Laptops, headphones, computers, tablets, gaming consoles, and smartphones...they've all gotten the skin treatment, with a variety of artists and designers embellishing stock equipment with personalization in mind. Los Angeles audiophile Josh Ray is hoping to follow the footsteps of fashionable-tech accessories like Beats by Dre, adorning a category of electronics normally considered conservative and staid: floorstand audio speakers.
Urban Fidelity made the leap from Kickstarter now to a shipping product, offering a range of reasonably priced passive speakers for $399.00 a pair, with its differentiating appeal their catalog of forty-two art-adorned designs to choose from ($448 if you want to customize the speakers with your own images).
All of their speakers are equipped with an unusual open air, double cone design (Air Flow) producing sound from both the front and the rear of the floorstanding units; they believe this "liberation" from a typical enclosed cabinet design produces a more accurate sound and requiring less parts (without the cabinetry, crossovers, and required customer assembly, prices are kept down too).
Additionally, the speaker drivers exhibit an eco-friendly streak. Urban Fidelity speakers are manufactured in the US, with the wood responsibly sourced from North American forests and constructed using formaldehyde-free wood and low/no-VOC water-based paints and inks. Because you want definitely want to hear your speakers, may enjoy looking at your speakers, but you certainly don't want to smell them.
We hope to followup soon with our resident audiophile to see what he thinks of these nicely priced entry-level audiophile units and see if they sound as cool as they look.
Prototype desktop speakers are in development, with a hairpin leg stand propping each unit (more about the mini speakers here).
Urban Fidelity Art Speaker Specifications:
- Frequency range: mid-50Hz to 20kHz
- Power handling: 8 to 80 watts
- Sensitivity: 87dB, 8 ohms impedance
- Dimensions: 13" wide x 13" deep x 41" tall (artwork 40" x 11.25")
- Air Flow Driver: 8" double cone, cast aluminum frame, ceramic magnet
- 5-way gold plated binding posts accept banana plugs, spades and bare wire
- Printing: eight color high resolution printing
- Finish: high contrast gloss
- Made in the USA
(Images: Urban Fidelity)