Two years ago Canadian company Mass Fidelity introduced the $600 Core -- a networkable Bluetooth speaker that offered an ultrawide soundstage from a small box. Today, the company announced its follow-up, the Rad (the company stylizes this as "raD", shorthand for radial dispersion), which uses the same networking system to communicate with other speakers in your house but is available at a lower price. While the Core used "Wave Field Synthesis" to create its stereo trick -- which really did work based on our experience -- the Rad uses a much simpler "radial" soundfield.
Mass Fidelity says the water-resistant product was a result of customers' requests for a smaller, more rugged version that could be used outdoors or in a bathroom.The Rad is a little smaller than the Core at 5 inches square by 3 inches high, and it offers a five-speaker array, with four 1.5-inch drivers and a single 3-inch bass driver. The company says it's capable of a frequency response from 75Hz to 20KHz and can be connected to the Core Wireless Subwoofer for even deeper bass.
The Rad connects via Bluetooth to your portable device and is then able to link to up to eight other Rads or Cores in the home via a proprietary 5GHz wireless connection. The unit includes an onboard battery that can provide eight hours of playback as well as charge portable devices over a USB port. If you don't want to connect over Bluetooth, you can also use the 3.5mm input.
We took a quick listen to the unit -- it was apparent that the (more expensive) Core was demonstrably better at creating a stereo field, which the Rad wasn't able to do convincingly. From our demo, the Rad sounded like a standard Bluetooth speaker . We would really need to test it to give more specific impressions.
The unit is available for the next month on Indiegogo for $189 and will be sold at retail for $300. It's expected to launch in April 2017.