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Tag Archives: speakers

Trash Amps Turns Discarded Boxes And Cans Into Speakers… Kinda

Trash Amps (Images courtesy Trashamps.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

When I first came across these Trash Amps, which were recently shown off at the 2011 Maker Faire in San Francisco, they seemed like a great way to upcycle old cans or Chinese food takeout containers. But after reading up on the product, I’m less excited about their eco-friendly potential.

At first I assumed they used old cans as a resonance chamber, boosting the performance of the Trash Amp speaker which sits on top once the can is beheaded. But it turns out the can is really only used as a decorative sleeve for the self-contained speaker unit that slides inside. In other words, by itself the Trash Amp works just fine as a compact speaker without the need for a can or other container. The inventor, who shows off the product in the video below, even encourages you to switch things up when you get tired of one can design, so in a way you’re not even really giving a used can a permanent home.

Admittedly the speaker sounds like a vast improvement to the built-in speaker on your smartphone as demonstrated in the video, but for $49.99 it better!

[ Trash Amps ] VIA [ Treehugger ]

Joon & Jung’s Natural Resonance Porcelain Speakers

Joon & Jung's Natural Resonance Porcelain Speakers (Images courtesy Joon & Jung)
By Andrew Liszewski

If form outranks function when it comes to choosing a pair of speakers for your home or office, you’ll want to do yourself a favor and check out The Natural Speaker from studio Joon & Jung. (The same designers who brought us the Paper Alarm Clock.) But just because they’re made from less common speaker components like porcelain and wooden dowels doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sacrificing a lot, if anything, when it comes to sound quality. In fact, apparently the use of porcelain for the speaker casing results in a more mellow sound with clearer resonance.

The idea for the ‘the natural speaker’ derived from the desire to create an absolutely unique, handcrafted speaker for the interior space. Whereas a lot of speakers are constructed to produce a rather fat bass and sharp high tones, we felt the sound was kind of stuck inside the speakers, missing a natural vibe and ambiance. During the development of the ‘the natural speaker’ we discovered the great properties of porcelain as a speaker casing, providing a clear resonance and mellow sound.

Amplified inside the ceramic and wood transmission construction, the sound gains a slight echo, creating a natural feeling of resonance, resembling the distinct flair of an acoustic instrument right in front of you.

And since they each appear to be hand made, The Natural Speakers will only be available in a limited run starting sometime last month, and presumably not cheap.

[ Joon & Jung – The Natural Speaker ] VIA [ Freshome ]

Nixon Introduces Portable Speakers

Nixon The Block Speakers (Images courtesy Nixon)

Nixon, best known for their watches and recently known for their headphones has now introduced a couple of rechargeable speakers to their lineup including The Block. Powered by a lithium-ion battery providing up to 6 hours of playtime The Block is a stereo set of speakers that connect together with magnets to form… a block… that’s easier to transport and store. A USB and 3.5mm line-in connector are integrated into a single cable to keep things neat, and as far as controls go you only get a single analog volume dial keeping the design clean and simple. Available in black or white for $80.

[ Nixon The Block Speakers ] VIA [ Acquire ]

OZAKI iCarry Bike iPhone Amplifier

OZAKI iCarry Bike iPhone Amplifier (Image courtesy OZAKI)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s most definitely not the first passive speaker system for the iPhone that relies on physics to boost the performance of its built-in speaker. But I’m pretty sure it’s the first specifically designed to mount on the handlebars of your bike. The iCarry Bike L from Germany-based OZAKI includes a mounting arm that keeps your iPhone in easy reach when riding, yet fully protected, and a seashell-like bottom that both amplifies the sounds coming from your phone and those going to it. So in theory it should improve its speakerphone performance as well. But for the $50 they’re asking for it (according to The Gadgeteer) you’re probably just better off getting a Bluetooth headset and keeping your iPhone in your pocket.

[ OZAKI iCarry Bike iPhone Amplifier ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]

OhGizmo! Review – Sony Ericsson MS430 Media Speaker Stand

Sony Ericsson MS340 Speaker Stand (Images property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

Wireless Bluetooth speakers are particularly popular these days, and we’ve had the chance to try out a few different options including offerings from Jawbone and SuperTooth. But one thing that’s common among them, at least when used with mobile devices, is that streaming your tunes over a Bluetooth A2DP connection takes a real toll on your device’s battery life. And since devices like smartphones aren’t exactly known for their amazing battery life to begin with, it’s an unfortunate trade-off you have to make.

