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July 13, 2012 • Crowdfunding, Gear Bits, News

Functional Home Decor: Urban Fidelity Art Speakers

Urban Fidelity Art Speakers

For new home-owners on a budget, Urban Fidelity’s new line of eco-friendly art speakers provide a fitting mix of form and function. If you’ve got just $300 to spend on both interior decorating and a new speaker system, this newly announced collection of artist-powered audio equipment might help bridge the gap. The art speakers come adorned with designs created by a select group of contemporary-minded indie artists, including: Liam Brazier, Craig Watkins (wotto), Herman Lee, Daniel Teixeria,  Hyein Lee, Tobe Fonseca, Wojtek Polak (Akuma101), Maxime Archambault and more. A visual list of the entire design collection is available to view here.

If you’ve ever wanted an enormous, polygonal peacock adorning your living room, these are the tower speakers for you! Seriously though, it’s obvious the line-up has been created to appeal to just about anyone. A more formal setting might benefit from Herman Lee’s photographic design (pictured below), whereas younger audiophiles might be tempted towards one of the heavy pop-art or street-art inspired pieces.

Art by Herman Lee

Despite the interior design functionality, my main concern was over the speaker’s sound quality. After recently purchasing a small set of “eco-friendly” speakers made from recycled materials, I was wary of the project’s minimalist design. As you can imagine, those desktop speakers I bought turned out to be pretty trashy. Luckily, that doesn’t appear to be the case here. While this isn’t a review, and I can’t attest to the actual sound quality, Urban Fidelity’s kickstarter page contains enough product information to keep even the most cynical venture-capitalists satisfied. Tech information from the site:

Urban Fidelity™ speakers are truly unique in the world of audio – and not just in aesthetics. Our Air Flow Driver is designed to work in the open air without the constraints of a pressboard box. By sending sound both forward and backward, the speaker mimics live music, creating an incredibly lifelike presentation and huge soundstage.

The Air Flow driver features a double cone design to produce the high frequencies, thus eliminating the need for a separate tweeter and the sound-degrading crossover. Using one high-quality driver — rather than multiple cheaper separate drivers — produces a sound that is far more accurate, nuanced and complete. You’ll hear details in your music you’ve never heard before.

By liberating the driver from a pressboard box, the Air Flow driver delivers fast and smooth bass that’s integrated with the rest of the frequency like it’s meant to be. Typical affordable speakers use a ported box to create the bass, resulting in booming low frequencies that aren’t in sync with the rest of the music.

Specifications:

  • Frequency range: mid-50Hz to 20kHz
  • Power handling: 8 to 80 watts (almost any receiver or amplifier will work, even if it’s rated at 500 watts)
  • Sensitivity: 87dB, 8 ohms impedance
  • Dimensions: 13″ wide x 13″ deep x 41″ tall (artwork 40″ x 11.25″)
  • Air Flow Driver: 8″ double cone, cast aluminum frame, ceramic magnet
  • 5-way gold plated binding posts accept banana plugs, spades and bare wire
  • Printing: eight color embedded printing
  • Finish: matte finish on both artwork and speaker

The Art Speakers emit sound in two directions, as opposed to the standard format.

As you can see, a lot of time and energy has gone into both the aesthetic and audio-centric design of these tower devices. Despite a steep MSRP of $400, these units can be pre-ordered from KickStarter for the more indie price of $269. Plus, you get a free t-shirt out of it! Not a bad deal if you’re in the market. The project has $6,472 in funding of its $20,000 goal. With just 26 days to go, it’s time for backers to step it up. You can support this Kickstarter Project, here.

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