Ole Witthøft

Vote on Q113. Should the speaker hang on the wall or stand on the floor?

The traditional compact speaker needs an overhaul. It does so because its design gets in the way of making the most of its capabilities. The Q113 Revolution needs to change that, but which way should it go? We'll be voting on that until 11 April (voting closed).

To create a world-class small speaker. That's the goal of this project. The starting point is the SA2K, a small loudspeaker that gained international acclaim in the early 00s. Now it's time to develop a new small speaker, this time in an open development project with the working title Speaker Q113.
The name comes from the fact that the finished prototype should be ready in Q1, 2013. Initially, however, we will develop two versions of the Q113. They will be conceived in two different ways of thinking and will later compete against each other and be evaluated by readers of ing.dk



Loudspeaker Q113 Evolution. It is designed exactly like its predecessor, as a compact speaker with curved sides.


Evolution and Revolution

Evolution is the refinement and development of something that has already been done. In this way, the Q113 Evolution is intended to be an upgrade of its predecessor, without offering any major changes. And why should it? Evolution is about building on something that has been proven to work. Revolution is quite different, as it is intended to represent a rethink and a break with convention. Today it's about the design of the speaker, or rather: The form factor of the Q113 Revolution.



Opposites. The compact speaker is flexible because of its size, but good sound requires something other than flexibility: specialisation.


What is a compact speaker?

The well-known compact loudspeaker has a square box shape dictated by a wide range of sensible, economic, practical and production engineering requirements. The compact speaker is also sized to be placed on a shelf, hung on the wall or placed on a stand that raises the speaker to listening height. That's all very well, but the Q113 Revolution has to challenge the dogma. And it has two more speaker units than the classic compact speaker. It simply takes up too much space, so the Q113 Revolution has to go its own way.


Why choose?

Universal tools are often a little bit good at many things, but they're not really world class at anything. This is also true of the classic compact speaker, because its form factor suggests great flexibility, but the speaker actually sounds best at ear level, neither up under the profile boards nor down by the floor.
A desire for good sound is therefore not about cultivating the multitude of properties of the universal tool. It is about designing a specialist that can convey good sound. Here flexibility gets in the way and it is wise to optimise the loudspeaker for a specific location.



Wall speaker. It is 12 cm deep and the angled back allows the speaker to either hang flat on the wall or be angled towards the listening position.


1st option: the speaker on the wall

The Q113 Revolution can be designed as a fairly flat wall speaker, 60 cm high, 25 cm wide and 12 cm deep. Consider what you think about the 'wall speaker' concept and feel free to share your thoughts here on the blog. It might inspire others.
When studying the illustrations, don't think too much about the details of the design itself. It's more about the idea. Note, however, that my design allows the wall speaker to hang flat on the wall or sit angled 20 degrees towards the listening position. The angled back allows for this. The size of the cabinet provides the desired nine litres of volume, while still allowing space for the speaker units on the front.
We do not yet know exactly where the speaker units will be placed, because we need to simulate the acoustics of the speaker geometry. This means a lot about where the speaker units sit in relation to each other and the surfaces and edges of the cabinet.



Principle drawing. The design tries to create a visual lightness by hiding the depth of the speaker behind slanted sides, a split front panel and an angled rear panel that can even angle the speaker without the need for separate metal brackets. See speaker dimensions here and press "back".



Size ratio. Here's how the floor and wall speaker look in proportion. The wall speaker on the left hangs flat on the wall. The one on the right is angled. The floorstanding speaker takes up the same amount of space as the wall-mounted speaker, but in a different way.


2nd option: speaker on the floor

The Q113 Revolution can also be designed as a slim and small floorstanding speaker, measuring around 1 metre high, 17 cm wide and 17 cm deep. The base has a diameter of about 28 cm. A rather small floorstander, with the speaker units at ear level when you sit down.
When evaluating the illustrations of the floorstanding speaker, I would ask you to think about the concept, more than the specific details of the proposal. In the proposal, the back of the speaker is curved and the top is sloped, to accommodate standing waves on the high joints of the cabinet.


17 cm. It's no wider and with its slightly sculptural look, it might be just right? Or would you rather hang it on the wall?


What will you choose?

There are various advantages and disadvantages to choosing the wall or floorstanding speaker as a concept. Please tell us in the comment fields below what you see as the best arguments for or against the two concepts. And don't forget to give your vote! Thank you.
Voting until Wednesday 11 April - spread the word On Wednesday 11 April, I'll be looking at the number of votes and letting that decide which form factor the Q113 Revolution will be designed for.
The furniture factory that will build the cabinets needs some drawings to be able to build the first test cabinets. They can have that once the Q113 Revolution loudspeaker has taken shape. So I hope you will cast your vote and help spread the word about the vote to friends, family and colleagues, so that a lot of people can have a say in the decision and show the strength of having an open development process. Thank you.


Thanks to Peter Kann

Peter Kann is a mechanical engineer and he was quick to offer his help when he heard about Speaker Q113. "Just let me know if you need any drawings done," he wrote. As said, so done. Peter has been quick to translate my designs into usable illustrations. Thank you very much, Peter!
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Ole Witthøft
Ole is the founder of System Audio. His 3 greatest passions are music, design and technology. Every day, Ole is working on some kind of projects, and you find him in the workshop, in the production, behind a computer or on one of his many presentations around the world.

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