Most speaker enclosures are made from wood, though that's not the only material being utilized by audio hardware makers – we've seen speakers made from concrete, for example, and the many portable wireless speakers available are most likely housed in plastic. Which makes the Ionic Sound System from the Czech Republic's Deeptime something of a novelty, as the nature-inspired speakers and subwoofer are encased in a 3D-printed sand outer skin.
The 3D printing process results in delicate grooves being visible, like lines drawn in the sand or patterns in rocks, with the silica sand being combined with a custom-made hardener that's reported to result in a durable housing with excellent damping qualities.
Each Spirula speaker is printed as a single piece, and is home to a 3 inch full range driver with bamboo fiber cones surrounded by Santoprene polymer. Its curved interior cavity is said to ensure that "any vibration produced by the driver does not get reflected toward the listener." Frequency range is given as 75 Hz to 20 kHz.
The Ionic Sound System's active subwoofer is called the Thunderstone, and has a design that's said to have been inspired by the shape of Black Sea urchins. It rocks three bass ports, each with an LED inside that gets brighter and the volume is increased, and has a built-in Class-D amplifier driving a 5.75 inch bass speaker.
There are two aluminum volume control rings to the top – the outer ring controls the bass, while the inner ring dials volume up or down. The subwoofer features digital and analog audio inputs for cabling up music source devices, and Bluetooth with aptX for streaming playlists from a smartphone or tablet.
The Ionic Sound System can be had for €3,141.59 (about US$3,560), or you can just buy a pair of passive Spirula speakers for €899. Production is limited to 1,618 sets.
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