Back in 1989, Phantom Acoustics launched its Shadow Active Low-Frequency Acoustic Control, based on US Patent 4,899,387.
The patent lists the device's inventor as Nelson Pass, whom we know much better as an amplifier designer and the patent assignee as the Threshold Corporation of Auburn, California.
What the specification describes is a tall cylinder, intended for placement in a room corner, with upward- and downward-firing moving-coil drive-units located toward each end.
These provide modal absorption by generating antiphase signals at the modal frequencies, which are generated simply by phase-inverting and amplifying the output of an integral microphone.
Patent drawing of what became the Phantom Acoustics Shadow
If you like your speakers biodegradable then you will love Sruli Recht's cardboard speakers. These speakers came about as part of a collaboration with ceramic speaker designer Joey Roth, who let designers tear down his original model and rebuild them however they wanted.
Sruli Recht's speakers may be the most original and creative speakers to come out of that collaboration. Modern speakers strive to be slim and sleek, but the cardboard speakers are rough and raw like the music they play.
It may be the most absurdly shaped speakers in the world: the sneaker Speakers.
In each sneaker is a full-range driver and a tweeter, in the right shoe (cum left speaker) are the volume controls, audio connections and operation processes.
This striking structure is the work of Nashmoney, a company that specializes in customizing high-end sneakers. But normally, these boots are still wearable.
Nothing is known about the sound quality of the sneaker Speaker - but a special design question you do not ask. As for the price.
Simon Jansen's Steampunk record player
If you always have had a thing for Steampunk creations, you are going to love this Arduino-controlled, Steampunk turntable made by Simon Jansen of Auckland, New Zealand.
Built to play a Sex Pistols LP, the steam powered record player has its small engine made from bits of junk from the maker's garage. The boiler is made from some copper water pipe and for the bespoke platter and base, Jansen used the wood. The literally-Steampunk record player uses magnets, a coil as a pickup and an Arduino driving a servo to move the throttle to control the speed.
For now, the thing runs almost fine, but Jansen thinks more work will be needed to get the speed regulation a bit more constant.
The stunning Steampunk turntable has been designed as a mere experiment and the maker has no further plans for the thing.
La Grande Castine speakers
Ultra high efficiency horn speakers are prized by some audiophiles for their ability to make a ten watt tube amplifier sound like 100 watts, but most tend to use conventional woofers, because a horn loaded woofer needs to be ridiculously huge to deliver good bass.
This trivial detail hasn't put off the makers of La Grande Castine, from a new French company called Musique Concrete.
All three of this huge speaker's drivers are horn loaded, resulting in efficiency that's high enough to blow you out of the room with about three watts.
Additional information is a bit thin on the ground, but expect these big boys to run around $100,000 a pair.
Inventive and surprising, Philippe Starck has created speakers reflecting his genius and personality exclusively for Parrot. Their stunning, ultra-modern sculpted shape incorporates advanced technology that delivers an intense and powerful sound with spectacular clarity.
NXT technology uses a quite different principle from a conventional loudspeaker. A honey comb membrane structure is vibrated by a set of exciters located in carefully defined positions.
In addition, the panel's characteristic radiation diagram shows that radiationfrom the edges is low, making it possible to minimise reflections on the sides of the panel and prevent interference with furniture in the room.
Parrot is at the very forefront of global technology, in particular for Bluetooth, and to my mind that says a lot. It means that Parrot works with real subjects, such as communications and immateriality. So Parrot has a genuine aim: to allow wireless communication that is, for example, more flexible and infinitely versatile.
Unlike a conventional loudspeaker (fig.1) acting as a point source, a panel's emitting surface is wider, resulting in uniform energy distribution (fig.2). Reflections from the room's walls are more diffuse, that enrich the sound image rather than imparing it through destructive interference.
Total power output: 100W RMS, 50W per channel
3-channel (Class D) digital amplifier
Frequency range: 50 Hz - 20 kHz
Compatible audio formats: MP3, LPCM
Settings: volume, R/L balance, equalizer with presets
Getting crystal clear sound never comes cheap, but Perfect8 Technologies ultimate Perfect8 5.1 system shatters the price ceiling for glass-speaker systems.
