LAS VEGAS--Bluetooth speakers are taking over CES 2013, but the vast majority of them are cheap, small, and seemingly indistinguishable.
Polk Audio's new Woodbourne is on the other end of the spectrum, with a stylish retro-looking design that's made to be the centerpiece of a room. The Woodbourne's mahogany wood veneer top gives it a furniture-like feel, not to mention its sizable footprint: 24 inches wide, 7 inches tall, 6.88 inches deep, and 17.5 pounds. Most Bluetooth speakers focus on portability, but the Woodbourne is meant to be placed in a room and never moved.
The back panel is sparse, with just a minijack and optical input, plus a USB and Ethernet port. That's because most of the Woodbourne's tech is wireless, with built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. Over Bluetooth, the apt-X codec is supported, for better audio quality on devices that support it.
CNET had a chance to check out the Woodbourne in a private demo before CES 2013. (That's where the photos are from.) The Woodbourne looks even better in person and Polk Audio at least talked a good game about designing it with sound quality in mind. The Woodbourne has two 5.25-inch drivers and two 1-inch tweeters, powered by a 180-watt amplifier -- it's not your typical plasticy wireless audio speaker. It's always hard to judge sound quality without comparing models head-to-head, so I'm excited to see how the Woodbourne stacks up once we get a review sample.
The Polk Audio Woodbourne is scheduled to be released in Q2 2013 with a list price of $600. That puts it in a similar price range with other high-end wireless audio docks, like theand the .