Clio Bluetooth speaker is clearly unique
While we've seen transparent speakers before, they've usually consisted of regular opaque woofers and tweeters encased in a see-through body. ClearView Audio's 24-watt Clio Bluetooth speaker, however, is different. While its base is easy enough to see, the actual sound-emitting part is composed entirely of clear acrylic.
The Clio utilizes a 2-inch woofer and piezoelectric actuators in its base, which stimulate two thin membranes (one per channel) running along both sides of its transparent curved transducer. This causes the transducer to move back and forth in a "piston-like" fashion, producing 360-degree stereo sound that is emitted from both the front and rear faces of the 1 mm-thick acrylic material.
A similar strategy is used by Greensound Technology in its Luno glass speakers.
Like other Bluetooth speakers, the Clio can be placed pretty much anywhere within a room, without having to run any cords. Music or other audio is streamed to it wirelessly from the user's Bluetooth-enabled device (up to 30 ft/9 m), although it also has a 3.5-mm line-in port.
We recently had a chance to hear the Clio for ourselves at CES, and can attest to the fact that its sound quality is indeed superb. Additionally, its design definitely does allow it to pump sound over a wider area than a traditional cone speaker, which more just projects sound forward.
The Clio is available now for pre-order, with shipping expected to begin in late March. It's priced at US$349, and comes in silver, bronze or charcoal color choices.
Source: ClearView Audio
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
The problem I have with this is there is almost no situation I can think of where a centrally located speaker is desirable that isn't already well served. A stereo pair of these, each mono and narrower than the current version, would be much more attractive, especially for people who would be interested in having one on either side of their computer display.
Doubling the cost to get that, however, removes them from at least my consideration.
It is pretty clear (haha) that the vibration is actually produced in the base and that the acrillic is just a sounding board. Potentially cool, but the only thing that might separate this from a vibroy (it's a cheap speaker that attaches to hard surfaces, not what you are thinking) and $20 acrillic is presumably sound quality. For that, I would personally go for something less gimmicky in the same price range.
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