Audio Component Choices Abound For PCs, TVs, Mobile Devices



Audio products that connect to TVs, PCs and mobile devices dominated the audio introductions here at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Line Show, but audio components also put in an appearance.

Companies unveiling speakers or amps that connect directly to flat-panel TVs included Audio Design Associates, RCA, SpeakerCraft and Proficient. Companies such as Blue Aura and Pioneer showed wireless speakers, and Leon showed passive three-channel soundbars, its first outdoor speaker, and a three-way in-wall speaker.

For its part, Soundfreaq expanded its selection of iPad/iPhone-docking speaker systems equipped with stereo Bluetooth.

Here are the details on the latest products:

Audio Design Associates:

The high-end audio supplier plans summer shipments of the $799-suggested Ramp-PM Room Amp, which connects to stereo speakers or to passive soundbars to improve the sound quality of flat TVs.

The 2x30-watt amp is 8 inches by 8 inches 2 inches in size to fit behind TVs.

The Ramp-PM features analog audio inputs, but because many TVs no longer offer analog audio outputs, the Ramp-PM adds digital inputs and decoding of Dolby Digital, DTS and PCM soundtracks. It also downmixes multichannel audio to stereo.

The amp features four inputs: digital TOS-Link, digital coax, analog stereo and a speaker bypass input.

The optional $199 Ramp-IR add-on box captures learns the IR codes of TV or set-top-box remotes, which can then be used to control such amp functions as volume, mute and input selection.

Blue Aura:

The first products launched in the U.S. by U.K.-based startup Blue Aura include two wireless multi-room speaker systems and a vacuumtube amp, all designed for use with PCs as music sources.

The two wireless speaker systems, already available, are the $279-suggested WS30i and $599 WS80i. Both consist of two active speakers that receive music wirelessly from a transmitter connected to a PC via the PC’s USB port or connected to another audio source via the source’s 3.5mm stereo output.

The WS801 comes with included transmitter, and the WS30i comes with optional $149-suggested transmitter/ receiver pair. Transmitters are also available separately at $99.

The company uses a proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technology with 25-meter range.

The company’s wireless transmitters feature digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and transmit uncompressed CD-quality audio, the company said.


The custom-installed speaker company unveiled its first outdoor speakers and showed its first three-way in-wall speaker and two thin passive soundbars. All are shipping.


The Monster Clarity HD Micro Bluetooth with AAC and Apt-X decoding was shown, scheduled for early- July shipment at a suggested $219.


The brand unveiled its first active TV speaker that doubles as a TV pedestal. The under-TV Max TV will be available in August at around $649 to $699 through Proficient’s distributors.


RCA-brand licensee Alco is following up the launch of its $99-suggested 30-inch Wi-Fi-equipped RTS736W Streaming soundbar with a $249-suggested 37-inch model with wireless surround sound speakers. The RTS739SWH ships in October.

Like the previously shipped soundbar, the new model features Wi-Fi and ability to stream music and video from such Internet sources as Netflix, Vudu, Hulu+, YouTube, Pandora and Picasa. The new model, however, adds Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding and a wireless subwoofer through which users can connect two included surround speakers via speaker cable. The 140-watt bar also features HDMI output with audio return channel to send streamed video to the TV and receive audio from the TV. The device also adds one HDMI input, one optical audio input, one analog L/R RCA input and one 3.5mm line-in jack.


The supplier of Bluetoothequipped iPad/iPhone-docking speaker systems and Bluetooth-only speakers launched its first speaker designed for the bedroom.

Sound Rise docks with and charges iPods, iPhone and iPads, connects to other portable devices via stereo Bluetooth, charges other portable devices via USB, and features dual alarms and FM tuner. A touchpanel UI disappears when not needed.

The 2.1 speaker system will be available exclusively at Target stores on Sept. 30 at $99.


The company unveiled its first active speaker for flat TVs. The $599-suggested Protégé CS3 packs multiple drivers into a chassis that doubles as a TV pedestal. It also features stereo Bluetooth and simulated surround-sound processing. It will be available in Magnolia Home Theater stores beginning Aug. 19 on an exclusive basis for a period of time before being rolled out to other dealers.


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