Toronto – Canadian startup Mass Fidelity plans December availability of a wireless multiroom-audio system that uses a Bluetooth device as a source, eliminates the need to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and uses Wave Field Synthesis technology to create a room-wide stereo sweet spot.
It will be followed by a companion wireless subwoofer.
The products will be available through MassFidelity.com, but the company is also looking to premium brick-and-mortar and on-line retailers because of its price point and technical sophistication, a spokesperson said.
The company already offers a $249 Bluetooth DAC available since last year through custom integrators, A/V specialists, and Mass Fidelity’s web site.
The multiroom systems is built around a $599 Core portable rechargeable speaker that also connects to wired sources via optical digital input and a 3.5mm analog input. All connected sources can be streamed throughout the house to other Core speakers up to 100 feet over a proprietary adaptive 5GHz network in Red Book CD quality (16-bit / 44.1kHz), the company said. One source can be streamed at a time to up to nine wireless Core speakers.
The Core speaker is the first wireless consumer product to feature Wave Field Synthesis, which creates a stereo image comparable to two widely spaced speakers, a spokesman said. The stereo image is delivered to listeners at any point in the room.
Each Core measures 6x6x4 inches and features Class 1 Bluetooth range to communicate up to 100 feet with a Bluetooth music source. The Core uses technology from the company’s Relay Bluetooth DAC to improve Bluetooth sound quality, and it decodes AAC and aptX streams delivered via Bluetooth. Battery life is 12 hours.
Via its optical digital input, it doubles as a high-performance TV speaker.
The speaker packs a 120-watt digital amp, four custom-designed mid/high-frequency speakers, a downward-firing subwoofer, six digital signal processors (DSPs), and an ARM processing core. It recharges in less than two hours and features a USB port to charge smartphones or tablets.
The Core outputs frequencies down to 44Hz at “normal” listening volumes, but for deeper and louder bass, the Core connects to any wired powered subwoofer or to the planned Core Wireless Subwoofer. The subwoofers will reproduce low bass while the Core itself reproduces only the mid- and high ends, playing louder as a result.
To set up a multiroom system, users place the units where they want to hear music and press the multiroom button, a spokesman said. No app or Wi-Fi network setup is needed. Each Core is turned on and connected to the Core network by pushing a pairing button in each unit. The volume of each Core can be controlled from the Bluetooth source’s volume control, an included remote control, or via each’s Core’s volume button.
To eliminate sweet spots, the Core uses Wave Field Synthesis to transmit sound along multiple pathways, allowing for the waves to collide. WFS does not use psychoacoustic processes to trick the brain into hearing a stereo image but “reconstructs the sound field physically,” the company said.
The technology has been around since the late 1980s, but its demanding computing requirements kept it from being viable in consumer products until now, the company said.
Although the Core will retail for $599, the company is launching the product on Indiegogo at discounted prices. Availability has been pushed basck to March 2015.
To extend bass response, the Core speaker wirelessly connects to the $399 Core Wireless Subwoofer, available in June 2015. It can be placed up to 100 feet away via Core’s 5GHz network. The Core Sub can be laid flat or stood upright. Unlike the Core speaker however, the Core Wireless Sub is AC-only.
Once connected, the Core speaker will reproduce only mid- to high frequencies while distributing low-frequency information to the subwoofer. By itself, the Core speaker reproduces the 44Hz-120kHz spectrum, but when paired with the Core Wireless Sub, the Core Sub extends bass response to 35Hz and takes over reproduction of frequencies up to 120Hz.