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Networked Tabletop Speaker – Harman Lifestyle JBL Authentics L16

Convenience and hi-fi quality can go together, JBL argues. Voters agreed.

The Harman brand combines hi-fi performance and wireless networking in the tabletop JBL Authentics L16 with Apple AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth at a suggested $999.

The three-way 300-watt Authentics L16 blends JBL’s acoustic heritage and the time-honored concept of legacy stereo systems with modern wireless performance. The design was inspired by the brand’s high-end Century L100 component speakers. It features luxury walnut-veneer housing and retro grilles to fit in with interior décors ranging from mid-century modern to transitional and contemporary. It also comes with removable foam grilles and optional floor stands.

The L16 features six drivers, each with its own 50-watt amp. They consist of two 5.25-inch woofers, a 2-inch midrange and 1-inch tweeters. They deliver 35Hz to 35kHz frequency response.

The L16 also incorporates features once reserved for audio components. It does double-duty as a 96kHz/24-bit DAC via optical input, and it features integrated phono preamp to add a turntable. It also charges smartphones and tablets via USB charging ports.

Harman Clari-Fi technology restores lost details to compressed music files. A Qi wireless charging pad is optional.

The speakers are controlled remotely via Wi-Fi from JBL’s free iOS and Android music app, which also serves as a music player. Remotely controlled features include tone, source switching and Clari-Fi turn-on.

To one speaker at a time, the app lets users stream local content from Apple devices via AirPlay or Bluetooth. Also to one speaker at a time, the app lets users stream local content from Android devices via DLNA or Bluetooth.

With the L16, consumers can also use the Apple remote app to stream one song from an iTunes-equipped PC to multiple Authentics speakers at a time.

The speaker’s DLNA capability enables one speaker at a time to stream music from a PC using the Windows Play To feature.