If you’ve toured crowdfunding sites for more than a minute or two, you’ve probably seen more than your share of Bluetooth speakers – we sure have. But the QuarterWave, a gorgeous concoction of wood, metal, and glass from SmartWood, goes beyond the normal fare, amounting to a truly unique piece of audio gear. And though its first run on Kickstarter was unsuccessful, for its re-launch the QuarterWave has a secret weapon: an cost of around half of its original price tag, available for a crazy-low $249.
Updated 9/15/2014: The QuarterWave has met its original funding goal, and has added new stretch goals for the last 18 days of its campaign. Those goals include a Bluetooth adapter, an extra color choice for the finish, and RCA/Aux cables, all of which have been met and added to the package. In addition, a wireless remote, and NFC touch pairing for compatible devices will be added should the speaker move past its current $38K to $50,000 and $60,000 respectively.
Even if you’re not an audio geek, it’s difficult not to fall for the QuarterWave on sheer looks alone. We’ve seen wooden speakers aplenty, but the rich finish, and smooth curves that round out the center of the Quarterwave’s cabinet offer a fresh feast for the eyes. Those rounded lines aren’t just for aesthetic value, though; they also serve a purpose.
The QuarterWave’s Kickstarter page claims the twists and turns inside the box are designed as acoustic waveguides, delaying the sound waves that resonate through the center of the cabinet to prevent interference and distortion. (There’s even a sound wave diagram in the logo). In fact, using the kind of sound principle lingo you’ll hear in a Bose infomercial, the site claims the speaker is able to leverage the interior resonance for “constructive interference” creating a “loud and undistorted live sound.”
To fill those wooden chambers with sound, the QuarterWave relies on dual 2.5-inch drivers pushed by a dual-channel Class-D amplifier that produces 30 watts per side. The speaker also incorporates a chip using Bluetooth 4.0 for efficient wireless streaming. We’d like to say the etched glass plays a part in shaping the audio, but that feature is purely for aesthetics.
Apart from Bluetooth, the speaker also incorporates an RCA analog input, a 3.5mm aux input, as well as an RCA pre-amp output for connecting to the forthcoming QuarterWave Bass speaker – SmartWood’s version of a subwoofer. Other features include a rotary dial on the front for volume control and a USB charging port for your mobile device.
The speaker is now available in Natural finish, Espresso, Mahogany, Jet Black, and Whitewash. And although we have no idea what the QuarterWave will sound like, we’re pretty excited to find out. If you think SmartWood’s carpenters of sound have a good thing going, you can pledge your $249 for the speaker today. And at that price, it’s hard to go wrong.