After dropping hints in January, Harman offically announced the portable MS-2 car accessory is now available at a suggested retail price of $239 ($199 street).
The portable device plugs into the auxiliary input of a car stereo and then lets you plug in an iPod, iPhone, Android phone or other portable. It also optimizes the sound from your car’s audio speakers, using DSP, while remaining a plug and play accessory.
Users just press the setup button on the MS-2 and automatically tunes the tonal balance, bass and “sonic clarity” or the existing sound system in the car.
“The MS-2 adjusts each speaker to optimize the sound quality and includes separate buttons for bass, treble, impact and image to allow for fine-tuning music based on individual sound tastes,” said a statement.
“This is the ultimate portable music accessory, specifically designed to improve the sound in any car – regardless of the audio system that’s already installed. You can even use it in another car or with a music player in your house,” said Sachin Lawande, EVP and co-president of Harman’s Lifestyle and Infotainment divisions.
JBL’s Andy Wehmeyer explained that most DSP units are placed between the radio and the amp, but JBL has simply placed it between the portable and the radio. It only improves sound from your iPod or other portable but “so many people listen to music exclusively on their iPod or phone when they drive, it’s a huge use case.”
For car stereo installers, the MS-2 may be used as a demo device. Dealers can take the device out to the customers’ car and show him the difference in music from his iPod or phone. If the customer wants the improved sound when he listens to the radio or CD, he can then buy and MS-8, said Wehmeyer.
The portable JBL MS-2 weighs 3.2 ounces and fits in a pocket. It ships with input/output cables and a 6-volt DC power supply to plug into a car’s cigarette lighter adapter. A separate 6-volt DC power supply is needed for home use (not included).