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Harman’s JBL, H/K October Intros Stress Wireless Streaming

September 27, 2012 By Nancy Klosek
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Bluetooth and AirPlay compatibility and industrial design meant to stand out on a salesfloor are the “sell” features that form the basis of Harman’s newest JBL and Harman/Kardon SKUs, which include portable-device-docking speaker systems, mini speakers, headphones and a lineup of soundbars.

Some models are available now, and some, which were unveiled at the recent Berlin-held IFA electronics show, will ship stateside in mid-October.

The clear acrylic Harman/Kardon SoundSticks speaker system, introduced in 2001 and now part of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection, has been updated with Bluetooth streaming (SoundSticks Wireless; $229). The system is anchored by a six-inch sub and features eight full-range drivers and 40 watts of amplification.

The JBL SoundFly wireless speaker line, which plugs directly into any power outlet, consists of the Air (AirPlay-compatible) and BT (Bluetooth-compatible) versions ($199 and $179, respectively). The Air can takes streaming media from any room and up to four Airs can be controlled simultaneously; the BT does not require a separate Wi-Fi network.

The JBL OnBeat Venue ($199) docking station for iOS devices ($199) uses both Bluetooth and Harman’s TrueStream sound-enhancing technology.

JBL’s OnBeat Awake ($139) is designed for bedside use and features an alarm clock function as well as an iOS docking station.

The company is offering a trio of small-footprint speaker options in either black or white aimed at travelers and designed with a built-in bass-boosting port. The tube-shaped JBL Flip ($99) with Bluetooth has a rechargeable battery that plays for five hours on a charge. JBL’s burger-shaped Micro Wireless ($59) is also Bluetooth-compatible.   The Micro form factor is also available in a wired version (the $39 JBL Micro II) that is daisy-chainable.

The under three-inch-square BTA10 Bluetooth audio adapter ($59) is being positioned as a holiday stocking stuffer that converts legacy audio gear into Bluetooth-ready components.

The three JBL Cinema Series soundbars that debuted include: the SB100 ($199) two-way model with built-in sub; the SB200 ($299) with built-in sub and Bluetooth; and the top-line SB400 ($549), a 2.1-channel Bluetooth system with an outboard wireless subwoofer; it features three HDMI inputs nad 1 HDMI output.

Harman’s H/K BT Bluetooth over-ear wireless headphones ($249.95; available currently) boasts an unusual rectangular earcup and a USB-charging battery that yields 10 hours of playing time.

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