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CES Best of Innovation Awards 2012 Personal Electronics
Danish High-Tech in Style: get rid of the two speaker setup but keep the stero sound
Libratone is a European company which combines slick looking desing with hard-core innovation and the professional jurors at CES selected their Live speaker as winner in the personal electronics category.
The Copenhagen based design specialist has a firm mission statement: get rid of the product-centric paradigms of yesterday by focusing on the quality of life of their users. Their Live speaker doesn´t only look good in every house, but it also sounds great.
Best of all you´ll need only one to fill your room with sound as they have a patented technology to disperse sound providing a 360° audio experience. They got rid of the closed cabinets with forward sounding speakers and use a series of omnidirectional placed speakers. All connected to their own dedicated amplifiers inside the cabinets. You can place one unit in a room and have full encapsulating sound without the need for stero setups and all the restrictions on placement associated with the typical stereo setup.
Although the company doesn´t want to explain it´s ´FullRoom´ technology before patents are awarded we can make some educated guesses about the system. By having five units firing each in another direction and an amplifier per speaker unit it´s clear they use the wall reflections to spread the sound. If you would add some clever sound processor which measures in real time the time for reflections to get back to the system you can build up an internal room model and adjust the individual speaker timings. Experiments with available digital room correctors have already shown that this is a viable technology.
The setback is that it´s expensive technology so the Live speakers revert to an older principle. They use a dipolar setting which emits sound in both ways with the back wave out of phase with the front wave. To get adjusted to your room they need a little help. With the bundled app you can control all setting of the speakers as well as describe your basic room setup.
Of course these good looking speakers are wireless as who wants cables making a mess of the easy placement of the Live speakers and ruining the looks. They support Apple Air lossless technology and promise to provide an audiophile experience. Every user of iTunes (Windows or Mac) can use these innovative little speakers but they are clearly targeted at the Apple Air Wave market.
They are already on the market and on their website http://www.libratone.com you can read up on specs and the earlier positive reviews. Be aware thought that smart design and great style come at a high price. With the prestigious innovation award now firmly in their pockets expect to hear a lot more of these little speakers.
Although the design and concept is great we would love to see a new generation with proper room correctors built in for this kind of money. Expect to pay a hefty 800E for this little lifestyle speaker. The good news is that you need only one per room!
Congratulations to Libratone with this prestigious CES award
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