JBL has just announced its new Authentics series, touting an industry-first integration with Google Assistant and Alexa, and I have to wonder: in the age where just about everything has Alexa and Google integrations, has it really taken this long for audiophile brands to tap into the accessibility and convenience offer by voice integrations?
Not quite. Whether or not you consider Sonos to be an audiophile company, the company itself has had voice integrations for many of its products for a while now. Also, Bowers & Wilkins, this time a definitive audiophile company, somewhat recently (see two years ago) introduced Alexa integrations for its ever-popular Zeppelin speaker.
However, I think this really does mark the first time a company has had both Alexa and Google as an option within its speaker product. More reason to be interested in what JBL is now bringing to the table with the Authentics series, I suppose. Now the only question is if we’ll be able to see the series in action at CEDIA Expo 2023.
JBL Authentics Captures a Retro Design with a Modern Twist
Encapsulating three distinct models (the 500, 300, and 200) the JBL Authentics series taps into a very iconic, retro design with all the modern sound performance and innovation users have come to expect of the brand, a style that President of Consumer Audio at HARMAN, Carsten Olesen, dubs “newstalgia.”
According to JBL, Authentics 500 can function as a the centerpiece of any home audio system with Wi-Fi and Blutooth connectivity, while the Authentics 200 and portable 300 speakers round out the offerings.
The Authentics 500 speaker comes equipped with three 1-inch tweeters and three 2.75-inch midrange woofers alongside a 6.5-inch downfiring subwoofer. Additionally, the 500 is purported to deliver 270 Watts of 3.1 channel sound while also coming equipped with Dolby Atmos immersive sound capabilities.
The JBL Authentics 200, meanwhile comes with a pair of 1-inch tweeters, a full-range 5-inch woofer, and downfiring 6-inch passive radiator. The JBL Authentics 300 also features a built-in, rechargeable battery rated for eight hours of performance.
The biggest part of the news, however, is that all three JBL Authentics models come pre-equipped with Google Assistant and Alexa voice integrations. With Google Assistant and Alexa available simultaneously, customers have the choice and flexibility to communicate seamlessly with both voice assistants and take advantage of their different capabilities.
Once enabled, customers are able to use voice assistant to play their favorite music, control their smart home devices, set timers and alarms, and more, hands-free, using just their voice. Once the assistants are set up on the JBL One app, the speakers will respond to common activation phrases such as “Hey Google,” or “Alexa.”
The Authentics Series can also stream music through AirPlay, Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM), Spotify Connect, and Chromecast built-in. The speakers are also connectible, allowing them to be used in larger sound systems within homes.
Another neat feature to come with the Authentics Series is Automatic Self-Tuning, meaning the speaker calibrates and adapts the audio performance whenever the speaker is switched on. Additionally, users one the JBL One app have access to fully customizable EQ settings, allowing for a deeper personalization of their listening experience.
Pricing and Availability
While current pricing of the series is listed in Euros, a rough conversion of currencies puts the Authentics series on the more affordable end of the spectrum, with the 500 model clocking in at roughly $687 as the highest cost model within the series.
As for availability, the JBL Authentics are set to become available September 15 2023 on the JBL site.
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