Hidden hi-fi: why are wireless speakers disguised as pieces of furniture?
The world of wireless speakers is changing. Minimalist designs that are almost indistinguishable, such as the Amazon Echo and the Apple HomePod mini, are still in vogue, but more and more innovatively designed speakers are making them available for home furnishings. I go. The furniture itself.
Recently, audio giants such as Sonos and Bang & Olufsen have expanded their lineup to include such speakers, ranging from speakers disguised as lamps and books to speaker sets that can be mounted directly to the ceiling. . I make things.
However, the drive to make Hi-Fi systems more user-friendly is not a modern phenomenon. In fact, this is a trend that dates back to the 1920s, and modern brands are exploring the past to find solutions that work for modern music lovers.
Before television dominated our living room, the console radio was a staple in home entertainment. These big, expensive devices are housed in ornate wooden enclosures and cabinets, and families have come together to listen to music. In the 1930s, it was seen as a nostalgic buy for middle-class families. Some have a built-in gramophone, and the Art Deco design makes them both acoustically and aesthetically pleasing.
Fast forward in the 1950s introduced a built-in Hi-Fi system. This is where interior design and audio technology really come together to create something truly amazing. Like the last version of the radio console, these products consisted of stereo speakers, amplifiers, turntables and radios, all neatly housed in a wooden cabinet.
Some of these systems also included secret drink cabinets and televisions. It is the ultimate luxury of the mid-20th century. If you want a real thrill, check out Coronet Stereo. This German console from the 60s had a built-in bar and fireplace (yes, actually).
Home Hi-Fi systems have become more functional, with turntables replaced by cassette players and cassette players by CD players. And with the advent of smartphones, MP3 players and music streaming, the epidemic of manufacturing audio equipment, which was also the furniture of our dreams, is almost over. And only the most enthusiastic audiophiles will consider purchasing a multi-speaker setup. All cables, brackets, footprint included.
The quest for space
Retro Consoles Radios, turntables and all-in-one systems have become less popular than advances in audio, and in the UK the size of the house has dropped to an invisible level. Before the 1930s, The number of tenants is increasing in the United States, Started in the mid 70’s..
Many of us don’t have the space to install a complete Hi-Fi system. Valuable floor space is taken up by devices that we consider more important, such as televisions. And since many of us move between rental homes frequently, expensive and heavy furniture is not a symbol of middle-class prosperity like it once was. Fourth value retailer in the world tells you everything you need to know about our furnishing priorities.
And why do you need the cost and weight of a complete home hi-fi system when portable audio is constantly improving? These days, you carry almost any song you can think of in your pocket device in the palm of your hand. You can listen to these songs with a fully wireless headset that integrates.
Nevertheless, with the growing number of streaming services offering high resolution sound, high quality sound is increasingly appreciated. It’s not just the very wealthy and enthusiastic audiophiles who are in control. This means that popular consumer audio brands like Sonos have had to adapt to the needs of today’s music lovers.
As Sarah Morris, Senior Product Manager, Sonos, told us, “some places the speakers don’t fit” may be due to a lack of space or power, “technology is the focus. Not “in the bedroom”.
“By incorporating speakers into furniture, we can overcome both of these challenges and allow people to decorate their homes with objects and sounds,” she explains. Manufacture of Symfonisk lamp shelves and speakers.
Morris says the reaction to these unusual hidden speakers is “overwhelmingly positive”. And if you believe in a recent leak, Symfonisk speakers, including those in the form of wall art, could be coming soon.
Sonos has even integrated audio devices into the house itself. Sonance Equipped with a ceiling speaker that “disappears into any space”. As Morris explains, these speakers offer all of the latest amenities you would expect from Sonos: “When these speakers are connected to Sonos Amp, the amplifier automatically detects them and adjusts to the best sound for that speaker. speaker. “
Sonos isn’t the only consumer audio company looking for ways to seamlessly integrate speakers into the home. Bang & Olufsen recently released a wireless speaker that looks like a book and can be placed discreetly on the shelves. We also released a modular speaker that can be wall mounted to save valuable space. on the other hand, JLA Created a high fidelity down speaker that doubles as a stylish coffee table. Transparent’s acoustic sculpture also combines art and audio in an unprecedented way.
Is the hi-fi centerpiece dead?
Therefore, there is a clear need for a good quality loudspeaker which can fulfill two functions, either as a design objective or as a practical piece of furniture. But does that mean the epic Hi-Fi system of the past is gone?
Morris doesn’t think so. “I think traditional hi-fi systems still have a design rating. It’s a personal preference, ”she says.
“Our systems and products are designed to fit the lives of our customers, not the other way around. We need to be able to play what we want, when and where we want. “
In fact, nicely decorated mid-century hi-fi cabinets had built-in bars, but they don’t fit in the average home today. As Morris says, “Traditional Hi-Fi furniture is based on a perfect listening environment that does not exist in most people’s lives today.”
“But with that in mind, some customers know there are barriers to introducing speakers into their space, so incorporating them into furniture can overcome those barriers.”
Of course, you can still buy complex audio setups, and many audiophiles still buy them. And many of us are just as happy with the anonymous smart speakers that blend into the background. But for those looking for a solution that combines the best of both worlds, combining premium audio performance with the latest chic interior design, in-cabinet speakers are like a future home entertainment trend. It’s like feeling.
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