Pioneer launches 'Wi-Fi Hi-Fi' range of speakers

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Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

Pioneer's three new speaker models will provide wireless networking to connect with a broad range of devices.

(Credit: Pioneer)

Describing the range as a step towards "new school audio" and citing mobile connectivity as a major component of its ongoing strategy, Pioneer has launched a range of wireless speakers that have a strong focus on being able to connect to a wide range of devices.

The range is comprised of the flagship XW-SMA4, the portable XW-SMA3 and the entry level XW-SMA. They use Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth for music streaming; AirPlay is built-in for iOS devices, while Android (and other) users can utilise a Wireless Direct connection. Wired USB and aux-in connections are also still supported.

If multiple speakers from the range are on the same home wireless network, multiple music sources can easily be played across different speakers by using the Apple Remote App.

The full range of the new Pioneer speakers.
(Credit: Pioneer)

Pioneer has also worked with smartphone manufacturer HTC to be the first AV partner to have HTC Connect certification included on all three speakers in the new range. HTC Connect is a simple method of streaming audio from HTC phones to certified devices, broadly similar in its scope to Apple's popular AirPlay. HTC Connect is DLNA-based, but the company has said that it expects to broaden the standard to include other connectivity options, such as Bluetooth and NFC.

Pioneer is the first to market with HTC Connect ready devices, which will include much of its AV receiver range, in addition to the range of wireless speakers launched today.

The XW-SMA1 and 3 have two 3-inch mid-range drivers: a 1-inch tweeter and a central bass reflex port; while the XW-SMA4 adds a second tweeter and a 4-inch subwoofer for deeper bass. According to Tony Trent, group product and marketing manager at Pioneer Australia, all three of the range had their drivers "redesigned completely" by the renowned sound engineer Andrew Jones.

As mentioned before, the XW-SMA3 is the portable device in the new group, adding a water resistant housing and a battery pack. Trent said that users can expect a battery life of six hours at half volume and four hours at full volume.

The XW-SMA 4 and 3 are both priced at AU$499, with the XW-SMA1 coming in at AU$399. They will all be available in usual retailers from mid-September.

A Pioneer-produced video demonstrating the products can be viewed below:

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teabee posted a comment   

I recently purchased the A3 as a birthday present but was disappointed by the poor wireless connection.

Direct play seemed to work OK (talking straight to the speakers from iPhone) but once I had completed the task of linking the speakers to the home router it became increasingly glitchy and even turned itself off halfway through a song.

After returning to the store and getting a replacement with no questions asked, I encountered the same problem again. So visiting the store for a third time I asked if they could show me how to set up the connection successfully. To the assistants surprise the end result was the same broken playback as i had experienced.

I received a refund but was a disappointing result as the A3 is one of the nicest looking portable speakers and the sound quality was great when it was working. They are a great idea but need to be fine tuned.


teamjet posted a comment   

The Pioneer website has these speakers @ $499 for the A3 and A4.
the A1 is $399 - I think you forgot the 4


Nic Healey posted a reply   

Thanks for that - that would have been one heck of an impressive discount!


teamjet posted a reply   

for $99 the cash was already out of my wallet!!

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