on Wednesday introduced new JBL Encounter 5.1, JBL Encounter 2.1 and JBL Duet speaker systems, designed to offer Mac and PC users with premium audio output in a unique industrial design.
The JBL Encounter 5.1 system is a surround speaker system. 5.1 connotes five satellites (including a center channel) and a discrete subwoofer. In this case, the Encounter’s subwoofer is a massive 200 watt behemoth. Each of the four satellites is self-powered, and the center channel array can be clipped to a monitor.
The JBL Encounter 5.1 works with all analog stereo and multi-channel soundcards. To produce 5-channel surround sound, Power Mac users will have to install a third-party audio card such as M-Audio’s Revolution 7.1 card — the Encounter 5.1 will not work with the optical audio connector on Apple’s forthcoming Power Mac G5.
The JBL Encounter 5.1 sports 450 watts of total power; the subwoofer alone grabs 200 watts of total power. The system is molded in white, and the satellites feature a blue glowing LED on the bottom. One satellite features a radial volume control molded into its base, and separate treble and subwoofer levels can be changed on the subwoofer itself.
The JBL Encounter 2.1, meanwhile, features two satellite speakers and a subwoofer, and will work on the Mac without any additional sound card. The 300 watt system features the same subwoofer and satellite design as its upscale sibling, but eschews the center channel and rear satellites.
The JBL Encounter 5.1 and JBL Encounter 2.1 speaker systems will ship this November and December, respectively. The 5.1 system is priced at US$399.95, while the 2.1 system will cost $299.95.
The JBL Duet, meanwhile, is a 2.0 speaker system — two satellites only, without a subwoofer. Harman Multimedia is positioning the JBL Duel at Mac or PC users and portable music player users looking for a simple external speaker system.
JBL Due sports Phoenix Tangential Strain Relief (TSR) technology, which Harman Multimedia claims provides more bass with lower distortion. A special port design reduces “unwanted noise,” as well. The Duets use neodymium magnets and output 12 watts per satellite. They’ll be available this August in either silver or white finishes, and carry a suggested retail price of $59.95.