When it comes to Bluetooth speakers, stereo sound is always the first thing that's sacrificed in favor of convenience and a compact size. Most units aren't broad enough to give a true stereo image from a seating position, but this is the one thing that Mass Fidelity's $600 The Core attempts to do from a small, roughly 6-inch square unit.
Using a technique called Wave Field Synthesis the Core's small box uses multiple drivers to bounce sound off the walls of your room to create a convincing stereo effect. The Core features 5 onboard drivers in all driven by a 120W amplifier and six Digital Signal Processors (DSPs). While you can also connect an external subwoofer Mass Fidelity says the unit is capable of reaching down to 44Hz on its own.
But this isn't the only trick up its sleeve, this is a multi-room system based on Bluetooth, and it can beam to up to nine speakers in your system using a proprietary 5Ghz network. Unfortunately the company says you can't move between rooms and maintain a signal -- your source needs to stay connected to the one speaker, or reconnect with the one in the next room. As the unit is portable with a 12-hour battery though, the company suggests you can always take the speaker with you.
If you choose not to use Bluetooth the unit also features a number of other connections including a digital optical input, a control input for home automation systems and a stereo analog input.
The Core will retail for $600, however it launches on Indiegogo today for US$350 for one unit, or up to US$1,000 for three. It's due to be available in December. (Worldwide availability remains up in the air, but converted retail pricing would be about £365 or AU$640.)
At a demonstration at the CNET offices, The Core did indeed sound bigger than the small unit in front of me. Unlike other "wide" effects, the soundstage didn't change as I moved around the room. The company said that the unit will still work in a large room, and could even work in a concert hall if pressed.