Perdect8 Technologies is a Swedish manufacturer of high-end ribbon tweeters, dynamic loudspeakers and subwoofers. The company was founded in 2005 with a mission: produce the world's most exclusive and best sounding loudspeaker systems.
A pair of Points go for a more modest $149,000. The advanced-technology designs represent the latest thinking in "see through," highly transparent sound quality.
2 Force tower speakers for the front left and right, a Force Center channel speaker, and a pair of Point speakers as surround speakers wil kost you $566,000.
A Japanese audiophile's extreme hi-fi system!
The big round horns are amazing, but that thing in the center is a horn subwoofer
What a collection of great stuff!
Metal Sound Design
The U.S., England, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, and China all make bona fide high-end audio gear. But Korea?
True to their name, the Metal Sound Design speakers are made out of metal, and I love the look.
As you can see from the pictures, German manufacturer Duevel takes a rather unusual approach to speaker design. I love the looks of these speakers, which are all omnidirectional designs. So instead of the usual forward-firing tweeter and woofer that project sound toward the listener, Duevel loudspeakers project sound in a 360 degree, room-filling pattern. The company offers a vast range of painted and wood-finish options for its speakers.
Duevel speakers have received rave reviews and a number of best in show awards at high-end audio festivals, and rave reviews in European audiophile magazines, but they haven't been covered all that much on this side of the pond. Duevel speakers are distributed by Mutine in North America.
It sure looks expensive, and at $135,000, the Goldmund Eidos Reference Blu-ray player is definitely in the upper crust of Blu-ray players in terms of cost.
Tt's built like a tank—the heavily damped, brass-and-aluminum mechanism weighs 66 pounds and is suspended by four spring-loaded legs on its own dedicated table. Also, the power supply is completely isolated from the mechanism, and something called Goldmund Magnetic Damping is said to greatly improve image stability and sonic transparency.
Goldmund calls the Eidos Reference Blue a "universal" player, it can't play DVD-Audio or SACD. And the analog-audio outputs—one L/R pair and a 5.1 group—are unbalanced, which is ridiculous for such a pricey disc spinner.
Hand-built in Geneva, the Eidos Reference Blue is a truly rarefied design. Limited in production to 50 units, dawdlers will be left having to make do with a plain vanilla Denon or Sony Blu-ray player.
Wilson Audio Sophia III
Wilson Audio has just released the Sophia III Loudspeaker. This mini documentary takes you through the process and protocols of building the latest version of Wilson Audio's beloved Sophia loudspeaker from concept to final product.
Meet the team of engineers and artisans responsible for translating Dave Wilson's vision into a product that improves Sophia's performance without altering it's essential beguiling character.
Denon is proud to announce the arrival of its special edition Anniversary product Collection.
Now is your chance to explore this exclusive collection that beautifully embodies our legacy of innovation and latest efforts to extend the boundaries of our craft.
The collection is comprised of seven components, and each finely tuned, hand-tested product is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and a special collector's edition coffee table book.
Naim Audio's UnitiQute, is a media player that wirelessly streams your computer music files and plays them with real fidelity. It can accept other source inputs as well. It has a modestly powered amp at 30W per channel into 8 ohms.
The Qute has a USB connector on the front, tuner for FM and internet radio, SPDIF and Toslink digital inputs, analog inputs and outputs, networked drive connectivity, headphone jack on the front and a front panel display.
Technology's TRW-17 Rotary Woofer ($12,900) will blow you away. Instead of a conventional woofer, it uses proprietary technology to create ultra deep bass, deeper than the largest and most powerful subs.
Sure, it looks like an industrial strength fan, but the TRW-17's fluttering blades generate bass frequencies down to 1 Hertz (standard $1,000 subs poop out in the 30 hz. range, and ultra high-end models rarely make it below 18 hz.). As the entire room throbbed and rattled Eminent's demo left no doubt about the TRW-17's subterranean prowess. The bass was so intense I forgot what movie they were showing.
TRW-17 installation is complex and ET price estimates run to $25,000. The company was also showing a prototype of a car audio Rotary Woofer that promises to deliver extraordinary bass. It's a much smaller unit and installation should be a breeze.