The Vamp launched in 2014, following a successful Kickstarter. What is it? A small box designed by Paul Cocksedge that allows any old speaker to be convert into a wireless Bluetooth speaker — a portable one, assuming it was small enough. The goal was to give people a reason to hang on to their older speakers by adding new functionality. Now the team behind the original Vamp has returned to Kickstarter to fund two new products: the Vamp Stereo and the Vamp Speaker.
The Vamp Stereo’s name does a good job of describing exactly what it is. In most ways, it’s the same as the original, only this model allows two speakers to be hooked up for stereo sound. This means both the built-in amplifier and battery have been beefed up in order to handle the extra load.
The Vamp Speaker is meant for those who don’t have any spare speakers lying around, but still love the idea of The Vamp. The idea may seem a little strange at first: Why produce a new speaker when the goal is to reduce electronic waste? In The Vamp Speaker’s case, the cabinet is made from a sustainable OSB board, while the electronic components are made out of recycled materials.
“When we learnt that 10,000 speakers a month are sent to one recycling center alone, we were inspired, and knew we had to continue the journey and go further with The Vamp,” Cocksedge said in a statement. “We listened to our customers who wanted it to be louder and have stereo sound. They also told us that many of them didn’t have old speakers, which is why we designed The Vamp Speaker. The sustainable aspect has kept the speaker on message with the spirit of The Vamp, which is reusing and recycling.”
Listening to the Vamp Stereo
We had the chance to listen to the Vamp Stereo and the Vamp Speaker, which was also connected to two old speakers, just like the sets you may have at home. The Vamp Speaker is light and feels solidly built, while the cabinet could easily be spruced up with a coat of paint, or a fun coating. The Vamp Stereo sits in its own cutout on the top, and is held in place by a magnet, ensuring it won’t fall out.
The connections on the back are made using speaker wire and spring-loaded terminals. A microUSB port is there for charging the battery — which will provide about ten hours of playback — plus a 3.5mm headphone socket too. It certainly had plenty of punch when the volume was turned up, but it was impossible to judge quality in our open test surroundings. Additionally, it’ll sound different depending on the speakers you plug in to go along with the Vamp Speaker.
It’s a great idea to provide a recycled speaker to go along with the Vamp Stereo, but we can’t help thinking it’ll still work best, and be most satisfying to own, paired with a set of almost-forgotten hi-fi speakers just waiting for a new lease of life.
Back to Kickstarter
Despite the success of the original Vamp, Paul Cocksedge Studio chose to return to Kickstarter for the two sequel projects. The company says this allows it to be in control of the design, the marketing, and the price. The Vamp Stereo alone sells for roughly $50, while a bundle featuring the Vamp Stereo and a Vamp Speaker costs roughly $100. For those who don’t have a spare speaker and want a full stereo setup, a package containing both the Vamp Stereo and Speaker, as well as a vintage recycled speaker, can be had for $130.
“We are really excited to launch on Kickstarter again. We can say from experience that it’s the best way to launch these types of products, and it’s because of our brilliant backers and their amazing feedback that we are able to do this again,” Cocksedge said.
So far, the campaign has raised more than $60,000, which is almost halfway to its roughly $130,000 goal. The campaign will come to a close on October 13, so there is still plenty of time to back the project. Assuming the campaign is successful, the company plans to begin delivering to backers in May 2017. For more information, see the Kickstarter page.
Article originally published on 09-22-2016. Update by Andy Boxall on 09-23-2016: Added in hands-on impressions