Monster taps Best Buy to launch its Soundstage multi-room speakers [Update]

Monster announced this week that it has exclusively enlisted the gigantic electronics retailer Best Buy to spearhead the initial U.S. launch for its SoundStage wireless speakers, according to Twice. The company’s new three-piece speaker system, which looks to challenge the likes of Sonos in the multi-room speaker genre, will be unveiled at 400 Best Buy stores in the U.S. in the last week of October.

Monster also announced that it has developed a replacement for its high-end over-ear DNA cans that the company will begin shipping to limited audio-video specialists next month. The so-called “2.0” model was reportedly designed to be able to deliver dynamic sound efficiently and sensitively without the need for a headphone amplifier. The ‘phones will be ship at the same $280 price-point of its predecessor, but the company will implement a more dynamic range and bass-output improvements into the 2.0 edition, according to “head monster” and company CEO Noel Lee.

Related: Study predicts a surge in popularity for wireless speakers and multi-room audio devices

In the states, 400 Best Buy locations will begin exclusively selling Monster’s line of three SoundStage speakers during the final week of October, with an official release date set for October 25. An unspecified number of Canadian Best Buy locations will also be the first retailers in the North to stock the SoundStage line. Monster will begin expanding the wireless speakers’ availability to additional retailers roughly 30 days after the launch.

If you’re unfamiliar with the expanding multi-room audio genre, about 10 years ago Sonos pioneered the concept with a line of highly efficient wireless speakers that worked together to allow users to stream music via Wi-Fi from a single source to multiple rooms without latency, or to send a different source to each speaker. In the decade since, many big audio players — from LG to Denon — have joined in the fun.

Monster’s attempt to develop a multi-room system has resulted in three unique devices under the SoundStage banner: the S1 ($200), the S2 ($300), and S3 ($400). The devices get their name from Monster’s goal of synthesizing a larger sound stage through the use of software algorithms. The company initially revealed the speakers early last month in a press release leading up to 2014’s IFA consumer electronics tradeshow in Berlin.

Each model will feature a pair of front-firing drivers and ship with an optical input, 3.5-mm analog input, and USB ports for device charging. The S1 will have an additional rear passive radiator, while the S2 and S3 will both feature an active bass driver in back. The smallest and cheapest model, the S1, will also be equipped with IPX4-rated water resistance for splash protection.

All three models depend upon Qualcomm’s AllPlay smart-audio platform to achieve latency-free delivery of sound across multiple rooms via a Wi-Fi connection. Qualcomm’s technology also enables SoundStage users to synchronously stream their music to multiple SoundStage speakers (“Party” mode) or multiple songs to multiple speakers. All the devices on the relevant Wi-Fi network running the app can simultaneously collaborate on playlists.

In addition to local file streaming, users will be able to stream content native to music service apps such as Spotify and Rhapsody. Furthermore, Twice notes that Monster’s mobile app could eventually be expanded to include support for Qualcomm’s wireless AllJoyn home-automation technology (presumably because AllPlay is based on AllJoyn), which would in turn enable mobile control of TVs, appliances, and other AllJoyn-equipped products. Users would even be able to set up a TV to display the current song’s metadata.

Like Samsung’s Shape multi-room speaker line, Monster’s speakers will work through both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which will allow for use of other streaming services that aren’t yet compatible with Monster’s app. The speakers also include digital-optical connections for connecting to TVs, a USB charging slot, and a 3.5 mm stereo input.

All three speakers will be available October 25. Aside from the price differences, Monster hasn’t yet revealed any further unique specifications distinguishing the three models.

[Update 10/06/14: This article has been updated to address new information from Monster regarding the upcoming launch of its SoundStage line of wireless speakers. 

Product Review

These AirPod look-alikes are better in every way but one

With silicone eartips, water resistance, and a more palatable price tag, Mobvoi’s Ticpods Free are impressive AirPod doppelgangers. But for all the great things they have going for them, there’s one flaw holding them back.
Emerging Tech

Hope it doesn’t melt! Rocket to ISS carries vital supplies — including ice cream

A rocket has launched over Virginia's eastern shore, carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Inside the spacecraft are supplies for the ISS itself and the crew onboard, such as scientific equipment and food.
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Product Review

Hisense’s new H8E 4K TV serves up a pretty picture at a very nice price

Budget TVs continue to get more attractive and that includes the latest from Chinese TV maker Hisense. The company’s new H8E, which offers 4K resolution, HDR, and a slick design for well under $500.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (December 2018)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in November and December 2018, from new original series to classic films.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.