Archt One promises multidirectional, room optimized immersive sound
October has been a pretty good month for streaming music lovers. Bang & Olufsen and Bowers & Wilkins have finally joined the Bluetooth speaker party, and Toronto's Mass Fidelity is proving that you don't have to be a big player to be a crowd pleaser. The folks over at Archt Audio are also hoping to make a memorable entry into the wireless speaker market with a sonic warhead known as the Archt One. This wireless audio system features a proprietary speaker technology called the Sound Array that ensures every corner of the room gets bathed in consistent quality sound.
As with The Core, Archt – pronounced "ark" – is promising that the 17 in (433 mm) high, 8 lb (3.64 kg) Archt One will free listeners from the burden of trying to find a rigid multi-speaker stereo sweet spot to enjoy high quality immersive playback. The Archt One's patented Sound Array technology modifies the output dispersion patterns of the 3-inch full-range driver, 4.7-inch sub-woofer and 6-inch passive radiator to evenly disperse distortion-free omnidirectional sound throughout a room. The system also benefits from a built-in DSP to enhance audio streaming quality, a digital-to-analog converter and a two channel 50 W amplifier.
Music can be wirelessly streamed to the Archt One over Bluetooth 4.0 or 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a company rep advising that "Wi-Fi streaming is best via AirPlay, but the Archt One is also DLNA compliant." There's a also USB port for feeding in tunes from a thumbdrive/laptop/tablet or for topping up the battery of a plugged in mobile device, and a 3.5 mm aux input for wired music players. The Archt One supports streaming of high resolution audio over Wi-Fi (up to 24-bit/192 kHz), and multiple speakers can be paired together via Wi-Fi for multi-room audio.
Wireless playback from a laptop, tablet or smartphone can be controlled using the capacitive touch controls on the upper ring of the device itself or via a companion iOS app. The app allows users to auto calibrate the Archt One to offer dynamic audio optimized for the space it's being used.
After 3 years of development, the Archt One's creators have hit Kickstarter to help take the prototype into production. At the time of writing, early birders can still plump for an Archt One in glossy black or white for US$299 (compared to an expected retail price of $599). If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in January 2015.
Have a look at the company pitch in the video below.
Sources: Archt Audio, Kickstarter
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For me the appeal of Kickstarter isn't just go get a good deal on stuff but I like the way it sort of democratises product development. Instead of all the products being the work of a handful of large companies relatively small companies and teams can launch products through the platform. It's a good outlet for the maker community.
It might ship late (as has happened with exactly one of the many campaigns in which I've pledged on Kickstarter), and it might not ship at all (as has happened with exactly one of the many campaigns in which I've pledged on Kickstarter), but I've never paid a penny more than I pledged or paid for a product that never materialized.