Neosonik wireless A/V system

by Marc


Wireless speakers have been around for a while now, usually used in surround applications where long cable runs are impractical. The problem with them historically has been the sound quality – mention wireless to an audiophile and you’ll get a pretty unenthusiastic response (after all, someone who’s just spent $1000 on speaker cable isn’t going to tell you that it’s unnecessary).

Neosonik have challenged this assumption with their new wireless technology and at CES this year they were announcing a world first: an audiophile quality 5.1 wireless audio AND video system. That’s a pretty impressive claim, especially for a new and relatively unknown company.

I stopped by their demo room at the show to have a look.

The Neosonik system is comprised of active speakers that contain the amplifiers and crossovers directly within the speaker assembly so the only cable going to the speakers is a power lead. The wireless transmitter is integrated into the preamp (pictured) so for all practical purposes you can forget about the wireless nature of the equipment as there’s no special setup needed.

I had a good listen to the 2 channel stereo setup and it certainly sounded like the system has potential. It’s not easy to evaluate a strange system in a strange room but from what I heard I can say that the technology certainly shows promise – the sound was full and clear, space between instruments was distinct and it was easily the equal of other high quality audio systems I’ve heard.

“That’s fine and dandy”, I hear you say, “but what’s this about wireless video?”. Well that’s the bad news – Looks like the trade show gremlins had come out to play so Neosonik were unable to show the video working when I was there. They assured me that it was a logistical problem rather than a technical one and the technology does work as advertised – we’ll have to take their word on that! I did hear the 5.1 wireless audio working but video wasn’t happening.

Bad news #2: It’s not going to be available in your local circuit city – they’re looking at a guide price upwards of $10,000! In the world of top end audio and video components that’s not as loopy as it might sound (in fact it’s positively cheap compared to some other items I could mention) but it looks like the rest of us will have to wait a few years before we get a wire-free home cinema.

4 reviews or comments

Aaron Brinton Says: January 26, 2007 at 9:49 pm

I arrived very late on the last day of CES 2007 at the Venetian, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the few who saw the full wireless home theatre up and running. According to the owner, one of their boards got damaged in shipping and the engineers worked through the show to only repair it in the last hours. We sat down and watched a good chunk of Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” in Blue Ray HD format and it looked and sounded flawless as far as I could tell.

I also listened to the stereo system in the second suite, (not totally allowing my usual audiophile snootiness get in the way of some serious consideration). The imaging and general sound quality was as good as systems I heard that cost up to three times the price of what Neosonik is asking, and without all the extra gear, wires, ect.

I think these guys are onto something very interesting.

Marc Says: March 26, 2007 at 3:10 pm

I saw the engineer furiously soldering away in a corner and it looked like they were getting somewhere but I ran out of time. Ah well, perhaps next year!

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