CES 2006 Spotlight: Polk Audio I-Sonic

It does AM/FM. It does XM. It does HD Radio. It does DVDs and CDs. What is it? A new, potentially big hit product from Matthew Polk and his team at Polk Audio called the I-Sonic.

Available in the spring for a price of around $599, the I-Sonic is a desktop style radio entertainment system which brings together a number of digital entertainment technologies and combines them with Polk Audio?s sound expertise. It is one of Polk?s latest achievements and he took time with us at CES 2006 to walk us through its design and features.

?It is interesting for us because historically we make great loudspeakers,? said Polk. ?I?m not sure exactly we knew what kind of challenge we were in for. We rolled up our sleeves though and plunged into it.?

As Polk explained, one of the greatest challenges Polk Audio faced was in how to integrate three major digital audio technologies ? DVD, satellite radio (XM) and HD radio ? into a compact device which sounds as great as it looks. Its audience is defined as those who seek exactly the type of product which the I-Sonic set out to be.

?The I-Sonic is targeted towards people who want a convenient way to access entertainment technologies,? said Polk. ?These people already have a high quality home entertainment system when they have time to enjoy it. On a day to day basis however, they want something that is high quality, which is conveniently accessible and provides multiple technologies.?

The feature set on the I-Sonic is quite robust. As already mentioned, it can play HD Radio (the next generation in digital radio broadcasts as pioneered by IBiquity Digital), AM/FM, XM Satellite Radio, music/MP3 CDs and DVDs. It also sports auxiliary inputs so that other audio devices, such as an iPod, can be hooked up to it. Audio quality through the integrated drivers design and bass technology produce a 360 degree room filling sound which Polk said ?would satisfy and fill a space while recognizing a product like this will be put down where it is convenient.?

Let?s look at how we live our lives,? said Polk. ?We don?t live our lives in a media room. We live on the go and in different rooms?it [the I-Sonic] is something that is more casual and easy to interact with.?

Other features on the I-Sonic include picture CD support, dual alarm clock radio, headphone jack, 30 radio presets and a wireless remote. Polk said that this product is the first in a planned family of products like this which will allow access to additional entertainment media.