They say that great style is timeless, and that rings especially true when the style in question happens to be greatly ahead of the curve. Such is the case with Stig Carlsson’s OD-11, a minimalist cube of sound dropped smack dab in the middle of the groovy 70’s like a beacon from the future of audio. Now, the “Carlsson Cube” has been reborn thanks to a Swedish company called Teenage Engineering. And with a host of 21st century upgrades, the OD-11 Cloud Speaker is a whole new box of wax.
Built around the same ortho-acoustic (meaning upright), omni-directional sound pattern as the original, the OD-11 Cloud Speaker brings 100 watts of Analog Class D amplification to the party, for the latest take on powerful sonic efficiency. Sound is pushed by premium drivers, including a long-throw pulp cone woofer, and a ferrofluid-cooled cone tweeter. And thanks to some help from its predecessor’s famed bass reflex design, the OD-11 Cloud promises a wide frequency range from 28Hz-20kHz.
Yet, while the new OD-11 borrows plenty of traits from its Grandpa, under the hood lies a fount of modern functionality. The system is controlled by the speaker’s Ortho Engine, a brain of sorts that runs everything from wireless connection, to DSP and crossover filtering between the drivers. Wireless streaming is accomplished via Wi-Fi with Airplay support for Apple gear, as well as the ability to connect to Android and other smart devices over Bluetooth. In addition, the speaker also provides a 3.5mm Aux input, and an Optical digital input.
The OD-11 also employs the Orthoplay app for iOS devices, which turns your iPhone or iPad into a remote control for your “preferred” cloud-based service, which can be streamed to the speaker directly. (Teenage doesn’t say which services are compatible currently). As such, the OD-11 Cloud can keep rocking with or without your smartphone connected, and the app also promises to store data for “everything you have played since the day you first turned on the OD-11.” The software is upgradeable to be “future proof” as new cloud services enter the market, and the speaker can also source tunes from your Mac’s hard drive.
Just for kicks, the OD-11 Cloud Speaker’s computer will even read your Twitter feed with a built-in voice synthesizer – no doubt a must-have feature for any futuristic sound cube. Another modern addition can be acquired with the Ortho remote, a $100 hockey-puck sized device which controls volume and song skipping, as well as the ability to store its own playlists.
The new OD-11 will cost you a rather spendy $900 to purchase. If you want to double up the sound, you can also by a stereo-synced pair of the speaker’s at $1,700 for a spare bit of savings. While that’s a good chunk of change to drop, if the OD-11 can offer premium sound along with its streamlined take on wireless sound, it just might be worth the dough. And besides, it looks cool as hell.
The OD-11 Cloud Speaker can be ordered from Teenage Engineering’s website starting today.
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