Ole Witthøft

Surprising result in the vote on Q113

The wall speaker won the vote. That's clear after a week of online voting. The result, however, is a bit of an innovation in itself. Read why here.

 

12-April-2012-1

The result. 56% of the votes went to the wall speaker, which wins the vote for the design concept of the Q113 Revolution.

 

Thank you very much for the votes and the debate on the design concept of the Q113 Revolution loudspeaker. It has been really exciting to follow the voting and I really hope others in my industry see the results. Let me summarise what the vote was about.

 

The compact speaker has an inappropriate shape

The Q113 Revolution speaker has its internal volume set at 9 litres and we have simulated that the woofer, with the help of two passive speaker units, can get a surprisingly good bass response. That chapter is not completely closed, but time is running out and some cabinets need to be designed to serve as test tools for the project. But what placement options will the Q113 Revolution have? In my opinion, the shape and size of the traditional compact loudspeaker is not very attractive when its volume reaches 9 litres and you even demand good sound quality. The speaker needs to be at ear level to perform at its best, but the shape of the compact speaker invites many options for placement in the living room, several of which do not result in good sound. Some predictability of speaker placement is needed. With its two extra speaker units taking up good space on the sides of the speaker, and a vision to rethink the compact speaker, the Q113 Revolution must find its own way, if that is possible. That's why the traditional shape was dropped. The twin project Q113 Evolution is however designed as a compact speaker. More about that on a later occasion.

 

12-April-2012-2

The choice. The wall speaker and the floor speaker seen from above in size ratio.

 

We voted on the design concept

The vote was to decide whether the Q113 Revolution should be designed as a wall speaker or a floor speaker. A pretty crucial decision, in other words. Readers of ing.dk were given a week to take part in the anonymous vote. It took place via the Ingeniørens website at www.easypolls.net The vote was thus about a choice between the design concepts and not necessarily the exact designs that were illustrated.

 

The wall speaker won, but not big

A breakdown of traffic on the blog itself shows that the post received 3,636 hits in the week of the vote. 276 people voted, of which 56% (155 votes) went for the wall speaker and 44% (121 votes) for the floor speaker. This means that the wall-mounted speaker won, although the showdown was far from over. Let me add that 276 votes is actually quite a lot. I know of no other product that has been rated in the same way by 276 people, at this stage in its development. That's amazing and worth reflecting on in itself.

 

12-Apr-2012-31

The floor or the wall? Both provide a predictable position for the speaker, making it easier to adjust the acoustics.

 

The consequence of the vote is ...

The Q113 Revolution will be designed and built as a wall-mounted loudspeaker in the next phases of the project, simulating how the position of the loudspeaker units in the cabinet affects the sound. In addition, measurements will be made to guide us towards a crossover. The final design of the loudspeaker will be determined later, for now it's a matter of creating the conditions sound and technology.

 

Industry should note vote

The wall speaker's win in the poll is actually quite unique and I hope others in the audio/video industry take a look here, because there might be something to learn. The winning concept is one that doesn't really exist on the market. Yes, there are wall speakers, but not many. At the risk of being completely wrong, I would say that the high end wall speaker does not exist in Denmark. This may be because there is no market. Sure. It may also be because it is not possible to make the high end wall speaker good enough. But it could also be because they forgot to ask interested people. That perhaps they think they know better and let market statistics decide which products to develop and put on the shelves. In this case, it may be difficult to find a basis for the existence of the high end wall speaker, because surely not many are sold if none really exist? I don't want to get too clever about something I don't know enough about, but it is remarkable that the vote points to the wall speaker. It helps to underline the value of an open development process, where the project is fed by committed people who have no agenda other than to express their honest opinion. People in the audio/video industry might have voted for the safe bet. What they know.

 

The floorstanding speaker is still alive

Q113 is allowed to be an exponent of the fact that a task is worth taking on, even if the solution may not be immediately obvious. Innovation and creativity can best be described as "original ideas that have value" and there is certainly value in pursuing the design concept that appeals to most people, rather than simply following tradition. Conversely, the task may be impossible. In fact, there may be a good reason why the high end wall speaker is not very widely used. Should the project get there, I'd hate to be without a Plan B to step in should Plan A stumble. That's why I want to keep the Q113 alive as a floorstander and develop it in parallel.

 

What did you get out of the vote?

Are you surprised by the outcome or do you follow the idea, without further ado? Was it interesting? Do you think there should be more voting during the project? Have you experimented with the placement of your own speakers at home? Do you have another explanation for the victory of the wall speaker? Am I crazy to say that the high end wall speaker is hardly available in Denmark?
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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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