LAS VEGAS - What a difference a few months makes. In August, Mass Fidelity announced the Core speaker, a portablespeaker powerhouse. In January 2015, that prototype made quite an impact during an impromptu ears-on session in Las Vegas. And, I was informed that the $599 speaker still had a few rounds of tweaks to go before would be shipped out to people who pre-ordered on Mass Fidelity's Indiegogo campaign.
Plus, now the company is touting another device, a $399 Core Wireless Sub, scheduled to ship sometime in June 2015.
Not much has changed about the Core's physical appearance since its last showing. It's still a head-turning piece of tech with its obsidian black glass top, ebony cloth cover and shiny silver base. What's changed is how the Core sounds. As I listened to the demo, I noticed that the audio quality had improved, delivering even crisper details with richer mids, brighter highs and fuller lows.
However the show didn't officially start until the new subwoofer, the Core Wireless Sub, joined the party. The 14.3 x 6 x 11-inch device is much bigger than the 6 x 6 x 4-inch speaker, but it's still reasonably small enough to fit on a desk or shelf. Similar to the speaker, the Sub has a few ports and buttons on its backside including a 12 volt jack, a subwoofer-in jack and buttons for Phase, Crossover and Power.
The Sub has been tuned to compliment the Core using custom speaker elements and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) tuning. The end result is a device that cranks out full-bodied lows without any of the rattling or distortion you might hear in competing products. Instead of competing with the Sub on bass performance, the Core shuts off its bass when connected to the subwoofer using the company's dynamic re-tuning technology. From there, the Core focuses on producing the mids and highs and lets the Sub handle the low-end.
During my mini-concert, er demo, the Sub paired with Core with a quick touch of a button. Pairing was almost simultaneous as I heard the Core shift bass duty to the subwoofer. Marsha Ambrosius' sad ballad "Far Away" gained even more depth with the Sub handling the gently pulsating bass. The songstress' alto soared against the accompanying piano, melding into a rich harmony with the background singers that filled the rather spacious suite in which the demo took place. Kanye West's string-heavy "The New Workout Plan" had bright highs and deep thumping lows.
When it finally comes to market, audiophiles searching for high-fidelity audio in a relatively small footprint should check out the combo of the Mass Fidelity Core and Core Wireless Sub. It's a bit pricey, but with all the built-in features such as multi-room functionality, one button paring and the ability to plug in just about any piece of audio equipment, the Core is more of an investment than an impulse buy.
Sherri L. Smith is a Senior Writer at Tom's Guide. When she's not testing out the latest headphones and speakers, you'll find her gaming on her Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or PC. Follow Sherri at @misssmith11. Follow us @TomsGuide and on Facebook.