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Samsung Wireless Audio 360 banishes the sweetspot

Laura Whitmore Samsung Wireless Audio 360

Projecting sound 360-degrees, Samsung’s wireless audio speakers let you enjoy the same sound quality wherever you are

One of the big issues with any traditional speaker system is the sweet spot; move out of this space and the sound quality diminishes. With Samsung’s new Wireless Audio 360, this problem is gone forever, as the speakers fire out sound at 360-degrees, so you can stand anywhere in a room and get the same sound quality.

Samsung is shipping two versions of the product, both of which have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4: the R7 is the larger product for use indoors; the R6 is the battery-powered portable unit. All of the speakers can be included as part of a multi-room audio system, controlled via the Multiform App 2.0 (Android and iOS).

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Looking somewhere between a rocket and a high-end lamp, the new speakers look amazing, but the looks are also a bi-product of how the 360-degree sound works. While it’s far more complicated than this, inside there’s a regular speaker pointing downwards into a metal reflector (the ring radiator), which pumps out the sound evenly; on the top a tweeter does is set up the same way. It’s a completely new type of speaker design, and one that was created by Allen Devantie, director of the Samsung audio lab in the US.

“The ring radiator came to me over Christmas 2013,” Devantie told us. “After prototyping, it was pretty clear that we were on to something special.”

One of the concerns that we had was that with the sound being pushed out in all directions, echoes and reverberation would negatively impact sound. Devantie explained that this was one of the product development team’s worries, but that in practice there are no such downsides.

“The rules of regular speaker placing apply. If you place a speaker closer to a wall, you get more bass.” said Devantie. “However, mid-range and high-end are evenly spread.”

Devantie also explained that when you listen to any audio, your ears adjust and you’re listening to the room as much as what’s creating the sound. In other words, with a product like this, your ears adjust to the sound being produced and you get clear audio no matter where you’re standing.

“You get a super-strong sense of envelopment,” Devantie said, explaining the Wireless Audio 360 speakers.

So, do the speakers really work that well? In short, the answer is, yes. We tested the new speakers at the launch event in large and noisy rooms. While that means that we couldn’t pick up on the finer details (we’ll need to wait for full review units), we could hear each test audio track clearly. Walking round and round the speakers it was clear that the sound quality didn’t change at all. That’s pretty impressive and shows that these speakers are great for parties, or even for rooms where you walk around a lot, such as the kitchen, as get the same sound quality everywhere.

The speakers can be paired together, either to play the same tracks in multi-room or as left- and right- channel stereo pairs. They can also be paired with Samsung’s high-end TVs. Both the R6 and the R7 support HD audio (up to 192kHz/24-bit) and 320Kbit/s MP3 audio and Spotify Connect. Both are available in black or white and are available now, with the R7 costing £500 and the R6 £400.

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