Speaker brand Monitor Audio has today announced its new ASB-2 soundbar, marketed as a 'complete home entertainment system' thanks to onboard HDMI switching and AirPlay, DLNA and uPnP compatibility.

With its £1,000 price tag, the ASB-2 will compete with rival high-end bars such as the Sonos PlayBarLibratone Lounge and Bose Cinemate 1SR.

The 'bar employs six of Monitor Audio's proprietary C-CAM drivers - two 5.5in woofers, two 4in mid-range units and two 1in tweeters. Five discrete power amp stages combine to provide 160W of grunt. Connectivity includes a trio of HDMI inputs, an ARC-compatible HDMI output, coaxial and optical digital audio inputs, analogue stereo jacks, a 3.5mm hookup and a subwoofer output for partnering the ASB-2 with a separate woofer.

Media playback from tablets, smartphones, PCs or NAS devices is handled via built-in Wi-Fi or AirPlay direct.

The ASB-2 can work as either a three-way stereo music system or, courtesy of what Monitor Audio dubs 'three-dimensional audio software', replicate multichannel movie soundtracks.

'Using a blend of Head Related Transfer Function (HTRF) technology and crosstalk cancellation, the ASB-2 accepts 7.1 discrete channels and processes them to left, right and centre, creating a wide and spacious front image involving a stable ‘virtual’ centre channel for precise dialogue,' says MA. 'Rear channels are generated by applying crosstalk cancellation processing.'

The ASB-2 will be available from September. Look out for a review in HCC soon.