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Transparent speaker leverages old-school technology for affordable Hi-Fi sound

Transparent speaker leverages ...
The team behind the ONEclassic asserts that DECT speakers can perform just as good as – if not better than – traditional wired sets
The team behind the ONEclassic asserts that DECT speakers can perform just as good as – if not better than – traditional wired sets
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The ONEclassic speaker cabinets are constructed out of 12 mm transparent acrylic, which offers durability as well as an improved internal damping characteristic
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The ONEclassic speaker cabinets are constructed out of 12 mm transparent acrylic, which offers durability as well as an improved internal damping characteristic
The ONEclassic DECT wireless speakers are designed to deliver lag-free, audiophile-grade sound at an affordable price
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The ONEclassic DECT wireless speakers are designed to deliver lag-free, audiophile-grade sound at an affordable price
Mmultiple ONEaudio units can be combined and configured in stereo, network, or as 5.1 surround systems
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Mmultiple ONEaudio units can be combined and configured in stereo, network, or as 5.1 surround systems
The team behind the ONEclassic asserts that DECT speakers can perform just as good as – if not better than – traditional wired sets
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The team behind the ONEclassic asserts that DECT speakers can perform just as good as – if not better than – traditional wired sets

Before smartphones – and even cellphones – took over as the modern means of voice communication, people relied on landline telephones. Cordless DECT phones are still commonly used these days, freely found within office buildings or the homes of beloved grandparents. Hong Kong-based startup ONEaudio has created a unique kind of speaker using this old technology. The ONEclassic DECT wireless speakers are designed to deliver lag-free, audiophile-grade sound at an affordable price.

You know how certain things in life can get so old that they become new again? The last time we wrote about the DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) standard, it had been established for over a decade. Fast-forward 20 years to today, and you can find that ONEaudio has created the first-ever bookshelf speakers that incorporate this wireless technology.

Given the widespread success and popularity of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, it might seem a little odd for a modern speaker to employ such a passe means of communication. But the team behind the ONEclassic is passionate about the perfection of sound, asserting that DECT speakers can perform just as good as – if not better than – traditional wired sets.

Conventional wired speakers can encounter phase errors in crossover circuits. This happens when separate signals (e.g. audio emitting from woofers and tweeters) fail to reach the ear at the exact same time. Bluetooth and wireless can experience a similar effect, where multiple speaker channels are not in perfect alignment. But by using DECT technology, the ONEclassic is designed to eliminate this kind of lag. DECT features a channel synchronization process that is reportedly up to 50 times better than Wi-Fi.

The end result is reportedly a precise, more natural-sounding music experience, much like one would hear during a live performance.

Mmultiple ONEaudio units can be combined and configured in stereo, network, or as 5.1 surround systems
Mmultiple ONEaudio units can be combined and configured in stereo, network, or as 5.1 surround systems

The ONEclassic speaker cabinets are constructed out of 12-mm transparent acrylic, which offers durability as well as an improved internal damping characteristic. All of the hardware is built into the speakers themselves, so users need only to plug in power cables. Each ONEclassic packs a 6.5-inch paper cone woofer, a 2-inch silk dome tweeter, dedicated processors, DSPs, amplifiers, and custom firmware in addition to the DECT radio transceiver.

Users are able to stream audio through an plug-and-play USB dongle that's compatible with most computers, mobile devices (supporting OTG connectivity), set-top boxes, and NAS servers. One drawback to this design is that one can't simply wire the ONEclassic speaker into existing systems. However, multiple ONEaudio units can be combined and configured in stereo, network, or as 5.1 surround systems. Multi-functional key operation on the back of the speakers serve to adjust volume, select sound profiles, set tone balance, and pair new dongles.

ONEaudio is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, having raised 87 percent of its US$35,000 goal in two weeks, with another 47 days left to go. Pledges for a pair of ONEclassic speakers with USB dongle start at $1,899, saving half off of the planned retail price – more if compared to the cost of many high-end audio systems.

The team has developed working prototypes, which were showcased earlier this year at CES 2016. If production goes according to plan, backers can expect shipments to start as early as this November.

Sources: ONEaudio, Kickstarter

3 comments
sk8dad
Without obvious damping, how does one avoid resonant peaks in such an enclosure? I'd like to see a frequency response plot before plopping down and dollars.
Mik-Fielding
No internal damping is going to compromise performance as well as no bracing on the thin acrylic panels. For the price one can buy some pretty gorgeous sounding active studio monitor speakers which I am certain will blow these things away in sound quality and volume. OK they are not transparent and you won't have wireless connectivity, but there are already devices that will add that to any system anyway. I would not invest a penny in this and would advise people to look elsewhere ...
Jason Catterall
An audiophile loudspeaker with thin perspex panel construction and no internal dampening whatsoever? Clearly the people that designed these enclosures don't have a clue what audiophile means. No need to look at response curves to know they'll be crap. $500 spent wisely at any of the major loudspeaker manufacturers would better these by some considerable margin. Add a $100 Apt-X Bluetooth module and you're way ahead for a third of the price. Pointless.