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Rotating speaker warps sound round baby right round

A ceiling-mounted dual-horn speaker rotates to create a truly fascinating effect with sound.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

A ceiling-mounted dual-horn speaker rotates to create a truly fascinating effect with sound.

It's called the "Ceiling Janus", and it was created by Ian Schneller of Specimen Products — an artisan studio that produces instruments and sound equipment to an impressive clientele of musicians.

The Ceiling Janus, Schneller says, was created for Jack White. It's a variation on his Spinning Double Horn speaker (which you should go listen to, because it also sounds amazing), but mounted on the ceiling and spinning like a slow ceiling fan.

Schneller said on his website:

This Specimen began in 2011, after I received a call from Jack White. He inquired about our Double Spinning Horn Speaker. He said that he wanted me to turn it upside down and hang it from the ceiling. After a long pause, I said it would take a little engineering. He suggested I embark on the project.

...Ideally suited for the recording studio, this ceiling-mounted horn speaker produces sound similar to a Leslie unit, enveloping the space in a variety of merging wave fronts both emanating directly from the horn, and reflected off surfaces in the environment. Twisting phase relationships and Doppler-effect pitch shifts occur within this unique kaleidoscope of sound. Being located near the ceiling enhances the "room" effect and makes the bass response even more pronounced.

As it spins, it creates a sort of double-spiral-shaped sound wave that gives the sound the effect of ebbing and flowing, creating a sense of motion within the audio. It's a little vertiginous to listen to, but it also sounds incredible.

If you want one, they're available as a custom order from Specimen Products — and will only set you back US$18,000. Meanwhile, you can listen to Schnelling talk about the speaker in the short film below (with musicianship by Jim Elkington), and find out more about how he created it here on his blog.