Standing out in the already overflowing Bluetooth speaker market is not an easy task. Toronto's Mass Fidelity reckons its wireless audio thrower manages to do just that. Rather than suffering from rather disappointing mono audio performance or wasting hours of trial and error to find your listening sweet spot with a two speaker setup, The Core throws out a high quality wide stereo image from one portable little box.
Using knowledge gained from the R&D behind the company's Bluetooth DAC, the relay, Mass Fidelity fixed its sights on producing a small speaker system that sounded better than great, and was at he same time easy to use, functional and portable. After 5 years of development, The Core Bluetooth speaker is the result.
At the heart of the 6 x 6 x 4 in (15 x 15 x 10 cm) black and chrome box are six 24-bit DSPs and an ARM-based processor that work together to render the necessary algorithmic magic to create The Core's claimed better than stereo output.
"What makes the Core truly revolutionary is the use of innovative Wave Field Synthesis technology," said Mass Fidelity's CEO Ben Webster. "Wave Field Synthesis is an entirely new way of rendering audio where a sound image is produced by recreating that sound in space – similar to a hologram. This astonishing sound image can be 'viewed' from anywhere in the room. It is purer and sounds better than traditional stereo, because it does not rely on the listener’s position or on 'tricking the brain' with psychoacoustics."
The system's 120-watt digital amplifier drives five custom mid/high speakers and one downfiring woofer, with Mass Fidelity's Absolute Bass Technology offering what's described as "bone-shaking" bass (though low end lovers do have the option to invite a wired or wireless external subwoofer to the party). The inclusion of powerful Class 1 Bluetooth promises to nip dropouts in the bud, while offering multi-platform source device compatibility. Although the quality of the output can only ever be as good as that of the input, music running through The Core does get a helping hand from the aptX audio codec and AAC technology for up to CD quality tunes.
If used in combination with a smartphone over Bluetooth (which can be paired via NFC tap-to-connect functionality), users can wave a hand over the top of The Core to skip a track. A built-in microphone allows The Core to be used as a speakerphone when connected to a smartphone. The onboard battery is reported good for a good 12 hours for every 2 hours on charge, and a USB port to the rear can be used to top up mobile devices on the go. Also at the back of the unit are both analog and digital inputs to feed in audio from powered hi-fi components like a turntable or CD player, and a control jack allows for use in home automation setups.
Up to nine devices can be wirelessly linked over The Core's own 5 GHz network to provide multi-room, high quality stereo sound throughout the home. Each speaker can throw out locally-sourced tunes or they can all receive the stream from one master unit.
Mass Fidelity has current working prototype and functional pre-production samples in the bag, and recently launched a crowdfunding bid on Indiegogo for the final push to market. The project has rocketed past its somewhat modest funding goal by over 1,600 percent with 2 weeks remaining at the time of writing.
The Core single units are pitched at US$389 each, representing a saving of over $200 on the expected retail price. A wireless subwoofer has been added as an additional pledge level of $229. If all goes to plan, backers can expect delivery to start as early as March 2015.
The developers overview the device in the video below.
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