Etón is not a brand I'm familiar with and a quick look through the company's current products and Wikipedia page doesn't reveal too much aside from the fact that its products are aimed toward outdoor use and emergency preparedness. However, its new Air4 speaker is a very striking departure from all of that. It's a high-quality indoor speaker with a price that oscillates between $499 and $599 depending on where you look and it supports streaming through both Chromecast and Apple Airplay. (Note: Eton calls it Google Cast, but Google phased the name out in favor of Chromecast a long time ago.)
The Air4 is an 80W speaker with two 10 x 15.2cm woofers and built-in 25mm tweeters. It can handle multiple audio formats, including lossless ones (WAVE, FLAC, APE, DSD), and can stream at a rate of 192 KHz / 24 bit. For input, you have several traditional methods such as Bluetooth 4.1, Aux-in, USB, plus another 3.5mm port to connect headphones so you can listen privately. It also has an Ethernet port and dual-band WiFi for wireless streaming and supports Chromecast and Apple Airplay. Plus, unlike some streaming speakers, it comes with a remote in the box, so you can easily switch inputs and control playback.
Since it has Cast support, you can use it like you would any Chromecast: controlling from your phone, issuing voice commands through Assistant / Google Home, and grouping it with other cast-enabled speakers. But there's also a standalone Eton Air app that lets you stream from a NAS, change the equalizer settings, and use the speaker in mono / left / right / stereo mode (which the Google Home app still doesn't allow for Chromecast speakers).
Over-dramatic promo video: Check.
All of those impressive features come in a well designed speaker that straddles the line between modern and retro with a matte metal-finish grille that takes the entire front, save for the round control dial. Three colors are available: black/silver, white/silver, and red/mint. Maybe it's me, but I find the mint quite dull and would have preferred a more popping color with the red.
If you're as intrigued and dubious as we are, both by the versatility and the claimed audio prowess of the Air4, I'm told our own Jordan will be getting a unit for review so we may soon know whether all the features work as intended. But if you can't hold off and want to buy one right away, there's nothing stopping you except the half grand you'll have to snatch out of your wallet. Eton says in its press release that the Air4 will cost $599.99, $200 more than a Google Home Max (ouch!), but it's currently selling it for $499.99 on its official site. Adorama also has it for $499.99 (beware of the false "built-in battery" in the name, that's not true), so the $100-off in both cases might be a launch promo. Amazon, on the other hand, has it for $599.99 in the US and £378.75 in the UK.
The AIR4 Audiophile Grade Apple AirPlay and Google Cast Speaker by Etón
In sound we trust - experience sound as pure as the moment it was recorded
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Etón Corporation (www.etoncorp.com), a leading creator of high-performance audio products, is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Etón AIR4 premium multi-room WiFi streaming speaker. With Italian design and German engineering, the Etón AIR4 combines professional audio quality with the latest in Wi-Fi technology to deliver an unparalleled multi-room audio experience. From age-old cherished albums to the latest releases on Spotify, users can effortlessly stream audio content via Apple AirPlay® or Google Chromecast. "In a time of leapfrogging races to the bottom for both price and quality, the Etón AIR4 speaker brings together a style and audio finesse that is sorely missing in the market," says Skip Orvis, Etón's Chief Technology Officer. "The AIR4 by Etón, more than an audiophile quality speaker, is a work of art we are sure our customers will be delighted to feature as a primary piece of their home's décor."
Tradition equals expertise
In Europe, Etón has been synonymous with bringing listeners pure music enjoyment from high-performance speaker and sound systems since 1983. As a preeminent leader in audio, Etón is internationally renowned for their design skills and a remarkable capacity for innovation in Hi-Fi audio. The AIR4 wireless streaming speaker is yet another innovative addition to Etón's high-caliber product range – and a real asset to the world of smart wireless home Hi-Fi technology.
Sound and design
The product of over 30 years' experience in loudspeaker driver engineering, the Etón AIR4 offers precise and intense sound playback from a dual-concentric speaker design at a high output of 80 watts. This guarantees clean and powerful bass and throaty mid-tones using a premium-quality carbon diaphragm, while soft dome tweeters deliver velvety smooth treble notes. Every attention to detail has been taken in the matte finish metal mesh grille, which is surrounded by a high-polish chrome surround. The sensory pleasure provided by the strong yet smooth feel of the multifunctional control dial on the front of the speaker engages the sense of touch like nothing else on the market. Three color combinations are offered to ensure that the AIR4 becomes an artistic audio centerpiece in any decor, from the bold Mint/Red to the clean White/Silver or the distinguished Black/Silver option. The rear panel of the speaker continues to demonstrate the engineering excellence of the design, the compliment of audio interfaces is seemingly endless with a LAN Ethernet port, a USB port, a 3.5 mm AUX-in stereo jack for playback of fine analog playback devices (such as a phonograph) and a 3.5 mm stereo output for connecting a pair of headphones.
Smart multi-room solution
The fully custom Etón smartphone app holds the key to enjoying music without limits. Easy to set up and available for both Android and iOS devices, the app makes it possible to utilize the full spectrum of the AIR4's functions by providing the perfect link between almost any smartphone or tablet and the speaker. Seamless audio is immediately available via Apple AirPlay and successful pairing of all components is guaranteed by the Google Home Assistant, which the app is just as happy to communicate with as it is to work with Google Chromecast services such as Spotify, Deezer and Tune-In. The app's clever multi-room function organizes music playback among multiple speakers – playing different songs in different rooms – conveniently from any smartphone.
Endless audio capabilities
The Etón AIR4 delivers perfect sound from any data format. Multifunctional and multitalented, the AIR4 can be controlled intuitively via the dial on the front, using the included remote control or directly from a smartphone, tablet or computer. It can receive Bluetooth 4.1 and 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz Wi-Fi at a streaming rate of 192 KHz/24 bit. It can even handle lossless audio formats and is able to recognize WMV9, AVS, VP6, FLAC DSD, APE and WAVE. The high-performance digital sound processor tunes the music continuously, dissolving the auditory boundaries between digital and analog music.
The AIR4 multifunctional speaker by Etón is available to purchase from the first of April with an MSRP of $599.99 from retailers and online at www.etoncorp.com.
About Etón Corporation
For over three decades, Etón has developed award-winning products that empower our customers in their world. Our roots started with producing German-engineered audio and video products. In the 1990s, we began a special partnership with the American Red Cross, which continues to this day — including an exclusive agreement to design and develop products to help prepare communities. We continue to innovate and iterate to help people be prepared for unexpected emergencies.