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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kicker Kicks Out the Portable Jams with Bluetooth Speakers, Wired and Wireless Headphones

The Amphitheater K3 features Bluetooth streaming with near-field communication (NFC) technology.

Kicker is building up a nice crop of personal audio products. Late last year, the company was primarily known for car and marine audio -- until they launched the Amphitheater tabletop speaker. Since then, they've added a couple of new options to the lineup. Now, Kicker has officially opened the floodgates, making five new product announcements.

First, the company plans to deliver a few tweaks to its Amphitheater BTL System. First announced back in January, the Amphitheater BTL not only pairs with any Bluetooth device, but it can now also dock iPhone and iPad models via a Lightning connector. It also has a USB input, so you can hook up other Apple and most Android devices. Other features include 5-inch drivers, 0.75-inch silk-dome tweeters, a 6-inch, square reflex subwoofer, and a 50-watt internal amplifier optimized with digital signal processing (DSP). It even has an auxiliary-input jack for hooking up devices that don't come bearing the gift of Bluetooth. The Amphitheater BTL System ships with its own remote, the option for app control, and an MSRP of $299.95.

The latest in the Amphitheater lineup is the Amphitheater K3, which just started shipping. This Bluetooth streaming system features aptX coding for awesome sound from your smartphone, tablet or PC -- all without the wire clutter. Despite the compact appearance, Kicker promises a wide soundfield from the K3, as well as near-field communication (NFC) technology, a tuned-port enclosure, an integrated amplifier with DSP, a USB port, and a 3.5mm auxiliary-input. It's selling now for $199.95.

If you're looking to hoard some of that sound, the company also announced three new pairs of headphones. Kicker's Vapor Premium Headphones are certainly the cream of the crop, but really stand out because of its trapezoidal earpiece. For the listener, the Vapor offers a pair of 40mm dual-diaphragm transducers, an acoustically tuned cup design and sealing leather ear pads. It also has a tangle-free, flat-cable cord design that's detachable, so it won't get caught on anything while you're rocking out. Other features include a microphone and a three-button multi-function remote on the cord, as well as black with yellow accents. Featuring a fold-away design and a zippered hard case, the Vapor has an MSRP of $199.99.

Right in the middle of the new line is the Tabor Bluetooth Wireless Headphone, which will deliver Kicker sound without the constraints of cables. This model has cushy over-ear pads and 50mm dynamic drivers. Of course, the big hook is the Bluetooth and aptX lossless support, which means you won't need to be tethered to any particular device. Other features include a built-in microphone, a micro USB port, a 3.5mm stereo auxiliary jack, and support for A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile) and HFP (Hands-Free Profile). Promising up to 10 hours of listening and talking time on a 2.5-hour charge, the Tabor will start shipping this July with an MSRP of $179.95.

The last model in the new lineup is the Cypher Premium In-Ear Headset. This option promises deep bass, crystal-clear vocals and more, in a really compact set. Each purchase comes with four sets of ultra-soft, silicone ear tips for a perfect fit. This model also has a flat cable with an integrated microphone and a three-button remote for use with iOS devices. Shipping with a protective fabric storage bag, Cypher In-Ear Headsets are selling with an MSRP of $129.95.

 Coming this July, the Tabor Bluetooth Wireless Headphone will kick out the jams without the constraints of cables.

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