Perhaps in an effort to keep pre-CES 2014 buzz going, Samsung has again released details on its new audio line-up ahead of the big show. Included in the suite is an entry-level addition to the company’s brand new wireless multi-room speaker system, a new sound bar, a new all-in-one home theater audio system, and Samsung’s answer to the growing popularity of speaker bases for televisions. Here are the vital details.
Samsung only recently introduced its Shape M7 speaker, a wireless multi-room audio solution similar in some respects to Sonos’ wireless audio solutions because it uses a wireless “mesh network” to allow a significant amount of control over music playback via a simple mobile device app. We recently reviewed the M7 and we think the system shows a lot of promise, but we’ve felt there needed to be a cheaper alternative available to attract a wider array of consumers. The M5 (picture currently not available) aims to fill that need. As a smaller speaker, we expect the M5 to come in at a lower price point than the $400 M7, but pricing won’t be discussed until the official product unveiling at the show.
Samsung’s previous flagship sound bar offerings saw the addition of vacuum tubes in the pre-amp stage and increasingly slim form factors. This year, the company’s premium model adds compatibility with the aforementioned wireless multi-room audio system’s mesh network for enhanced music distribution and control. Samsung says the sound bar packs a 320-watt amplifier, and is compatible with its Television Sound Connect feature, which offers wireless audio signal delivery and volume control from compatible Samsung televisions. Details on wired connectivity are not yet available.
The Sound Stand (pictured left and above) breaks Samsung into a rapidly developing new category of speakers that double as television stands. By making the speaker short and deep, manufacturers can capitalize on a greater amount of cabinet space than can be afforded to sound bars. The result is a speaker with richer sound quality and more bass than can be achieved by a sound bar that isn’t aided by a subwoofer. Since the speakers are so slight in height, they don’t take up much more real estate than a stand mounted television occupies, making them an easy addition to any entertainment setup.
Samsung’s flagship all-in-one system this year offers a handful of attractive features for those seeking true surround sound from a hassle-free, all-inclusive system. The HT-H7730WM’s “tall boy” speakers feature midrange drivers, which can be angled up in order to bounce sound off the ceiling. This approach is meant to generate an effect similar to that of the height speakers found in elaborate surround systems. The system’s rear surrounds get their audio signal wirelessly, though they must be plugged in for power. The Blu-ray player in the system boasts Ultra HD upscaling for enhanced resolution from standard and high definition sources played on new Ultra HD televisions. Once again, Samsung includes its vacuum tube technology for supposedly smoother sound from digital audio sources. Finally, Samsung boasts that this system is the only one being introduced at CES 2014 that is compliant with DTS’ new Neo:Fusion codec, a type of surround processing which creates a virtual 9.1 system from a 7.1 speaker system.