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Sony Hi-res audio SRS-X9 leads new wireless speaker range

Sony has announced a new range of wireless speaker systems at CES, including the flagship SRS-X9 which is ready for Hi-resolution Audio

Sony made a big push for high-resolution audio at last year’s IFA show, a push which looks set to continue in 2014 following the reveal of a the SRS-X9 – a new wireless speaker system compatible with lossless files.

A 2.1 wireless speaker with a bi-amped subwoofer and twin passive radiators, the SRS-X9 delivers 154w of power. According to Sony, two mid-range drivers and four tweeters deliver “powerful, full-range audio with a good tone balance and a rich, precise bass”. It uses Sony’s proprietary Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HXTM) to recapture the detail and high-frequency sounds that are usually lost when making compressed MP3 and AAC files, but will happily play uncompressed FLAC and lossless audio too.

Integrated aptX Bluetooth and NFC let you pair a smartphone or tablet with a single tap, or you can send music over your wireless network thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, DLNA and Apple Airplay. Music streaming services Spotify, TuneIn Radio and Sony’s own Music Unlimited are all supported, and you’ll be able to keep your device in juice using the USB charging port. There’s also a wired audio input for connecting other sources.

Sony SRS-X9

The slightly smaller SRS-X7 has a matching design, but loses the SRS-X9’s hi-res audio playback abilities and drops the total power output to 32w. Twin full range drivers and a single subwoofer handle music playback. It still has integrated Wi-Fi, NFC and aptX Bluetooth, Airplay and DLNA support, and compatibility with Music Unlimited, Spotify and TuneIn Radeo, along with a USB charging port and auxiliary wired input.

The other big difference is the built-in battery; it should last for around six hours of music playback, letting you take the 1.9kg speaker anywhere within range of your wireless network without having to look for a plug socket. It will be launching in a choice of black and white colours.

The SRS-X5 is the portable entry-level model, which has an integrated rechargeable battery good for around six hours of continuous music playback. It too includes built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC, and can double as a hands free speakerphone when paired with your smartphone.

The 2.1 system has two full range drivers and a single subwoofer which output a total of 20W. It weighs 1.2kg so is light enough to carry around the house, and will be available in black, white and red colour choices.

The final two models in the range are for anyone that doesn’t want to give up the hi-fi altogether for wireless streaming. Both the CMT-X5CD and CMT-X7CD are compact stereo systems with 40w of power output to their full range speakers, which are equipped with passive radiators.

Traditional CD and FM radio playback is of course on board, along with DAB digital radio, USB playback and wireless connections via Wi-Fi, aptX Bluetooth and NFC.

The entire wireless speaker range will be available in the UK from April onwards, although no prices have been formally announced.

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