LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 — The last Altec Lansing dock we reviewed, the Bluetooth-equipped InMotion Air, left us with a weird taste — it was just too funky. AL’s new LIVE 5000 more than makes up for this: It looks *really* stunning up close — and sounds fantastic to boot.
AirPlay- and DNLA-enabled wifi speaker (the marketing kids are calling this “platform agnostic”) is stuffed with a four-inch subwoofer and passive radiator, a pair of Kevlar three-inch midrange tweeters and another pair of neodymium soft-dome tweeters. We have no idea what half of that means, but the result is fantastic. The thing really does sound good.
The speaker uses your existing 802.11 network to stream music.
And AL’s offerings continue to look more grown-up; in addition to the striking shape, the speaker’s flanks are covered with an unusual wood material that looks and feels very lux.
But the real advantage to this speaker is its ability to become part of a modular system. Similar to the Sonos system, one can daisy-chain LIVE 5000 speakers together in different rooms and stream the same or different music to all of them or some of them, and everything is controlled with the system’s own iOS app (which isn’t in the App Store yet).
If the LIVE 5000 doesn’t look cheap, it isn’t — the speaker will run $500 when it ships this summer.