Old meets new in 1920s-inspired Bluetooth Gramophone
By Nick Lavars
December 1, 2013
Chicago-based company Gramovox has merged the old with the new in its Bluetooth Gramophone. The fusion of vintage audio device and modern technology takes the form of a 3:4 scale replica of the R3 Magnavox horn speaker and packs a Bluetooth 3.0 module to allow wireless connection of mobile devices.
Drawing inspiration for the S-curve horn from the 1920s-era R3 Magnavox, Gramovox CEO Pavan Bapu used stereolithography (SLA) to 3D print a prototype of the horn. However, the production horns will be made of hand-welded steel and brass and mounted on a base made of walnut or maple sourced from an Ohio lumber yard.
An inner cavity in the base houses an audio driver and a custom-printed circuit board (PCB) optimized for the acoustics of the Gramovox. It also houses the Bluetooth 3.0 module that allows for a range of 30 ft (9 m) when streaming audio to the unit, along with a 3,300 mAh Li-ion battery that the company says provides 15 hours of battery life.
A small control panel featuring a 3.5 mm AUX input, on/off switch and MicroUSB port for recharging can be found on the backside of its sleek wooden base that measures 4 x 2.7 x 8.5 in (10 x 7 x 22 cm). With the horn, the entire unit stands 20 in (50 cm) in height.
Bapu claims the horn produces "an organically mid-range, vintage sound" and has launched a Kickstarter campaign to get it into production. At the time of writing, the campaign has raised just over US$35,000 of its $100,000 goal in under a week. US residents can pledge $249 for a Gramovox of their own, while customers in Canada, Australia and Europe will need to pledge $299, $319 and $349 respectively to get it shipped to their neck of the woods.
Shipping is slated for May 2014 if the funding goal is reached, with customers able to select either a walnut (dark) or (maple) light wooden base.
You can learn more about the thinking behind the Gramovox in the video pitch below.