Gizmag is in New York City this week, scouring the displays of CE Week for interesting, innovative gear and gadgets. One of the products that caught our eye, a speaker from Damson that puts a Twist on traditional audio. Instead of sending sound waves through the air to your ears, it sends them through the surface you place it on. Damson claims this makes for bigger sound from a smaller package.
The Twist speaker is built on Damson's Incisor Diffusion Technology, which also powers its Headbones bone conduction headphones. Instead of vibrating the air in front of the speaker with a driven cone, the design sends the sound vibrations down the speaker's legs and through the surface that it rests on. It's not the first design to do so, as other designs like the K-Box have similar capabilities.
The small driver and cone sizes in the typical small, portable speaker limit the frequency range, but Damson says that its technology allows for a fuller frequency range and richer sound from the small, 10-watt, 3-in (8-cm) tall Twist. Because it uses physical vibrations, the technology also allows those with impaired hearing to experience the sound.
Sound is always a matter of personal preference, and what sounds good to one person may not sound great to another, even if it's an expensive, high-tech audio system. This is exacerbated in the Damson portables because not only will they sound better/worse to different people, but they sound different depending upon what surface you're using.
According to the company, thin materials like cardboard, glass, metal and thin wood (think guitar body) work best, while thick/grounded materials like concrete, grass, sand and thick wood don't work at all. That could make the Twist a little touchy to use on the go since there may not be good acoustic material around – we're thinking situations like an open field or basketball court. The speaker sounded decent enough when played on the wooden box that Damson had at its booth, but we didn't get to experiment with different materials.
The Twist speaker retails for US$49.99. It has both Bluetooth A2DP and a 3.5-mm input for connecting to non-wireless players. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts for up to 9 hours. Damson also offers the two-speaker Jet pack with the same diffusion technology for $129.99.
The Damson speakers aren't terribly costly, but we'd still suggest thinking seriously about whether you'll have the right types of materials when playing it. We'd also suggest auditioning it to compare it with more traditional designs, advice we'd apply to any speaker purchase, but especially one using unconventional design.