Wireless speakers are not exactly uncommon nowadays, so manufacturers have to offer something a little different to stand out from the crowd. On its own, the Ai-2 from Soundots looks to be similar to rectangular audio throwers from the likes of Bose and Harman. But this system is modular in nature, meaning that you can put two or more together to form a curved TV soundbar, or stack 'em high and wide to create a sound wall.
If you think you've seen the Soundots Ai-2 before, you'd be right. Sort of. This is actually the second iteration of a portable speaker that was originally called the AiFi, which was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo in 2015. Like the first generation, Sound Dimensions is banking on support from the crowd to get it into production, this time over on Kickstarter.
"You'll be amazed by the amount of bass, clarity and room for expressive dynamics in a single Soundots unit," said Soundots. The idea is that you start with one portable speaker. Then, when the whim takes you or your budget allows, you add another. Then another, until you have your curved soundbar, custom-sized home theater audio system or your wall of sound. The units wirelessly connect to each other using optical communication tech and some AI smarts.
Each 184 x 65 x 64 mm (7.2 x 2.55 x 2.51 in), 750 g (26.5 oz) Ai-2 rocks two 48 mm (2-in) aluminum drivers reckoned capable of throwing out 15 W. Portability comes courtesy of a 2-cell Li-ion battery, there are two USB-C ports for cabled connectivity to devices or for charging and Soundots says it has improved on the chassis for "increased durability and sustainability."
The main processor has received an upgrade, the magnetic locking system has been made better too, and the touch control panel has been moved to the top of the unit – though functionality can also be set and tweaked using the Soundots iOS/Android app. And where many of today's portable speakers use flavors of Bluetooth 4, the Ai-2 rocks Bluetooth 5.0.
The Kickstarter runs until July 27, with pledges starting at US$159 for one Ai-2, and $279 for two. That's not cheap and if you intend to add to the stack one at a time, you could easily find yourself flying past $1,500 to build even a small wall of sound.
If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in November. The video below has more.
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