the five new HMDX docking speakers are certified
for use with iPods, iPhones and iPads, and one is
certified for iPod/iPhone use. The fifth connects to any
portable audio device via 3.5mm aux input. All retail for
less than a suggested $70.

Libratone: The high-end European audio brand
launched its first two U.S. products, both of them singlechassis
AirPlay speaker systems that also make a wired
connection to TVs.

The 40-inch-wide Libratone Lounge starts at $1,299,
and the 18.5-inch-wide Libratone Live starts at $699. Both
are three-way speaker systems with a minimalistic design.

The Libratone Lounge is available in Slate Gray, Blueberry
Black and Vanilla Beige at $1,299 but also in Red
and Green Cashmere at $1,399. The Libratone Live is
available in grey, black and beige at $699 and in Red and
Green Cashmere at $799.

Features include ribbon-based tweeters, DSP, 150-
watt total amplification, and proprietary Full Room acoustic
technology to disperse sound waves in multiple directions,
reflecting them off walls, to eliminate the stereo
sweet spot, the company said.

Logitech: The company unveiled its next-generation
Mini Boombox, which is equipped with stereo Bluetooth
to play back music streamed from any stereo-Bluetoothenabled
portable device. It also doubles as a hands-free
speakerphone. The $99-suggested device, available this
month, comes with internal rechargeable battery for up to
10 hours of playback.

Soundfreaq: The Los Angeles startup is expanding its
selection of tabletop single-chassis speaker systems to four
with the launch of its highest end product to date at a suggested
$399.

All Soundfreaq systems are positioned as universal sys-tems because they connect to almost any portable
music source. All feature iPod/iPhone dock,
3.5mm aux in, and stereo Bluetooth streaming
from smartphones, PCs and Macs. All but the
lowest-priced model add USB charging port to
charge non-iPhone smartphones.

In addition, all but the lowest-priced model
feature iPad docking and charging via the front
Apple pin connector. All feature FM tuner.

The new $399 Sound Stack SFQ-03 steps
up output and performance and adds an optical
line input. The biamplified system features
80-watt output, two 3-inch full-range speakers,
two ported 3-inch active subwoofers and DSP
to widen the sound stage.