That’s not the case with Sony’s MS430 Media Speaker Stand though. It doesn’t connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth or any kind of wireless connection, it’s just a simple and literal plug-and-play affair. So while your device remains tethered, it’s still an effective way of boosting its wimpy built-in speaker without killing its battery. And even though it foregoes a heavy built-in rechargeable battery for a compact and light triumvirate of AAAs, meaning it doesn’t pack quite the same level of oomph and sound quality as the alternatives mentioned above, it’s probably still going to impress people with a slick design, decent functionality and affordable price tag. Check out my full review after the jump.

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Subsonic Chair – For Those Who’re Not Interested In Relaxing

Subsonic Chair (Image courtesy designboom)
By Andrew Liszewski

The Subsonic Chair was originally designed by Greg Ball, an instructor of mechanical design technology at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, as an entry into designboom’s ‘teenage furniture’ competition way back in 2005. The design placed in the top ten, but he’s only recently gotten around to making the chair a reality- a very, very loud reality. Designed for teenagers who enjoy both lounging and cranking their music, the Subsonic Chair sports a set of 16-inch subwoofers which you end up sitting on, letting you hear and feel pretty much every single note and/or sound when hooked up to an MP3 player or a gaming console.

[ designboom – greg ball: subsonic – teenager subwoofer chair ]

Logitech Z305 Reviewed. Verdict: Nifty Portable Speaker Offering Great Mids and Highs

Notebooks win over desktop PCs on every almost activity save very specific areas. The biggest of which are gaming and sound, both for pretty much the same reason. Sacrifices must be made for the sake of portability and while 3D gaming on the go is a nice-to-have travel tunes is a must-have. Thankfully, Logitech continues to try new things to get volume and quality out of a portable speaker without adding too much weight. The Logitech Z305 is a very travel-friendly USB speaker that mates very well with netbooks and workstations that are missing something in the sound department.

The compact well-built sound bar attaches quite nicely to your laptop screen. At almost 13″ wide, it fits perfectly behind any 14″ or larger laptops and adds an appreciable oomph to your PC or Mac. Techno and other styles of music with wide dynamic ranges are all greatly enhanced by the Logitech Z305. Unfortunately, it still has some limitations in sound reproduction and design. Bass is the weakness of this tiny sound-bar which may fail to give you the kick you are missing. Also, the laptop can no longer be closed properly while the Z305 is installed. Overall, the balance of sound price and size all seem to come out in favor of Logitech’s mighty mini. Full details available at Everything USB.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Nerf’s iPhone/iPod Touch Speaker Wheel

Nerf N908S Speaker Wheel (Image courtesy Amazon)
By Andrew Liszewski

While it appears to (disappointingly) lack the ability to fire foam darts or balls, Nerf’s new speaker wheel accessory for the iPhone and/or iPod Touch will still appeal to kids who enjoy playing racing games, and parents who worry about their phone being dropped or damaged.

Oddly enough the whole steering wheel feature actually seems to just be a by-product of the speaker being round, since first and foremost the Nerf N908S is a multimedia dock boosting the performance of the idevices’ own built-in speakers. There’s even a kickstand on the back for propping it up on a desk, and it runs on a set of 4xAA batteries so at least the speakers have a little bit of power behind them. It’s currently available on Amazon for $29.99.

[ Nerf N908S Speaker Wheel ] VIA [ The Rocking Pony ]

OhGizmo! Review – SuperTooth DISCO Bluetooth Stereo Speaker

SuperTooth DISCO (Image property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

Believe it or not, there was a time when the iPhone wasn’t A2DP compatible. While wireless speaker solutions still existed, they either relied on wifi or some proprietary dongle technology that attached to the iPhone’s dock connector. So not surprisingly, dock-based speaker systems ruled the market. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with them, it’s just a lot more convenient to be able to keep your iPhone on your person when listening to music through a speaker, allowing you to quickly switch tracks or customize a playlist on the fly.

But as of iOS 3.0 those dark days of tethered speaker use are long gone as Apple granted A2DP support to us grovelling gadget-loving masses. And now that using a wireless speaker is as easy as setting up a Bluetooth connection, we’ve slowly been seeing the portable BT speaker market grow. And as far as we’re concerned, they’re a must-have accessory these days. Last month we reviewed Jawbone’s JAMBOX which is one of the more flashier options now available, and today we’re taking a look at the SuperTooth DISCO. It sports a more traditional black-grille speaker design which will disappear in your home or office if you’re looking for something a bit subtler, and while it’s a bit larger than the JAMBOX, what you lose in portability you gain in sound quality. Read our full review after the jump.

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