dB Cases provide simple solution for upping iPhone audio
By Darren Quick
February 17, 2011
If you’re looking to give your iPhone 4 a boost in the speaker department there’s no shortage of docks on the market to do the job. As portable as many of these solutions may be, they can’t compare to the exceptionally simple and seemingly effective solution hit upon by audio enthusiast Rudy James. Looking to squeeze out every last decibel from his iPhone, James decided to create a protective case that directs the sound from the iPhone 4’s down-facing speakers out towards the user.
Instead of other cases that simply incorporate a gap on the underside of the phone to let the sound out, the dB Case features an extended bottom edge with angled “acoustic scoops” that reflect the sound emitted from the speakers out towards the listener – no fancy amplifying electronics required. James says tests using a prototype case provided an average 3-4dB gain, depending on the case, which he claims equates to a doubling of the phone’s volume without a decrease in sound quality.
While the dB Cases obviously won’t be enough to get a party pumping, they are ideally suited to giving a nice boost to the speakers when watching videos or making video calls using Facetime.
Instead of taking his idea to an accessory manufacturer, James enlisted the help of friend Robert Haleluk to assist in designing prototypes with the goal of manufacturing the cases themselves. To this end they are seeking crowdfunding through Kickstarter to bring the dB Cases to consumers. Having already created the prototypes, their goal is to raise US$10,000 in pledges by April 19, 2010 to allow them to purchase the necessary raw materials and manufacture the cases.
James and Haleluk plan to offer a number of designs to fit the iPhone 4, 4th-gen iPod touch and iPad. There’s the dB4, which offers the best natural sound amplification with its acoustic scoop extending along the entire width of the phone, meaning it must be removed to allow the connection of a dock connector for charging; the dB3 case, which includes an open space on the bottom to allow a dock connector to be attached with the case still on; the dB Mini, which is a small plastic scoop that clips onto the bottom of the iPhone 4; and the dB iPad.
The dB3, dB4 and dB Mini will be made from 100 percent biodegradable plastic and come in a variety of colors, while the dB3, dB4 and a special edition dB iPad will also be available in Pro versions made from natural wood crafted from a variety of different exotic grains that will be laser etched on the back. James and Haleluk are also trying to source carbon fiber for future models and have plans to produce a dB case for Android phones.
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