It's All About The Design

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Since the days when Cro-Magnon man beat rocks on the walls of his cave to make music, speaker enclosures have more or less looked the same. Whether two way or three way, speakers have always been basically rectangular. How tall, deep or wide was determined by the number and size of the drivers. That was how it was then and mostly seems to be the case today.

AR-design2a.jpgBut there are exceptions to the rectangular rule. There are some radical speaker designs being introduced to the hi-fi public. The KEF Blade, so named for it's overall shape, is designed as it is for a specific purpose. That purpose being to eliminate vibration, reduce internal standing waves and, well, produce better sound. While it has some of the familiar shape of our Cro-Magnon version, it is a serious departure from the two or three driver in the front design.

From there, you can talk about YG Acoustics, Scaena, the big MBL's and virtually anything made by Vivid Audio's Giya product line. Just as with the KEF Blade, there are very distinct and perfectly explainable reasons why the shape of these speakers look the way they do. Whatever their collective acoustical merits may be, it cannot be argued that their individual aesthetic design is discussion worthy. Some may like the one but hate the other. Some may like them both. But they all sound really fantastic.

AR-design2d.jpgIt seems that distinctive styling has even hit the mid fi market. Take, for instance the Libratone Loop Wireless Speaker. Made in Denmark, the Libratone comes standard in a round shape and covered with blue wool. Now, given that many high end enthusiasts will remove the thin, sheer cloth grills covering their drivers, I cannot understand why anyone would cover a speaker with heavy wool. But if wool is to your liking you'll love the fact that it comes in different colors!

So what about the really bizarre?

AR-design2e.jpgAgain, presumably based on very plausible science, would be most anything from Acapella Audio Arts. Just like all art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if you like BIG, REALLY BIG horns, this is for you. Despite how they may look, these radical speakers do, in fact, sound remarkable. Moving on down the bizarre road...

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