Clio Speaker: The Invisibility of Sound

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Interior design has a lot to do with pairing and contrasting color and form. Sometimes, we can’t always get our couch to fit with the color of our walls, or our speakers with our entertainment center. When the prospect of arranging a room according to a certain theme makes you want to scream out, sometimes the antidote is looking to those things that look like they weren’t designed at all.

Clio, a speaker from Clearview Audio, is literally designed to disappear. Continue reading

Pulse Wireless Speaker: The Futuristic Lava Lamp

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The Pulse Wireless Sound System from JBL looks like it was designed 500 years in the future. At only some seven inches tall, the cylindrical speaker with a black body looks like a very benign piece of consumer electronics. But it is actually the future version of that very groovy invention, the lava lamp. Continue reading

Libratone Loop: The Dapper Speaker

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What is made with fine Italian wool that rings out sound at 120 watts? The Libratone Loop. A beveled, disc-shaped speaker that can be mounted on the wall or supported by a removable stand, the Libratone Loop is a marvel of color and sound. Continue reading

Desktop Gramophone: Antique speakers for the digital age

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The phonograph, or gramophone, was introduced in 1877 as an early device to record and playback sound. It’s a memorable piece of technology, well known for the huge horn that amplified the sound. These days, Gramophones might not be useful to anyone but the most intense collectors. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it’s iconic shape, still. Continue reading

The Wall of Sound 2.0: To Wage Musical Wars

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At almost 500 pounds and with a width of five feet, the Wall of Sound 2.0 is, undoubtedly, the world’s biggest, and perhaps loudest iPhone speaker in the world. The Swedish-manufactured, hand-made speaker system is a tower of 8000 watts of sound on which your iPhone might look a little ridiculous. Continue reading

Collage Speaker: If Rothko Designed Speakers

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The Collage speaker system from In2uit takes all of its inspiration from mid-century modern art. With its bold primary colors, the Collage resembles Mark Rothko’s famous multiforms, paintings that feature big blocks of color. Mechanically, a Bluetooth enabled wireless audio streaming speaker set, the Collage is more than that. Because of its confident design, the Collage is like a sculpture at the same time as it is a tremendous speaker system. Continue reading

Meteor Mic: plug & record glory

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As a musician in New York City, with few funds to pay for a rehearsal space, and a small living space as it is, recording song ideas and tunes is a process of writing things down on paper and hoping I remember how to play them later. For a long time, I was recording songs using my smartphone’s microphone, saving them, plugging the smartphone into my computer, and then uploading the audio files which sounded terrible.

The Meteor Mic from Samson is exactly the thing I need to fulfill my home recording wishes. A condenser microphone with USB connection, the Meteor Mic is perfect for the space-constrained musician or aspiring podcaster. Continue reading

Sonos Play:1: Any song in any room

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With so much of our media stored in the cloud, it would make sense for the devices that play the media to be untethered, too. The Play:1 is part of Sonos’ series of speakers that play your music via wireless connections. Using Sonos’ own Hi-Fi wireless audio streaming system, not Bluetooth or Apple’s Airplay, the Play:1 can playback the same or different songs at a range of 30 feet and with no interruption from phone calls or Twitter notifications. Continue reading

Beoplay A8: Bug-Eyed Sound

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The bug-eyed look of the Beoplay A8 speaker from Bang and Olufsen is fantastically funny but still very serious and functional. I understand that you might get absorbed by the bizarre appearance of the two disc-shaped speakers at the edge of the A8, but beyond the exterior design, there are great electronics at work. Continue reading

Ranchero Radio: someone still loves you

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Described as “new-stalgic,” the Ranchero Radio by Crosley is a perfect homage to the style of radio that was full of Mid-Century ornamentation. While it’s arguable if analog, tunable radios are even necessary, or stand-alone radios for that matter, with the Ranchero, the point really isn’t purpose but style. Maybe it is the fogginess and idealism of nostalgia, but the Western style in which Ranchero is designed was something like perfect. The Ranchero designers didn’t get mired in style alone, though. Continue reading