One of the coolest audio trends of CES 2019 is the re-emergence of WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio). First announced way back in 2012, WiSA is a wireless speaker protocol that allows for slick and intuitive transmission of high-resolution surround sound to a growing variety of wireless speakers. Klipsch has been hip to WiSA for years, but its new WiSA home theater system, the Reference Wireless series, is something special.
The new Klipsch Reference Wireless home theater system currently comprises three speaker models, including the RW-34C center-channel speaker ($699), the RW-51M Monitors ($699), and the beefy-and-beautiful RW-100SW ($499) wireless subwoofer. All of the speakers are internally powered, requiring only a power source to work with WiSA transmission devices. You can also, of course, package them together for a 5.1 surround sound system (or up to 7.2 if it strikes your fancy).
We got in a quick demo of the speakers at the show, and they sounded fantastic — especially when it comes to the crystalline treble that absolutely sparkles at the top of the frequency spectrum. The speakers also look pretty sexy too, sporting woodgrain cabinets and the copper-toned drivers synonymous with previous Reference series.
This isn’t the first WiSA series from Klipsch, but thanks to the recent adoption of the technologyby major devices like LG’s TVs, Xboxes, and a variety of PCs (through the use of an affordable dongle), we expect these to be a hot-ticket item in the new year. In fact, Summit Wireless, a WiSA co-founder, claims that the technology could spread to as many as “60 million platforms” in 2019 alone. We’re not sure if that’s optimistic thinking, but one can easily see how this could be an extremely popular way to get hi-fi surround sound without the need for a receiver or any form of outboard amplification.
In fact, we were smitten enough with Klipsch’s new Reference Wireless series to award them our best Audio trophy for CES 2019, with Harman Kardon’s gorgeous (but pricey) new Citation WiSA series coming in a close second. We also expect Klipsch to expand the WiSA tech to more speakers in the future (floorstanders anyone?).
In any event, we’ll be excited to spend some quality time with the new Reference Wireless lineup in the new year.
Update 1-10-2019: Added our hands-on video from the showroom floor.