Transparently beautiful speakers

An interior-design object and a great piece of technology from Sweden

Aluminium and tempered-glass Transparent Speaker, £450 (small) and £900 (large)
Aluminium and tempered-glass Transparent Speaker, £450 (small) and £900 (large)

I have a ludicrous number of sound systems in my not enormous flat, both my own and product samples that come and go. I hit 11 hifis of various kinds at one point. I see this as perfectly reasonable. Each has its delights that I could, if asked to, go on and on, and on about.

I have to say, though, that almost nobody visiting shows even the slightest interest in any of my systems, other than, in the case of my children, by demanding I turn the speakers down. Parents used to ask children to lower the volume; now, at least in my family’s case, it’s the reverse. These millennials don’t even play music they like at a proper level. A lost, background-music generation. What’s music for if it’s not loud enough to immerse yourself in?

Each electronic element in the Transparent Speaker is designed to be replaceable
Each electronic element in the Transparent Speaker is designed to be replaceable

Only one audio system has ever gained the unprompted attention and approval of my guests – this admittedly striking, heavy-as-heck, glass-enclosed stereo machine from Stockholm: the Transparent Speaker. This is the small version, measuring 27cm x 20cm x 9.5cm and weighing in at 3kg. There’s also a bigger 11kg version. Two of either can be paired to create a credible two-point, wirelessly fed stereo.

So how do these supremely cool-looking devices sound? They sound OK. No, good. Perfectly good, powerful, neutral, clean, with no clever digital monkeying-around tricks. My point being that the Transparent Speaker is not made as a spoddy hifi-bloke piece, but as a thing of beauty. As the company’s own bumf says, “Our speakers are designed to be as much an interior-design object as a great-sounding piece of technology.” Accordingly, The Conran Shop and Mr Porter are the British stockists.

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They are also, in a very Scandi twist, that rare thing: a sustainable audio product – each electronic element is designed to be replaceable as technology is developed (no commitment to which technology, but it’s a nice thought). And one that has gained some following among music performers – Britney Spears, will.i.am and Snoop Dogg are said to be among the brand fans. They are available in wood and steel finishes too.

@TheFutureCritic

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