The New Geometry of Sound: Master & Dynamic and David Adjaye’s Wireless Speaker

It makes sense, if you’re going to design a loudspeaker to 21st century criteria and with room friendliness as part of the brief, that you’d seek out an architect. Speakers are, by nature, designed by acousticians, but they rarely consider that the end-user has to live with the product. Master & Dynamic, which has, in under three years, enjoyed a remarkable ascent in the market for classy headphones, has partnered with award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye to develop its first wireless speaker.

Because Master & Dynamic’s headphones aspire to a perfect balance between performance and perception, the company refuses the go the route of most speaker manufacturers, who continue to produce bulky, unsightly boxes. Equally, M&D was not interested in the entry-level or portable Bluetooth markets, preferring instead to create a wireless speaker with “proper hi-fi” credentials. In doing so, it insisted on mixing performance and style with flexibility, so this speaker can be purchased as a single unit for mono playback, or the user can buy a pair for room-filling stereo sound.

M&D’s wireless MA770 is also radical in the choice of material. Although concrete speakers have been around for decades, designers loving the acoustic “deadness”, it rarely appears in practical form. Adjaye’s shape is achieved with a proprietary concrete composite, and it’s a winner.

L-R: Jonathan Levine Founder M & D, Sir David Adjaye at Harrods

Its compact footprint of only 410x510x245mm and weight of a manageable, moveable 16kgs, the MA770 can sit on a shelf, a table or even the floor thanks to its sloping front. Says Sir David, “This speaker is not about the traditional idea of making boxes, but about a directional form. I became fascinated with the idea of using triangles to break down the mass of the box, and to see if we could dissolve the sense of volume through sculptural detail. We created a new geometry for this speaker – a new geometry of sound.”

Master & Dynamic and Adjaye’s choice of material offering a number of acoustic benefits such as increased dampening for reduced resonance from the enclosure, which should result in a purer sound. It explains why speaker designers always come back to it: concrete’s damping properties are five times better than wood and ten times better than plastic, and the material is inert, so it needs little after-care.

To deliver audiophile-grade sound, the MA770 contains two 4in Kevlar long-throw woofers to deal with the low frequencies, the speaker delivering copious amounts of bass relative to its size. For the all-important mid-band and upper frequencies, there’s a 1.5in titanium tweeter is positioned above and between them. Power comes from a 100-watt Class D internal amplifier, while the controls consist of flush-fitting, diamond-cut, anodised aluminium buttons along the bottom of the front panel.

Completing the look is a magnetically attached etched stainless steel grille to protect the drive units. Equally, for homes that are pet or children-free, the grille can be removed, which changes the look to a cool, urban, industrial mien. In addition to wireless operation, the speaker can be used with cables for “legacy” equipment without wireless connectivity. An added bonus is the presence of built-in Chromecast technology, to ensure compatibility of the MA770 in multi-room installations. Technology and design nous combined.

MA770 wireless speakers, £1,600

Source: The Telegraph

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