CES 2013: Focal launches wireless Sub Air subwoofer, will expand range later in year to include more Speak-Airs

New at CES 2013 from French loudspeaker company Focal is the Sub Air, a wireless subwoofer set to sell for $700/€500 when it hits the shops in April.

And the new model is just the start of a whole range from Focal: floor standing active wireless speakers, the Speak-Airs, will go on sale in the second half of the year, with a choice of a USB transmitter for use with computers, or a multi-input Hub-Air for more complex systems.

The Sub Air uses a 21cm drive unit and 150W BASH amplifier in a tall, slender cabinet able to be used either floor-standing or wall-mounted. The enclosure, which is 41cm tall, 36cm wide and just 16cm deep, is available in a choice of lacquer finishes, and allows the Sub Air to deliver bass down to 35Hz.

As well as having conventional inputs, the Sub Air comes with a compact transmitter box to connect to the subwoofer or preamp outputs on an AV receiver or amplifier. The wireless system has an in-room range of 15m.

The next step in the Air concept will be the Speak-Airs, due in the latter part of 2013 at prices from $1800/€1300: available in gloss black or white, the speakers will use two 13cm woofers and a tweeter, powered by 80W of internal digital amplification, and will have a wireless range of 10m.

The basic version of the package (above) will use a USB 'dongle', suitable for use with computers, to connect to the speakers, but there will also be a $2200/€1600 system using Focal's new Hub-Air (below).

This is a multi-input digital preamplifier with wireless transmitter built-in, full remote controllable for volume and inout selection, and with the following inputs:

- USB 1 16-bit/44.1kHz 'sound card' connection for computers

- USB 2 Mini-A USB for digital connections and to recharge external devices

- Digital 1 Electrical S/PDIF

- Digital 2 Optical

- Analogue 1 3.5mm minijack

- Analogue 2 RCA phonos

- Bluetooth APT-X for smartphones, tablets, etc

We'll bring you details of UK pricing when we have them.

See all the news from CES 2013 in our dedicated blog

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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.