The trend for home sound systems over the last few years has been integrated systems in every room. That means a sounds system that is installed into the walls. You can listen to your favorite jams while you’re in the bathtub with just a swipe of an iPad. The sound system would be integrated so well that they blend into the aesthetic of the room and are well hidden so that you barely notice them. Recently, however, this trend has begun swinging back in the other direction. Standalone speakers are making a comeback.
A completely new breed of stand-alone speakers has recently hit the market. A new type of speaker that is artistic and designed to be aesthetically pleasing so that they no longer need to be hidden and integrated into the room.
For instance, the BeoSound Shape speakers by Bang & Olufsen, are amps and dampeners that are designed in a sculptural way. They are hexagonal tiles that can be covered in coloured and textured fabrics to match the colour scheme of the room in which they are placed. The hexagonal shape also allows you to place them in a variety of different abstract or purposeful arrangements. This allows you to have free range with your artistic expression and really create something that compliments your room.
So, they look really nice, but how do they work? The speakers are programmed with an algorithm that ensures the speakers produce an even sound throughout the room rather than creating a small range in which the best sound quality can be heard in the sweet spot between two speakers. Instead, the sound is distributed evenly throughout.
Another great aesthetic speaker option is the Beoplay A9. These are large disc shaped speakers that can be hung on the wall like a piece of art or mounted on wooden legs like a piece of furniture. These speakers can also be customized with a variety of coloured and textured fabrics. Better yet, these speakers can be covered with custom printed fabric, so you can actually print specific artwork or photography. This way your speaker functions as both a speaker and an actual piece of art.
While Bang & Olufsen speakers are beautiful with great sound quality, this also results in the speakers being quite pricey. The Beoplay A9 is $2,699.00 and the BeoSound Shape speakers are priced according to how many amps and dampeners you need for the size of the room in which the speakers will be installed.
Another trend with beautifully designed speaker options are voice activated speakers. Companies like Amazon, Apple and Google have all come out with their own versions of voice activated speakers; Amazon has created the Echo speakers, Google partnered with Sonos for the Sonos One and Apple has the HomeHub.
Voice activated speakers have become so popular that they now represent around 10% of the total purchases in the audio market. This popularity has caused traditional audio manufacturers to start including voice activation technology in their new and upcoming technology releases.
Steinway & Son on the other hand, have taken a new approach to home audio. They offer the Spirio, a high-end, luxury, self-playing grand piano. The piano is controlled by an app and will add an expensive air to a luxury room. So, you can have piano music without having to know how to play.
Sounds and music have a multitude of effects on the human mind. There are many studies that say white noise can help you sleep while ambient natural noises like waves lapping, rain or rustling leaves can help you relax. There are other studies that suggest that specific music at a dinner party can enhance the flavors of the food. Sounds, whether they be musical, natural or man-made, are important in our lives, so why not invest in a set of speakers with great sound that look beautiful in your room as well.