Great Days for Audio at CES
• The iHome brand, marketed by SDI, is one of the top four Bluetooth speaker brands in the U.S. market and is number one in Bluetooth clock radios, said the company’s Evan Stein at the private CES booth where a wide selection of new Bluetooth-connected products with unique features and form factors was on display. Among the new products is the rechargeable Sound Flask (iBT12 and iBT32; $49.99 and $99.99); it has a host of speakerphone features including built-in mic and ATI SoundClear voice echo cancellation; it comes with a leather-style case with a carabiner clip that can attach to a backpack. Also new: the Kineta series Model iKN105 Bluetooth clock radio featuring a pop-out cylindrical battery ($99.99) which doubles as a smartphone charger; the Model iBT74 decorative-candle-shaped Phaze color-changing Bluetooth speaker system ($59.99); and the Model iBT11 Split portable surround Bluetooth speaker system with charging cradle ($99.99) that can be split in two for wireless stereo sound. The company is also releasing its SmartPlug series Wi-Fi-enabled wall plugs that allow control of home electronics including lights, fans, heaters and home audio systems; they are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and will work with Siri.
• 808 Audio fielded some new SKUs in both its headphone and wireless speaker lines. The NRG Glo wireless Bluetooth can-shaped speaker features a multi-color light that pulsates with the music playing and can be set to different modes or moods. ($59; March availability). It is powered by a 12-hour rechargeable battery. Also able to play non-stop on a 12-hour charge is the 808 Audio HEX XS pocket-size wireless Bluetooth speaker, ($59.99) with stereo sound and an enhanced bass radiator. Simplified, one-button simple operation controls all key functions such as power on/off and device pairing.
• Klipsch offered numerous product debuts at its CES outpost, conducting Dolby Atmos and WiSA technology demonstrations in a sound room equipped with two concept Reference Premiere 5.1 systems. Klipsch’s Mark Casavant said the company was planning to market Dolby Atmos system elements at mid-year that include $2,500/pair floorstanding towers and a $950 center channel; Atmos-enabled height-channel modules are also going to be available at $500/pair. Klipsch also showed off and played the 10-speaker Reference Premiere series outside the sound room; that series is now in production as the company’s flagship speaker line. The Reference series features Klipsch’s exclusive 90°x90° Hybrid Tractrix Horn technology coupled with Linear Travel Suspension (LTS) titanium tweeters. Casavant pointed out that the series is designed “with clean baffles and no fasteners.”