CES 2013: Behringer launches AirPlay-based Omni wireless speaker system

Launched at CES 2013, which opens in Las Vegas on Tuesday, is the Behringer Omni system, a combination of wireless receiver and active speakers designed to work with Apple AirPlay 'to create an audiophile-grade home music experience that is both easy to set up and affordable.'

The system comprises a range of three stereo loudspeakers with built-in AirPlay and active working: all are three-way designs, two models – the Omni SP3i (above) and Omni SP5i (below) – having an onboard active subwoofer, while a separate AirPlay subwoofer is available for use with the flat-panel, wall-mount Omni Surface model.

All the speakers are available in a choice of finish – black or white piano lacquer or faux leather – , and music can be streamed to them directly from iOS products and other devices running iTunes.

As Behringer puts it, 'The Omni system allows music to be streamed to individual or multiple speakers at the same time, creating a seamless sound-field that will fill nearly any home.'

For those already owning speakers or existing hi-fi set-ups, the system also includes AirPlay interfaces either outputting at line level or with onboard amplification. The Omni Link (above) is designed to feed into existing amplification or active speakers, and has a stereo line-up plus a headphone socket for personal listening.

The Omni amp has a similar specification, but with the addition of a 2x40W Class D amplifier, allowing it to be used straight into conventional loudspeakers.

And Behringer is bullish about the effect it expects Omni to have: the company's Senior Vice President Marketing, Costa Lakoumentas, says that 'The days of expensive, hard-wired audio systems are officially over.

'Thanks to wireless technology and Behringer innovation, consumers can now link new and old systems to create their own personal broadcast empire without spending a fortune.'

Prices for the Omni system are yet to be announced.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.