By Nate Adcock on Tue, 01/15/2013
Not all wireless speakers are created equal. You can turn up several of the mid and low-end models, and the sound is good, but they won't match a quality stereo receiver system with a preamp. Enter MTX with their Street Audio line of wireless (and wired) speaker technology. I was able to test out their "coming soon" line of new IT1 docks at CES. Wow is all I can say, even with the CES ambient show noise, these speakers cut right through everything with sparklingly clear tones, and rich depth. 6 internal speakers powered at a whopping 180 watts (RMS) with side-firing woofers will do that. The dock retails for $599, and the air wireless model for $799, which might seem a bit on the high side for a wireless speaker product, but well, the iT's are for serious audioheads! Oh yeah, they had some cool headphones too...
The IT1 is a block of extruded aluminum that looks like the toolbox in the boot (trunk) of the space shuttle, and feels tough enough to rest an engine block on, but it isn't what is on the outside that matters. Frederic Houis, the engineer (evangelist) himself, gave me the low down on his aim for the iT1 line--to create the positively best speaker dock/system in the known universe!! In every audible range, he went for the best speaker components he could stuff into a reasonably-sized shell, including 15W 1" neodymium silk dome tweeters, 2X 3" mid-range, and 2X 5" sub-woofers--6 channels with DSP. An early prototype model, done all in wood, died because it wouldn't meet his sonic purity standards (and probably not as effective a heat sink for the amp), so in the end he decided on the aluminum case, and packed it with class-D amp and speaker tech. The iT1 non-Air model is basically the same audio hardware package, but minus wireless, and with a lightning connector on top. I will admit, since setting up my first Sonos system, to being amazed by a dock speaker.
In addition to beautiful sound, the iT1 wireless model supports AirPlay, and DLNA compatibility with non-Apple player devices. If you can't for some reason connect to either dock in the typical fashion, USB input is also supported and to run other stereo gear into the iT1, a 3.5mm Aux-in jack is also available. Standard controls on the top (nicely backlighted) provide typical player input (play/pause, forward, volume up/down, etc.). Of course, the better sound, connections, amp, etc come at the price of a heftier package. At 22 lbs, and 20" in length, you may not want to try putting this on a cheap wall shelf (at least without drywall anchors).
Though the docks stole the show for me, the earphone models on display were pretty sweet too, and I was able to give a passing try out on them. The audio easily surpassed what you can expect from any standard pair of headphone gear, the over-ear models starting out at $179 MSRP, are equipped with an audio out jack to allow your partner to share your tunes in their headphones. The iX2 in-ear will be priced at $79.99, and include a remote... You can learn more at the links above.
Not related.. but had to add their low-rider...