During CES, Altec Lansing showed us its latest premium wireless speaker system, the $500 WiFi-equipped Live 5000. If you're thinking "wait, isn't that attractive-looking, teardrop-shaped gizmo just its inAir 500 AirPlay speaker?" you'd be sort-of correct. While the system is nearly identical to the inAir, the unit itself isn't tied to iThings for wireless audio streaming -- instead, Altec's created its own "ecosystem" that'll support a variety of devices. After hooking the speaker up to your network, you can use any Android, iOS device or computer running the company's Live controller app to setup up a central playlist of your tunes. The music isn't sent to the cloud, but rather, streamed directly from each device's local catalog of music -- salvation from the pains of aggregating your files to one central storage hub. Best of all, there's also support for services like Rhapsody, ensuring you'll be able to load up your music from wherever you normally would.

We checked out an early build of the iPhone app (on an iPad), and the interface was simple and intuitive, but we're told to expect more polish in the final edition -- along with that missing tablet-sized version. Notably, the app allows playback to multiple speakers, giving you the option to set up various linkable "stages" to stream independent playlists to. We gave the unit a quick listen on the noisy show floor, and while it got plenty loud, the bass was on the anemic side, despite its 4-inch woofer. Highs and mids were alright, although, at times things felt a bit tinny to our ears. Of course, the hustle and bustle of CES isn't exactly the best spot for hearing how speakers like this sound, so we'll have to reserve final judgement until the unit ships this summer (not to mention that the testing material was streaming from Rhapsody). For now, hit up the gallery below for a closer look, and you'll find a press release past the break with more details.
Gallery | 18 Photos

Altec Lansing Live 5000 WiFi speaker system (ears-on)



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THE NEW ALTEC LANSING LIVE 5000 WI-FI SPEAKER INTEGRATES LIFE AND MUSIC LIKE NEVER BEFORE

Introducing Altec Lansing LIVE Wi-Fi Music System, a New Music Entertainment Ecosystem

SAN DIEGO, CA – January 9, 2012 Today, audio innovator Altec Lansing released the LIVE 5000™ (MN5000), a Wi-Fi all-in-one speaker that is poised to set the standard for audio versatility, allowing users to listen to and control cloud content and their own personal music libraries from a wide range of devices. This flexible unit is ideal for the user who wants to invite amazing audio into any room of the house, whether enjoying personal time in the kitchen or hosting a whole-house party.

The first product in an exciting new music entertainment ecosystem, the LIVE 5000 connects to a consumer's existing home Wi-Fi network, is controllable from iOS, Android and Desktop applications and delivers music from the Internet's most popular content providers. Through multiple rooms and multiple controllers, users are treated to the amazing sound quality that is a hallmark of Altec Lansing.

"Now more than ever, there are so many different ways to experience the music we love, and it doesn't matter if it's from the cloud, from our individual libraries or even from our friends' phones. Whether it's for personal listening or for a party, the LIVE 5000 is the device that brings your music mosaic and lifestyle together in complete harmony," said Brendon Stead, Co-President, Altec Lansing.

Boundless Sound

The significance of the new LIVE 5000 Wi-Fi speaker lies within its versatility and its multi-room, multi-platform operation. Now, users of a myriad of handheld devices are able to stream and control content from their existing 802.11 b/g/n wireless network to any room in the house. Truly an audio solution for the whole home, users are able to stream different music to different rooms or the same music to multiple rooms by linking LIVE 5000 units. What's more, the free Android, iOS and Desktop LIVE Controller apps allow everyone in the family to hold a potential controller in their hands. LIVE 5000 users have access to a universe of music, transforming the home environment into a perfectly synchronized opera house or a multi-stage music festival.

The free Altec Lansing LIVE Controller app gives users the ability to browse local and online media sources, and to manage account data for online music sources. Adding a new collective component to any occasion, the LIVE 5000 lets multiple users manage a queue of music and decide what's playing now, what's playing next and add media to playlists from their control devices, while everyone can see the information about the play queue. And when friends and family join the system by downloading the app and connecting to your wireless network, the possibilities for sharing and discovering new music are boundless.

Designed for Impressive Sound Quality

Altec Lansing has a deep heritage in audio excellence, with 75 years of enriching lives with sound. The new LIVE 5000 has been engineered from quality components to provide the most punch in an attractive form factor. Behind the deep aluminum accents, the unique curvature of the unit goes beyond aesthetics with non-parallel walls that prevent the cross-cancellation of sound waves and produces more natural sound. The result of this distinctive design is amazing clarity with minimal loss throughout the entire tonal range. The structure of the unit is fortified thoroughly to prevent distortion and vibration, so music is reproduced with natural highs and thunderous lows. Intelligent digital signal processing promises lower bass response, widens the sound field and tames high frequencies.

The internal components of the LIVE 5000 are a testament to Altec Lansing's high-end audio prowess. Driven by a tri-amp system, the two 3-inch mid-range drivers constructed of super strong Kevlar, deliver true vocals and mid-tones with minimal distortion. The neodymium soft-dome tweeters promise higher sensitivity without ear fatigue and a smaller footprint. The long-throw 4-inch subwoofer and passive radiator are specifically designed for punchy bass reproduction. The LIVE 5000 is voiced to produce the best frequency response, group delay and tone quality to faithfully reproduce any program material.

Availability and Pricing

The LIVE 5000 Wi-Fi speaker will be available in early summer 2012 at www.alteclansing.com and select retailers worldwide. MSRP is $499.95.

The Altec Lansing LIVE Controller apps for iOS, Android, and Desktop are available for free download from the Apple App Store, the Android Marketplace and Altec Lansing's website respectively.

For a demonstration of the Altec Lansing LIVE 5000 Wi-Fi speaker, please visit us at the 2012 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth #20621, South Hall 1.

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