FRANCE, Lissieu. The Drop's and Up's are part of a range of speakers designed and produced by Soee Soundesign. We visited audio and visual experts at Ideaworks in London to discuss the quality of the Drop’s loudspeaker in particular and discover what makes them standout from others in the market.
Suitable for the marine environment, these omnidirectional loudspeakers transmit sound 360-degrees thanks to a curved cone that sits above the speaker. The oval shaped Drop’s size and finish make them the main attraction in a room, while the smaller Up’s are ceiling based units, unlike any other that we’ve seen. However, while the design and wide range of finishes for these products are new, omnidrectional speaker technology has been around for over 40 years.
“What’s interesting is back in the 1970s there was a brand called Sonab, which produced omnidirectional loudspeakers, and since then, every few years a new brand seems to come along and make their own version,” explained managing director at Ideaworks, Kevin Andrews. “Some people are convinced by the benefits of this technology but there are others who are less so.”
While this aspect of the speaker is well established, the design and execution of the Drop’s and Up’s is impressive and the range of options available is almost off putting. The Drop’s can be customised using any of the 250 enamel paint colours or 100 coloured leathers and exotic skins. The smaller Up’s model has 25 fewer enamel colours to choose from and 38 coloured leathers to play with. Soee Soundesign also produces its Crystal Rain, which features 500 Swarovski crystals on each pair of Drop’s loudspeakers. Last but not least is the option to have the models gilded in 22-carat gold leaf.
While they may look great, is the sound quality able to match the design? The wood and stainless steel constructed loudspeakers have a frequency response of 75Hz to 20kHz, with a sensitivity of 89dB and an impedance of 8ohms. Having heard the quality of the Drop’s first-hand, the sound is not bad and the price is fair for a basic model. However, opting for the 22-carat gold leaf finish would make it uncompetitive when compared to models such as JBL's K2 loudspeaker, which offers far superior sound quality for a similar price.
“I have K2s in the TV room and Everests in my listening room, which are the big brother of the K2s. I love these models and think they are the most incredible loudspeakers but they are not the prettiest things to look at,” said Andrews.
While the cost is a factor for the top of the range finish, the point of these speakers is as much about the design and finish, as it is the sound. They have been produced with the aim of stimulating the eye as well as the ear and there will be those who would be willing to compromise on the sound in favour of a stunning work of art, which also produces decent quality sound.