It was an amazing experience to lead both the ID and Brand Design teams on this line of speakers. To not only work on the 9 products in the line but also art direct the launch videos, press event, photography and microsite was awesome… also exhausting…
Working on products at these price points we could really have some fun. The speakers have transducers on every surface with dual front firing miss and a pure aluminum dome tweeter, another set of mis and tweeter on the rear to increase the sense of size of the soundstage, and then an integrated powered subwoofer and 2 more side firing bass radiators. To encapsulate all of that the grille had to wrap 360 degrees around the product. The best solution but a bit of a challenge as most other speakers show off their drivers like jewelry. To tell the story of the aluminum dome tweets we machined the base out of aluminum and added machined lock knobs, floor pads and carpet spikes. The top of the speaker is another piece of machined aluminum. this part is held on with hidden magnets. You actually pop it off to add dock in a DTS X / Dolby ATMOS height module that fires sound waves upward and bounces them off the ceiling to give you the illusion of objects like helicopters moving over you in home theater and video game experiences. You have to pair it with a receiver that can process three dimensional audio, but the effect is really something.
Launch video with Sam Fogarino from Interpol:
Behind the scenes with the design and engineering teams:
I’m curious about the speakers on every face. Does it make the sound more dependent on the room you’re in?
I really like the top grill detail on the BP9080x - very reminiscent of a condenser mic. Also, that little cube in the video is so darn cute yet I don’t see it on the website. Is it part of another product line?
EDIT: never mind, I found it, it’s the W7. Very cool looking piece of kit. Especially the controls that break the regular geometric shape.
Thanks fellas. When I came here 4 years ago I was primarily focused on new categories, headphones, bluetooth speakers, wireless smart speaker ecosystems (the W7 is a part of that Louis). Last year the team and I started inching closer to the core category with new lines of sounders with a lot more innovation and design. It has been really fun to take everything we learned and apply back to company’s core area of expertise to see what we could do together with what we call our AARAD team (Advanced Acoustics Research and Development).
With the drivers on every face question, the room always colors the sound, no matter the driver arrangement. The drivers on all sides actually help to minimize this. The most powerful drivers are still front facing, but the second set projecting reward opens up the sweet spot so it is much more natural sounding… I’m sure the engineers cold explain it better, but you can check out some of what reviewers are saying about the experience:
Inventory has been so tight I was finally able to bring a production pair home so I could un box and set them up just like a consumer. Always fun to enjoy something you helped to design. The team put a lot of care into the out of box experience. I was able to get them unboxed and set up in about 20 mins.
Engio, it is cast and then post machined and anodized. We were very specific about needing it to be anodized and I always thought that cast aluminum could not be ano’d, but apparently there is a new process that will allow for a nice finish. We cast it so we could core it out on the back side and have some other features making it easy to add some threading. It is a cool part.
Every year the CTA (Consumer Technology Association) gives award for the best products in each category at CES. I’m really pumped that we won best speaker for the Definitive BP9080x, the flagship in this line. This is the third year in a row our team has won this for a Definitive product! 2015 was for the Definitive W Studio WiFi enabled soundbar, and 2016 was for the W Studio micro… I’m not a big awards guy, but winning 3 years in a row feels pretty cool.