Philips, Sennheiser Debut Products At Pre-IFA Event


Dubrovnik, Croatia - Hoping to expand its successful Fidelio AirPlay speaker brand, Philips today announced a line of Wi-Fi whole-home audio speakers.

Dubbed Fidelio Wireless Hi-Fi, three wireless speakers and two receivers would enable consumers to stream music directly from Apple iOS or Android devices to multiple speakers around the home.

At a pre-IFA event in this historic and scenic Mediterranean coastal town, Philips also announced two Fidelio wireless add-on receivers, one to connect to an existing A/V receiver and an actual receiver to which existing wired speakers can be attached. Both would be able to receive and play music streamed from a wireless device.

In addition, event co-sponsor Sennheiser unveiled two new headphones, the in-ear IE-800 (599 euro), the smallest earphones in the company's line, and the over-the-ear HDVD 800 (1,499 euro). Both should be available in the U.S. later this year at prices yet to be determined.

Philips' three Fidelio Hi-Fi wireless speakers feature twin front drivers angled at 90 degrees to mimic stereo from a single unit, a Class D digital amplifier and a back-firing bass port on the rear. The A9 (549 euro per pair) and the shorter A5 (349 euro each) each contain twin midrange woofers and a central tweeter, and the squat A3 (249 euro each) includes twin woofers and tweeters on either side.

Music is streamed wireless to each speaker via Wi-Fi, controlled by the Philips' AirStudio Apple iOS (iPhone or iPad) or Android app.

Up to five Hi-Fi speakers can be placed around the home to deliver music from a wireless device; a software update scheduled for later this year will allow music to "follow" a user from room-to-room the way Sonos' system can.

All three Fidelio Hi-Fi speakers are due in the U.S. at the end of Q2; no specific U.S. pricing was announced.

The Fidelio Hi-Fi A1 receiver (149 euro), connects to older AVRs missing a mobile interface option; the A2 (199 euro) is an actual stereo receiver to which wired speakers can be connected and to which music from a mobile device can be streamed. The A2 contains twin 50-watt-per-channel Class D digital amplifiers.

Philips also announced the Fidelio M1 foldable over-the-ear headphones (199 euro), a smaller follow-up to last year's Fidelio L1 headphones.

The company also announced plans for a wireless Ambisound home-theater surround system consisting of four small twistable satellites a la Bose's Acoustimas, a center sound bar and a subwoofer. Specific product, pricing or availability specifics are scheduled to be announced at the fall IFA show from Aug. 31 through Sept. 5 in Berlin.


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