Unfortunately, the vast majority of clients don’t agree with me – to such an extent that the most common demand request I receive when designing a multi‐room audio system is, ‘I don’t want to see the speakers!’
This used to make life difficult, but thankfully these days there are such a wealth of ‘architectural’ style in‐wall and in‐ceiling speakers available from companies like Sonance that we can usually find a solution that blends the speaker in so effectively as to become unnoticeable.
However, for some people, that’s just not good enough. Those people are called architects. And we like working with architects.
‘So let me get this straight, Mr Architect, you want great sound for your client, but you don’t want to see anything – nothing at all! Not even an outline to suggest a speaker might be there…that’s not good enough, huh? You don’t ask for much, do you…?’
Well fortunately, Mr Architect, the audio world’s equivalent of Q has been working hard to please you and the result is Sonance’s new Invisible Series of speakers.
Let’s get one thing straight first before I get a torrent of smart‐ass comments ‐ invisible speakers are not new. Companies like Stealth Acoustics and even Sonance themselves have been making invisible speakers for years with varying degrees of success. But there has always been a compromise – sound! People didn’t like spending 2 grand on a set of speakers that sounded worse than a Bose clock radio and that’s understandable. But how do you make a speaker sound good when it’s effectively being covered with plaster? I don’t know the answer, because Sonance won’t tell me, but I can confidently tell you that they exist and they’re about to change the game entirely.
Imagine hanging your beautiful new 84” Ultra High Def TV on the wall, but rather than using the TV’s cheap, tinny built‐in speakers, the audio emerges as if from nowhere in a perfect stereo sound stage. Pick up your iPad and choose a track from your iTunes library – the TV switches off and glorious music fills the room without even hinting where it’s coming from. Want more bass? No problem‐ let’s just add an invisible subwoofer to fill in the bottom end so you can crank up those club tunes. Want more treble? Just flick a switch to phase‐align the speakers using BBE technology. Yes, BBE – that’s what you used to have on your Sony Walkman; it makes everything brighter, crisper and cleaner. Works a treat on these invisible speakers. The result is great sound. Not audiophile quality, mind you, but great sound nonetheless.
So now we have a solution for architects, interior designers and minimalist home owners everywhere. Put them in your walls, your ceilings, your living rooms, bedrooms, garage, office…wherever there’s plaster, you can finally have fantastic invisible sound.
Now who’s going to invent the invisible TV?
Review by Mark Nettleton – still loving his big, boxy speakers.