JBL Reimagines Personal Audio with the JBL Soundgear Around the Neck Wearable

January 12 2017, 03:10
One of the most curious announcements at CES 2017 comes from JBL and its "a hands-free and ear-free wireless sound solution to provide immersive audio around the neck". The new JBL Soundgear is, according to Harman, a new way of experiencing personal sound. Some of us that have been around for a while will have a feeling of "déjà vu" and for a good reason...

The JBL Soundgear wearable sound device "gives users the freedom to experience audio in a completely new way," says JBL. "No matter the activity, users can create their own personal sound zone without the closed-off feeling of a headphone. Whether doing house or office work, engaging in virtual reality or watching a movie from a tablet, JBL Soundgear empowers users to create their very own listening environment while staying connected to their surroundings.
The Sennheiser Surrounder Pro was introduced in 1997.

The reason why this sounds familiar has to do with one of the most original and curious audio products ever, the Sennheiser Surrounder, introduced in 1997 as a 3D Sound solution, essentially for gaming. The Surrounder was not exactly a commercial success and was quickly discontinued. Apparently, the concept was just ahead of time and now, precisely 20 years passed, JBL had a similar inspiration.

Significantly more compact - even if not exactly discreet - the JBL Soundgear is also a wearable design, giving users more freedom to transform daily activities. Built for comfort and versatility, the lightweight wearable features a sleek, ergonomic shape that leans gently on a user’s shoulders. According to JBL, the rubber anti-slip treatment ensures the device stays put when moving around, and soft-touch fabrics provide long-lasting comfort.

JBL Soundgear is wireless and connects seamlessly through Bluetooth to smartphones and tablets. Users can wear mobile virtual reality headsets (goggles), using the wearable sound device to generate a powerful audio experience without the isolation of traditional headphones and allowing better mobility. Additionally, the wearable sound device ensures users are always connected, packing up to 6-hours of playtime before having to recharge.

The device is also built with a versatile, dual-microphone conferencing system with echo and noise cancelling technology to ensure sound clarity for crystal clear conversations. The echo cancelling mic also allows users to take phone calls without the worry of sound quality or interruption.

“Audio is such an important aspect of life and the JBL Soundgear is a new way for consumers to experience sound without feeling closed-off from their surroundings,” says Michael Mauser, president, Lifestyle Audio Division, Harman. “Whether playing the hottest new mobile virtual reality games, watching a movie or taking a conference call, the Soundgear provides users with a pervasive sound experience in total freedom and comfort. It’s a totally new way of experiencing sound, by wearing it.”

The JBL Soundgear will retail for $199.95 and is expected to be available summer 2017.
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