JBL/Harman launch smart soundbar, new speakers, and a guitar amp/speaker combo

JBL and parent company Harman Audio have announced four compelling new speaker lines that the companies will showcase at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

Wireless audio is the big theme in this year’s lineup, with JBL announcing a soundbar and two wireless speaker lines, and Harman Kardon announcing a new high-end home theater line that can wirelessly create a 5.1 surround sound system.

Harman Kardon’s new smart speaker line called the Citation Series is perhaps the most exciting of all the home theater products showcased at the brand’s CES 2019 showroom at the Hard Rock Hotel. Built with Google Assistant on board, alongside Chromecast-based, high-resolution streaming and multiroom audio support in eight different sizes (from the tabletop One model to a pair of floor-standing speakers), this is already one of the most versatile systems at the show.

That’s not all the Citation series has going for it, either. The system’s tubular floor-standing speakers also offer WiSA, an exciting new technology that allows them to deliver high-resolution surround sound directly from the speakers themselves, no transmitter required. Prices for the Citation series range from $200 for the small One model to $2,500 for the floor-standing towers. The speakers are currently available on Harman Kardon’s website.

The new JBL Link Bar, the company’s soundbar solution, will feature both Android TV and Google Assistant built-in, allowing buyers immediate access to smart TV functionality should their TV set not already include it. It also means that content searching on YouTube and other platforms will be extremely easy, thanks to Google Assistant’s excellent voice search functionality.

That plus built-in Chromecast means you’ll be able to easily watch your favorite films and TV shows without ever grabbing a remote. The Link Bar will retail for $400 (with an optional subwoofer that costs $300), and will be available for purchase this spring.

JBL

JBL also announced two different lines of portable speakers, the most interesting of which is called the JBL PartyBox. The new PartyBox will come in 200-, 300-, and 1,000-watt sizes, and is designed to be the perfect portable party solution — it will even come with built-in guitar and microphone inputs, should you want to jam out on the go. In addition to stereo sound, each PartyBox will feature built-in lighting, so you can truly feel like a rock star while blasting your favorite music. The PartyBox speakers will cost $350, $450, and $1,000, respectively, and will be available in July.

Those interested in something a bit lighter in weight will be interested in JBL’s new Flip 5 speaker. The latest addition to the company’s cylindrical Bluetooth speaker line (that we’ve been big fans of for years) features an all-new acoustic design for even better sound. It will retail for just $100, and will hit the market in spring.

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