LAS VEGAS--You can see all kinds of wacky products walking around the show floor at CES 2013, but audio products tend to get the weirdest. I spotted these HiVi Swans 2.8A speakers almost as soon as I hit the show floor.
These funky-looking speakers stood out to me in the Microlab booth. The company has actually been selling a similar model on Amazon, but it's getting built-in Bluetooth for 2013. The plastic enclosures don't exactly scream high-end, but I like the style -- they look like they should be in the lounge in "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Nyne's SMC-1000 feels like a throwback to old stereo consoles with speakers built right into the cabinetry. The bottom two panels house the speakers, while the top two open up to store your home video devices. It's packed with features (four HDMI inputs, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Lightning dock), but it will set you back between $2,000 and $3,000 when it comes out later this year.
Sound bars generally mean you need to give up true surround sound, but Philips's HTL9100 wants you to have it both ways. The ends of the sound bar detach, letting you place them in the back of your room as rear speakers.
Yes, it looks like a jar of jam, but it's actually a Bluetooth speaker. While the Jam Classic actually came out in 2012, HMDX is releasing a larger model, dubbed the Jam Classic Plus in the spring for $60.
Samsung's obsession with tubes started with last year's CES darling, the DA-E750, and now the company is adding vacuum tube amplifiers to sound bars. The Samsung HW-F750 is dubbed the "world's first sound bar with a vacuum tube amp." The tubes are mostly for visual effect (I don't think it really improves sound quality), and I don't think it looks quite as good in the plasticky HW-F750 as it did in the DA-E750.
Most of the Bluetooth speakers at CES 2013 are compact, but Sony's Bluetooth Boombox is throwback to the larger minisystems that used to be more popular. In addition to Bluetooth, it packs NFC pairing and a digital AM/FM tuner.
Teenage Engineering's newly announced OD-11 actually borrows its design from Swedish audio engineer Stig Carlsson, whose original OD-11 in 1974 featured the same angled tweeter and woofer that directs sound out the the top of the speaker, rather than a more traditional front-facing design. The idea is to throw the sound into a room, without a defined sweet spot that standard positioning creates.