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Pioneer SMA

Pioneer's new line of Wi-Fi speakers, which includes a portable model, is due to ship in August.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read
Pioneer's new SMA Wi-Fi audio system comes in three versions, including a portable model. The flagship A4 is on the left. Pioneer

Pioneer's entered the wireless speaker fray with a trio of units that range in price from $299 to $399 and support Apple's AirPlay wireless streaming technology along with DLNA 1.5 and Pioneer's own Wireless Direct.

Three wireless music speaker systems are officially called the XW-SMA1, XW-SMA3, and XW-SMA4, though they also go by their shortened names of the A1, A3, and A4 (we're not sure why the A2 was skipped). The $399 A3 model is essentially the same as the A1 but features a built-in rechargeable battery, making it a portable unit.

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Pioneer has also joined up with HTC to provide HTC One smartphone users with an easy setup and connect option. Like Apple's AirPlay features, HTC Connect-compatible smartphones will stream music directly to the speakers over Wi-Fi and will provide complete control of both music content and the volume transmitted to the speakers.

The units were tuned by Pioneer sound engineer Andrew Jones to provide 'high volume output with excellent sound quality.' Pioneer

All three models offer Pioneer's Wireless Direct technology, which the company says allows the speaker to act as its own Wi-Fi wireless access point.

One note to Pioneer: AirPlay speakers can be confusing enough for the average consumer, so it might not be the best idea to throw out even more wireless jargon with the launch of a new product. If you add in the HTC stuff, you have about five different brands of wireless terminology -- that's too much.

And now back the speakers. Here's the skinny on the three models:

  • XW-SMA1 ($299): Features dual 3-inch speakers and a 3/4-inch soft dome tweeter, and uses a tuned bass reflex port to enhance bass response.
  • XW-SMA3 ($399): Has identical audio components as the A1, but this model adds a rechargeable lithium ion battery and a tough exterior. When battery power is used, music playback lasts up to 4 hours at maximum volume and up to 6 hours at 50 percent volume.
  • XW-SMA4 ($399): The flagship model Features five speakers, including dual 3-inch speakers, a dedicated 4-inch subwoofer, and dual 3/4-inch soft dome tweeters.

Pioneer's SMA wireless speakers are due to ship in August. We'll post full reviews of the products as soon as we get our hands on review samples.