Maybe it’s because we share the same birth year, but the four decades that have passed since the release of the OD-11 seem to have been remarkably kind to the design of Stig Carlsson’s original 1974 audio speaker. The Sonab “Carlsson Cube” was an omni-directional and ortho-acoustic speaker with both one woofer and one tweeter which projected sound upward and out, engineered to be placed on the floor, bookshelf, or even hanging from the wall. The compact design proved wildly popular throughout the 70s and into the 80s; the speakers are still highly collectible audiophile remnants of the analog age.
I’m obviously not alone coveting the 70’s audio design: Carlsson’s minimalist OD-11 Cloud Speaker is being re-released with a few technological upgrades compatible with the digital era, thanks to Swedish audio company, Teenage Engineering.
The new OD-11 has been reimagined and reengineered to work with digital music libraries, with a built-in computer (Ortho Engine), DSP, and an integrated 100 watt analog Class-D amplifier. Wi-Fi, Apple Airplay, and Bluetooth LE connects speaker to OS X computers, iOS devices via Orthoplay app, or via cloud streaming. Designed to be future proof aesthetically and technologically – the app/software powering the OD-11 is upgradeable – the audio cube’s industrial design continues its timeless heritage. An amusing bonus feature: the onboard computer will be capable of reading Twitter messages aloud using a built-in voice synthesizer.
Unveiled at CES 2013, the OD-11 Cloud Speaker is finally going to be available this month on July 18th, sold in singles or pairs (up to four units can be paired via Wi-Fi). Additional information available at Teenage Engineering.