Backstage: Klipsch, the iPod, and ProMedia Ultra 2.0

picThough the reasons won’t initially be apparent, 58-year old speaker house Klipsch is about to stage two product releases worthy of a sigh of relief for iPod fans. This is being covered on Backstage because the first product isn’t iPod-matching – unless you’re thinking of the U2 iPod, that is – but come January and February, Klipsch will be remedying that.

We’ve been playing with a set of the company’s ProMedia Ultra 2.0 speakers, the lowest-priced ($99.99) system in Klipsch’s well-received family of ProMedia products. The 2.0 designation denotes that they consist of two freestanding speakers and no subwoofer, which distinguishes them from Klipsch’s subwoofer-laden ProMedia 2.1 ($149.99) and ProMedia GMX A-2.1 ($149.99), as well as the five satellite and subwoofer ProMedia Ultra 5.1 ($349.99) and ProMedia GMX D-5.1 ($299.99) systems. For more on the PMU 2.0 system, and the future of Klipsch and the iPod, click on Read More.
High-Concept, Low Price

With so many higher-end options available from Klipsch (say nothing of its competitors), here’s why the ProMedia Ultra 2.0 is important: at the same time as competitors have raised the price bar for dedicated iPod speaker accessories without commensurately improving their performance, Klipsch is dropping its anchor (for now, at least) at the lower end of the market. Respected for its accurate and impressive full-sized speaker systems, the company is marketing the 2.0 as a stylish, accurate and low-priced alternative to Altec, Bose, and JBL offerings for the iPod, emphasizing that they provide comparable or greater accuracy and lower-distortion sound than these significantly more expensive competitors. And though the 2.0 system was unquestionably designed as general multimedia speakers, linked mostly with the iPod by marketing, Klipsch has hinted that the low-cost, high-performance philosophy will carry over into very near-term dedicated iPod products, as well.

The first ProMedia Ultra 2.0 speakers are jet black in color, though Klipsch is planning a silver set for release in February, and suggesting that silver will be a better color match going forward for iPod-compatible accessories than white plastic. Each plastic speaker stands nearly 10.5

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