Polk Audio's Woodbourne is a Bluetooth speaker with high-end refinement

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/ Updated: January 9, 2013 4:54 PM PST

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.

Polk Audio Woodbourne
Polk Audio Woodbourne David Carnoy/CNET
Polk Audio Woodbourne, back panel
David Carnoy/CNET

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.

Polk Audio Woodbourne closeup
David Carnoy/CNET

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 the B&W Zeppelin Air and the Samsung DA-E750 .

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Where to Buy See all prices

Polk Audio Woodbourne

Part Number: Woodbourne
MSRP: $599.00 Low Price: $699.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 180 Watt
  • Speaker Type AirPlay speaker
  • Color mahogany
  • Wireless Technology AirPlay
    Bluetooth w/ aptX
  • Amplification Type active
  • Crossover Channel Qty 2-way
  • Connectivity Technology Wired