Mixing and matching. Deciding which combination of components sounds best to you. Buying new pieces of gear to fit into a system is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the AV hobby. Yet until now, no one has really thought to take this concept to tabletop speakers. But Sonic Blocks is looking to change that.
The Sonic Blocks ecosystem is a unique entry in the wireless speaker sector, offering users the ability to customize almost every segment of the product -- from the sound, to the number of channels, to the appearance, and finally to the role it will perform in your home.
The kits start as a $399 cube, which comprises a "bass" driver, a flat-panel midrange and a soft-dome tweeter. Each panel is removable or replaceable, and the company plans a series of different options including a supertweeter, lights and even "smart home" modules. The unit also includes battery operation.
The inventors, father-and-son team Scott and Jordan Wilker, have designed the system to be format agnostic, but it will ship with Play-Fi (including multiroom) and Bluetooth support as standard. The Wilkers say that AirPlay is also planned, and that they are also considering Google Cast. The speaker also houses physical and USB connections. Jordan Wilker says the system can be used to create a sound bar and that a separate Dolby Digital decoder module will eventually be released.
Currently the midrange drivers are mounted on arms that can be positioned in numerous ways, and Jordan Wilker said they are working on a version that includes a motor. He said that future modules could enable the speakers to be directed at you wherever you are in the room.
Sonic Blocks also hopes to introduce a separate, standalone subwoofer in the future.
As the system is completely modular, I asked the Wilkers whether there were protections in place to prevent "bad" and potentially damaging permutations -- for example, a system with nothing but a series of tweeters connected. Co-inventor Scott Wilker said it was one of the areas the company was working on, but that the system was intelligent enough to know if there was only a tweeter connected.
The speakers are due to appear in June 2017 with prices starting from $399. Sonic Blocks is now live on Indiegogo with introductory pricing beginning at $199. Future modules will be available at prices ranging from $55 to $95 for the drivers alone.
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