Philips Launches Updated Audio Lineup

By David Ponce

Philips recently invited me to Amsterdam. Why? Because they’re Obsessed With Sound, and they wanted to show me just how much. Take it from me: it’s a lot! In the next few days I will be releasing an exclusive article (as in I was the only member of the media there…) showing you what I mean. Stay tuned for that, it’s really good! In the meantime though, you should know that Royal Philips Electronics is announcing its revised audio product lineup in Barcelona today, and there’s some exciting new stuff. Let me give you a few highlights.

From speaking with representatives of the company, I gathered that one of the products they’re proudest of is the revamped GoGear Muse, their standalone MP4 player. It’s a crowded market for sure, not the least of which because of the iPhone/iPod’s ubiquitous presence, and yet the very good looking GoGear Muse stands out enough to have received a CES 2011 Innovation Award. Aside from playing back a slew of both audio and video formats, new features include SafeSound, which “analyses listening and informs of potentially damaging volumes”; Sound Personalization, an intuitive touch-based way to change the equalizer settings; and LikeMusic, “a feature in Philips Songbird which creates perfect playlists based on your listening.”

Another product they seemed pretty excited about was the result of a merging of two of their already successful lines: the Fidelio SoundSphere docking speakers. The SoundSpheres claim superior sound reproduction due to the fact that the tweeter is free-floating above the curved speakers which “delivers sound in all directions for a deeper and wider audio impression with minimized interferences.” And now they’ve been mated to the company’s Fidelio line of docking speakers and integrated with Apple’s Airplay. So you can playback any of your tunes from your PC, Mac or iOS device wirelessly. We’re assured that the rather steep asking price (799Euro, or about $1,100) isn’t just the for modern looks, but also for top notch, audiophile quality sound reproduction.

One final highlight is the Wi-Fi Multiroom Hi-Fi System, which is a direct competitor to Sonos. The idea is that you can deck out your entire house with their ClariSound speakers and then stream an assortment of music to each room, whether it’s your own which you’ve stored on an external USB hard drive or any of 10,000 internet radio stations via TuneIn. The ClariSound speakers feature the following:

    Soft-dome tweeter positioned on top of the speaker box to reproduce high-end frequencies perfectly and allow sound to travel along the speaker baffle. This also helps recover the richness and wideness of the original performance
    Glass fiber woofer cone which produces a more natural sound due to its lightweight design
    Innovative front-firing bass port, filled with acoustic material to ensure pure and tight bass reproduction

Of course, to control what’s playing in what room, you can either use their touchscreen MusicCenter, or an iOS or Android app directly on your phone.

We’re still awaiting word on pricing and availability for most of these products.

Of course the last three products are nothing but a highlight of everything that’s been announced today in Barcelona. Philips has setup a good blog where you can follow everything: [ Philips Pulse ]