Harman will introduce at KnowledgeFest its first handsfree Bluetooth speaker for the car. Called the JBL Trip, it’s a visor mount device that has the same type of speaker and amplifier as JBL portable/home Bluetooth streaming speakers and it uses a patented stereo microphone and noise cancelling system. JBL said the Trip works even under conditions with significant background noise.
The JBL Trip has a button for launching Apple’s Siri and it can provide navigation and app alerts from a smartphone. It uses a magnetic mount and can be removed from the car to double as a conference call speaker in a hotel, office or home. It ships in October at $99.95.
Harman has also announced shipping of many of the products it unveiled at CES in January, including its first Bluetooth streaming amplifiers for the car that also include ClariFI real time sound processing.
The Infinity Kappa and JBL GTR Stadium amplifiers let you pair up to 3 phones to the amplifier for music streaming from a Bluetooth phone as well as handsfree calling. The amplifiers can be used in vehicles that don’t come with handsfree Bluetooth. They come with a controller and microphone and provide “a better quality Bluetooth system than most people have in their cars,” said Harman’s Glenn Irhke.
The amplifiers are also Harman’s first car audio products to include its new ClariFI music system. It restores frequencies lost in music compression using predictive technology in real time. “When you compress music, they roll off high frequencies at about 10,000 cycles. They remove some of the bass and the imaging gets ‘mushy,’” explained Irhke.
ClariFI uses a “predictive model” that predicts the content lost in compression. In a typical compressed file, like an MP3, up to 90 percent of the original recording can be lost, said Harman. ClariFI is also selective in its activation. So if you play a CD, it may not do anything to the audio so its doesn’t “mess up” music that isn’t compressed, he said.
The amplifier control units include an on/off switch for ClariFI.
Five Bluetooth amplifiers will debut under Infinity Kappa and five under JBL Stadium amplifier, all with ClariFI, including a full range 100 watt RMS x2; a 100 watt x 4, a 5-channel version and two mono amplifiers rated at 1,000 and 600 watts. JBL prices ranges from $399.95 to $549.95 with shipping scheduled for the end of September.
Also shipping soon are the 8-inch “under-the-seat” powered subwoofers shown at CES under both JBL and Infinity. They include a 125 watt RMS built-in Class D amplifier and ship at the end of this month at $249.95. Harman calls them “The best 8-inch under the seat powered subwoofers in the industry.”
Additionally, two series of JBL subwoofers just began shipping, including a Series II mid-priced line and a Series III higher end line, which uses some of the same technology as JBL Pro speakers. They have selectable impedance and 3-inch voice coils and can handle up to 1,500 watts. Sizes are 10 and 12 inches at $179.95 and $199.95.
Photo: JBL Trip